AF Check

There are 5 special Congressional elections in 2017, the first of which, Kansas’ 4th District, voted on April 11th.  Georgia’s 6th Congressional District (GA-06) votes today in its “round 1” and a potential ‘Runoff’ on June 20th.  Montana’s At-Large House seat will be voted on in May. And, both South Carolina’s 5th District and California’s 34th will be decided in June. Get out there and make your voice heard by voting.

special congressional elections 2017

All eyes are on Georgia’s special election “Round 1” today.  The Hill reports that voting machines were “reported” stolen a day before Georgia’s special congressional election (the Cobb County elections office apparently waited 2 days to report the theft).  Also, Trump weighs into the race via… wait for it… tweet.  Politifact fact-checks his misleading comments. We won’t even get into the robocalls. Meanwhile, GOP candidates try to distance themselves from the President as opportunity calls.

Good morning America.

Special Elections In Progress

With Kansas’ special election in the rear view mirror, there are at least 4 things we can glean from it according to the Washington Post.  However, it is all about Georgia’s 6th District today, with telling us everything we need to know about the Georgia 6 special election. One thing we do know for sure though, your vote is your voice.

For posterity, let’s look back at a couple of reports leading into the special elections: NPR thought it was worth noting that Democrats’ have been gauging their own chances of flipping GOP House seats in the 5 special 2017 ‘bellwether’ elections. Eric Bradner at CNN ranked their chances saying “Democrats have a chance to parlay their base’s anti-Donald Trump energy into victories – and chip into the 24 GOP seats they need to retake the House majority”. It is still to be determined how things will all shake out. Stay tuned.

Tracking Congressional Votes

In what could turn out to be an invaluable tool to track how vulnerable (or safe) your elected officials are, check out FiveThirtyEight’s Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump project.  It’s a running tally of how often every member of the House or Senate votes with or against the President. Almost more interesting is its measure of Trump’s share of the vote in the 2016 election minus Clinton’s and how often a member is expected to support Trump based on that margin. The tool is probably most effective though for its compare and contrast between a member’s actual and their predicted Trump support scores.  This in turn may demonstrate how in/out of touch your elected official is with you!  Friendly reminder: we’re on Congressional recess (April 8-23) aka Town Hall time.

Weighing In

Check out Timothy Pratt’s article in the Columbia Journalism Review where he highlights some new targets in election advertising – and it’s not who you think it is (or is it?).  He points out a “misleading political ad in Georgia makes ‘boogeyman’ of a surprising media target.” He says, one digital ad employs a quote ripped out of context—a 2011 American Journalism Review article—to point out that Ossoff oversees a documentary film company that has worked for Al Jazeera. The ad deploys the quote, which says Al Jazeera has been called “a mouthpiece for terrorists,” then asks about Ossoff, “How can we trust him?”

In 140 Characters (more or less)

The Daily Kos reports on how President Trump is weighing in on the special elections to replace members of the U.S. House who became Cabinet secretaries.  Trump accused the media of downplaying last week’s Republican victory in Kansas while disparaging the Democrat vying for one in Georgia.

Fact-Check of the Day

On CNN’s State of the Union this past weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders wrongly claimed that voter turnout in 2016 was “the lowest … in 20 years.” In fact, turnout was higher than it was in 2012 reports

The overall turnout was 60.2 percent in 2016, up from 58.6 percent four years earlier. In addition, the percentage of eligible voters casting ballots for president in 2016 was 59.3 percent — the third highest in the last 44 years. Only 2008 and 2004 were higher.

Keeping these numbers in mind, let’s break some records for the special election in Georgia today.

The 4th & 5th Estate

The Reynolds Journalism Institute writes about the Coloradoan’s build-a-bot election project.  A planning editor with the Fort Collins Coloradoan is experimenting with bot technology and it’s taught her that it doesn’t require a team of technologists. Jennifer Hefty says it doesn’t even require HTML coding experience.

Relying on research, a free bot interface and resources already in the newsroom, Hefty built and launched her first bot, dubbed Elexi, prior to the November 2016 elections to provide audiences with the necessary information to become more informed voters.

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