Election SOS First Aid Kit: Before Tuesday
We’re officially in the election already with record numbers of ballots already cast in early and absentee voting. Our goal at ElectionSOS is to provide context, not conflict as the election unfolds.
Here are the top tools and resources for journalists covering the days before Nov. 3 and beyond.
- Focus on your audience and their needs before Tuesday. That means not only reporting problems, but actionable steps people can take on their own to solve them.
Covering the Polls
- The American Press Institute’s Trusted Elections Network guide breaks down everything from preparing your audience to wait on election results to covering misinformation.
- And, if there are problems at the polls, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’ Election Legal Guide details how to report around polling places and more.
- Some local governments are better than others when it comes to voting technology. Palm Beach County, in Florida, for example, even has their early voting polling place locations broken down by wait times. What is your county’s election office doing (or not doing) to help voters?
Last-Minute Changes to Election Policy
- How the courts rule on issues in the days before the election will be critical. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Wisconsin extending their mail-in ballot deadline. You can track election-related lawsuits in your area, too.
- There’s plenty of election misinformation out there competing for your newsroom’s attention (or not). You don’t need to fall behind, either. First Draft News monitors for misinformation daily, so sign up for their alerts and other resources.
Messaging for Instilling Public Trust in Electoral Process
The language you use to report on the electoral process can either help or stoke the public’s fear in the days to come. Some tips:
- We break down the exact syntax to use in our Say this, Not That series. For example, say “competitive” states instead of “battleground” states.
- For voting by mail specifically, especially as election officials count these ballots, address questions and concerns early on. For example, absentee voting and vote-by-mail are the same thing.