Clinton Campaigners Use Pokémon Go to Lure Unregistered Voters

Gotta catch 'em all—unregistered voters, that is. Photo courtesy Naysa Mooney.

Hillary Clinton’s on-the-ground campaigners in Ohio are using a novel tactic to find potential voters: Pokémon Go.

“Reg ‘em all” was the group’s slogan as voter registration canvassers set lures next to PokéStops and waited for potential voters to come to them. The digital lures attract Pokémon in the game, and PokéStops are real locations, such as murals, statues, buildings, and benches in parks, where players can collect supplies and catch Pokémon. As the lures draw Pokémon, players follow—and then the canvassers can ask if they’re registered to vote.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Clinton’s Ohio campaigners were out all weekend, from Lakewood to Akron to Athens. “Pokémon Go is the best thing ever to happen to voter registration!! Already got 3 people!” tweeted Ohio Democrats Fellow Naysa Mooney. Clinton’s site posted an event for Lakewood, Ohio last Saturday calling for people to meet them at a PokéStop in Madison Park. “[We’ll] put up a lure module, get free pokemon, & battle each other,” the event page states.

A PokéStop and voter registration hub in Athens, Ohio. Photo courtesy Jennifer Friedmann.

On a stop in Virginia on Thursday, Clinton joked that she didn’t know who created Pokémon Go to the laughter of attendees but said that she’s “trying to figure out how to get them to ‘Pokémon Go’ to the polls.”

Donald Trump has already responded with a satirical 15-second video on Facebook that now has almost 12 million views. It featured a mock of Pokémon Go, instead titled “Crookéd Hillary NO.” Clinton is caught by a thrown Pokéball, and her description reads“30,000 emails deleted” and “Next evolution: unemployed.”

Clinton’s campaign team hasn’t mentioned using this tactic beyond Ohio. With the positive press she’s received, it’s hard to imagine her stop using Pikachu and Squirtle as campaigners.

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by Emily McCarty
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Emily McCarty is a journalism graduate student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. She writes about human rights, Indigeneity, and women's and girls' issues. She was an editorial intern at Bitch in the summer of 2016.

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