Social media helping people prepare for 2020 election

Norfolk City Hall early voting line (October 30).png
Posted at 9:14 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 22:16:03-04

NORFOLK, Va. - As Election Day gets closer, the clock is ticking on early voting in North Carolina and Virginia.

Saturday, October 31 marks the last day before November 3 to cast your ballot in person.

Friday afternoon, many people were standing outside Norfolk City Hall to cast their ballot early. Meanwhile, social media companies are getting people prepared to head to the polls.

“People are active; they are excited to vote,” Nick Terrell told News 3 while waiting outside Norfolk City Hall to vote early on Friday. “I'm just trying to get out here early so I can beat that rush on Tuesday.”

For Katie Miller, she's voting in her first presidential election.

“I'm definitely excited,” Miller said. “I think it's important, especially as part of the younger generation, just to make this a practice and make this a best practice.”

This election cycle has also seen social media getting the word out about being prepared.

“This is an extraordinary election, and we've updated our policies to reflect that,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Senate hearing earlier this week. “We're showing people reliable information about voting and results, and we've strengthened our ads and misinformation policies.”

Zuckerberg added said Facebook estimates they've helped more than 4.4 million people register to vote, and 100,000 people volunteer to be poll workers.

“People are rightly focused on the role that technology companies play in our elections,” Zuckerberg said. “I'm proud of the work that we've done to support our democracy.”

Those like Miller and Terrell have been taking notice.

“It was just that always - that constant reminder to vote every time I logged on,” Miller said.

“It's like everywhere you click, everywhere you look, there's an advertisement about voting,” Terrell said.

News 3 Political Analyst Dr. Eric Claville, Director of Center for African American Public Policy at Norfolk State University, said he sees parallels with the use of social media in 2020 with past election cycles.

“It shows the power - the power of social media,” Claville said. “We see these media platforms, social media platforms, being utilized by the candidates to register people to vote in 2008. Now, they're being utilized by the actual outlets themselves.”

He believes it's a win for democracy.

“The advantage is being able to reach a large group of people at one time for minimal effort and to achieve maximum gain,” Claville said. “This does help democracy tremendously. It's helped the average user understand the voting process when many times the voting process and the civic process can sometimes be cumbersome, and it can sometimes not be interesting. Facebook makes it cool. They make it very easily accessible, and they make it as simplistic as possible.”

Meanwhile, those like Miller are making sure come November 3, their voices are heard.

“I think social media is such a powerful tool that we have,” she said. “Looking back, I think it will be something I'll always remember that this was such a vital time for social media to stay active for this election.”

If you plan to vote on Election Day, the polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Virginia and from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in North Carolina.

Click here for full Election 2020 coverage.