National Voter Protection Initiative Launches Election Day

Nov 7, 2016

Tomorrow, all the candidates’ speeches, debates, ads, and spending are put to the test.  But while the campaigns themselves are wrapped up, a major Election Day project will be shifting into high gear.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports on “Electionland”.  

University of Oregon journalism professor and local Electionland coordinator, Damian Radcliffe.
Credit Brian Bull

The goal is to report on how well voters are able to access polling places and cast their ballots, without delays or interference.  Groups including ProPublica and NPR, as well as 13 journalism schools, are going to scour social media for reports of voting issues and problems…then verify them in real time.

University of Oregon journalism professor Damian Radcliffe is overseeing his department’s “Electionland” effort.   He says there’s much misinformation online that can confuse or scare voters.  One recent photo depicts an immigration and customs enforcement officer taking an illegal immigrant out of an early voting line…which has since been revealed as a photoshopped hoax.  

A photo of an ICE agent supposedly taking an illegal immigrant out of an early voting line. It has since been revealed to be two different pictures photoshopped together.
Credit Twitter, ProPublica.

“But just from one person’s Twitter feed alone, that picture…and story…had been re-Tweeted six and a half thousand times," says Radcliffe.

"And sometimes illegitimate stories get credibility, so there is something about amplification potentially creating a concept to credibility that’s not necessarily true, and that’s one of the things that we’re going to try and guard against through our work.”  

90 of Radcliffe’s students will participate in “Electionland”.  And people can use a text number (69866) to share voting issues or problems with Electionland partners.