How Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech companies are getting out the vote on Election Day

  • Tech companies have been the subject of intense scrutiny with regard to elections in the U.S. in recent years.
  • On Election Day 2018, tech companies are using a variety of tactics to surface quality information to voters and help get them to the polls.
A voters fills out his ballot for the midterm election at a polling place in Madison, Wisconsin, November 6, 2018.
Nick Oxford | Reuters
A voters fills out his ballot for the midterm election at a polling place in Madison, Wisconsin, November 6, 2018.

The role tech companies play in U.S. elections has been a topic of intense scrutiny since 2016.

These are some of the ways that tech companies are trying to surface quality information to voters on Election Day.

Google and YouTube

Google's get-out-the-vote effort was hard to miss. The Google doodle on its homepage Tuesday morning morphed the company logo into the words "Go Vote."

When you click the doodle, it takes you to a search query "Where do I vote #ElectionDay" and pulls up an info box where you can enter your home address to find your voting location. Google made other easy-to-digest info boxes for questions about how to register to vote and what language is included in different ballot measures.

Google-owned YouTube is hosting livestreamed content from several news outlets throughout the evening where voters can get Election Day coverage as it happens.

Apple

Apple is promoting apps that will help you "Vote Smarter" in the home page of its App Store. Included on the list are The Washington Post; theSkimm, which digests big issues into bite-sized content; and Countable, an app that surfaces political news relevant to a users' district. It's also got Lyft to help you get to the polls.

Apple News is curating midterms information throughout the day and will deliver live election results through the app Tuesday night. Live video will also be available through the app from NBC and ABC Tuesday night, according to a post on Apple's App Store.

Facebook

Facebook has been in an ongoing fight to remove disinformation from its platform. On Sunday, it learned that 115 accounts on its services "may be linked to foreign entities," according to U.S. law enforcement, and blocked them.

On Election Day, Facebook is trying to surface relevant information for users through its 2018 Election tab, where it lists the candidates on the ballot in your district. Facebook-owned Instagram is also helping to get out the vote by adding an "I Voted" sticker and a "We Voted!" story at the top of the app.

Twitter

Twitter's #BeAVoter campaign includes official election hashtags in English and Spanish, a celebrity video campaign and information on the platform about where to vote and what to expect on the ballot. Twitter reported that twice as many people tweeted about #NationalVoterRegistrationDay compared with 2016.

Snap

After reportedly helping more than 400,000 people register to vote through its platform, Snap is now encouraging its young audience to get to the polls by serving information through its app. Its Snap Map, which shows a map of where friends have taken Snap Stories, can also help users find their polling location. Snapchat also has filters to celebrate the day and will send a video and text message through the app to all U.S.-based users 18 and older. Snapchat users can watch election results Tuesday night on the Discover section of the app.

Uber and Lyft

Both of these ride-hailing companies are making it easier for voters to get to the polls with free or discounted rides. To get $10 off a ride to the polls with Uber, enter promo code VOTE2018 in the latest version of the app by going to Menu, then Payment, then Add Promo Code. You can find and select your polling location through the app, then choose the most affordable option available (Express POOL, POOL or UberX, depending on where you live).

Lyft is offering 50 percent discounts worth up to $5 on rides to the polls when voters access the promo code on this page. The company is also partnering with nonpartisan nonprofits to provide free rides in underserved communities, according to Lyft's blog.