Home 2017 Races Do you know any young people who would play this voter registration...

Do you know any young people who would play this voter registration game?


No one has better access to young adults, to persuade them to register to vote, than young adults themselves.  And high school students who are too young to vote are surrounded by high school seniors, some of whom reach voting age every day.

So I sketched out an app based on a simple concept: Friends make sure friends can vote on election day.  If such an app could get one-tenth the interest of Pokemon Go circa summer 2016, that could swing an election.

Yes, there are voter registration apps for several states (e.g., Pennsylvania).  These apps are great, but they’re not games.  They’re for use by canvassers or by individual unregistered voters.  When it comes to voter registration, the more people involved, the merrier.  And a game can help get more people involved.

Anyone can use the sketch shown below to begin playing a voter registration game, racking up points for registering voters, and always aiming for a new “personal best” point score.  (The sketch is a flowchart that coders could use in developing an app.)

Far better would be development of the sketch into an actual app, permitting competition among players, and in-app recognition for achievement.  Beginning players could quickly register enough voters to gain the status, conferred by the app, of “Local elected official,” and keep out-competing other players to become “Mayor,”  “Governor,” and then “President.”  If a player competing against others in their zip code quickly bested the local competition to become “President”–and grew bored, watching TV and sending tweets all day–they could compete on a progressively larger playing field—against other players in their city or county, their state, or the entire U.S.

Everyone who plays such a game can help make good things happen come election day.


  • Celeste Land

    It sounds like a lovely idea. The devil is in the details. I say this as someone who has worked voter registration who is also from a family of passionate gamers.

    Add competition to the voter registration process, and enthusiastic players will figure out how to work the game to their advantage. They’ll figure out how to register nonexistent voters or voters who live out of state. They’ll accidentally register non citizens or even intentionally pressure non citizens to register them in exchange for money or favors. They’ll come up with other “cheats” and shortcuts that neither you nor I have imagined. The result would be an unintentional nightmare for the Democrats.

    A better strategy would be to move to a true automatic registration system as is already practiced in some states and countries. Any citizen who interacts with the government in any way is automatically registered to vote. Instead of “opting in” to vote, citizens would have the option of “opting out” and choosing NOT to register. So every kid citizen enrolled in public school would automatically be registered when they turned 18.