Countering Election Misinformation and Disinformation

NEWS AT A GLANCE

Combating disinformation and misinformation during an election season is critical not just on the day you vote, but also in the weeks and months after.

Millions of people have already voted in Southwest Florida.

“We’re Americans. It’s important to be American. I know so many immigrants who come here, and they take voting very seriously because that’s such a part of being an American, you know,” said a Lee County voter.

This does not mean that candidates will stop trying to attract you. That’s why it’s important to remember: “There is no mandate to tell the truth in political advertising. We have a First Amendment right to say all sorts of things, good or bad, and that can be problematic, especially if you’re trying to get important information to help you vote,” said Pamella A. Seay, professor of right to the FGCU.

What steps can you take to stay informed without being misled during an election season? Seay says it’s important that you know the backgrounds of your elected officials, whether you like them or not.

“Personally, I like going to the candidates’ personal sites. I like to read it straight because sometimes when they talk, when they put out their ads, it’s not the same as the information that might be on their website,” Seay said.

The next step you can take is to verify the claims. If a candidate expresses information about an opposing candidate, be sure to hear the full story.

“There’s the commission lies that mean ‘oh, I saw him do that’ or the omission lies ‘hmm, I don’t know, I’m not going to tell you that part,'” Seay said.

It is also important to understand what is happening and why before making assumptions.

“If we just rely on information provided by one candidate over another, you’re missing a lot of very important information,” Seay said.

WINK News is here to help you do your homework. If you have any questions about the election or want to check something, you can email [email protected]