December 2, 2021

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Snapchat introduces new tool to help young people run for local and state office


Snapchat is commonly used by millennials and Gen Z. According to Snapchat’s parent company, the app has a wide reach among young users, reaching about 90% of people in the U.S. between the ages of 13 and 24.

To guide individuals who have aspirations to learn how to run in local elections, the app released a tool called “Run for Office” that will help eligible users find local races. The tool will not only walk users through what they need to do to become candidates but help guide them to nominate friends for particular offices.  

“If Snapchatters want to make sure that the issues they care most about are represented by leadership, then they need to run,” Sofia Gross, Snap’s head of policy partnerships and social impact, said according to NBC News.

She added that Snapchat users have been very politically active, especially with voting. Last year, Snapchat broke an online record by registering more than 400,000 young people to vote within two weeks.

“We’ve seen how passionate they are about the issues they care most about,” Gross said. “And so we feel helping them run for office at the local level, where they can understand how to make a difference on the issues they care most about, is a natural next step in their civic journey.”

Similar to the “Register to Vote” tool that was available in 2020, the “Run of Office” tool will be available as a “mini” portal that allows users to directly access information without leaving the Snapchat app. The tool is powered by BallotReady, which curates information from election websites across the country.

The process is pretty simple: After clicking on the tool, users will be asked whether they want to get started or if they want to nominate a friend. They will then be prompted to enter their ZIP code, which will allow the app to find races in their area. After selecting the issues they care about, the app will narrow down races it deems fit, including local, county, and state races.

The app then will provide users with the requirements needed to run for each position, including age, location, etc. The best part is, in addition to information about each race and role, users are given information on whether or not the races were contested in the last election. According to Snapchat, 70% of elections went uncontested in 2020.

Those who use the program are not left alone. Once a user has made their choice, they will also have the option to team up with organizations that have partnered with Snapchat to help run their campaign.

“We wanted every single Snapchatter, no matter who they are or where they come from or what their political beliefs might be, to recognize that there is an organization out there that will support them in taking this next leap and not only support them, but give them the tools and the resources and really the community that they need to go out there and do this thing,” Gross said.

Groups teamed up with Snapchat include those in all parts of the political sphere, including Run Gen Z, Emerge, New Politics, and Run For Something.

“This entire network of partners, which ‘Run for Something’ is so proud to be one of, it’s going to make sure that every person who signs up their Snapchat is part of a movement,” said Amanda Litman, the co-founder and co-executive director of Run For Something, an organization that recruits and supports first-time progressive candidates running for local office.

Even after going through the process, information from the Run for Office tool is available at any time.

“We really view this as just the start of a much longer-term conversation about the next generation of American leadership,” Gross said. “By starting at the local level, we know that this generation is so passionate about the issues they care about, and so we want to help them understand the different ways they can make a difference in their community based on those issues.”

The tool is active now and anyone who uses the app is able to utilize it.

“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,” the company said.


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