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Department of State Encourages Pennsylvania Voters to Evaluate Sources of Election Information

Voters can find reliable information on voting and elections at vote.pa.gov

05/12/2022

Harrisburg, PA – Acting Secretary of State Leigh M. Chapman urged Pennsylvania voters today to rely on and share election information only from trusted sources.

"Access to clear, accurate information is critical to ensure that every eligible Pennsylvania voter can cast their vote and make their voice heard," Chapman said.

The Pennsylvania Department of State's elections website, vote.pa.gov, is the best place to learn about Pennsylvania elections. The site includes important deadlines, as well as instructions for voting by mail ballot, finding your polling place and other useful information. If someone is looking for reliable election information from their specific county, vote.pa.gov also includes links and contact information for every county election office.

"I encourage voters to share with their friends and family information that comes directly from the Department of State," Chapman said. "Doing so helps accurate, reliable information permeate the Commonwealth so voters know everything they need to cast their ballot with confidence in the process."

Determining which sources of information are reliable can be especially challenging for people unfamiliar with social media or unaware of common red flags to look for when evaluating the legitimacy of elections information. Individuals should approach information on the internet with skepticism. Disinformation often can be identified by asking a few basic questions:

What is the source?

  • Determine the owner or author of the website. What is the site address? Is the author or owner of the page clearly identified? Basic parts of a webpage like the website address and the information provided in the "contact us" section can help identify the entity responsible for the page. Sites ending in .gov and .edu are often the most reliable sources, because not just anyone can create a website using these top-level domains. The .gov domain is restricted to U.S.-based government entities, and the .edu domain is reserved for accredited post-secondary education institutions.

What is the purpose?

  • Consider possible motivations for sharing the information. Is the source attempting to inform the public about important events or resources, or is it possible the source is attempting to play on users' emotions? Desperate calls to action and posts designed to trigger users' passions should be treated with skepticism. These pages grab people's attention and maintain it with various appeals to readers' emotions.

Have you given it a second look?

  • Look at the text carefully. Are there typos? Do the links lead to dead ends or other questionable websites? Questionable sources' written and digital content frequently has typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Some sentences in spam emails or website pages don't make any sense. Links may lead to dead ends, either because the site is no longer available or the content has been removed. These are all red flags that the information comes from an unreliable source.

The Department of State also provides trusted, reliable elections information on its social media accounts:

Facebook:

Twitter:

For reliable information on voting in Pennsylvania, visit vote.pa.gov, call the Department of State's toll-free voter hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or follow the social media hashtags #ReadyToVotePA and #TrustedInfo2022.

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