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We Still Don't Know How to Vote

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, November 2 2010

Google Trends, a compilation of what we're all mining the Internet for from the privacy of our own homes or offices or mobile phones, reveals this election day an important truth: Americans very often don't know who they're voting for, why, or how, until the very last minute. And so, projects like the Voting Information Project, Imagine Election, TheBallot.org, and others that seek to connect voters to the information they need take on greater significance than they're dry and geeky facades might otherwise convey. Our searches suggest that there's a demand for accurate, intelligible, accessible insight on how you go about engaging in democracy come election day; our experience suggests that that demand isn't often met. (At least mine does; I spent several minutes last night just trying to figure out what ballot questions are up for a vote in New York City today -- not how a feel about them, just what the heck they are.)

Here we see the "hottest" Google searches in the United States of America as of 10 a.m. EST today, election day. The ones that involve people looking for more information on casting a ballot are bolded.

1. voting locations by zip code
2. where do i vote
3. polling locations
4. voting quotes
5. nc board of elections
6. vote 2010

7. demi lovato rehab
8. where am i registered to vote
9. election day 2010
10. massachusetts ballot questions 2010
11. amendment 4 florida
12. where can i vote
13. polling place
14. voting hours

15. ballroom dancing
16. coffee shops
17. yoga studios
18. league of women voters
19. voter registration

20. golf courses