With the 2012 election less than two weeks away, candidates and pundits are using whatever they have to discredit the other side. More than anything, the GOP has faced consistent criticism for its apparent connection to the manufactures of voter machine technologies. The public has taken notice, and more and more voters are turning to Google Search to weigh the evidence.
Below is a Google Trend graph showing the relative increase in the number of searches for “voter fraud” over the last 12 months. Each ticker represents a major news story (most of them about Republican vote fraudsters).
Here’s the same graph over the past 90 days, except broken out between “democrat voter fraud” (blue) and “republican voter fraud” (red). Notice the domination of GOP-related searches.
In terms of general interest in “voter fraud”, most searches are happening in northern states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin. This is undoubtedly due to the recent billboard campaign in some Midwestern states against voter fraud. However, there are many claims that the campaign was actually intended to intimidate minority voters not to show up for the election.
Major news outlets have been quick to report on any claims of voter fraud, and the reports have become more regular over the past few weeks. The reports have been especially hard on Republican candidate Mitt Romney for his alleged connections to the companies that manufacture voting machines. Voting machines definitely make this faster and easier, but it’s entirely possible to hack a machine (or programing from the beginning) to do one party’s bidding.
Fortunately, however, all the new technology in the election does make oversight easier for the majority of the population (at least to a certain extent), so new election technologies should be welcomed. There have been grassroots reports of historical inconsistencies of GOP voter habits, and many reports of fraudulent voter registration are captured on video via smartphone by everyday people. A number of institutions have also contributed to better, cleaner voting, such as TurboVote, which keeps voters informed on polling information, and Google Politics & Elections team, which has created a portal for all election news and research.