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Voting Booth in the 2022 Elections: A Roller Coaster for Democracy

By Steven Rosenfeld

Voting Booth is a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Voting Booth’s coverage of the 2022 general election focused on what ended up mattering most to voters: casting a ballot that would be accurately counted and defending democracy’s guardrails. Across America, voters rejected candidates who supported overturning past elections or gaming the rules for future elections.

As House January 6 committee hearings unfolded, Voting Booth noted how independent voters backed accountability for the Capitol riot and attempted coup. As summer progressed, Voting Booth turned to the evidence trail of accurate elections. And Voting Booth developed a popular guide explaining how the computer systems that analyze ballots and compile votes are set up and work. Voting Booth also noted how errors made by local officials in Michigan and Colorado were exploited by 2020 election deniers, including a cadre of self-appointed IT experts who never before examined voting systems.

Voting Booth was one of the first national media organizations to interview Adrian Fontes, a Democrat who ran 2020’s most scrutinized election—in Maricopa County, Arizona—who was just elected secretary of state. Voting Booth then turned to debunking false claims that were targeting voters, starting with mass registration challenges in Georgia (that ended up failing). And Voting Booth reported why new lies about 2020 from one of Arizona’s most notorious conspiracy theorists had no relation to the reality of voting.

In the final stretch, Voting Booth covered court cases that sided with voters and existing laws. Voting Booth covered a Nevada effort to replace the state-approved counting process with an untested hand count—a pro-Trump obsession. Longtime Republican county clerks described what it was like to be driven from office by neighbors who fell under the spell of right-wing media. Voting Booth reported on preparatory efforts by both election deniers and election officials, renewed attacks on voter rolls (this time in Arizona), and overclaiming about Election Day glitches (also Arizona).

Post-election, Voting Booth looked back and recounted how many media polls were wrong. Indeed, voters cared about who ran their elections and about protecting freedoms like abortion. As Voting Booth’s Steven Rosenfeld wrote, “democracy and freedom were not on the ballot, apparently, until it was discovered they were.”

Here are some of Voting Booth’s reports:

Phil Roeder / Flickr