County clerk evolving voter registration with Pokémon Go

JONESBORO, Ark. – Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday has a goal in mind for voters – to catch ’em all.

It is a similar goal millions across the world have adopted in the mobile game called “Pokémon Go.” Holliday is capitalizing on the phenomena by organizing the “Pokéstop Voter Registration Drive” this Saturday.

It will happen from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Craighead County Courthouse’s Pokéstops by the USS Arkansas Anchor and the Sen. Hattie Caraway Sign, 511 S. Main Street in Jonesboro. Lures will be active in both Pokéstops for two hours. There will also be hot dogs, water and sodas available to all attendees.

The event is open to the public and all are invited to attend. Voter registrations will be available to all those who wish to register to vote or check and update their registration.

Holliday told NEA Report he got the inspiration for the idea from the impact the game has had in the less than two weeks it has been out. In that time, it has more daily users than Twitter and more time spent in the app than Facebook – both enormous milestones, much less done in two short weeks.

“The idea came to me to try this this past week,” Holliday said. “I am a player of the game and had heard about the lures being used at the Pokéstops, but never really knew if they were that effective at bringing people together. When I went into the mall, there was a Pokéstop by the entrance and I noticed that someone had just used a lure at the location. Seeing no one else around, I thought I would come back in 15 minutes to see the effect. When I came back by, there were 44 people outside of all different age demographics, but specifically 18-24 year olds.”

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Figures show the 18-24 demographic as being substantially less likely to be registered to vote as other demographics. All across Northeast Arkansas, Pokéstops have attracted gatherings. The “lure” item increases the odds of Pokémon appearing in the area, making it beneficial for players to stay in that location for the duration.

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Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday

When Holliday saw this at the Mall at Turtle Creek during his visit, he said it made him think it would be a good setting to register new voters who were the least likely to already be registered.

“I think adaptation is key in today’s technological age,” Holliday said. “Most everyone has a Facebook and Twitter account and there are still holdouts to adapting those into business, politics, etc., but people are coming around and engaging them. I personally believe that we need to be and remain on the forefront of those when it comes to engaging individuals, especially in this 18-24 range and even in the 25-44 age range who are normally the early and soon-after adopters of shifts in technology.”

With Main Street in Jonesboro being one of, if not the most

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Main Street in Jonesboro

concentrated area of Pokéstops in Northeast Arkansas (well over a dozen in a square mile), the event could bode well for engaging the younger residents of Craighead County into the world of politics.

“I believe using technology and being on the forefront, such as this event hopes to do, will be a tool to help close that gap, register these individuals to vote, and ultimately involve them in the process to have their voices heard come election day,” Holliday said.

To learn more about how the game is taking Northeast Arkansas by storm and what, and why, it is unique, read more here. 

(Featured Photo by Stan Morris | NEA Report. Five kids play Pokémon Go on Monday afternoon in front of the Craighead County Courthouse in Jonesboro.)

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