Ohio Secretary of State Launches Messaging Channel to Combat Election Misinformation

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced the launch of a new digital outreach initiative with a focus on educating Ohioans about elections and entrepreneurship.

Through the new messaging channel called @VerifyOhio, Ohioans can fact-check myths and answer common questions regarding elections for themselves. According to LaRose, election officials will use the channel throughout the 2023 and 2024 election cycles. LaRose said this would be a “rapid response” resource during the voting period around Election Day, when he said misinformation is typically at its peak.

According to a study conducted by MIT Sloan, falsehoods are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted on Twitter than the truth and reach their first 1,500 people six times faster. The study shows that this effect is more pronounced with political news than in other categories.

LaRose is calling the new channel of communication, encompassing various commonly used social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, a way to tackle misinformation on the internet.

“The abuse of the internet to manipulate public opinion is crippling confidence in our elections and eroding trust in government,” LaRose said.

LaRose’s office has obtained national attention with an article by The New York Times for its endeavors to combat election misinformation. The Brooking Institute recently profiled Ohio among several other states who have made strides to protect election integrity.

Outside of election information, Ohioans can utilize the channel to obtain information or make inquiries regarding starting a business and entrepreneurship, which is yet another core function of the secretary of state’s office.

“We owe it to Ohioans to set the record straight and counter the misinformation with facts. This is an opportunity to build confidence by hitting false claims head-on, verifying accurate information, and, most importantly, helping to educate our fellow citizens on what we do as an office, from overseeing the integrity of our elections to helping entrepreneurs start a business,” LaRose said.

According to LaRose, the @VerifyOhio project is part of his new Public Integrity Division dedicated to maintaining secure, accurate, and accessible elections in the state of Ohio, which began operations on October 10th. LaRose said that as Ohio election officials finalize the post-election audits, individuals following the account will be able to view content in the coming days explaining the process.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Frank LaRose” by Frank LaRose. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

 

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