Covering an Unprecedented Election

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation about vote by mail, and early signs of foreign interference, this year’s general election is shaping up to be one of the most challenging in American history.

The cross-partisan National Task Force on Election Crises offers recommendations to policymakers, the press and the public to better understand and prepare for different election outcomes this November.

With the media playing a critical role in helping voters understand the potential challenges of this election cycle and the laws and procedures that govern our electoral process, the Task Force offered expert insights to national, state and local press in a virtual media summit last week.

Their guidance for how journalists can prepare to cover this election:

  • “Don’t bow to pressure. Don’t bow to critics. Prepare yourself, your family and most importantly your readers and viewers for the fact that you probably won’t know who the president is until December or January.” —Ron Fournier, former D.C. Bureau Chief, Associated Press
  • “Focus on the things that are being done to know the election is right. Focus on the physical control mechanisms, the procedural validations. It’s an amazing opportunity to give the American public a civics lesson this year.” —Jennifer Morrell, Partner, Elections Group
  • Emphasize early action: Don’t wait to register. Don’t wait to check your registration. Don’t wait to request, don’t wait to return. Don’t wait until November 3. Vote early.” —Tammy Patrick, Senior Advisor, Elections, Democracy Fund

More resources from the Task Force can be accessed here.