Research shows that masks are an essential defense against the coronavirus. Our NodeXL #ddj mapping from October 26 to November 1 finds The New York Times using animation and augmented reality to show just how masks work to filter and trap air particles that may carry the virus. This edition also includes several pieces on the United States presidential election: FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver talks to Vox about polling errors and uncertainties, freelance journalist Betsy Mason explains common shortcomings of US election maps, and NYT analyzed more than 25 million donations to Trump and Biden’s presidential campaigns.
In week two of #gijnElectionWatchdog, GIJN’s project to arm US reporters with effective tools for election accountability coverage included a comprehensive election equipment database, campaign finance deep access, daily time-saving tools, and the rules for all 50 states in a single spreadsheet.
In its first week, #gijnElectionWatchdog showed reporters how to quickly flag campaign finance abuses; listed Twitter handles for nearly all US secretaries of state; explained America’s wildly different vote recount rules by state; and found a pioneering tool to dig into dark money ad spending on Facebook.
It’s fair to say that the United States has never seen an election quite like this one. On November 3, Americans will vote to elect a president, members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, and thousands of local and state officials. There are concerns about armed poll watchers being sent to US polling stations to intimidate voters or interfere with mail-in ballots, charges of rigged voting and foreign interference, and record amounts of funding by donors, both open and covert. There is race-baiting, fear-mongering, and a tidal wave of disinformation — all amid a once-in-hundred-year pandemic. The stakes, not just for the United States but for the rest of the world, are enormous.