blog post about the new U.S. Voter Info site, Google found it hard to believe that in 2008, this type of important information isn't better organized on the web. Because organizing info is what Google is all about, they took it on themselves to step in where government has not and have created an incredibly useful site for all U.S. citizens.With the upcoming U.S. elections only 12 days away, Google has released a new web site to help simply and centralize information about voting locations and voter registration. According to a
The U.S. Voter Site
The U.S. Voter Info site was developed in partnership with with several state and local election officials, the League of Women Voters, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and others involved in the Voting Information Project. In true Google form, the site appears to as just a simple interface that hides the complicated data processing going on in the back-end. All you have to do to use the new site is enter in your home address in the box provided and click "Search."
Google then returns a host of personal voter information about your location including the number of days left for absentee ballot requests, a link to your local government's page where you can request an absentee ballot form, as well as other links to local government sites providing registration forms and other relevant election info. (The types of links will vary some from state to state). There's even a phone number to your state's voter hotline provided.
On the right side of the screen, a Google map displays. There is a green pin in your neighborhood and a red pin where your voting location is found. Then, with one click, you can get directions from your house to the polling site. This is very convenient, but unfortunately, when plugging in my own address, Google was not able to locate my voting location. Hopefully, others will have better success. (Let us know!)
In addition to the web site itself, Google is offering a "where to vote" gadget that can be customized and added to any web site. More importantly, there's an API available which allows third-party developers access to this data.
We Could Have Used This Sooner!
The only major criticism we have is this: why did they have to wait until now until launching? We realize that there are still several days until the actual Election Day, but this information would have been great to have a bit earlier. Given that absentee ballot forms have deadlines prior to Election Day and many states have already started the early voting process, it's a shame this web site wasn't available sooner. However, now that the site is ready, we look forward to using it for many years to come.