Future Tense

Google Wants to Help You Vote

Screenshot from Google. 

With Election Day just three months away, voters need to start thinking about things like registration, up-to-date IDs, absentee ballots, and all the hullabaloo that goes along with casting a vote for the next president of the United States. It can be overwhelming to figure out how registration varies from state to state, and what you—patriotic voter that you are—need to be prepared. Well, worry no more, because Google is here to help.

Google partnered with Perkins Coie, an international law firm, to obtain the information to create an in-depth search tool cataloguing state-by-state data on deadlines, registration forms, and even “how to vote” (which talks about poll hours and ID requirements).

Emily Moxely, the Google employee at the helm of this feature, said, “We’ve been putting significant resources behind driving voter turnout. We’re developing a whole new suite of tools that make the registration process easier and more accessible to everyone.” The company is also making the info available online so that other organizations can help to spread it; you just have to fill out a form to access it.

According to Google Trends data, the company has documented a swell of public interest in this year’s presidential race; Google search interest for “voter registration” is up 130 percent, and general elections-related content is up 323 percent from where they were at this point in 2012. Since the conventions, there has been a 190 percent leap in searches for “voter registration.” And that is a good thing. In 2012, about 93 million eligible citizens did not vote—a figure that community groups, local government, and even Google are trying to change.

Moxely and her team will be releasing statistics over the next three months, but for now you can take a gander at their interactive map documenting the percent change in voter registration since 2012.

Googling variations of voter registration will reveal Google’s new tool, but plenty of in-depth websites also come up (some of them containing information that even Google’s feature lacks—absentee ballot how-tos, for instance). Hopefully the search tool will help increase the number of eligible citizens heading to the polls this November. But let’s remember what exactly is prompting more people to Google this information in the first place: the high drama that is the current presidential election.