Snapchat goes to Washington: New feature helps young people run for office


(NEW YORK) — Snapchat is looking to help America’s youth become potential Washington, D.C., power players with its latest feature, Run for Office Mini.

The new, in-app feature helps Snapchat users navigate which offices they can run for in their local areas based on which issues they are most passionate about, Snap, the company behind Snapchat, said in a blog post announcing the feature.

Snapchat reaches 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds in the United States, according to the company.

Run for Office Mini uses data from BallotReady, which is described as providing “personalized, nonpartisan information to voters in all 50 states” on its website.

Narissa Ayoub, a 24-year-old law student at the University of Detroit Mercy and a legal intern with dreams to run for office one day, said she appreciates how the feature makes the process of looking into running for office more accessible.

“Having all the information there, in one place, and for it to be so easy and accessible, I think it will create a huge difference,” Ayoub said. “I think people don’t know exactly what [they] can run for, so it doesn’t have to be these big deal offices like mayor or state legislature or governor. There are things in your hometown that are open like precinct delegate, or city clerk or school board.”

Through the feature, Snapchat users can type in their ZIP code and select the issues that mean the most to them, such as education, civil rights and more. The app then narrow down the political offices that overlap with those issues and provides users with information about those offices, including who currently holds that seat, their background, age requirement to run for that seat and the upcoming election date for the position.

Snapchat users can sign up for a training session with several organizations it has partnered with including Run for Something, Run GenZ, LGBTQ Victory, New American Leaders and more, Snap said.

“Being the candidate yourself is something that’s super intimidating,” Ayoub said. “I think that this new Snapchat feature … to give people those tools that they need to run for office is absolutely invaluable.”

Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, which recruits and supports young candidates running for office, tweeted that the organization saw a record number of young people sign up for their training program to run for office.

This isn’t the first time the social media giant has worked to help youth get involved in the political process. With support from Turbovote and Ballot Ready, Snap helped more than 1.2 million Snapchat users register to vote; more than half were first-time voters, according to Snap.

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