On Nov. 8th Americans will vote in one of the most contentious presidential elections in US history. Republicans are worried that the election is rigged. Democrats are worried that Republicans will suppress the vote. Both are worried about problems at polling places on election day.
As happens every four years, journalists will scramble to cover the results of Tuesday’s vote. Historically, less attention has been paid to the actual process of voting, but this year that’s changing.
On Tuesday journalists will gather in New York City and around the country to monitor for problems voting. The project, called Electionland, is a first of it’s kind effort led by nonprofit news organization ProPublica. It kicked off in September with partners including the Google News Lab, Univision, and USA Today. The group has already written dozens of stories in the run-up to election day.
There have been ominous signs that this year’s election will see worse-than-usual problems at polling places. A report from Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights found that some states have deeply slashed their number of polling places. Donald Trump has called for his supporters to “monitor” polling places, raising fears that some voters will feel intimidated.
At least one Trump supporter has already taken his candidate’s request to heart. According to the Huffington Post, a man wore a holstered handgun while handing out sample ballots outside an early voting location in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Electionland will monitor social media, Google search trends, and data from the Election Protection project. On the ground reporters will track down reports of voting problems. Though Americans trust in the press is at historical lows, hopefully the effort will provide at least some voters with additional confidence that their vote will count.