At Google, we pride ourselves on helping people find things on the Internet. And every four years in America, Google Trends shows that people are searching to find voting information, like how to register and where to vote.
It’s hard to believe that in 2008, information so important to U.S. citizens and the democratic process isn’t well organized on the web. To solve this problem, we’ve released our US Voter Info site, an effort to simplify and centralize voting locations and registration information.
We developed the site in the hope that it will increase voter participation. We were helped by a number of partners, including many state and local election officials, the League of Women Voters, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and others involved in the Voting Information Project.
Are you registered to vote? What’s the best way to obtain an absentee ballot? When people visit the site, answers to these questions appear. And anyone with a website can provide the same information. The US Voter Info gadget places a simple search box that expands to show a full set of voter information when someone enters an address.
We are also offering a simpler way to find out where to vote. By entering a home address, citizens across the country will be able to find their polling place for election day.
To encourage political participation, we’ve opened up this data to third-party sites and developers through an API developed by Dan Berlin, one of our open-source engineers. We’re excited to share this data, and hope that others will find it useful in encouraging citizens to vote.
Organizing information is our mission. We do that every day with web content, and we want to do the same thing with information to inform and empower voters and to help them get to the polls this election season.