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Facebook as Virtual Polling Place

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, November 2 2010

As midnight strikes on the east coast, one final check-in on Facebook's "I Vote" button reveals that the tally has topped 11.7 million.

Which inspires a bit of math. Say we take the turnout number from the 2006 mid-term election as a base, which gives us 86 million voters. Let's assume that every person who said on Facebook that they'd voted really did (and as a check on that assumption, we know that only U.S.-based Facebook users self-identified as being over the age of 18 even had a chance to click on the button). Taken together, that suggests that somewhere in the neighborhood of one out of every seven active voters in the United States chose to take a few moments of their time today to tell Facebook, and by extension their online circle of family and friends and acquaintances, that they'd done their civic duty.

One out of seven -- that's quite a gathering point for the American electorate.