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Washington State To Allow Voter Registration Over Facebook 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-your-cat-can-vote dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Associated Press reports that the state of Washington will soon have an application available on its Facebook page that will let residents register to vote. Washington and other states already allow online registration, but this is the first time it will be allowed over Facebook. The state's co-director of elections, Shane Hamlin, said, 'In this age of social media and more people going online for services, this is a natural way to introduce people to online registration and leverage the power of friends on Facebook to get more people registered.' Facebook won't have access to the State's database, and Hamlin says Facebook won't collect any of the personal information with which it interacts."
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Washington State To Allow Voter Registration Over Facebook

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  • Lovely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @05:33AM (#40683845)

    Nah, no chance for vote fraud there.

    Why make voting easy? Why not make it hard? That makes sure only people who care enough to at least truly believe in who they're voting for, instead of making elections a shallow beauty contest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No possibility that Facebook will track voters. No constitutional issues at all. Nothing to see here, move along.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Voters are already tracked; your registration is a matter of record. In many states (Illinois is one) you have to declare a party when voting in a primary election, and that, too, is a matter of public record.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      I think they only register on Facebook don't actually vote there, although with America and their evoting machines you never know. As for unnecessarily complicating the voting process to scare off undecided voters, that may not have the effect you are hoping for. You see, the more you know, the less you trust all the bullshit the parties are feeding to you, or that elections really have an effect on your life. The people who will go to an election no matter what are the radicals.

      • Re:Lovely (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @05:57AM (#40683969)

        I think they only register on Facebook don't actually vote there, although with America and their evoting machines you never know. As for unnecessarily complicating the voting process to scare off undecided voters, that may not have the effect you are hoping for. You see, the more you know, the less you trust all the bullshit the parties are feeding to you, or that elections really have an effect on your life. The people who will go to an election no matter what are the radicals.

        It makes a difference from the "hanging chad", people saying "I didn't vote I just clicked "like" on a picture of a kitten and it registered as a vote for Mitt Romney"

      • Re:Lovely (Score:5, Informative)

        by jpate (1356395) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:02AM (#40684001) Homepage

        The people who will go to an election no matter what are the radicals.

        "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal" —Emma Goldman

        • I think the Tea Party has proven otherwise. And it's that attitude among youth and other voters which leads to disenfranchisement.

          The notion that a group can't change policy is complete bullshit. This is actually why I've stopped caring. If the Dems win my ideals win. If the Republicans win I get more money in my pocket. If people want to look out for their interests... they can do it. But the "99%" movement hit upon two conflicting and important points about modern politics--the reason the 99% d

          • by jpate (1356395)
            My main point was that there is a difference between radicals and partisans.

            Women concerned about their rights? They make up more than 50% of the voting population. Why do I need to look out for their interests? You want the government looking out for women's rights... easy solution--every single woman show up to vote. That's it. If 90% of women showed up to vote in 2012 I can guarantee that their interests would get nearly exclusive attention from candidates. If 90% of Latinos showed up to vote you can guarantee that their interests would be represented.

            Two points. First, since the US is a representative democracy with unlimited outside and unaccountable money, there is a strong selection process that filters out anybody who seriously challenges the status quo or does not have close personal ties to big corporations. Vote in Republicans, we get corporate bailouts with no accountability. Vote in Democrats, the "anti-Wall street" wing of the corporate party, and we get... corporate b

    • I almost missed the point on first reading there ...

      I'm guessing the implied problem is suggesting that compromised facebook accounts give the possibility for the step in fake voter registrations which can be then used for vote fraud?

      Or is was a troll attempt and I read meaning into something that had none.

      • by Rei (128717)

        I don't get why you in America have to have this be so complicated. What's so wrong with a single national database and everyone with a single *public* ID number as the key, with your contact information in the database? For anything that wants to make sure you're who you say you are, you only need to enter your id number, and they can look up your official contact information and send you a confirmation. And you can automatically get mailed about any major actions taken using your ID number as well, suc

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          Because in America we have a long history of Racism that is pandered to by ONE party that continues to push the idea that certain races of people are constantly and forever discriminated against, even when we've elected a President who is not "white". This party pushes the idea that any policy that doesn't "help" one of the "minority" races is in fact "racist", and the ONLY possible reason why anyone would want such a policy is "racism", and there can be no other reason.

