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Monday, April 6th, 2009

Google Indian Elections

For the 2008 United States presidential election, we teamed with YouTube and PBS to launch Video Your Vote, a program that intended to create the largest library of polling place Election Day video ever in order to help make voting as accessible, reliable and secure as possible (see the NYT article). It was a giant leap for the United States election community, where we can’t even register to vote online (except in Washington and Arizona). As we’ve discussed here before (see my video chat with Princeton professor Ed Felten), in Estonia, they’re already voting on the internet.

Now Google, YouTube’s parent company, is teaming up with some heavy hitters in India to bring vital election info to the people of India with their Lok Sabha Elections Center, the type of project that is much-needed here. I picked up this story via our advisory board member Tom Rossmeissl, who saw it on TechCrunch.

Leena Rao writes about what the site will do for the 700 million eligible voters in India, just in time for the country’s 15th general election, and more:

Available in English and Hindi, Google’s Indian election center lets Indian citizens confirm their voter registration status (which is a new feature that wasn’t fully implemented in the U.S. or Australian versions), find their polling location, view their constituency on a map and access election news. Voters can also get in-depth data about the area where they vote, including changes in literacy, poverty, and employment rates in the constituency since the last election. Voters can learn about the background of their Member of Parliament and this year’s candidates, and are able to see politician’s voting records, and attendance. The site will also feature updates on election schedules, online polls, discussion forums, opinions and photos.

Here’s some info on who is involved with Google on this project:

Google has partnered with the Hindustan Times, and a number of NGOs, including, the Association for Democratic Reforms, Indicus Analytics, the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, the Liberty Institute, and PRS Legislative Services. Yahoo developed a similar site for Indian citizens last week, but Yahoo’s site doesn’t seem to be as comprehensive as Google India’s election site.

On Election Day, we also partnered with both the Twitter Vote Report and the Election Protection Wiki to make sure folks were as plugged-in as possible on Election Day. Those two, along with Video Your Vote, made up our official 2008 Election Day To-Do List.

Here’s a link to the less-comprehensive Google 2008 United States Election Center.

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