Facebook will be a key battleground in the 2012 elections, and candidates are already mobilizing on the front. Facebook will co-host a Republican primary debate with NBC, and candidates have begun updating their Facebook Pages with new campaign materials.

The Presidential debate will occur right before the New Hampshire Republican primary, which is expected to take place on February 14, 2012. NBC will broadcast the debates, but the discussion will also stream as a live video on Facebook. There will even be a live ticker of questions and comments from the Facebook members who are watching. Facebook members can post questions that may be used in the debate on Facebook’s U.S. Politics Page.

Meanwhile, the social media teams for candidates like incumbent President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have updated their respective Facebook Pages with images labeled “2012,” and members of congress who are parts of the now influential and controversial Ways and Means Committee have taken to Facebook to answer questions from the public, All Facebook reports.

The 2012 general election may be 16 months away, but these candidates recognize that the battle will be won and lost on Facebook and other social media venues, so they’re acting quickly. If your organization is involved in politics, now’s the time to start preparing.