New Snapchat feature aims to engage the younger generation in politics
CHARLOTTE (WJZY) – The younger generation represented record numbers in the 2020 election, and now a smartphone app makes it easier for these young voters to show up on the ballot. Snapchat has launched a new feature called “Run for Office,” and it guides users to do just that.
Once you locate the tool in your Snapchat app, it asks you to enter your zip code, choose the policy areas that interest you, and then you’re directed to possible elected positions to run for. Once you have decided which race you want to toss your hat into in the ring, you have different organizations and groups that can help you with your campaign and get your name on the ballot.
Sofia Gross, public policy manager for Snap Inc., said that since the political process can seem intimidating, this new feature makes it easier.
“Snapchat reaches 90% of the US population aged 13 to 24. With that comes a huge responsibility and a huge opportunity to help this next generation of Americans figure out how to make their voices heard, ”Gross said.
NewsNation affiliate WJZY attended a political science class at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Friday. When Professor Eric Heberlig conducted a survey during class asking students if they would be interested in running for office, 32% of them said yes.
“I think when a lot of young people are interested in politics, they don’t know exactly where to start. And they see a lot of people at the end of their careers, whether it’s in the state legislature, the governor’s office, or the federal government. And there is a big gap between how I get there and where I am today? And how can I access these positions on the road? And so I think it opens up a lot of opportunities for that, ”said Dick Beekman, president of the UNCC student body.
Heberlig believes the app will be a great first start for anyone looking to run for office because it’s simple and easy to navigate.
“What I found interesting about the app is that it asks you first what issues are you interested in, then what offices you need to go to in order to resolve those issues. . It basically allows people to recruit themselves, not having to depend on activism or extreme groups to get involved, ”Heberlig explained.
According to Ballotpedia, 30% of federal, state and local elections were not contested in 2020. With apps like Snapchat making it so much easier to launch a campaign and get the ballot, experts predict that the statistics could be very different in 2022.