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From 'write-in' to 'where,' more voters turning to Google for election help

By Eric DuVall
From 'write-in' to 'where,' more voters turning to Google for election help
Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., is pictured. The search engine is playing an increasingly important role in the U.S. election, with users searching for information about who to vote for and where to do it. File photo by Asif Islam/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The number of Google searches for the term "write-in" has spiked in recent days, with more and more voters apparently searching for a way to vote for someone other than the party nominees for president.

CNN reports the search term spiked by a whopping 2,800 percent over the last week. The five states where the search is most common are ones where voters are generally overlooked because their state is reliably liberal -- Vermont, Delaware and New Jersey -- or conservative, Indiana and Utah.

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Related searches to "write-in" most frequently include two names that might be logical alternatives for people hoping to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. The two most common related search terms with "write-in" are Bernie Sanders and Mike Pence.

How to cast a write-in ballot is not the only information Google can provide about the election. The search engine has also begun displaying sample ballots and offering voters detailed information about their polling place and their state's voting rules, such as what, if any, ID is required.

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"We are committed to giving people timely and comprehensive information about the voting process so they can better participate in the election and have their voices heard in November," Jacob Schonberg, a product manager on Google's politics and elections team, told USA Today.

Searches for voting-related questions like "who is on my ballot" and "where do I vote" have both increased from four years ago, Google said. Queries about ballots are up 137 percent; searches about where a polling place is located are up 379 percent.

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