ProPublica announced $1 million in support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies for its Electionland collaboration and related national and local reporting on voting issues around the 2020 U.S. elections. The gift from the organization of craigslist founder Craig Newmark will support a consortium of news organizations from across the nation that tracks the voter experience and shines a light on practices that jeopardize the right to vote.
“Participating reporters in hundreds of newsrooms will once again get the context and contacts they need to cover voters’ concerns about disenfranchisement, fraud, interference, and hacking in the run-up to the election, as well as Election Day alerts about voting problems in their area,” said Scott Klein, deputy managing editor of ProPublica. “In 2020, we’ll grow the cutting-edge tools that we built for previous Electionlands and empower local reporters with information early enough to take action, while voting is still happening.”
Using multiple data sources, social media newsgathering, and verification technology, the Electionland collaboration will target issues that can effectively disenfranchise eligible voters. These include changing voting laws and rules, disinformation, voter harassment, insecure technology, equipment failures, and long lines at the polls. This new philanthropic funding will allow newsrooms and technology companies across the country to closely monitor the 2020 elections in a way that no single organization could. A smaller part of the gift will support ProPublica’s investigative journalism in 2021.
“For American democracy to remain healthy, the people must be able to participate freely in our voting system,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “ProPublica’s Electionland is about driving immediate change when voting rights are infringed, and I’m proud to support these mission-critical efforts.”
First mounted ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and then relaunched for the 2018 midterms, Electionland has recruited hundreds of practicing journalists and journalism students to report on voting problems in real time. The initiative seeks to address issues quickly, while the polls are still open and citizens are still able to vote.
This work has spurred impact. For example, in October 2016, New York restored access to its elections hotline during early voting. In November of that same year, Texas elections officials set straight a poll worker’s misinterpretation of the state’s voter ID law. In November 2018, Wisconsin and Kentucky shut down insecure, hacking-susceptible computer servers that powered the states’ voter registration.
“We are grateful to Craig Newmark Philanthropies for this gift, which will extend ProPublica’s investigative journalism in the public interest,” said Richard Tofel, President of ProPublica. “As we head into 2020, our newsroom looks forward to working alongside our partners on one of the most fundamental issues in a democracy—protecting the right to vote.”
ProPublica is already enlisting partners for Electionland, and journalists interested in participating can get in touch at [email protected].
ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. With a team of more than 100 dedicated journalists, ProPublica covers a range of topics, focusing on stories with the potential to spur real-world impact. Its reporting has contributed to the passage of new laws; reversals of harmful policies and practices; and accountability for leaders at local, state and national levels. Since it began publishing in 2008, ProPublica has received five Pulitzer Prizes, five Peabody Awards, three Emmy Awards and seven George Polk Awards, among others.
About Craig Newmark Philanthropies
Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans & military families. For more information, please visit CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org.