Voter Guides 101

Bridget Thoreson, one of the project leads for ElectionSOS, joins API‘s John Hernandez and The Markup‘s Mia Sato for a comprehensive discussion of voter guides. In this webinar, you can learn best practices for creating a voter guide and where to find reliable information for your guide. Mia Sto also details her experience creating voter guides for various elections in Chicago and beyond.

Key Takeaways and Best Practices:

  • Your voter guide should be specific to your audience’s needs and your coverage area’s idiosyncrasies.
  • The best voter guides cover the 5 W’s:
    • Who will be on the ballot
    • What you need to know about candidates to cast an informed vote
    • Where you can vote safely
    • When the important deadlines are
    • Why this year will be different (manage expectations!)
  • Some considerations when getting started:
    • Ask what the goal is for the voter guide (if you don’t get a good answer, work with your newsroom to make one)
    • Research your newsroom’s previous voter guides (also ask if there need to be changes in focus or coverage this year)
    • Cultivate sources (reach out early to election administrators, before they get bombarded with requests)
  • Additional tips:
    • Harness the power of the roundup. Your voter guide can be an article with FAQs and links that you update frequently.
    • Prioritize speed and clarity!
    • Don’t be afraid to think differently and partner with other organizations.
    • Add value to your newsroom by becoming your local elections expert.

Next Steps: