First Draft in Florida Election 2020 crunchtime; connect with us



Early voting in Florida for the general election starts in less than two months – on October 24 – which is also the last day to request a mail-in ballot.

Dear FPA members,

Voting, mail-in ballots and even the use of ballot drop boxes have been targets of misinformation this election cycle, and naturally it’s often effective at confusing voters.

The U.S. Post Office hasn’t been spared as a target of misinformation either.

The confusion is a reporting opportunity for local newsrooms as we move toward the election. It’s a chance for reporters to use creative ways to inform their readers about voting options, and to dispel myths of widespread voter fraud.

All these topics are routinely discussed in our growing Slack community. Our press pool on Slack gives you access to briefings, resources, a help desk and a direct line to our editorial team. Join it here.

In addition, ProPublica’s Electionland project offers election coverage tips. Here are a couple.

  • On mail-in voting: There are more possibilities for delays this year than in previous years, but there are important ways reporters can keep the public informed. Learn how your local system works. Create explainers for voters about how mail ballots are processed, how to check whether their registration is current and how to request ballots early.
  • Reporting on closing polling stations: It is important for reporters to toe the line between holding election administrators accountable and not scaring off voters. If polling places are being closed, find out why. Ask if the jurisdiction is tracking the reasons. Only sound the alarm once you’ve spoken to a number of people at the state and local levels.

Other ways to stay connected

See you on Thursday

Every Thursday at 5 p.m. (EST) First Draft hosts a webinar to gather input on what resources can be built and shared that would be most helpful for your election coverage.

We want to be of service to journalists and newsrooms when it comes to finding, verifying and responsibly reporting on election mis- and disinformation.

Examples of that support could be:

  • Curated CrowdTangle dashboards led by our investigative team.
  • Twitter lists of local influencers to follow.
  • Top line trends shared via an audio recording.

Sign up for the webinars here. And please fill out the media needs assessment here.

Pre-bunk misinformation via text message

First Draft has launched a unique and free SMS course to help communities protect themselves from harmful information ahead of the elections. In a two-week text message course, you’ll learn why people create and share false and misleading content, commonly used tactics for spreading it, what you can do to outsmart it, and how to talk to family and friends about it.

You’ll get a text message every day for two weeks — full of valuable lessons to help you prepare for the threat of misinformation. Please share this link with your networks, including family and friends. The course is meant to be helpful for pre-bunking content voters might encounter in the run-up to the election.

Here’s a shareable link: bit.ly/protection-from-deception.

As always, I’m personally available to you for any questions, advice or needs you may have as you navigate the flow of misinformation and look to what can be done about it.

Please contact me at damon@firstdraftnews.com.

All the best,

Damon Scott

Florida Fellow, First Draft News

firstdraftnews.org