New Google campaign tool helps supporters find polling places

New Google campaign tool helps supporters find polling places
© Getty Images

Google is giving campaigns a new tool as they look to get their voters to the polls.

A targeted ad unit rolled out recently by the search giant allows users to enter their address so they can see the location of their polling place.

ADVERTISEMENT
A spokesperson for the company said “dozens” of campaigns have been using the tool. That includes Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: GOP women have a more difficult time winning primary races than Dems Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections MORE’s presidential campaign, as well as those Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPence, Pompeo urged Trump to clarify Russia remarks: report GOP lawmaker renews call for Trump to release tax returns after Putin summit House conservatives criticize media, not Trump, for Putin furor MORE (R-Ariz.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteNew Hampshire governor signs controversial voting bill Former Arizona senator to shepherd Supreme Court nominee through confirmation process Shut the back door to America's opioid epidemic MORE (R-N.H.), among others.

“Throughout this campaign we’ve done a lot of work to identify likely McCain voters and reach them wherever they are online, so by serving them this targeted ad — in English or Spanish — we’re making it as easy as possible for them to find their polling location and vote for McCain,” said Lorna Romero, the communications director for the McCain campaign, in an email.

McCain’s ads feature a picture of the longtime senator and the text “Enter your address below to find your polling place and cast your vote." Below that is a search bar where users can enter their address to find their polling place.

The ads have been rolling out in the last two weeks.

They come as campaigns look to turn out their loyalists and recent converts to the polls. Because of widespread early voting throughout the country, that effort has been underway for weeks — but is reaching its climax on Election Day Tuesday.

Internet companies with a substantial footprint in the advertising space have been working hard in recent years to capture a share of the millions of dollars spent on digital political advertising. Both Facebook and Google, which dominate the market for online ads, have teams dedicated to selling ads to campaigns.

The companies have worked hard to build their ties to political operatives on both sides of the aisle. Both Google and Facebook collaborated with the commission that sets up the presidential debates and were involved with this summer’s political conventions.

And the firms had physical presences at the early primary debates, allowing their staffers to interact with journalists and operatives assigned to the campaign.

Google also has other features for giving voters information. A user can look up “Where is my polling place?” and be served the answer directly in the search results. The same is true for users looking up the content of their ballots.