December 10, 2018
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Help the BDN monitor, report voting problems this election season

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
In this Oct. 25, 2012 file photo, voters cast their votes through absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election at the town hall in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

This election season, the Bangor Daily News is once again joining a nationwide effort to look out for problems that might hamper your vote.

The BDN will monitor and investigate reports of problems casting ballots or irregularities at the polls along with more than 70 news organizations across the country participating in Electionland, an initiative from the news nonprofit ProPublica.

With absentee voting already begun and Election Day less than a month away, we need your eyes, ears and voices.

Courtesy of ProPublica
Courtesy of ProPublica
Along with more than 70 news organizations across the county, the BDN will monitor and investigate reports of problems casting ballots or irregularities at the polls as part of Electionland, an initiative from the news nonprofit ProPublica.

Mainers who experience issues voting — such as long lines, registration problems, purged voter rolls, broken machines, voter intimidation and changed voting locations — can report them by:

— texting the word “VOTE”, “VOTA” (for Spanish) or “投票 “(for Chinese) to 81380;

— sending a message on WhatsApp to 850-909-8683;

— sending a message on Facebook at m.me/electionland;

— or tagging @Electionland on Twitter.

In addition to these direct reports, the Electionland team will monitor social media posts and search data in real-time to discern if voting problems are occurring in Maine.

All of these tips, once verified, will be passed to local journalists. Reporter Jake Bleiberg is the BDN’s point person on the project.

The goal of Electionland is to ensure everyone’s right to vote is preserved. Your reports can and have made a difference.

In 2016, local journalists around the country reported more than 400 stories based on tips they received through the project, according to ProPublica. This reporting helped restore access to an elections hotline during early voting in New York, set straight a Texas poll worker misinterpreting state voter ID law and enable to two women who were denied the ability to vote to, ultimately, cast their ballots.

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