Election polls were a disaster this year. Here’s how AI could help

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What voters say to their friends on social media is a reliable reflection of their true opinion about candidates—and AI can tap into those insights when predicting elections. In the days and weeks ahead, there will be a lot of attention paid to the wide disparity between most preelection polls and the actual results. However, there’s a technology that could do a much better job of tracking and forecasting voter sentiment—artificial intelligence. Read Full Story

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It’s legal to bring guns to the polls in many swing states. What could go wrong?

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‘Guns at the polls are a tinder box near an open flame.’ Within the space of 12 hours on Election Day 2016, the Election Protection hotline received calls from 85 voters in 28 states who reported seeing guns at the polls. This year, that threat is heightened. Gun sales have skyrocketed to all-time highs during the pandemic, especially among first-time owners. The line between poll watching and voter intimidation has blurred , as Republicans are officially conscripting citizens for an “ Army for Trump ,” and there’s been a rise in the activity of armed, far-right gangs that have already brandished semiautomatic weapons at protests this year. In addition to quashing turnout, the presence of guns poses a real threat of violence. According to Giffords Law Center’s website: “Guns at the polls are a tinder box near an open flame.” Read Full Story

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Your phone already tracks your location. Now that data could fight voter suppression

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A new initiative will aggregate smartphone location data so that researchers can understand the impact of long lines and limited polling places on Election Day. Smartphone location data is a dream for marketers who want to know where you go and how long you spend there—and a privacy nightmare . But this kind of geolocation data could also be used to protect people’s voting rights on Election Day. Read Full Story

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Long lines, stressed poll workers, COVID-19: How Stanford d.school is using design to streamline voting

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If poll workers have the tools they need, there’s less chance for voter disenfranchisement on site. This presidential election is like no other, and the combination of an extremely fraught contest and a global pandemic is putting the electoral system in a pressure cooker. There are already long lines to vote in cities around the country —and e ven so, early voters are turning out and casting ballots in record numbers . And polling sites are creaking forward to meet the demand. Read Full Story

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Strict voter ID laws directly reduce minority turnout

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Voter ID laws may only drop minority turnout by a small percentage, but experts say it’s certainly enough to impact the outcome of a tight election. In the past two decades, strict voter ID laws have popped up in states across the country in a supposed effort to prevent voter fraud. But civil liberty experts have long said that voter fraud is a fallacy. The real problem at our polls, they say , is one of low voter participation, and such laws only work to hurt that participation—especially among minorities. New research gives even more weight to that claim. Using official election data, a new study demonstrates the direct discriminatory impact of strict voter ID laws on racial and ethnic minority turnout. These laws, which require voters to show a specific form of photo identification at the polls, disproportionally drive down turnout in more racially diverse areas, the study shows, …

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Poll watching is legal, voter intimidation is not. Which does Trump actually want?

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Both parties and outside observers field poll watchers every election. This year, the president has made the concept more fraught. “They weren’t allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad things.” At the first presidential debate, President Trump continued to question the integrity of the election, suggesting that volunteers sympathetic to his candidacy had been forbidden from poll watching—”a safe, very nice thing”—during early voting in the city. Read Full Story

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A new generation of younger poll workers is stepping up to protect the elderly from COVID-19

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Almost half a million people have signed up, blowing past the original goal of 250,000. In 2016, Scott Duncombe, a developer in San Francisco, created a website through which generous citizens could pay for pizza delivery to hungry voters patiently waiting in line at polling places. As he gauged the interest for Pizza to the Polls this year, people told him that as much as voters needed pizza, there was also a critical shortage of poll workers at those sites to eat the pizza. Duncombe pivoted to launch Power the Polls , which in July started recruiting “the next generation of poll workers.” Read Full Story

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This is the one election chart I’m going to keep refreshing all day

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We know how last night went. Here’s something to keep in mind today. Last night did not prove to be the Election Day landslide for Joe Biden that many analysts had thought possible, or even probable. Democrats voted early, yes. But Donald Trump more than put up a fight, bringing new voters to the polls and wooing Hispanic and Latino voters. Now, as the world awaits the full voting results of states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the question is: Can Biden still surge and win this thing? Read Full Story

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Massachusetts and Alaska are voting on a radical change to how we run elections

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Both states are deciding whether to implement ranked choice voting, where voters rank their preferred candidates in order of preference. Advocates say it gives outsider candidates more of a chance—and depolarizes election campaign When voters in Massachusetts and Alaska cast their ballots in this election, they’re not only voting on the next president or any local offices. They’re voting on an entirely different way to vote in future elections—one that experts say, if passed, could help depolarize our politics. Read Full Story

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Super Tuesday live results: 4 ways to track the votes in real time

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Voters in 14 states will head to the polls this Super Tuesday, and more than 1,300 delegates hang in the balance. Here’s where to see the live results. It’s hard to believe, but since the start of the 2020 presidential primaries, almost two dozen Democratic hopefuls have dropped out of the race. Now, with just five candidates remaining, voters in 14 states will help decide their ultimate fates on this Super Tuesday . Here’s what to know about this consequential primary election day: Read Full Story

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