- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - People across New Mexico are receiving an unsolicited reminder to register for primary elections in June as they log onto Facebook.

The social network attached the reminders to individual newsfeeds Tuesday and Wednesday as a May 10 registration deadline approaches. New Mexico votes in the final round of presidential primaries on June 7, while also narrowing the field of candidates for state Legislature and local offices.

Facebook has extended the registration drive to 35 states so far this year, skipping states with same-day registration. In New Mexico, the effort coincides with the introduction this year of online registration.

Facebook has capitalized on election-year conversations about politics and campaigns as a sponsor of GOP and Democratic presidential primary debates, as it delivers pop-up reminders to potential voters on election day and help candidates connect directly with constituents.

The new registration drive item shows up when Facebook users first log on and asks, “Are you registered to Vote?” A link takes users to the U.S. government website Vote.USA.gov that directs people to the New Mexico voter registration page.

With a click of a mouse, people can easily tell Facebook friends that they have registered to vote, or opt out. Ignore the item and it cycles out of the Facebook newsfeed.

A Facebook spokesman said the initiative’s impact on voter registration has not been quantified with state agencies.

Online voting in New Mexico was introduced at the start of the year and is available to eligible U.S. citizens with current or expired New Mexico driver’s licenses.

So far, more than 20,000 people have used the portal to register for the first time or update their information, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office. Of those entries, Democrats accounted for about 13,300, Republicans accounted for 6,200, and 3,300 people were linked minority parties or had no affiliation.

New Mexico voters also can register in person at any Motor Vehicle Division or county clerk’s office.

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