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Facebook, Google remind you to get out and vote

Both sites are offering visual clues for US citizens to prompt them to vote and help them find the ballot box.

facebook-vote-message-2014.jpg
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

It's Election Day in the US, and both Facebook and Google are doing their part to urge you to cast your vote.

Log into Facebook, either via a PC or mobile device. At the top of the screen, you'll see a banner called "It's Election Day" with a couple of different options. If you do indeed plan to vote, click the button that says: "I'm a voter," and Facebook will share your status with your friends.

Not sure where to go to actually cast your ballot? No problem. Click the link at "More Information."

Facebook takes you to a map of the United States, courtesy of a site called "Get to the Polls," where you can find your polling place. In the search field, start typing your registered voting address, meaning street address, city, state and ZIP code. Facebook shows you a list of possible matches based on the first several characters. Choose the correct address, and the map on the page zeros in on your polling place.

Click the icon for your polling place, and the page scrolls down to reveal the address, hours and distance from your home. You can also click a link for Get Directions to view a Google Maps view of how to proceed to the right spot.

Speaking of Google, the search giant is making a similar effort to get folks in the US to cast their votes. Browse to Google's home page, and the familiar Google Doodle serves as a reminder of Tuesday's elections. Click the doodle, and Google launches a list of election-based search results, including a "Where do I vote?" field in which you can enter your voting address. In this case, you'll have to type your full address.

Click the search icon, and Google shows you the name, location and hours of your polling place. A link to Get Directions opens the familiar Google Maps view to show you how to get to the polling place.

In the 2010 elections, Facebook employed a similar strategy to coax people to vote, according to The New York Times, an effort that apparently led to an additional 340,000 votes across the nation. Another voting initiative by the social network in 2012 didn't come off as planned, as various bugs hampered the process.

A spokesman for Facebook told the Times that its election banner helps encourage voters but said that the company stays neutral as far as advising people on how to vote.

"We have learned over the past few years that people are more likely to vote when they are reminded on Facebook and they see that their friends have voted," Facebook VP of business communication Michael Buckley said. "Our effort is neutral -- while we encourage any and all candidates, groups, and voters to use our platform to engage on the elections, we as a company have not used our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote."