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Facebook Web site looks to register young voters

Facebook Web site looks to register young voters

Between photo galleries of college friends and fan clubs such as "Kid Rock for President," visitors to a popular Web site can now register to vote.
Facebook, the social networking Web site with 9.5 million users, now features a Rock the Vote page to target potential voters. The Facebook site ranks No. 7 for U.S. Internet traffic and its users are largely college-aged.
"The Internet can go find them where they are," said Hans Riemer, Rock the Vote's political director.
The Los Angeles-based nonprofit and nonpartisan group registered 1.4 million voters in 2004, 1.2 million of them online. Riemer said 80 percent of them went to the polls in 2004.
"The problem with young people is not apathy," he said. "Once you get them registered to vote, they vote."
Even so, 6 in 10 members of the 18- to 24-year-old demographic did not cast a ballot in 2004, according to a U.S. Census survey. During 2002's midterm elections, 82 percent of that group said they did not vote.
The main reason, one expert said, is that no one asked them to vote.
"Most times, if you ask, they'll do it," said Heather Smith, director of Young Voter Strategies, a George Washington University-based project that aims to add 350,000 new young voters this election.
Facebook, she said, is an ideal venue to contact potential young voters.
"When there are 9.5 million people in your target demographic, it makes it easy to find them."
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On the Web:
http://www.facebook.com
http://www.rockthevote.org/