          The assumption is that minorities are

          • by jheath314 (916607)

            Remind me again, which party was responsible for the Willie Horton ads? Which party used false rumors about McCain having an illegitimate black baby to destroy his chances in the 2000 primaries. Which party has pursued a "Southern strategy" for the last half century to capture the white vote in the old Confederate states?

            I'm sure it's pure coincidence that many of the policies promoted by that party just happen to disproportionately benefit rich white males, and disproportionately harm minorities. But su

            • What is racist about Willie Horton? The fact that a convicted murderer was given furlough, who while out on furlough raped and beat some poor lady within an inch of her life? Oh, because the example wasn't a "white" person it is racist? But because he was "black" we can't mention the case at all or show his picture? IS that what Democrats think of their black constituents?

              And Obama Administration officials making special efforts to "court" black congregations? That isn't racist?

              Or how it was (R) that passed

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is a chance for voter *registration* fraud -- a notably different crime with a notably different detriment to society. Voter registration fraud is criminal, but it in no way changes the outcome of our democratic elections. Since people will not be voting on Facebook, people will not be committing voter fraud on Facebook.

      Small "d" democracy is about everybody voting. Not the smartest, not the richest, not those who "care enough". Everybody. We require citizenship and adult age, reasonably. We (so

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Not from the US.
      Why do you need to register to vote anyway?
      Isn't any adult automatically allowed to vote and doesn't government already have a list of every adult?

      • Re:Lovely (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:42AM (#40684235)

        People keep migrating, so the states cannot keep track of the residents. Also lot of things makes you ineligible to vote. The registration gives the states time to verify eligibility. From what I understand, all countries register voters for this reason. Is it different in your country?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bysshe (1330263)
          It is different in different countries. Here in Holland when you live/move to a city you are required by law to register with that city (else not be able to get health insurance, vote, or get social assistance). When you're registered they also automatically send you your voter card before elections. Then its up to you if you go to vote or not. Next elections here are September 12th.
          • Here in Holland when you live/move to a city you are required by law to register with that city

            Fortunately, (or not, depending on your perpsective), I don't have to register with the government to move in the USA.

            • by avm (660)

              You wind up registering with enough different entities that it would almost be a relief to single source it. Change address with DMV, with employer (who in turn shares it with fed/state/local tax agencies), with public utilities, and the list goes on.

              Most of these are required, either by federal, state or local law. At least in the northeast corner of the US, that is.

              • You wind up registering with enough different entities that it would almost be a relief to single source it. Change address with DMV, with employer (who in turn shares it with fed/state/local tax agencies), with public utilities, and the list goes on.

                Most of these are required, either by federal, state or local law. At least in the northeast corner of the US, that is.

                Change address with the DMV? But why? If I'm making a permanent move, sure. But I could go to Idaho for a couple years and use my existin

                • But I could go to Idaho for a couple years and use my existing Driver's License (I did, once upon a time) without bothering the Idaho DMV.

                  Most states make it illegal for residents to drive without an in-state drivers license, where residency is usually defined as living more than X days in the state.

        • Yes, my country knows that I am a citizen of this country, therefore i do not need to register for voting. Whenever it is time to vote, they send me an envelope with all the information available about the candidates, where to vote and when. It's not rocket science, really.

        • Also lot of things makes you ineligible to vote.

          That's a scandal on its own. Other places let their inmates vote and still haven't turned into Mad Max country.
          They treat their prisoners better though - and also have a lot less of their population imprisoned...

      • by Culture20 (968837)
        Convicted felons aren't allowed to vote, nor are non-citizens or dead or fake people. Unfortunately, the registration process doesn't exclude any of them.
        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          Why aren't convicted felons allowed to vote?
          After all, they were convicted for breaking laws which were put into place by politicians who were voted into office.
          It seems logical that they should have an equal say into what these laws are as the people who aren't breaking them.
          As Voltaire wrote: "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
          Democracy is build on the principle that every individuals' opinion counts, no matter how much you disagree with it.

          • by Fjandr (66656)

            This has long been one of my pet peeves. Even if one were to argue that a currently-incarcerated person should not be allowed the vote, once a sentence is served a person is supposed to have paid their debt in full. However, in many States a felony conviction results in the sentence of disenfranchisement for life.

    • by Bysshe (1330263)
      Better yet, make it required with penalty of fine if you don't. If you have no opinion you vote blank. That way you get a more moderate and rational reflection of actual citizen opinion instead of just the extreme ends who are emotionally vested in the issues
    • Re:Lovely (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bmo (77928) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:26AM (#40684565)

      Nah, no chance for vote fraud there.

      Voter fraud is the distraction to the real issue - electoral fraud.

      Voter fraud is low-reward, high risk. It makes no sense to stand in line more than once to vote, after standing in line for an hour each and travelling between towns to hide it. So say in an afternoon, you get to pull off 3 votes - 1 real vote, and 2 frauds. Woop de doo. You didn't affect an election much at all unless it's a squeaker. But you just committed two felonies, for which you can go to jail. Supposedly, if you listen to the talking heads decrying voter fraud, this is a rampant problem.

      But anyone and everyone trying to measure voter fraud comes up with bupkis.

      Compare and contrast with actual electoral fraud problems we've had over the recent years, with missing ballots, electronic vote flipping, etc. This doesn't get as much airplay, because the good ol' boys don't want you to know how your vote is being stolen by them. So they distract. They invent a fake controversy about voter fraud and represent that as to why your vote doesn't count like you think it should. The reality is that your vote is being flipped or disappeared if you are in a county or state with electronic voting machines with no paper records.

      --
      BMO

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        It makes no sense to stand in line more than once to vote, after standing in line for an hour each and travelling between towns to hide it.

        Washingtonians don't stand in line to vote. They mail their ballot in.

    • by Rei (128717)

      Voter fraud is basically a non-issue [truthaboutfraud.org]. It's usually somewhere in the range of a few tenths of a thousandth of one percent of votes cast. On the other hand, barring people who should *legitimately* be allowed to vote but are accidentally or maliciously prevented from doing so in the name of preventing voter fraud, is a far more common problem, and can affect, in extreme cases, as much as 10% of eligible voters [thegrio.com]

      • Voter fraud is basically a non-issue [truthaboutfraud.org]. It's usually somewhere in the range of a few tenths of a thousandth of one percent of votes cast.

        Hmm, wasn't the 2000 Presidential election won (or lost, depending on your perspective) on the basis of a few hundred votes out of a hundred million or so.

        In general, vote fraud doesn't matter much on the national level. It's more of an issue on the local level, where a few dozen extra votes in the right place can make a difference.

        But, occasionally,

      • by sycodon (149926)

        They never really look for voter fraud. Even if they did, you can only infer it unless someone actually tries to vote and can't because the log shows they already have. Or, you can infer fraud by looking at the number of people who voted using "provisional" ballots or just look at the vote totals that exceed registered voters. So, their assertions are meaningless.

        Photo ID is the only way to have an impact.

        But as BMO points out, the real problem is corrupted (*Cough*Chicago*) officials and determined organi

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      Your question may be rhetorical, but in case people don't know - it's purely an intent by one party to get more voters.

      There is one political party in the US that gets an overwhelming majority of the uneducated* and unemployed voters and thus benefits almost exclusively from any expansion of the voting franchise (such as to felons, etc.). In fact, Mr Obama gained election by winning a dominant share of the under$30k income population (the candidates were exactly the same or within 1% among all higher incom

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      And why not use the birth and tax records to decide if someone may vote or not?

      This issue of registration seems to be a way to make it complicated to vote.

