Facebook revealed the next step in its initiative to help 4 million people in the U.S. register to vote prior to November’s presidential election with the rollout of its Voting Information Center Thursday on Facebook and Instagram.
The Voting Information Center can be accessed directly via the menu on Facebook or Instagram, and people can use it to see if they’re registered to vote, or to register via a link that will bring them directly to their state website or to the social network’s nonpartisan partners in this initiative.
Users will be able to see if their state expanded its vote-by-mail options and, if applicable, request absentee or mail-in ballots, and they will be reminded of any deadlines on this front.
Facebook said it will continue to work closely with state election officials through November in order to ensure that its Voting Information Center remains updated with the latest election information in each state.
The social network will also roll out a new feature for pages from government authorities, Voting Alerts, which will enable state and local election authorities to reach constituents with important updates and potential late-breaking changes.
And a new Facts About Voting section will provide articles on topics related to the election and voting, supplied by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Facebook vice president of product and social impact Naomi Gleit said in a Newsroom post Thursday that the federal government estimates that there are 3 million U.S. citizens living abroad who are eligible to vote, including those in the military, and the social network will add information on how to register and vote absentee from overseas.
In other election-related news from Facebook, the labels Facebook began adding in July to posts from federal politicians discussing voting, with the aim of directing users to official information on the topic, will be added to all posts on voting in the U.S. on Facebook and Instagram starting Thursday.
The company said people can also access the Voting Information Center by clicking on the “Paid for by” disclaimer on ads about social issues, elections or politics, with Gleit writing, “This isn’t a judgment on whether those posts or ads are accurate: It’s a way to ensure that people can access accurate election information without searching around.”
Saying that state election officials expressed concerns about recruiting poll workers due to fears about Covid-19, Facebook will add a call for people to sign up through their state in its Voting Information Center, and the company will offer free ad credits to state election authorities to help them fill those spots.
Finally, Facebook said it is actively speaking with election officials about the policy of post-vote misinformation triggered by the anticipated increase in mail-in ballots and the delays this will cause in reporting results.
The social network said it will use the Voting Information Center and the U.S. Elections digest in Facebook News to provide the latest authoritative information on the results of the election.
Gleit wrote, “The goal of the Voting Information Center, together with our registration efforts, is simple: to help every eligible voter in the U.S. who uses our platform vote this year. It is also important that we help protect the integrity of our elections. This new product connects everyone on Facebook and Instagram to accurate and easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live, helping empower them to hold their elected officials accountable. It’s a nonpartisan effort that’s available to everyone, and we’ll send notifications at the top of Facebook and Instagram targeted by age and location so people of voting age see relevant information in their state.”