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WCPO partnership helping provide in-depth, watchdog journalism on election security

Posted at 5:01 AM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 13:16:04-04

Everyone who votes wants to make sure his or her vote counts.

And I think we all want to feel confident that eligible voters have access to cast their ballots and the results we see are accurate and reflect the will of the people.

There have been more questions and concerns raised about election and voting issues in the past four years than there have been at any point in my lifetime.

At WCPO9 News, we are committed to reporting on election security and voting issues.

That’s why we have partnered with nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica on the Electionland project.

Electionland covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. It is a coalition of newsrooms around the country that are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation and more.

We are one of the first local TV stations in the country to join this project.

RELATED: Ohio Values: WCPO participating in statewide collaboration to better cover the 2020 election

We came on board back in February -- before vote-by-mail was a major news topic. Since then, senior reporter Larry Seward has attended five training webinars to learn more about voting concerns and election problems.

The result of those trainings -- and Larry’s keen reporting ability -- has been more than 23 news stories about election security and similar issues.

For example, Larry did a story on how Ohio is the only state in the country to enlist “white hat” hackers to try to hack into state election websites.

Another story had Larry showcasing a legal settlement that allows people with canceled registrations the ability to cast ballots and have their votes count in Ohio.

The next step is a virtual tipline, where you can submit voting problems via the website, text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

Our goal in all of this coverage isn’t to scare anyone or influence the election. We simply feel it is important for everyone in our community to understand what happens with our election process.

After all, being a watchdog is one of our most important roles.

As always, feel free to contact me to let me know what you think about this partnership or anything else about our coverage.

Mike Canan is the Senior Director of Local Media Content at WCPO. Contact him at mike.canan@wcpo.com. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram at @Mike_Canan.