In September 2020, New Zealanders will take to the polls to vote in our General Election to elect our Government and decide on two referendums. To support this democratic process, we’re rolling out products and programs to help people get the information they need to cast their votes. Here are the ways we’ll be providing support:
Getting voters the information they need
We know that in the build-up to elections, people need useful and relevant information to help them navigate the electoral process. Across the world we’ve focused on ensuring Google Search provides timely and accurate information that helps people find, understand and participate in the electoral process. For the New Zealand election in 2020, we’ll be working with information from the Electoral Commission to make authoritative electoral information available and to help people find the info they need to enrol and vote.
Helping voters better understand the political advertising they see
To give Kiwis more information about the election ads they see across Google’s ad networks, we’ll require that any ad classified as an election ad, we make it clear to voters who is paying for the advertising. Election ads will mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder, or include information relating to a referendum vote.
We’ll also introduce a new process to verify election advertisers to make sure they are who they say they are. We will introduce a New Zealand-specific Political Ads Transparency Report and searchable ads library to provide more information about who is purchasing election ads, whom they’re targeted to, and how much money is being spent. Our goal is to make this information as accessible and useful as possible to citizens, practitioners, and researchers.
In the weeks before the launch of the Political Ads Transparency Report, we're working with political parties to help them understand digital best practices and will be sharing Google's ads policies with parties and candidates.
Protecting election information online
We’re continuing investments in keeping our own platforms secure and are working with campaigns, elections officials, journalists and human rights organizations to ensure the security of the online platforms that they depend on.
For the 2020 General Election, we’re offering in-person security training to these vulnerable groups as they face increased risks of phishing attacks. We’ve been walking them through Google’s Advanced Protection Program, our strongest level of account security and Project Shield, a free service that uses Google technology to protect news sites and free expression from DDoS attacks on the web.
In addition, Google News Lab will collaborate with news organisations to support online fact-checking. They’ll be offering a series of free verification workshops to point journalists to the latest tools and technology to tackle misinformation and support their coverage of the elections.
Like others, we’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes around the world, including by bringing more transparency to political advertising online, by helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information, and by working to protect election information online. Over the coming months you’ll hear more from us on each of these areas.