  • thing because voter turnout tends to hover at around only 50% :(
    • "Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy." -- Oblique Strategies

  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @05:41AM (#40683885) Journal

    This seems like an incredibly bad idea, for several reasons:

    1. People use bad passwords on Facebook
    2. People get their Facebook accounts compromised all the time
    3. Giving Facebook (the company) access to this kind of information scares the shit out of me.

    • Giving what information scares you?

      It just pre-populates the existing voter application with your facebook info (like name and date of birth) ... end of story - you don't vote online and still have all the other registration steps outside of facebook

      • Except that your voting registration is also tied to such identifying information such as your social security number, which we all know aren't used for identity theft on the Internet.

        Also, when you register to vote, you register for a specific party. This gives Facebook quite the database of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in the State of Washington to target with advertisements for political candidates, "No on proposition X" ads, etc.

        What's wrong with getting a form from your state government's

        • Also, when you register to vote, you register for a specific party.

          Not in any State I've ever registered to vote in.

    • by realkiwi (23584)

      Maybe some people don't have facebook accounts?

  • by deniable (76198) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @05:42AM (#40683893)
    They support Farmville aid and voting by like button.
  • I thought California had a lot of aerobic encephalitis cases, but the Supreme Court should simply void all elections in Washington if they're really stupid enough to involve FaceBook in the voter registration process. There's less chance of valid registrations there than when Daley's precinct wardens would gather names at the cemeteries.

  • I tried it.... it worked! I like it so much, I tried it again and again and again. This is more fun than sex! And you don't even have to pick a different name every time like you do in sex.
  • Many states are pushing hard on voter id laws. Well, if states require voter-id with the current address on them, why require registration too? People with valid id should be able to register and vote on the same day, right?
    • by vlm (69642)

      Well, if states require voter-id with the current address on them, why require registration too?

      Its not a bad idea. The problem is we Americans love to disenfranchise people, which is a $5 word for "stop citizens from voting". Depends on state, etc. Speaking very generically, felons often get a lifetime ban on voting (also usually firearms "right" is taken away, sometimes restricted to live in certain areas, etc).

      The overly bureaucratic belief is only 100% accuracy is permissible so you can't just half ass this and get it 99.9% right. So you'd need all ID to contain/display a legally verifiable pr

    • People with valid id should be able to register and vote on the same day, right?

      As I understand it, the waiting period after registering to vote serves the same purpose as the waiting period for buying certain kinds of deadly weapon: a criminal background check.

      • As I understand it, the waiting period after registering to vote serves the same purpose as the waiting period for buying certain kinds of deadly weapon: a criminal background check.

        Could be true, I am not disputing that. But it is funny all the Republicans show determination to make it easier to get a gun, but somehow they show equal amount of fervor in reducing voter turn out.

        • by sycodon (149926)

          Convicted criminals should not be able to get guns.

          Ineligible voters should not be able to vote.

          Any questions?

      • As I understand it, the waiting period after registering to vote serves the same purpose as the waiting period for buying certain kinds of deadly weapon: a criminal background check.

        You understand incorrectly. The waiting period is pretty much a matter of bureaucratic inertia - once upon a time, after you registered, the registration had to be entered on a big sheet of paper, which then had to be copied by hand to other sheets of paper, which then had to be distributed to the various precincts.

        Alas, the g

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:09AM (#40684049) Journal

    Hamlin says Facebook won't collect any of the personal information with which it interacts

    Riiiight

  • by setrops (101212) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @06:19AM (#40684091)

    Facebook?

    Really?

    Are you fucking nuts?

    I feel like watching a bad episode of the Flintstones where Fred gets one of his stupid ideas.

    • I was thinking the Simpsons, personally, since Homer's ideas are WAY worse than Fred's ever were. But we're on the same page, I think.

  • Communists, Nazi, Mossad, KGB, Facebook, Google+.

    What else is there?

    BTW, what is the name of the paranoia kings in China?

  • John Bigboote, John Careful Walker, John Chief Crier, John Coyote, John Fish, John Fledgling, John Guardian, John Icicle Boy, John Jones, John Kim Chi, John Littlejohn, John Many Jars, John Mud Head, John Nephew, John O'Connor, John Omar, John Parrot, John Rajeesh, John Ready to Fly, John Repeat Dance, John Smallberries, John Take Cover, John Thorny Stick, John Two Horns, John Whorfin, John Ya Ya . . .

