COVERING MIDTERM ELECTIONS
A nonprofit news organization committed to reporting the nuanced truth about elections and voting at a time of crisis in America.
Google Trends: Midterm Elections
Data galore on what people are searching for on election-related topics.
Video: How to Investigate Elections
A GIJN May 2022 panel discussion including ProPublica’s Craig Silverman and Rowan Philip from GIJN.
ACLU: Vote by Mail by State
Database of rules and rights of mail-in voters.
County-by-county breakdown of polling equipment and registered voters. Search for the make and model of, say, the ballot marking device or electronic poll book being used in precincts of interest.
Find more resources on campaign finance in the Toolbox’s public records page.
Locate and download campaign contribution data.
FEC Itemizer from Propublica
Itemizer allows you to browse electronic campaign finance filings from the Federal Election Commission and to see individual contributions and expenditures reported by committees raising money for federal elections. As of October 2018, these filings include Senate candidate or Senate party committees, which previously filed their reports on paper.
State Campaign Finance Databases
Search this interactive maps to find them.
Covers candidates and elected officials in five basic categories: biographical information, issue positions, voting records, campaign finances and interest group ratings.
Operating for many years as the Center for Voting and Democracy, FairVote was founded in 1992 and tracks voter turnout, and research reports on election administration, among other things.
Voter Data Tipsheet
Resources from NICAR 2018.
APM Research Lab: Voter Profile Tools
The latest available data on the demographic and economic characteristics of the potential electorate—from education and poverty levels, to racial and immigrant make-up, and much more.
American Public Media: Representing US Demographics Tool
Features a series of data about potential voters.
ProPublica: Primer on Voter ID Laws
Public opinion surveys from around the world.
League of Women Voters: Vote411.org
Voting information by state: deadlines, polling finders, ballot measures and more.
California Voter Foundation
News, stats and studies.
The nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition.
For more training videos, visit our YouTube page.
2022 and 2020 ELECTION RESOURCES
Allows users to view every congressional roll call vote in American history on a map of the United States and on a liberal-conservative ideological map including information about the ideological positions of voting Senators and Representatives.
GIJN: Election Guide for Investigative Reporters
Links to the introduction of a five-part guide.
Committee to Protect Journalists: U.S. Elections 2020: Journalist Safety Kit
Some great tips and resources, ranging from physical safety to digital security identifying bots to covering rallies.
RCFP Election Legal Guide 2020
Available in English and Spanish, this guide built by RCFP and NPPA with help from the SPJ Foundation, provides an overview of legal issues that journalists may face while covering the primaries or general election on Nov. 3, 2020. Journalists may also report on protests and demonstrations during the election season.
Essential Resources for the US Election: A Field Guide for Journalists on the Frontlines
Election guide from GIJN.
This tool enables you to evaluate Twitter accounts. For example how automated they are, how many Retweets they post, or which websites they link to most often. Helpful for evaluating accounts during the election.
The Journalist’s Resource: Using Research to Keep Politicians Honest
A 50-minute training video with some outstanding tips and resources.
An open-source database that maps voter reports of problems at the ballot box, such as intimidation and misinformation, and is a project of DemLabs, the Center for Common Ground, the Lincoln Project, the NAACP, and other groups. Searchable by state, free, and intended as a resource for reporters (especially local) and the public, it is loaded with voter stories from around the country that were self-reported to SeeSay and the NAACP. Downloadable data includes the map of voter complaints and attachments from voters, such as videos, documents, and photos–voter phone numbers can be made available to reporters upon request.
The Illuminating 2020 Project
The Illuminating 2020 Project increases transparency of paid political campaign advertising by helping journalists identify what the major 2020 U.S. presidential campaigns are saying and to whom in their paid Facebook and Instagram ads to persuade the public. The project provides data for how much the campaigns are spending, who they are targeting, and what they are saying in their ads. The project classifies ads based on message type (e.g., call to action, attack), message topic (e.g., COVID, economic, foreign policy), and message tone (i.e., civil, uncivil).
CPJ: Safely Covering the 2020 U.S. Elections
Legal resources, digital safety and more.
U.S. Polling Places Dataset (2012-18)
Built by the Center for Public Integrity.
Election Beat 2020: The Real and False Risks of Mail-in Voting
From Journalist’s Resource at Harvard University.
