Facebook has more than 217 million users in India. With the objective of capitalising on this number, the Election Commission of India has partnered with the social networking giant to remind 18-year-olds in the country to register to vote. As part of this campaign, all users who turn 18 between November 28 and December 31 will receive a News Feed reminder with birthday wishes encouraging them to register with the Election Commission. Besides this, on November 30, a reminder will be sent to all those who have already turned 18 this year.
These Facebook reminders will only be sent to newly eligible first-time voters. The reminders will be in 13 Indian languages — English, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Assamese, Marathi, and Oriya.
This is the first such initiative for first-time voters in India. Achal Kumar Jyoti, Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India, in a press release said,
“I am happy to announce that the Election Commission of India has launched a Special Drive to enrol all prospective and eligible young citizens of India as voters who are turning 18 years or more than 18 years on January 1, 2018. This partnership of the Election Commission with Facebook for the dissemination of information will help us reach out the young digital community of India in fulfilling our mission ‘No Voter to be Left Behind’ and ‘Every Vote Counts’.”
Nitin Saluja, Politics and Government Outreach Manager for India, South and Central Asia, said,
“People use Facebook to learn about, talk about, and get involved with the issues that matter to them. We want to build products that support this type of civic engagement on election day and every day. Since the beginning of this year, millions of people in India have used Facebook to engage on elections, whether it’s asking the candidates questions, sharing the latest news, or having a conversation about the issues with their friends and followers. Though our partnership with the Election Commission of India, we hope to connect more people with the issues that matter to them, and build a more civically engaged community.”