VII. Tech Thursday
National Tech: This week Google, which is pushing to get more Americans registered to vote, expanded its voter information guide in Google Search by including Spanish-language search terms. According to Tech Crunch, Google Search users who query things like “inscribirse para votar” or “como votar,” for example, will also see the same information, translated into Spanish. This includes the customized information for your state, as determined by your device’s location when searching. That means you’ll see things like registration guidelines for your state, and when your polls open and close, rather than more general voter information.
California: This week, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla certified VoteCal, the state’s new statewide voter registration database. The certification comes almost seven months after the technical work on the database was complete. It clears the way for laws like election-day registration and pre-registration for 17-year-olds to finally go into effect.
Massachusetts: Four students from MIT have created Votemate, a web app that simplifies and modernizes the voter registration process. “With Votemate, we wanted to ensure that our peers and anyone else new to the political process could engage in a familiar way. Our web app lowers the barriers to register, and, we hope, vote,” Caroline Mak told MIT News.
Rhode Island: This week, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea introduced www.rivotes.org a mobile-optimized website aimed at increasing voter participation among Rhode Island Millennials. The peer-driven initiative answers common reasons Millennials typically give for not voting. The website’s simple navigation walks users through a series of questions about their intention and readiness to vote. The site gives important information on voting procedures and how to register to vote online in Rhode Island. If users are unsure about voting, they are directed to several peer videos explaining how easy it is to be a voter and why voting matters.
Texas: A study by the League of Women Voters of Texas found that many county elections website are lacking. According to Houston Public Media, all but 12 of the state’s 254 counties have websites with election information, but only about two-thirds of them make it easy to find voting information.