Technology

Electoral Commission turns to Snapchat in bid to boost teenager electoral registration

The following piece I penned for our weekly Digital Inspirational email at Teneo Blue Rubicon. Do sign up if you’d like such stories in your inbox every week.

With the registration deadline for May’s Scottish local elections approaching, the Electoral Commission is turning to Snapchat in a bid to raise electoral registration levels among teenagers.

In England and Wales 16 and 17 years old are not able to vote in next month’s elections, but in Scotland they are able to, following the pattern set previously in the 2016 referendum on Scottish independence.To vote, they first have to register by Monday 17 April. To help spread the message about this deadline, the Electoral Commission has partnered with Snapchat to provide a custom filter for photos urging people to register.

To vote, they first have to register by Monday 17 April, and to help spread the message about this deadline, the Electoral Commission has partnered with Snapchat to provide a custom filter for photos urging people to register.

Will it work? That is hard to tell, especially because a Snapchat filter doesn’t easily lend itself to a call to action. You can’t, for example, simply tap on the filter and be taken to the online registration page. Curiously, the filter does not even tell people how to register, a decision in keeping with the minimal-text style of Snapchat filters. But, will it also mean the filter doesn’t drive extra registrations?

It’ll be well worth looking out for the post-election evaluations to see if this really worked.

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