Two months from today, Americans around the country will head to the polls to cast their ballots on Election Day, and journalists nationwide will cover what’s happening. With thousands of polling places across the country, it’s a notoriously difficult story to cover.
That is why we’re excited to announce Electionland, a national reporting initiative to track the voting experience during the U.S. election, across the country and in real-time. A coalition of media organizations led by ProPublica — including the First Draft Coalition, WNYC, Univision, USA Today Network, and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism — is coming together to pioneer an innovative new reporting model, which will employ technology and data to track evidence of problems at the polls. Electionland will gather and analyze social media content, Google Trends data, and reports from election monitoring organizations to provide journalists with unprecedented visibility into what’s happening at the polls on Election Day.
With this project, our goal is to empower a coalition of newsrooms to leverage data and technology platforms to report on important, difficult-to-cover stories. The initiative resonates with our broader mission as a company. Google is committed to organizing the world’s information and making it accessible to our users — especially around important political and cultural moments. In the past month, we’ve made it easier for people to learn how to register to vote, introduced a brand new state-by-state voting guide, and surfaced Google Trends data about the candidates and the issues.
Also crucial to that mission, and something we’re constantly thinking about at the Google News Lab, is finding new ways journalists can use technology to cover under-reported stories that inform our democracy.
Nearly 100 local news organizations already signed up to participate, including more than two dozen public radio member stations convened by WNYC, including WLRN in Miami, KERA in Dallas, WHYY in Philadelphia and KPCC in Los Angeles; Univision local television stations; and newsrooms in key jurisdictions across the country, including the USA TODAY NETWORK’s Arizona Republic, Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tallahassee Democrat and the Tennessean.
To help journalists stay up to date, Electionland will send participants real-time alerts about potential voting trouble spots within their coverage area. To learn more about Electionland and to sign-up your newsroom, visit propublica.org/electionland.
If you’re looking for ways to follow the campaign in real-time even before people head to the polls, check out the Election DataBot, another partnership we announced today with ProPublica that gives journalists access to election-related data to help them cover the races they’re interested in. The DataBot aggregates nearly a dozen election-related datasets, including real-time Google Trends data.
We hope Electionland and the Election DataBot allow journalists to provide more visibility into this historically underreported — but essential aspect — of the American electoral process.