With lots of states introducing new laws that make it harder to register to vote, it's refreshing to see one state that's trying to move its voter registration into the 21st century. Starting next week, voters in Washington state will be able to register directly from their Facebook profiles.
A new Facebook app developed by Microsoft will pull information from your Facebook profile, but you will also need to back up the information using a Washington State driver's license or government-issued ID card. In addition to registering, the app will let you update information such as your home address.
This could be a problem for people who shave a few years off their age in their Facebook profile or aren't being entirely truthful with other personal details, but a double-checking algorithm will ensure that the voting records are kept straight.
Washington is one of 12 states that already allows online registration, and since it was introduced in 2008, almost half a million Washington residents have registered with a few clicks of their mouse. Sixty percent of online registrants are between the ages of 18 and 34, so this is a great way to get young voters registered. It sure beats waiting in line at some stuffy government office.
Could this be a first stepping stone towards actually voting online? Several countries have successfully introduced online voting, which would certainly help to increase participation in the process.