WITF box explaining late election results

While there are a lot of unknowns ahead of Election Day, there are things we as journalists can do to help manage our audiences’ expectations and prepare them for what to expect. One of those being telling people that there may not be results for days, possibly even weeks, after Election Day. WITF In Pennsylvania did this by running a box alongside the station’s voting stories and election previews that explains why the public shouldn’t expect election results on election night. The box reads: “Results of the Nov. 3 election in Pennsylvania, and across the country, likely won’t be known for days. The counting of ballots continues after election night most years. This year’s expected surge in mailed ballots means election offices will need extra time to tally all the votes.”

Project manager Mollie Muchna (she/her) has spent the last 10 years working in audience and engagement journalism in local newsrooms across the Southwest. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism. She can be reached at mollie@trustingnews.org and on Twitter @molliemuchna.

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