Google has released its new Voter Information Tool Website to help voters find information about just about everything they need to know about the upcoming Nov. 6 general elections in the United States.
“Every four years in the United States, people prepare to head to the polls and increasingly search for information about how to register to vote, where to vote and who is on their ballot,” Jesse Mwaura of the Google Politics and Elections Team, wrote in an Oct. 29 post on the Google Official Blog. “Even though it is 2012, important voting information is disorganized and hard to find on the Internet. To help voters research candidates and successfully cast their ballot on Election Day, we’ve launched our new Voter Information Tool.”
The tool allows users to enter their address to find information on their polling place, early voting locations, ballot information with links to candidates’ social media sites, and voting rules and requirements in their voting districts.
“We’re working with a number of media partners to ensure the tool is accessible across the Web, and partners like Foursquare and AT&T are doing great work building apps on our Civic Information API,” wrote Mwaura.
The new Google Voter Information Tool can even be referenced and embedded into any other Website, according to Google, to make it available to more voters. The tool is built using open-source technology so developers can modify it to create custom versions, wrote Mwaura.
It’s not the first time recently that Google has come up with cool innovations aimed at the nation’s upcoming 2012 elections.
Earlier in October, Google created the ability for online users to hold virtual presidential debate-watching parties that allowed them to “watch” one of the debates between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney inside a Google+ Hangout where their friends could also gather.
The Oct. 16 event, which was created by Google’s YouTube unit, allowed groups of friends to watch the event live while sharing snarky comments online.
The first presidential and vice presidential debates were both streamed live on network television as well as online, including on YouTube’s Election Hub site.
The virtual debate-watching parties came just two months after YouTube unveiled its YouTube Elections Hub, where voters can visit to view streaming video of the candidates and races through Election Day on Nov. 6.
The site covered streaming video of both the Republican and Democratic national conventions and includes videos of a wide range of political events since the conventions.
The content there is being provided by a diverse range of news organizations, including reporting and analysis from ABC News, Al Jazeera English, BuzzFeed, Larry King, The New York Times, Phil DeFranco, Univision and The Wall Street Journal, according to YouTube.
This presidential campaign is probably the most accessible ever, from the standpoint of its 24/7 coverage online. That means that the comments, actions, activities, strengths and weaknesses of the candidates are always on display, as well as unfortunate gaffes that are caught by the media pack that is always trailing them.
Political candidates are still learning about the power of the Internet and how it affects their candidacies.
The new YouTube debate-sharing feature is the latest example of what is sure to be a continuing evolution of new ways to bring politics to the people, wherever they are observing the events.