In a post on the Official Google Blog, the company has announced the availability of a new Voter Information Tool. Obviously, its main current focus is on the upcoming US presidential election, but there is information on other countries as well. I’ll focus on the US content, since that’s the part I know a little about.
The tool offers a Google Maps style lookup for your polling place, given your address as a registered voter. In Virginia, where I live, this currently doesn’t produce anything useful; I suspect this is because, in Virginia, polling places are assigned by the local (county) Board of Elections, and Google hasn’t incorporated all that information. It also shows a ballot summary of all the candidates, and their party affiliations, for the national election races (in this case, the races for President, one US Senator, and US Representative). Once I had put in my address, it located me in the right election district without any trouble. Helpfully, it gives the address, phone number, and Web link for the local Board of Elections, and also has links to candidates’ Web sites, and other sources of election information.
The tool, which is open-source, can be embedded on another Web site if desired; there is also a Civic Information API that can be used to develop new applications.