September 18, 2020

Poynter recently hosted an online workshop called “The Weirdest Election ‘Night’ Ever: What journalists and election-watchers need to know about the 2020 elections and a working democracy.” This reading list was an accompaniment to the workshop.

Register to see free replays of four workshop panels on election returns; debunking misinformation; television coverage on election night, and reporting from key swing states.

The following reading list covers some of the same topics.

Prepare for the weirdest election ‘night’ ever

By Louis Jacobson of PolitiFact. Sept. 1, 2020.

Experts say the proper functioning of democracy is at risk because of the complications raised by holding elections during a pandemic. Elements of concern include new voting procedures, heightened political polarization, and a deluge of misinformation on social media.

How To Vote In The 2020 Election: A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19

By Updated regularly.

A beautifully designed and user-friendly collection of election laws and deadlines for each state.

Voters Are Highly Engaged, but Nearly Half Expect To Have Difficulties Voting

Pew Research Center. Aug. 13, 2020

Polling evidence shows that voters expect more difficulties voting, and that voters split by party over whether they prefer in-person voting (Republicans) or voting by mail (Democrats).

When does protecting the vote turn into voter suppression?

The tension between voter suppression and protecting the vote is playing out across the country in state houses, courtrooms and the voting booth.

By Matthew Brown of the Deseret News. Aug. 3, 2020.

A look at the trade-offs between election security and discouraging people from voting.

Trump’s Relentless Attacks on Mail-In Ballots Are Part of a Larger Strategy 

By Richard L. Hasen for The New York Times. Aug. 19, 2020

An election expert warns that the increase in absentee ballot voting in the November 2020 elections will result in election reporting delays. The 2020 election may be “too early to call” until days after Election Day, but the delay itself is not evidence of fraud.

How to make sure your ballot is counted this fall

By Louis Jacobson, Samantha Putterman and Amy Sherman of PolitiFact. Aug. 17, 2020.

A primer for voters on how to avoid common errors that cause election officials to reject ballots by mail.

The Rise of Ballot Drop Boxes

By Axel Hufford. Lawfare. Aug. 27, 2020

At least 34 states have used or plan on using ballot drop boxes this year. This report reviews the safety and security of drop boxes, as well as best practices for managing them.

Silicon Valley is losing the battle against election misinformation

More groups are pushing false information into voters’ social media feeds in the run-up to November, and the deceptions are savvier than in 2016. It may be too late to fix.

By Mark Scott and Steven Overly of Politico. Aug. 4, 2020.

Misinformation tactics used by Russia in 2016 are now being imitated by other countries, as well as a flood of American political groups.

This is Democrats’ Doomsday Scenario

What if early results in swing states on Nov. 3 show President Trump ahead, and he declares victory before heavily Democratic mail-in votes, which he has falsely linked with fraud, are fully counted?

By Trip Gabriel of the New York Times. Sept. 2, 2020.

An examination of partisan trends in voting methods and what it means for reporting results.

The ‘Blue Shift’ will decide the election

Something fundamental has changed about the ways Americans vote.

By David A. Graham of The Atlantic. Aug. 20, 2020. 

An examination of why the late-breaking vote in recent years tends to lean Democratic, and why expectations for election night results are no longer realistic.

Want this reading list in a shareable PDF? Click the image below.

Looking for more about what to expect for the upcoming election? Here’s a pre-election guide to reporting on the weirdest election ‘night’ ever.

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Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor-in-chief of PolitiFact. She has extensive experience fact-checking the presidency, Congress and political campaigns, and was a reporter on the…
Angie Drobnic Holan

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