April 6, 2009

India's 15th general election: tools for citizen empowerment

At Google, we believe information is fundamentally empowering. While all of our technologies demonstrate a commitment to this guiding principle, information is especially important when a society comes together to participate in democratic elections. Beginning ten days from today, more than 700 million eligible voters in India will over the course of four weeks have the opportunity to participate in the largest democratic event in human history — India's 15th general election.

Today, along with a wide range of partners, we are happy to announce the launch of the Google India Elections Centre - available in English and in Hindi.

People from across India can use the centre to do the following:

  • Confirm their voter registration status
  • Discover their polling location
  • View their constituency on a map
  • Consume relevant election-related news, blogs, videos, and quotations
  • Evaluate the status of development in their constituency across a range of indicators
  • Learn about the background of their Member of Parliament and this year's candidates
With still more features to be added during the election, we hope the site will be an ongoing resource for analysis, governance, and democracy in India after the election.

This project would not have been possible without the shared vision of a broad coalition of partners: the Association for Democratic Reforms, HT Media Limited, Indicus Analytics, the Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, the Liberty Institute, and PRS Legislative Services. These groups are the true champions of promoting a more transparent democracy, and we're privileged to be able to shine a light on their work on the occasion of India's 15th Lok Sabha polls.

We're hopeful not only that the elections centre will further a culture that seeks access to information, but that it will also yield positive changes in voting patterns during the upcoming polls.

Please visit the site, select your constituency, and get started! Spread the word about what you learn and, of course, don't forget to visit the polls.