Youth voting organization looks to mobilize voters on dating apps

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In the lead up to Valentine’s Day, 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 2022 midterms.

“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 see also that young people care very deeply, not just about making a personal connection, but really care about core issues and what matters in their community. And so our thousands of volunteers are sliding into people’s DM’s and talking about dating and democracy,” she added. 

Organizers will use Tinder, Bumble and Hinge to interact with potential voters aged 18 to 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 for organizers to swipe together. One, a “Singles Night” organizing event, will be held on Friday, and another, a “Valentine’s Day Social,” is slated for Monday. 

The participating volunteers will toggle their age range anywhere between 18 and 35, the cohort of young voters NextGen focuses on, on the 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 NextGen America is targeting, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona or Texas. 

Volunteers are encouraged to put information about NextGen America or voting organizing in their bios or their answers to offered prompts on the apps. 

Example bios the group suggests include, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m registered to vote, how about you?,” and “Save democracy w me <3 (ask me how!).”

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

Spokesperson Kristi Johnston said the effort is nonpartisan. NextGen America is trying to get young people registered to vote, regardless of their political affiliation.

The nationwide 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 compared to more traditional outreach, 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 everybody, but some people were just sick of getting phone calls. And they would be like, ‘I’m already registered,’ and they didn’t want to be bothered as much. But I feel like Bumble was a way where people weren’t being reached that way. So there wasn’t that fatigue that existed on Bumble,” she added. 

Tags 2022 midterm election Bumble dating apps hinge NextGen America Tinder Young voters
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