ElectionLand effort at OHIO to monitor voting irregularities
By Staff Reports
The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University has partnered with ProPublica and a team of higher education institutions around the nation to monitor social media for voting irregularities during the 2016 elections.
The ElectionLand higher education effort is being coordinated by CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and includes partnerships with journalism school newsrooms including the University of Alabama, Arizona State University, Columbia University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, University of Memphis, University of Missouri, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Oregon and Texas State University.
The students will monitor and flag reports on social media with leads sent to local media organizations and to a coalition of verification specialists. The schools will be working as part of a coalition of media organizations including Google News Lab, the USA TODAY NETWORK, Univision News, First Draft, and nearly 100 news organizations to report on the findings.
According to the ProPublica press release, Electionland will look for problems typically experienced in voting, such as long lines, malfunctioning machines, harassing election challengers, upticks in provisional ballot use, names dropped from voter rolls and unrequired requests for photo identification, as well as any evidence of in-person voter fraud.
Dr. Michelle Ferrier, associate professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, will be coordinating the OHIO student team. Ferrier is the founder of Troll-Busters.com and an expert in social media and online communities.
"We are already seeing reports of voter suppression occurring here in Ohio on social media," said Ferrier. "This ElectionLand effort will give us the tools and training to help bring national attention to the question of whether the United States can conduct fair elections and who is being disenfranchised."
Ferrier participated in 2008 efforts to track the vote using Twitter’s #votereport hashtag and mapping project. However, the ElectionLand coalition will allow local reporters to be more responsive to voting irregularities in their communities and tell the stories before the polls close.