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Google watching election with interest

Paul Brislen, Editor. 09 November 2016, 11:44 am

Google is joining in the hoopla around the US presidential election by monitoring searches for key election terms to determine whether there are any election problems or not.

With one of the candidates explicitly claiming the election is rigged, the opportunity is clearly there for yet more politicking about voting machines being programmed to change votes, voter harassment, long wait times at polling stations and so on.

Electionland Trends is monitoring searches on Google's engine for five key phrases: "Long wait times", "Provisional ballots", "Inactive voter status", "voter intimidation" and "voting machine problems".

Holiday Lakes, Texas, for example, is showing a 250% increase in searches for "Inactive Voter Status" at the time of writing while "Long Wait Times" has seen a 200% increase in Crescent City, California.

The project is an experiment to determine whether or not such information adds any value to future elections but of course the real world impact of any searches won't be known until after the election.


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