Youth voting organization seeks to engage voters on dating apps

As Valentine’s Day approaches, youth voting organization NextGen America is launching an effort to connect with potential voters — especially in key battleground states — on dating apps ahead of the mid- terms of 2022.

“We meet young people wherever they are, and there are millions of them on dating apps,” NextGen America President Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez told The Hill.

“We also see that young people care very deeply, not just to make a personal connection, but really care about the fundamental issues and what matters in their community. And so our thousands of volunteers slip into people’s DMs and talk about dating and democracy,” she added.

Organizers will use Tinder, Bumble and Hinge to engage with potential voters aged 18-35 to encourage them to register to vote or offer information about midterm elections in their area.

NextGen America will kick off the effort with two virtual events that organizers can drag together. One, a “Singles Night” organization event, will take place on Friday, and another, a “Valentine’s Day social,” is scheduled for Monday.

Participating volunteers will switch their age range between 18 and 35, the cohort of young voters NextGen focuses on, on dating apps or through Bumble’s “BFF” feature. On Hinge, where users can set a location, they are suggested to set it to one of the battleground states that NextGen America is targeting, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona, or Texas.

Volunteers are encouraged to put information about NextGen America or the voting organization in their biography or responses to prompts offered on the apps.

Examples of biographies suggested by the group include: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m registered to vote, how about you?” and “Save democracy with me

“What’s great about dating apps is that people are used to having real conversations about what interests them, what interests them. And it’s just a great way to connect with people and to have peer-to-peer texting and conversations about these issues and then about their voting plan,” Ramirez said.

Spokeswoman Kristi Johnston said the effort was nonpartisan. NextGen America tries to get young people on the voter rolls, regardless of their political affiliation.

The national program expands on a version the group piloted in 2020 in Arizona.

Kait Spielmaker, a former NextGen America organizer in Arizona, participated by using Bumble BFF to engage with potential voters in the state. She said users were more receptive on Bumble than on more traditional convenience services, such as phone banking.

“Especially towards the end, I would say like some people when you would call them, they had a lot of election fatigue,” Spielmaker said.

“Not everyone, but some people were just sick of getting phone calls. And they would say, “I’m already registered,” and they didn’t want to be bothered so much. But I feel like Bumble was a medium where people weren’t reached that way. So there wasn’t that fatigue that existed on Bumble,” she added.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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