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Visualizing Election Uncertainty

A project to analyze, summarize, and share best practices for visualizing an unprecedented election

As someone who cares about data visualization, election season is always exciting because there is so much data to be analyzed, explored, and explained.

There are some new, unique circumstances in this year’s election; a global pandemic, attempts to weaken the Postal Service, expected delays in counting ballots and a President declining to commit to a peaceful transition of power after the election. Among other things. There is a challenge in visualizing the unprecedented time we live in.

Because of that, many people are pointing out how imperative it is to communicate when and how votes are counted as Ben Smith pointed out:

The TV presentation is always slick, but the underpinnings of county-by-county electoral systems are baroque and antiquated. And the pandemic means more people will vote by mail this year, in states with little experience processing those votes.

But at the highest levels of most news organizations and the big social media platforms, executives and insiders told me that it simply hasn’t sunk in how different this year is going to be — and how to prepare audiences for it.

So how are different newsrooms preparing to visualize uncertainty around the election?

Visualizing Election Uncertainty Survey 2020

In collaboration with the Open Source Election Technology Foundation (OSET) I am beginning an open survey of folks who are visualizing election data. I am focusing on newsrooms, but it is open to anyone who is is working with public-facing election visualizations.

I want to gather and summarize best practices and approaches across industries and disciplines. I hope to find a breadth of solutions that can be shared, discussed, and reused.

Take the survey

You can find the survey here

Responses will be edited, summarized, and shared publicly.

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