Facebook users donate status to remind people to vote

A Facebook app lets users remind people to vote in the U.S. presidential election by "donating" their status.

A Facebook application is letting users remind people to vote for their candidate of choice in the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday by "donating" their Facebook status.

As part of the Causes Election Rally application on the social-networking site, users can pick to which candidate -- either Senator Barack Obama or Senator John McCain -- they would like to donate their status on Facebook. They also can donate their status simply to get out the vote.

Once users have done so, their status reflects their choice in this way: Elizabeth is the 470,111th person to donate her status to get out the vote for Barack Obama or John McCain, depending on which candidate the user chose.

The status update also includes a link to the application.

If a user changes his or her status after donating it, it will automatically be set to the "get out the vote" status at 12:01 a.m. local time on election day.

Facebook status updates allow users to let their friends and other Facebook users know what they are doing at any given moment. Throughout the tight U.S. presidential race, many Facebook users have been using their status updates to show their support for one candidate or another, or to encourage their friends to vote.

As of Monday afternoon Eastern Standard Time, 567,765 and counting Facebook users had used the Causes application to donate their status to remind people to vote.

Sixty-nine percent of Facebook users who used the application opted to remind users to vote for Obama, the Democratic Party candidate, while 16 percent wanted to remind people to vote for Republican Party candidate McCain. Obama and McCain are the main candidates for the U.S. presidency, though there will be other candidates on the ballot.

Nine percent of Causes users donated their status simply to encourage people to vote on Tuesday, the official day U.S. registered voters can elect a new president. However, some voters have already participated in the election through early voting and absentee ballots.

The Causes Election Rally application home page also includes a link to help Facebook users find where their polling place is, and shows people which candidate their friends who have used the application are supporting.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
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