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Opinion
Jonathan Bernstein

How to Avoid Confusion on Election Night

The news media need a plan for how they will report voting results in a timely way that doesn’t confuse the public. 

Ballots awaiting their moment in the spotlight.

Ballots awaiting their moment in the spotlight.

Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg

The US news media need to start preparing now for how they will report November’s election-night returns in a way that will educate rather than confuse the public.

The major media generally did a pretty good job two years ago of handling the weird vote-counting quirks of different states. That followed an intense effort to prepare journalists for what is inherently a confusing process — one that was only complicated by spurious claims of fraud from former President Donald Trump and his allies.