  • Facebook won't have access to the State's database, and Hamlin says Facebook won't collect any of the personal information with which it interacts

    Wa ha ha ha ho ho hee hee hee, ahhh, [wipes tears of laughter from corner of eyes]

    Wait... What? That was supposed to be a serious statement? Oh, crap.... Sorry.

  • by Eightbitgnosis (1571875) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:21AM (#40685723) Homepage
    All Facebook is doing is directing you to to the existing online voting registration system, and then transferring over your name and birthday. So an expansion of fraud on the part Facebook's involvement really isn't an issue here. The issue here is the norm of Facebook and other companies from data mining citizen's voting habits.
  • by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @09:28AM (#40685809) Homepage
    This is just a continuation of what we've seen regarding Google/FB. More and more concentration of data in fewer and fewer hands. It seems with each passing day FB becomes more of a "portal" for everything, and the sad/scary thing here is that the American populace is more than happy to acquiesce, without really thinking about the consequences.

    Whats next: apply for Drivers Licenses, Passports, Loan Applications, etc via FB?

    I don't have a FB account for several reasons, however two come to mind:
    1. When someone told me "you have to be on Facebook".
    2. When I started seeing the FB logo everywhere, including on the brand of yogurt I buy.
  • by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:09AM (#40686251) Journal
    The fact is that it is difficult to get people to register to vote. In California, we encourage voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The reason is because when you're stuck somewhere with masses of brain-dead people, and you don't have a choice in the matter, you're more receptive to the idea that voting empowers you to make choices... (segue to flashback of last DMV experience)

    Zombie: "Hi, you called my number. I lost my license because I was doing 65 in a 25, but it wasn't my fault because I was almost out of liquor and the store closes at midnight. But I really need to get my license back because the liquor store near my house charges too much and I'm almost out of money, and if I run out of money I'll run out of liquor."
    DMV: "Sir, your number is H376. The number we called is J."
    Zombie: "But H is a lower number than J in the alphabet."
    DMV: "Not at the DMV. The numbers go in whatever order the TV says they do. Please go sit down and we'll call you soon."
    Zombie: "Really? You'll call me soon? Because I'm in a hurry."
    DMV: "I don't know if it will be soon. I just do what the TV tells me."

    (And we're back)... In fact, 72% of people visiting the DMV feel "strongly" that they could run it better than the idiots running the state, and if they could replace the idiots running the state, they would never have to ensure this again. Ergo, they are more likely to register to vote.

    I assume Washington found that the DMV route wasn't working for them because the DMV experience is not as awful in Washington as it is here (there just aren't that many people, and that's really the key to a crummy DMV experience), so the closest approximation they could find was Facebook. This still incorporates the lack of choice and masses of brain dead people, but they're able to use technology to import them from the rest of the world.

  • Now Facebook can serve you personally tailored ads based on you political leanings.

    ..and, likely, alert Government watchdog agencies to the presence of anyone who registers as anything other than "Republican" or "Democrat".
  • by asylumx (881307) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:56AM (#40686927)
    The quality of comments on this thread is significantly degraded from what I expect of the Slashdot community. The actual process being followed here is that WA has created a web application to allow voter registration. Just a web application. They are then using oauth to allow people with facebook accounts to use the information from their facebook accounts on their site. This is NOT "on facebook" at all. Facebook never touches any data that they don't already have. In fact, this is really a non-issue and should be supported by a group of technology enthusiasts that the Slashdot community used to consist of.

    I'm sorry your knees are all jerking.
  • This is another end-run around laws against calling people on telephones for political reasons.

    If you do business with Facebook (you are by registering to vote through them), anyone that does business with Facebook (every SuperPAC out there) can now call you legally. The people calling now also have access to party affiliation information because many states require you to register under party affiliation.

    I live in Washington state and can tell you that political phone solicitations are a big factor here--w

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