Guides

Social Media Guide to the 2020 Elections

By Editorial Staff

America has made it clear that now, more than ever, is the time to use your voice this fall. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and David Dobrik are raising awareness for the 2020 elections and encouraging their followers to register and cast their vote in November. David Dobrik recently partnered with HeadCount.org and their #GoodToVote campaign. HeadCount is a non-partisan organization whose purpose is to register voters and increase participation in democracy. Dobrik and HeadCount’s partnership anchored itself on Dobrik’s signature spectacle, car giveaways. The giveaway led to over 100,000 Americans registering to vote and more than 250,000 checking their registration status. Dobrik’s giveaway was the largest voting drive in HeadCount history. 

In addition to Dobrik, Billie Eilish, Emma Roberts, and Ariana Grande are part of the seventy other celebrities participating in the #GoodToVote campaign. 

While social media has proven to be an indispensable tool for spreading awareness and driving voter participation this fall, it has also proven to be an overwhelming outlet with a wide variety of opinions and information. Navigating through it all is a nightmare and time-consuming. Fear no more. To make things a bit easier, we’ve created a guide by compiling important dates, information, and sources to help navigate social media and the 2020 elections. 

1. Being an Informed Voter

The 2020 elections go beyond voting for the President this fall. Every American will be voting on the U.S. House of Representatives, State Senate, Courts on all levels, and many other crucial categories. It’s important to be a well-rounded and well-informed voter beyond the presidential election. Vote411 and BallotReady help guide Americans through their voting process, making them more informed on the issues on the ballot. Both platforms are run by nonpartisan civic groups. Let’s take a deeper dive into both of them.

Vote411

Americans can register to vote and get personalized voting information based on location through Vote411. Simply enter your address to get started. Vote411 allows Americans to see what’s on their ballot, check their voter registration, find their polling place, and discover upcoming debates in their area.

Vote411’s website and Instagram have important dates and important voting information regarding mail-in voting. They also have voter guides that outline COVID-19 state election alerts, candidate and ballot measure information, and first-time voter checklists.

BallotReady

Similar to Vote411, BallotReady is a personalized source to get voting information based on location. Again, you just have to enter your address to get started. After entering an address, Americans gain access to their own personal ballot. With their own personal ballot, they are able to dive into the background of every candidate. The information ranges from candidates’ background information on education and experience to endorsements and bar association evaluations.

Their platform allows users to save their choices as they go. Ballot information is live for elections in all 50 states. Researchers at MIT found an increase in turnout for voters who use BallotReady. They found that those who use BallotReady are 20% more likely to vote, even after controlling factors such as demographic and voting history. Check out their Instagram for important dates and facts regarding the 2020 elections.

News Outlets

Regardless of which side of the aisle an individual falls on, 80% of Americans believe news from social media platforms is biased and 62% of news from the television, radio, or newspaper is biased according to a study conducted by Gallop/The Knight Foundation. Their study found that Americans perceive PBS and AP news as the least biased news sources and the most factually accurate news sources. Check out @newshour and @apnews on Instagram.

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2. Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates

Debates serve as a primary source for Americans to hear each candidate’s stance on key issues and their future plans for the nation. While the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden has already passed, their next debate will be held Thursday, October 22nd at 9 pm. PBS NewsHour has articles and fact checks on both the first presidential debate and the vice-presidential debate that took place between current VP Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris. Each candidate’s vision can be found on their campaign websites, www.joebiden.com and www.donaldtrump.com.

In addition to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, here is a list of the third-party candidates. 

  • Jo Jorgensen is running as the Libertarian candidate with running mate Jeremy Cohen.
  • Howie Hawkins is running as the Green Party candidate with running mate Angela Walker.
  • Roque De La Fuente is running as the Alliance Party candidate with running mate Darcy Richardson.
  • Don Blankenship is running as the Constitution Party candidate with running mate William Mohr.

3. Important Dates

Check out these infographics created by BallotReady for in-person, mail, and online registration dates by state for the 2020 elections.

Additionally, check www.vote.org to find each state’s guidelines regarding early in-person voting, absentee ballots, and mail-in voting.

We hope this article serves as a resourceful guide during the 2020 elections. Remember, register and utilize your right to vote! Every vote matters.

This article was written by Lauren Conklin

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