Where do I vote? Ask Google.
Google has unveiled a handful of tools to help Americans find their local polling station by zip code – and track the latest poll numbers once they've left.
Election day has arrived – and along with it the attendant madness of locating a local polling station, getting a parking spot, braving the lines, and following the myriad (and often conflicting) news reports on the poll numbers. Luckily, the folks over at Google have unveiled a handful of tools that should make the whole voting process a little less maddening.
The simplest is an addition to the Google Maps interface, which allows users to search by zip code for the nearest polling stations. This functionality appears at the top of some search pages – searches for the phrase "where do I vote," for instance, bring up the poll station tool. Google has also released a mobile edition of its polling station index for smartphone owners, and offered an embeddable version for your Website or blog.
Meanwhile, GoogleLabs has created an Election Center database – a sort of open-source compilation of all-things voting. Users can submit polling place location, registration instruction, ballot information, and state and local election office contact information. All that information can be then be sorted with an online data manager. (Google has published a pretty helpful video primer on its Election Center.)
So what do you do once you've cast your ballot? Well, Google can help with that, too. Over at Google News, you can search the Elections subsite for reports by state, or by news source – from Politico to The New York Times to the Monitor. And as always, Google News is running a list topics within the Elections category – expect Rand Paul and Harry Reid to be front and center all day.