Washington State to Offer Voter Registration Via Facebook

Facebook teams with Microsoft to offer voter registration for the first time.

Washington state has turned to Facebook to revamp its voter registration process.

The state will unveil voter registration through the Palo Alto-based social networking giant as early as next week, the Associated Press reports.

Washington first offered the ability to register online in 2008 and has processed 475,000 registrations or change of addresses since. It's one of 13 states in the country that currently offer online registration. 

The state will provide an application on its Facebook page and give users the ability to 'like' and recommend to friends.

"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," said Shane Hamlin, Washington's co-director of elections.

The application was developed by Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, which has worked with Facebook and Washington on project since last Fall. To work, the application will require users to agree to let Facebook access some personal information. It will automatically enter each user's name and birthday into the voter registration form, but additional information will be required to be input manually.

Hamlin made it clear that the additional information required on the registration form will not be shared with Facebook.

"You are giving your information to us, not Facebook," he said.

Once it is live, Washington will be the first state in the country to allow voter registration via Facebook.

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