According to a new report from The Associated Press, residents of Washington state will soon be able to register to vote via Facebook. The state's Facebook page will feature an interactive application that will allow Facebook users to register to vote, "like" the application and share it with other users.
Washington, which has offered online voting registration since 2008, will become the first state to allow voter registration on the social network.
The voter registration project has been a collaborative effort between the state, Facebook and Microsoft since last fall, according to the report. None of the information users submit will go to Facebook, however. Instead it will go directly to the state, which also provide its "My Vote" database to the service. The application will pull relevant information from a user's Facebook profile, such as a user's name and date of birth. Users will still have to provide their driver's license number or state ID card number to register.
Shane Hamlin, Washington's co-director of elections, said users don't have to worry about Facebook collecting information. "You are giving your information to us, not Facebook," he told The Associated Press.
ArsTechnica also talked with Hamlin, who said the application could be ready as soon as next week, although it could launch later. Hamlin told the site that voter registration via Facebook is cheaper than other methods and that the application could potentially come to other states, if they're interested.
"It saves the county $0.50 to $2 per registration and saves the state $0.25 per registration, as of 2009," Hamlin told the site. "If this works as we expect, Facebook and Microsoft will be more than happy to work with any other state that has online registration."
Currently, only Washington and 12 other states provide online voter registration. In addition to soon becoming the first state to allow voter registration through Facebook, Washington was also the first state to allow online voter registration.