SEATTLE - Washington will become the first US state to allow eligible residents to register to vote through Facebook, in an initiative due to launch this month, Brian Zylstra, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, said on Wednesday.

Online voter registration has existed in Washington since 2008, but the latest effort to i ncrease voter participation is designed for users who already have a Facebook account.

Through a software application interface jointly developed by Facebook and Microsoft Corp. at no cost to the state, users wishing to register online to vote will be able to do so on the official Facebook page of the secretary of state.

To complete the registration process, an applicant must provide a name and birth date, which Facebook already collects from its users' profiles, and a state identification number or driver's license number, said Shane Hamlin, the state's co-director of elections.

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