US Presidential Debates: 3 Studies Journalists Should Know About
From Journalist’s Resource.
Ad Observatory by NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Explore 2020 Facebook Ad spending by political candidates.
SPJ Ethics: How to Cover the Elections Ethically
Webinar from former SPJ ethics chairs Lynn Walsh and Andrew Seaman.
Open Secrets Anomoly Tracker
Highlights “anomalies” in its money-and-politics data. An anomaly, as we define it here, is an occurrence that is out of the ordinary. It is not necessarily an indication that there is something amiss.
Campaign Ethics: A Field Guide
The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University has produced non-partisan, how-to book for candidates and political consultants on how to run an ethical campaign. It’s helpful for journalists who hope to better understand how ethics apply to the upcoming 2020 presidential elections.
Pew Research Center: Media and the 2020 Election Database
Search Pew’s database of election research.
Journalist’s Resource: Guide to 2020 Democratic Policy Proposals
Democratic presidential candidates’ platforms and reporting what the research says about their policy proposals.
American Public Media: Representing US Voting Tool
Includes candidates appearing on the November ballot, with a special focus on women candidates. Learn about the households that will elect—and be represented by—the new House in our Representing US tools.
Politico offers a great suite of open source data creation tools for covering the elections.
Search for bills or legislators across all states.
Marist Poll Academy
A free resource for journalists (and others) that provides practical information about polling that’s critical to accurate reporting. It offers courses on understanding, explaining and interpreting poll data.
DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTIONS
Journalist’s Resource: Presidential Conventions, Candidate Evaluations and Related Dynamics
From Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
Smithsonian Magazine: 1968 DNC in Chicago
Coverage of protests and violence.
Who’s lying. Who isn’t.
Archive: Citizen Media Law Project: Guide to Covering 2012 RNC and DNC
Resources galore for covering the political conventions.
OTHER ELECTION AND POLITICS RESOURCES
ProPublica’s election 2020 coverage hub.
Dataherald is a self-serve data visualization software that creates localized and ready-to-use data visualizations for a variety of storylines. Journalists can copy/paste the code to where they want the visualization to appear in the article. Dataherald comes preloaded with data that auto-updates and there is no coding or technical skills required.
Civic: Politico Elections Data Management Tools
A great suite of open source data creation tools for covering the elections.
Illinois Elections Data
Useful campaign data on Illinois elections, managed by Scott Kennedy, a former Democratic campaign worker.
MSNBC Politics: Candidate Brain Trusts
Profiles of the top advisers to the presidential candidates.
FindLaw: Election 2008
Video, stories, documents and other materials relating to the 2008 Presidential Election.
Code for Democracy
The organization’s search, visualization, and alerting tools make it easy to investigate relationships between campaign contributions, political narratives, and legislative outcomes. It makes alerts available across FEC data, House and Senate lobbying disclosures, 990s, Facebook ads, and more. It’s the only platform that allows people to create alerts for when specific people show up in campaign finance disclosures, when Facebook ads on a topic are created, and when lobbyists lobbying on particular issues give political contributions, etc.
Before and After the Vote: A Journalism Resource Database
From Free Press, this database database features more than 100 resources that address ways to: Cover white supremacy and white-supremacist violence; report on police, protests, uprisings and demonstrations, detect and combat misinformation and disinformation; produce coverage that upholds election integrity; protect journalists’ physical safety and secure digital communications.
ProPublica: Trump Town Appointees Database
Search appointees, staff, etc. in this database and their employment histories.
Pew Internet & American Life Project
An initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. Pew Internet explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life.
MAPLight.org: Money and Politics
Database makes connections between legislative votes and campaign donations.
WSJ: 2008 Campaign Fundraising Totals
Access to this does not require a subscription to the WSJ.
For more training videos, visit our YouTube page.
Use this database to track what companies receive federal grants and contracts. You can sort by state, district, agency, etc.
Use this interactive map and database to track presidential contributions by zip code, party, candidate,
Political watchdog group that tracks lobbyists and fundraising.
Tracks news mentions, blog mentions and tracks other information on the presidential candidates.
PBS/YouTube: Video Your Vote
Site invites you to share your voting experience with a video post. Some of the best videos will be featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on Election Day.
Embed widgets on your site to localize coverage.
