This election is unlike any we have experienced. With millions more people voting by mail as the coronavirus impacts every aspect of daily life, we know we can't cover this election like we have in the past.
Because of that, we want to explain what you can expect from CapRadio on our air, website and social media this election season, including on Election Day.
What will CapRadio's coverage focus on the week of the election?
Here are our goals as a news organization the week of the election:
Provide you the information you need to vote safely and securely
California had several different options to vote before the pandemic — which came with their own confusion — and that seems to have grown. We're working to provide clarity on that process, no matter which way you choose to vote. Our Election 2020 Voter Guide provides details on how to vote and ways to research what's on your ballot.
We will also provide information on how to register or vote, and what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted.
Bear witness to how people all over our region cast their ballots in this unique election
On Election Day CapRadio reporters will fan out across the region to monitor and report on the voting process. We’ll file updates on our website, social media channels and broadcast throughout the day. Our goal is to not only capture this moment, but to watch for potential issues and help you navigate the day.
Counter misinformation around the election
Through our partnership with PolitiFact California, we will fact-check misinformation as it pops up on social media, campaign ads or from candidates themselves. Our focus is on California-specific issues, and especially those that present the possibility for immediate harm. You can find all of our fact-checks here.
Provide context to understand what is happening and what it means for you
With all of this, our goal is to make sure you have the context needed to fully understand the election. Simply reporting what is happening isn't enough. In all of our reporting, we would rather be right than first. While we strive to be both, we will choose factual, contextualized reporting every time.
How will you report results On Election Night?
Carefully, cautiously and with context.
The results of this year’s presidential election may not be declared on Election Night. The pandemic has reshaped the ways Americans will be able to vote safely, which includes a shift to vote-by-mail. California also accepts mail-in ballots that arrive up to 17 days after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3. This means that votes will take longer to count than in past years.
And an election isn't a football game. Candidates don't "pull out ahead" or "take the lead." The votes counted Election Night are simply part of the total votes that will be counted, and aren't necessarily reflective of what the final tally will be.
On Election Night, we will avoid language such as "ahead" or "winning," since it may be unclear from initial results which candidate will ultimately be awarded the office. Instead, we'll let you know a candidate's percentage of the current vote, how many ballots have been cast and how many are expected to still come in. Those projections will come from the nonpartisan election research firm Political Data, Inc., which California campaigns in both parties rely on for data.
To be clear: Neither NPR nor CapRadio “calls” a race for any particular candidate or ballot measure. We will, however, report if the Associated Press calls a national or state race. Here is some information on how they make those calls, which includes state demographic data and statistics about advance voting. CapRadio will not call any local races on Election Night.
We will report if a candidate or ballot measure campaign has conceded or is claiming victory. However, as a reminder, concessions have no legal implications and can be rescinded at any time. Similarly, claiming a victory does not make it so. Elections are not final until certified by the Secretary of State's office for statewide or federal races, which happens Dec. 11, or by county election offices for local races, which happens by Dec. 4.
What will I hear on your broadcast?
In order to be as responsive to the news as possible the week of the election — and in recognition of how little we may know on Election Night — we will run NPR’s All Things Considered from 1-3 p.m, along with a few other schedule tweaks. NPR's national election coverage will start at 4 p.m. Tuesday and return for an hour at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We’re also prepared to initiate live, local special coverage at any time. You can read more and view this week’s program schedule here.
How can I ask you questions?
Our journalists will also be working to answer your questions about the election. Specifically, we want to know what questions you have about voting as Election Day approaches.
Leave your question below, and we'll work to get you answers.
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