Showtime for election protection and citizen journalism
They’re already voting in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, so Election Day has officially begun. Showtime!
We’ve just finished our last minute polishing for the Voter Suppresssion Wiki, with a redesigned home page, a Voter Suppression Documented summary with snippets of a dozen different examples, final touches to the Media Room, the Prepare for election day action alert, and a chat room. We’ve continued to get some great press, with Caitlin Johnson’s Txt the Vote: Election Protection Goes High Tech on OneWorld/Yahoo News! featuring one of our members, and Simon Jones’ Citizens, Media Use Social Media to Monitor Electiongiving some great context.
We continue to have successes: flagging a deceptive report falsely claiming that people were arrested, getting our one-page What to do if you have problems document posted in a library in South Carolina. Baratunde’s 90-second guide to election day video got over 1,000 views after YouTube selected it as a featured video. Another wiki member submitted her story to the Huffington Post. Multiply this by a few hundred people on our project — and dozens of other projects in the grassroots election protection and citizen journalism movement — and it adds up to a big impact.
On election day, the Incident Tracker will be where the action is on the wiki. We’ll be updating it regularly, sifting through the various sources on the web and threads in our discussion forum, and linking to any action alerts. Please check it out; and if you see any voter suppression or articles about it, please let us know about it!
Of course there are a many other sites around the web that also have great reporting. Here’s a quick roundup of a few other sites.
Our Vote Live, a joint project of the Election Protection Coalition and EFF, features a live feed and queryable interface to the reports that go into the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline. With over 40,000 reports already, it’s a rich data source — for example, here’s their Ohio page, and the list of the 200 reported incidents so far of voter intimidation.
Video the Vote‘s goal is one of the pioneering citizen journalism election documentation project, and this year they’ve already had some major stories, including catching election officials admitting calibration problems in West Virginia. Since they’ve been doing this a lot longer than some of the other groups, they’ve got a lot of experienced people; and since it was founded by people from the Guerilla News Network and Color of Change, they’re not shy about being explicitly political.
Twitter Vote Report continues to get a lot of attention, and with good reason — Barbara Iverson in Poynter Online and Jill Rosen in the Baltimore Sun gives some great context. NPR’s Election 08 center is an example of a site that’s integrated TVR into their coverage, and several networks are considering taking live feeds. New visualizations continue to come online, along with code so that you can embed them on your site; one of my favorites is from Plodt, with a chart showing wait times nationally and the top wait times highlighted. It’s still an open question just how many participants they’ll get on election day, and of course we’re all a little nervous about whether the technology holds together, but if all goes well it could be spectacular. Check the blog for updates!
Community Values Vote, by contrast, focuses on the narrative, featuring election day news from a coalition of over two hundred grassroots organizations. They’ve got video cameras, photographers, and reporters in the field, and the stories already on their site are great complements to the ones that you see in the mainstream media.
If those sites aren’t to your taste, there are plenty more; our ongoing list on the Voter Suppression Wiki is now up to at least 20 sites, including big names like CNN (30,000 calls so far), Wired, and PBS/YouTube as well as smaller groups like The Uptake, My Fair Election, and Work the Vote LA. Whatever happens, it’ll be well-documented. Election ’08, now playing at an internet site near you.
I probably won’t have time to blog much on Tuesday … I’ll be on email and hanging out in the Voter Suppression Wiki’s chat room. Right now it feels like the calm before the storm, and so a great time to give shout-outs to the incredible people I’ve gotten to work with on this: Baratunde, Tracy, Andrea, Deborah, Harry, Rhesa, Tommy, Linda, Dustin, Devin, Matt B, and everybody else on the Voter Supression Wiki; Allison, Nancy, Matt C, Deanna, Beka, Dave T, Amanda, and all the other Twitter Vote Report folks; Pam, Julien, Lillie, Tova, Matt, Brad, Conor, Alex, Dave J, Alan, Jeff, and so many others from a variety of organizations who are all somehow finding the time and energy to devote to protecting democracy. Thanks to all for your efforts — and it’s been a real pleasure working with you.
And now …