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Slate and Votecastr planning to break election information embargo

Plan to publish real-time projection data
Posted at 11:34 PM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 23:34:10-05

Slate and a new company called Votecastr plan to break the traditional Election Day information embargo, publishing real-time projections before the polls close. 

For decades, media outlets have agreed not to publish election projections until all the precincts in each state have shut their doors in an effort not to influence voters who have yet to cast their ballots. 

But this year, Slate and election data company Votecastr plan to debut “minute-by-minute” information and analysis for key battle ground states. 

Traditionally this information is only accessed by campaigns. 

Justin Buchler, Associate Professor of Political Science at Case Western University tells News 5 the move is a huge break from journalistic norms. 

“This is going to be very different, we don’t know what the effects will be of having this kind of information public.” 

Buchler pointed to the 2000 presidential election when networks called Florida for Al Gore before precincts in the Florida Panhandle precincts had finished voting. They later reversed their call to George W. Bush before retracting that as well and the recount battle ensued. 

This time around, Buchler said it’s very difficult to determine the impact that these early numbers could have on voter turnout. 

“If one side is predicted to lose we could see them mobilize out of anger,” he said. “We could also see the side that is predicted to lose just become dejected and stay home.”

 

While most media organizations will be sticking to the traditional embargo, Buchler said the impact of Slate and social media could still be noticeable.