At Snap, we believe one of the most powerful forms of self-expression is participating in democracy. Snapchat reaches 90% of 13-24 year olds in the U.S., giving us a meaningful opportunity to empower the next generation to become active and engaged citizens.
Which is why today, we are announcing our newest in-app initiative to help young people run for local office.
Our new Run for Office Mini is designed to help Snapchatters engage with democracy in an easy, native-to-mobile way. Powered with information from BallotReady, this simple tool will help Snapchatters explore hundreds of opportunities to run for local office based on the issues they care most about — from City Neighborhood Board and Township Council to School Board and State Representative.
Starting today, any Snapchatter in the United States can easily access Run for Office by opening Snapchat, swiping down on the camera screen to access Snap’s in-app games, known as ‘Minis,’ or simply just searching ‘Run for Office’ within Snapchat.
We know this next generation is the most diverse, yet currently only 6% of state legislators are under the age of 35. We hope our Run for Office initiative will help shape a more equitable, and reflective, democracy that includes all Americans, including young people.
This work builds on our efforts to help make it easier for Snapchatters to engage in their democratic processes through voting. Ahead of the 2020 US election, we launched a suite of voter engagement tools with support from TurboVote and BallotReady to help Snapchatters register to vote, understand their ballot, make a plan to vote, and learn about voter protection resources. As a result, we helped more than 1.2 million Snapchatters register to vote in that election -- more than half of which were first-time voters.
Our Run for Office Mini was designed to tackle common barriers that young people face when considering if they want to run for public office. It includes:
- A centralized portal on local elected offices that can be filtered by issue. We created a one stop resource that curates over 75,000 upcoming elections on the federal, state and local level that Snapchatters may be eligible for. Snapchatters identify a set of issues they are passionate about and then we surface roles they may be interested in.
- Access to experienced candidate recruitment organizations and training programs across the political spectrum. These groups will be connected directly with Snapchatters to help them with the first steps needed to start a campaign, and include: Emerge America, IGNITE, New American Leaders, New Politics, Run GenZ, Run for Something, Running Start, LGBTQ Victory Institute, Vote Run Lead, Women’s Public Leadership Network.
- The ability to nominate friends to run for office. Snapchatters say friends were more than five times more influential in their decision to vote in the 2020 election vs. influencers and celebrities. The Run for Office Mini allows Snapchatters to nominate their friends who they see as future leaders.
- A personalized campaign hub. The ‘My Campaign Dashboard’ will show Snapchatters the first steps they need to take to get on the ballot, including filing deadlines and signature requirements, as well as contact information for local election offices. In addition, Snapchatters will be able to share stickers from this portal to start campaigning on Snapchat with their closest friends.
As part of this effort, and building upon our 2020 research, we are partnering with the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College. Their research has shown that a new, diverse generation of young people want to lead political change, and we are working together to better understand the barriers that prevent some youth from running for office so we can create more equitable pathways to civic engagement and public service.
Snapchatters are eager to get involved and make a difference in their local communities — and we’re excited to do our part to help remove the barriers that have historically kept young people from getting involved in their communities to make a difference. We can’t wait to see all the Snapchat Generation will do.