North Carolina’s swing state status continues to land it in the headlines, and now, in the middle of a new Google product rollout.
November 7, 2016
Google Tests New Polling Place, Ballot, Election Returns Search in NC
Swing state one of 2 locations for new feature deployment just in time for election day
National poll aggregators, including Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Tipping Point Index, note that the state may well play the decisive role in determining the outcome of the presidential race and the balance of power in the Senate. Only Florida and Pennsylvania are more likely to determine the outcome of the presidential contest.
With election day tomorrow and still uncertain outcomes up and down the ballot, Google has launched a new search function that connects North Carolinians with electoral information.
“We’re providing more information about candidates and results of state and local election contests directly in Google Search,” says Jacob Schonberg, Product Manager, Google Search.
The product, he says, makes this information, along with polling location, hours, and requirements available faster than existing Google search tools. Schonberg says the newly deployed feature will also report live election results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections directly in users’ search results on election night.
Google search executives say that they chose North Carolina and the other locale, Los Angeles County, because of the boards of elections’ openness to innovation. In fact, the group awarded the NC BOE an honor for that progressiveness last year. They note that the new partnership with the Pew Research Center called the Voter Information Project (VIP) focuses on promoting polling location and ballot data in what the company calls “an open data standard.”
“We chose this partnership with North Carolina entirely on the basis of our shared commitment to providing accessible and useful election data to the public,” says Schonberg.
Direction on electoral data policy comes straight from the Federal government, rather than the private sector. The US Department of Commerce sets the objective standards for how information about elections is made available through it’s National Institute for Standards and Technology, with a goal to make voting information and election results more readily available through digital channels.
This launch marks a patter in recent new products for Google, which used a similar in-depth search result to report on the returns from the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum. A Google representative is quick to note that the data are very different. Data sources aside, the domestic application of this product hints at the search and adtech giant’s growing interest in not only aggregating hyperlocal information in realtime, but also presenting it on its own digital properties.