As Election 2016 voting kicks off around the nation, with it comes the inevitable issues that can prevent people from casting their ballot.
To help track where some of those issues may be most prevalent, Google News Lab and Pitch Interactive — a data visualisation studio — built an interactive map as part of ProPublica’s Electionland project. Electionland is made up of 650 journalism students, 450 journalists, 250 media outlets, two nonprofits, and seven tech companies who are looking into what’s happening at polling places nationwide.
The map tracks the increase in searches around five issues:
- Provisional ballots, which voters may be asked to fill out if their eligibility is called into question
- Long wait times at the polls
- Inactive voter status, which voters can be placed under if there are issues delivering election-related mail
- Voting machine problems
- Voter intimidation
The issues shown on the map were chosen after combing through data from past elections, including the 2012 Presidential Election and this year’s Super Tuesday primary.
The map doesn’t display verified cases of these issues, only the number of searches about them. Cities will only pop up on the map if the search is higher than the national average, and when a circle flashes, it means there’s been a surge in the number of searches.
While this isn’t a definitive visualisation of where voter issues are most prevalent, it’s a good guideline for which cities might be experiencing these issues at higher rates.
Google will continue monitoring election-related searches throughout Election Day and will update the map if other voting issues arise.