NY voter registrations soar, social media plays key role

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York State is seeing a surge in voter registration and a lot of that has to do with social media. College students say it’s forcing them to get more involved in this year’s election and encouraging them to vote.

“With Snapchat and all of that, it’s very instantaneous social media, so you constantly know what’s going on,” said Benjamin Tunison, junior at University at Buffalo.

Social media has proven to play a huge role in the 2016 presidential election. More and more social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat are making it easier for young adults to get involved in the political process.

“People are really getting into it because now everywhere they go they see all these candidates and now they have to take a stand because it’s everything everyone talks about and everything they see,” said Harris Bresowsky, junior at University at Buffalo.

Even state and local Board of Election officials say the surge in new voter registrations has a lot to do with social media.

“I certainly think it’s playing a bigger role. There was a lot going on social media with both the Sanders and the Clinton campaign and we saw a surge in registrations last year and of course now that registrations is open again,” said Len Lenihan, Democratic Commissioner of Erie County Board of Elections.

Over 600,000 people in Erie County are registered to vote and less than three percent are between the ages of 18 and 20 years-old.

“That’s very  disappointing, within that young adult age group you should be able to actively make a conscious decision of who you want or don’t want to vote for,” said Rogelio Garnes, junior at University at Buffalo.

BOE officials say those numbers are higher than usual. Lenihan says about a thousand people, mainly young adults, are registering a day across the state, a number he expects to grow significantly before the October 14 deadline.

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