How we’re supporting the 2022 U.S. midterm elections
In 2022, voters will be heading to the polls in many countries around the world. We are committed to helping them find the latest election information on our services, equipping campaigns and election workers with the best-in-class security tools, and protecting our platforms from abuse.
This work builds on our longstanding support of elections across the globe, including most recently in Japan, Germany, Canada, and South Korea. And we are continuing these efforts in Australia, Brazil, France, the Philippines, and elsewhere to help people navigate the democratic process.
Today, we are providing an update on our work to support the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.
Connecting voters to election information
Whether you’re registering to vote for the first time, looking for your local polling place, or learning how to vote absentee, we make reliable information easily available with helpful product features that show data from trusted, nonpartisan organizations.
- Google Search: We’re partnering with Ballotpedia, a digital encyclopedia for federal, state, and local politics and elections in the U.S., to help voters quickly find authoritative information about upcoming elections on Google Search. In the coming weeks, when people search for queries like “when are the Ohio primaries,” we’ll show statewide primary election dates right at the top of Search results.
- YouTube: Our systems prominently surface authoritative voices such as news sources in search results and “watch next” panels for election-related news and information, while at the same time limiting the spread of election misinformation.
- Supporting developers: The Google Civic Information API makes it easier for third-party developers to create useful applications to connect users with official election information sourced from the nonpartisan Voting Information Project, a partnership between Democracy Works and state and local election administrators.
Helping campaigns enhance their security
People working on campaigns and elections are higher targets for cybersecurity threats. In a recent study we commissioned with YouGov, 85% of high-risk professionals working in politics and journalism in the U.S. say they need stronger cybersecurity protections, while 83% feel cyber threats against their professions have increased in the last two years alone. We understand these concerns and are working hard to help high-risk users, such as campaigns and election officials, enhance their security and educate them on how to use our products and services.
- Security tools for campaign and election workers: We’re continuing our partnership with organizations like Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC) to provide qualifying U.S. federal campaigns with free Titan Security Keys—distributing over 10,500 keys to date. To ensure the strongest form of account security against targeted online attacks for both personal and Google Workspace accounts, we’re enrolling high-risk users in our free Advanced Protection Program. And our free service Project Shield provides unlimited protection against Distributed Denial of Service attacks for election monitoring sites and political organizations.
- More protection for high-risk users: To train candidates and campaign workers on how to stay safe online, last month we launched the Campaign Security Project by teaming up with organizations across the political spectrum. This initiative builds on our ongoing work with the USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative, Cybersecurity for State Leaders, and DDC. And globally, to help enhance the security of campaigns and affiliated high-risk users, we’re working with organizations like the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.
- Helpful resources for campaigns: To help campaigns and civic groups learn how to effectively use our products and services—like claiming knowledge panels on Google Search and getting verified on YouTube—we offer a range of free tools and resources on our Google Civics Training Center.
Protecting our platforms from abuse
Over the years, we’ve introduced new policies, enhanced our enforcement systems, and continued to invest in our teams and operations to better secure our products and prevent abuse on our platforms.
- Tackling threats: We constantly monitor and disrupt account hijackings, inauthentic activity, coordinated influence operations, and other forms of abuse on our platforms—providing quarterly updates and meeting regularly with government officials and other technology companies to share threat information around suspected election interference.
- Election policies: We have strict policies prohibiting election-related abuse on our products and services, such as demonstrably false claims about polling hours or ballot eligibility. For example, YouTube’s Community Guidelines don’t allow videos that mislead viewers on how to vote or encourage interference in the democratic process. And it has established elections misinformation policies that prohibit, for example, content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of any past U.S. presidential election. As always, we will continue to enforce our policies in a neutral and apolitical manner.
- Political Ads: We require all advertisers who wish to run election ads on our platforms to go through a verification process and have an in-ad disclosure that clearly shows who paid for the ad. These ads are also compiled in our Political Advertising Transparency Report where anyone can look up information about any given election ad. And in the coming months, we will launch an updated version of our report, featuring a new user-interface and tools for accessing and sorting information about election ads and advertisers. This update will include a more granular breakdown of advertiser data—giving users greater insight into ad spending and impressions—as well as new visualization features for filtering data around targeting, location, and ad formats.
We also enforce strict ads policies, such as limiting the way advertisers can target election ads and prohibiting demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine trust in elections. We apply these policies consistently to every advertiser.
We will continue to provide updates on our work to support the 2022 U.S. midterm elections and other elections around the world in the months ahead.