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If 99 Percent Of Voting Is Showing Up... Maybe You Should Check Your Data

Nov 2, 2010

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Two  of the most popular search terms on Google today are, predictably I guess, "voting locations by zip code" and the straightforward "where do I vote."

But anyone using Google's Election Center tool — which provides info on polling centers, registration and ballots — may want to do it the old fashioned way and call their local board of elections. Because as deputy editor Tyler Gray learned, some of the data served up by Google is outdated.

It turns out that Election Center sent Gray to the wrong place to vote today — not the end of the world, as FastCompany's David Zax notes. But not the best outcome, either.

The Election Center system uses data from the Pew-backed Voting Information Project. And as a rep from the VIP tells Fast Company, "polling place information changes frequently."

As a result, the system is being updated constantly, a Google spokesperson tells Fast Company. Here's a suggestion, and an update to their story:

A sidebar on the Google tool urges users to "check your voting location on your state voting place locator." Might not be a bad idea to take them up on that offer, before you head over to your polling site today.

Update, 11:32 AM: A Google spokesperson confirms, "We are constantly updating the tool to make sure it reflects the most up-to-date information provided to us by the Board of Elections."

If you have trouble voting today, or need some tips about where to cast your vote, you can check out NPR's guide to voting. Google's service and other useful sites are listed there.

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