Misinformation Overwhelms Local Election Officials

“They’re undoubtedly overwhelmed,” mentioned Isabella Garcia-Camargo, an organizer of the Election Integrity Partnership, a brand new coalition of misinformation researchers.Since Sept. eight, she mentioned, her group has investigated 182 circumstances of election-related misinformation, most of which began regionally. When mail was present in a ditch in Greenville, Wis., for instance, some conservative media retailers inaccurately claimed that Democrats have been dumping absentee ballots. In Germantown, Md., a video of an election official darkening an oval on a poll was erroneously used as proof that voters’ preferences have been being altered, Ms. Garcia-Camargo mentioned.Final week, the Elections Infrastructure Info Sharing and Evaluation Middle, an information-sharing partnership, warned election officers a couple of spate of suspicious emails that impersonated state officers or included hyperlinks to web sites that requested them to confirm their password data.The emails, reported earlier by The Wall Road Journal, didn’t look like a part of a coordinated marketing campaign, mentioned Jason Neglect, a spokesman for the group. However it was an indication that native officers ought to “stay vigilant in figuring out and reporting suspicious exercise to guard the vote,” he mentioned.High state officers who oversee elections mentioned they have been additionally always speaking with native authorities concerning the surge of falsehoods. In Colorado, Jena Griswold, the secretary of state, mentioned her workplace had held a name with native officers and county clerks this month after the disclosure that Iran was behind threatening emails meant to affect American voters.Ms. Griswold mentioned she wished to make sure that the officers have been geared up in case they encountered related messages and reminded them of one of the best practices for on-line safety.“That is only a robust yr for everyone in our workplace,” she mentioned.The expertise of Deva Marie Proto, the registrar of voters in Sonoma County, Calif., has been typical of native election officers. Some mornings, she rises at 5 to reply voter questions on Fb. She then heads to the county places of work in Santa Rosa to carry the morale of the 15 full-time workers members, plus a handful of momentary election staff, who’re coping with folks’s calls about rumors and conspiracies.

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