PBS Frontline: The Choice 2008
An in-depth look at the presidential candidates.
A project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly, created the site to help voters separate fact from falsehood in the 2008 presidential campaign. Journalists and researchers from the Times and CQ will fact-check the accuracy of speeches, TV ads, interviews and other campaign communications.
Polling information on elections and other issues. Has a good newsroom section.
FiveThirtyEight Pollster Blog
Named for the number of votes in the Electoral College, this blog is written by pollster Nate Silver, managing partner or Baseball Prospectus who created a system for making baseball player performance predictions.
For more training videos, visit our YouTube page.
Computer science professor tracks state polls and provides a graphic summary of the electoral vote outlook.
All About Redistricting
A comprehensive guide to the process of drawing electoral lines, allowing users to drill down state-by-state. Created by Justin Levitt teaches Law of the Political Process and Constitutional Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Political Irony: Humor and Hypocrisy from the World of Politics
A blog with political cartoons, videos, commentary, etc.
The Cato Institute
A non-profit public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute is named for Cato’s Letters, a series of libertarian pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.
Election watchdog organization.
Black Box Voting
Voting watchdog group.
CJR Campaign Desk
A Columbia Journalism Review blog devoted to watchdogging the media.
A fantastic site for researching campaign financing statistics.
Federal Election Commission Home Page
Loaded with contribution statistics.
Links to various races around the country.
Liberal political site.
Twitter Vote Report
Track wait times and other voting news live.
National Public Radio
Several great resources for political coverage.
Magazine covers Capitol Hill.
Another publication covering Congress.
PBS Frontline: Government and Elections
A collection of companion Web sites on various political topics.
The Environmental Working Group’s site shows which elected representatives get the biggest contributions from the filthiest polluters. A dynamite database.
A clearinghouse of election polls. Updated whenever they come out.
Voting in America: 1840-2008
Interactive maps, commentary and analysis on voting patterns.
Downloadable book from the Markkula Center at Santa Clara University.
Beliefnet: The 12 Tribes of American Politics
Survey breaks down 12 religious voting blocs.
AAAS: Science & Technology in the 2008 Election
From the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Counter Punch Political Newsletter
Great commentary and super links section to political, economic and media sites.
Center for Public Integrity
A D.C. watchdog group that explores many issues and special interests.
Annenberg’s political fact-checking resource.
Record Verification for Political Candidates
Check a candidates military record, etc.
National Personnel Records Center
A central repository of personnel-related records, both military and civil service. The site’s mission is to “provide world-class service to government agencies, military veterans, former civilian Federal employees, family members, as well as researchers and historians.”
Washingtonpost.com’s On Politics
A deep site that includes a searchable database of all political races, sorted by state and federal levels.
CNN’s AllPolitics site
Another great site for following the elections.
A non-profit site who’s aim is to stimulate debate on global issues. It is non-partisan and presents a range of views on any subject. For journalists, it is an invaluable source of quality background information on international relations, European and Islamic cultures, world opinion and much more. The media section currently features a multi-article debate on journalism and war, and a world media monitor of news coverage on SARS and the war on Iraq.
Where to get coverage on Election Day.
Focusing primarily on U.S. politics and current affairs, this site auto-generates a news summary every five minutes, drawing on experts and pundits, insiders and outsiders, media professionals and amateur bloggers.
The Poynter Institute built this site to cover the California recall but continued it for the presidential campaign. Features various blogs, coverage, advertising, etc.
League of Conservation Voters
Scorecard on environmental issues.
TRAC Government Site
A super site developed by Syracuse University to guide you to and through several government sites, including the IRS, FBI, DEA and ATF.
A free politics and social issues newsletter.
The National Journal
A weekly on politics and government published in Washington, put out a Guide to the Web in its Dec. 8, 2001 issue that probably would be helpful because it includes lots of government sites.
Site’s no longer live but is archived.
Media Research Center
A dynamite site that has some commentary on media coverage of the political scene.
Easy-to-use site to check where candidates stand on issues.
Dozens of resources for tracking politics.
Non-partisan site offers “unbiased news and analysis.” It includes some great research and analysis on policy issues such as education, technology, environment and healthcare.
Votelink highlights current topics and newsmakers. Organized by business, politics, teen vote, etc.
