Washington Allows Voters to Register through Facebook

September 12, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. conceptualize (v.) 
[kuhn-sep-choo-uh-lahyz] – to come up with an idea or to develop an idea
Example The company’s board of directors tried to conceptualize a plan to increase profits.

2. sign up (phrasal v.) [sahyn uhp] – to have one’s name included in a list  for a certain activity
Example: A lot of people signed up to vote at the upcoming elections.

3. eager (adj.) [ee-ger] – very willing or excited to do something
Example My friend is eager to be a volunteer for the city’s tree-planting project.

4. stringent (adj.) [strin-juhnt] – very strict; strongly enforced
Example: The government’s stringent laws have helped decrease crime rates.

5. fraud (n.) [frawd] – a dishonest act or crime that intends to trick people
Example: Reports said the politician committed election fraud by paying people to vote for him.

Read the text below.

Washington is to be the first US state to allow online voter registration through a Facebook app called “My Vote.”

The state government hopes the new app would encourage more people to register as voters for the presidential elections on November 6.

Microsoft has been developing the app since last year. To register as voter, users of the app must give access to information such as their name and date of birth so the app can add them in the voter’s list. Users also need to give government-approved identification, such as their driver’s license or state ID card number.

Before the Facebook app was conceptualized, Washington voters could already sign up through the Internet. But the app would be the first of its kind to make use of the power of social media.

Washington’s election co-director Shane Hamlin says many people currently use social media and online services. He says the Facebook app will invite more people and their friends to register. Hamlin also assures the public that the data will be given directly to the government and not to Facebook.

Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes says that the company is eager to help Washington citizens have active participation in the elections. 

Meanwhile, other states are making decisions to be even stricter in voter registration. Those who agree with having stringent laws say that these laws would lessen election fraud. Others believe the stringent laws would make it harder for elderly, poor and minority populations to vote.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·          Do many people in your country vote during elections? Why do you think this is so?
·          What can be the importance of the voting process in choosing government leaders?

Discussion B

·         What are some advantages and disadvantages of online services (e.g., registering to vote online, shopping online, etc.)?
·         How can we ensure the security of our private information while using the Internet?

September 12, 2012