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  • 11.02.10

Why Did Google Get My Polling Place Wrong? [Update]

Dude, where’s my polling place?

Why Did Google Get My Polling Place Wrong? [Update]

Depending on how widespread this glitch is, it could be no small matter. Lines in polling places typically stretch out the door and down the block; imagine waiting in one of those after work, only to find out that Google (or the city) sent you the wrong way? At that point, it would take a dedicated citizen indeed to brook a second line–if assuming your actual polling site wasn’t about to close already.

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Google itself is probably not at fault here. Ultimately, it’s just a clearinghouse for information provided by others. Google is using data from the nonpartisan Voting Information Project, a program from the Pew Center on the States, as we reported Thursday. (When Tyler texted “where” to the 30644, he received the same information Google gave him.) The New Organizing Institute Education Fund, which is affiliated with the Voting Information Project, points out that “polling place information changes frequently” and asks users to submit errors on its site.

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.”

Update, 9:32 PM: Google Tool May Have Wrong Polling Place Locations for Hundreds of Thousands of Voters

About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal.

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