Celebrating the 26th Amendment by Helping 18 Year Olds Register to Vote

26th Amendment Graphic

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the ratification of the 26th Amendment -- the amendment that gave 18-year-olds the right to vote in all US elections and outlawed age discrimination among eligible voters. 

At Snap, we believe that one of the most powerful forms of self-expression is exercising the right to vote and participating in our democracy. Snapchat reaches 90% of 13-24 year olds in the United States, giving us an incredible opportunity to provide our youngest voters with tools that make it easier to participate in our democracy. 

Since 2016, we’ve invested in native to mobile civic products and partnerships designed to tackle challenges to voter registration, education, and participation to help make voting easier. We’ve learned that supporting the next generation of leaders needs to be a year-round effort - not just for high-profile election seasons.

That’s why in 2018, we launched a feature that automatically prompts Snapchatters on their 18th birthday to register to vote. Each month an average of 400,000 Snapchatters in the United States receive a notification to register to vote as they celebrate their birthday.

As part of a research collaboration with Tufts’ University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), Snap found that college campuses are significant entry points for first-time voters, but only 36% of 18 to 23-year-olds are enrolled in college full time, which means nearly two-thirds don’t have the same civic and political engagement opportunities. Given our unique reach among young Americans, Snap is able to help bridge the gap in access to civic resources. 

Registering voters on their 18th birthday is just one step towards empowering Snapchatters to be lifelong civic participants and make their voices heard. 

Before the 2020 US election, we launched a collection of mobile-first tools with support from TurboVote and BallotReady to help Snapchatters register to vote, understand their ballot, request absentee ballots and make a plan to vote by-mail or in-person, learn about voter protection resources like the Election Protection hotline, and help their friends vote by sharing Snaps with educational filters and lenses.

We continue to work to inspire the next generation of Americans to engage in a lifetime of self-expression through civic engagement year-round - and do our part to help deliver on the promise of the 26th Amendment.

- Sofia Gross, Head of Policy Partnerships and Social Impact