SelectSurf Politics Links
Links to several great politics sites.
The Political Graveyard
This page tells us where dead politicians are buried. Search by name, state, cemetery name, etc.
This site breaks down political spin.
From the Sunlight Foundation, OpenSecrets.org, and the Project on Government Oversight, this site tracks voting trends of politicians. Great first-stop for tracking conflicts of interest or investigating a politician.
Institute for Public Accuracy
As a nationwide group of policy researchers. Great source for public policy issues!
History and Politics Out Loud
A database of famous political speeches, including John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon. Search by speech title, speaker’s name or date. Note: Your browser may need plug-ins to hear the audio.
Capitol Hill Blue
Political news with a twist.
A good politics site with an edge — usually enjoyed by liberals, conservatives and moderates alike.
Mickey Kaus’ KausFiles.com
Links, story ideas and spin from an author and public policy guru.
A religion site that includes a list of religions of past presidents.
Political Site of the Day
American Rhetoric: Top Political Speeches of All-Time
Download video from the “speech bank.”
Talking Points Memo
Political commentary from Josh Marshall, a Washington, D.C.-based writer and former Washington Editor of the American Prospect. His articles on politics and culture have appeared in The American Prospect, The Columbia Journalism, Review, Feed, The New Republic, The New York Post, The New York Times, Newsday, Salon and Slate, among others.
A right-wing political site edited by David Horowitz.
A political journal with links to professional and personal posts.
A good political site from the syndicated political columnist.
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Watchdog group on wasteful government spending. Site includes a media page and is organized by categories such as government contracts, energy, transportation, national security, etc.
ELECTION 2016 RESOURCES
POLITICAL ADVERTISING RESOURCES
PBS: The 30-Second Candidate
A look inside political advertising. Historical timeline, transcript of show. Create your own ad.
Google Trends Data Store
Download .csv files on Google search trends, including many relating to the election.
ELECTION 2014 RESOURCES
AllAreGreen.us Browser Extension
A free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation. Puts vital data where it’s most relevant so you can discover the real impact of money on our political system. Oh, and it was built by a 16-year-old coder.
ELECTION 2012 RESOURCES
ProPublica PAC Track
Follow contributors and spending with political action committees.
Chicago Tribune Election Center
Tracks state, local and national elections.
U.S. Election Atlas
A pay site that’s full of past election statistics, including county-by-county presidential election results going back to the 1960s.
AP Stylebook: U.S. Elections Style Guide
AP breaks out election styles in an easy-to-use cheat sheet.
Washington Post Politics Coverage
In-depth coverage from the campaign trail., including blogs and other commentary.
Chicago Tribune: The Swamp Blog
Political blog with a focus on the national elections.
CNN Cafferty File Blog
Political analyst Jack Cafferty’s blog is often updated several times a day.
Covers politics in three areas: Congress and the constant flow of agendas, personalities and power struggles that define daily life on Capitol Hill; the 2008 presidential campaign; lobbying and advocacy.
Andrew Sullivan’s political blog.
WikiPedia: Inauguration Day
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a chronological chart of details from past ceremonies.
History Matters: FDR’s 1933 Inauguration Speech
Famous speech by Franklin Delano Roosevelt given in Washington, D.C., March 4th, 1933. “We have nothing to fear … but fear itself.”
MSNBC: Estimating Large Crowds
Steve Doig of Arizona State University uses a process to estimate large crowds. He uses Obama’s Presidential Inauguration as an example.
New York Times: Most-Used Words in Presidential Inaugural Addresses
From 1789 to the present.
Bartleby: Inauguration Speeches of Past Presidents
Searchable database of speeches.
Library of Congress: Presidential Inaugurations
“I Do Solemnly Swear . . .”: Presidential Inaugurations is a collection of approximately 400 items or 2,000 digital files relating to inaugurations from George Washington’s in 1789 to George W. Bush’s inauguration of 2001. This presentation includes diaries and letters of presidents and of those who witnessed inaugurations, handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs, prints, photographs, and sheet music.
Library of Congress: Inauguration Dates
Great for quick reference.
infoPlease: Inauguraton File
A treasure trove of facts and background, including media coverage, famous addresses, inaugural trivia, and life after the presidency.
WikiPedia: Inauguration Day
Includes history and traditions with the ceremony.