& SOCIAL MEDIA
Protect Our Election looked at nearly 4,000 local election jurisdictions to assess how officials are using social media.
Democracy Needs A Marketing Department
Faith in American democracy is at an all-time low. But it's not because the process itself is flawed in any way. It is due to the proliferation of disinformation designed to sow doubt and provide cover for grift and corruption at every level of society.
The decay of public discourse over the past decade has shown that conspiracy theories - no matter how absurd - thrive in a vacuum. It is no longer viable to ignore the fever dreams of election deniers; the truth requires strenuous defense in today's information ecosystem.
That is why Protect Our Election undertook an unprecedented research project to dig into how local election officials are - or aren't - using social media to promote the truth about U.S. elections.
What we found is troubling... and illuminates the desperate need for funding and support at the local level of election administration across the country.
Out of nearly 4,000 jurisdictions* we looked at, we found just 338 Twitter accounts and 1,192 Facebook pages owned and operated by a county- or town-level election office. These numbers - particularly when plotted out on our accompanying map - illustrate just how significant the information vacuum is.
It is no surprise, then, when we see conspiracy theory content receive 8-10x as many impressions as fact-based posts from official sources.
Put quite simply: American democracy is drowning under the overwhelming weight of widespread and uncontested disinformation.
To be clear: this is not the fault of the dedicated election officials who power democracy across the country - they are already underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked. In most cases, they do not have the resources to effectively communicate the truth.
Our mission is to change that by offering pro bono tools to local election officials, advocating for increased funding/staffing in election offices, and encouraging ordinary citizens to do their part in amplifying the truth.
*Our data set covers all county-level election offices in the 42 states where elections are administered at that level. In the 8 states where elections are run at the municipal level, we looked at cities and towns covering 75% of a given state's population.
The above information comes directly from the following trusted election sources:
US Election Assistance Commission (PDF)
FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub's "Facts About Voting By Mail" (PDF)
The Bipartisan Policy Center, "Is Voting by Mail Safe and Reliable?"
Lawfare Blog, "The Rise of Ballot Drop Boxes Due to the Coronavirus"