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Efforts underway to stop the spread of misinformation on Election Day

Have questions? Check with your local election office
The 2020 election is drawing more people to the polls in Douglas County than ever before and there are also more new voters planning to get involved in this year’s election.
The 2020 election is drawing more people to the polls in Douglas County than ever before and there are also more new voters planning to get involved in this year’s election.
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:45 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 at 9:29 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - With election day just weeks away an all out effort is in the works to quell the spread of false information on the big day.

“I think there is a lot of disinformation out there,” said Georgiann Conn, shortly after casting her ballot Wednesday at the Douglas County Commissioners' office. “If you believe everything you see online or you hear someone say, you’re cheating yourself until you do the fact checking.”

And come election day there will be an entire team working to keep the facts straight.

“We have a social media monitoring team, these are volunteers who are going to be on the lookout on election day for posts that might lead voters astray,” said Gavin Geis, Executive Director, Common Cause Nebraska. “This is the first year we’re trying this . . . with the ever-increasing importance of social media it’s become more important than ever to keep an eye open and know what kind of information voters are taking in.”

Their efforts will be on preventing the spread of misinformation and disinformation, the difference being, disinformation is intended to mislead voters, while misinformation people simply getting it wrong.

They’ll get on social and ask a question, “When’s the last day i can register?' and the social media crowd with the best of intent get online and give them all sorts of dates and different options and then don’t understand why when they call us why what they’re hearing is totally different,” said Michelle Andahl, Sarpy County Election Commissioner, noting that if anyone has questions about the election process it’s best to give them a call or check out the county’s election website.

As for Georgiann Conn she told 6 News, she’s staying away from social media.

“I try to stay away from those things - those comments. that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to vote early,” said Conn. “I voted so now I’m done with it.”

Voter information

Nebraskans have until Friday, Oct. 16 to register to vote online or by mail; and until Oct. 23 to register in person. Nebraska voters have until Oct. 23 to request a mail-in ballot and can check the status of their registration online.

Early voting is underway in Nebraska through Nov. 2 at county election offices throughout the state. Registered voters in Douglas County can cast their ballots in person now at the Election Commission office, located at 12220 W. Center Road in Omaha.

Iowans have until Oct. 24 to register to vote and/or request a mail-in ballot. Early voting is underway in Iowa through Nov. 2 also; voters can find their polling place via the Secretary of State’s website, which also has a portal for checking the status of registration requests.

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