FAQ from PBS
October 21, 2008 -- Issued by PBS
What is Video Your Vote?
Video Your Vote is a non-partisan program produced in partnership between YouTube, PBS and NewsHour encouraging voters to document their voting experiences on video. The initiative educates voters on the entire process and a wide array of issues associated with voting in America, while enabling the world to watch pivotal moments in this historic election as they unfold. The homepage for Video Your Vote is at www.youtube.com/videoyourvote. There is also a PBS-hosted site at www.pbs.org/vote2008/youtube.
PBS and YouTube are encouraging participants to think creatively – the videos do NOT have to be taken at the polling place, rather they just need to be related to the topic of voting and Election Day. For example, participants can film themselves or their friends at home or on the street, talking about what their experience at the polls was like. In fact, stations and participants are cautioned that in some states, e.g. Kentucky, and Michigan, videotaping at the polling place is expressly prohibited by law. There are also other restrictions that may apply on a state-by-state basis, so it is important that you familiarize yourself with the applicable state election laws before embarking upon the Video Your Vote experience.
Registered United States voters can share their voting experiences via the Video Your Vote YouTube Channel. On November 4, the Channel will serve as the premier online destination for up-to-the-minute coverage from voters contributing videos straight from thousands of precincts across the country. Some of the best videos will be showcased on PBS television, as part of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer’s Election Day broadcast. They may also be used throughout PBS’ election coverage, both on-air and online.
YouTube and PBS also will distribute 1,000 Flip Video(tm) camcorders through Pure Digital Technologies, Inc.'s Flip Video Spotlight Program so that participating non-partisan nonprofit groups and local PBS stations across the country can also capture polling place activity.
Are there any guidelines people should consider as they participate in this effort?
As you are enthusiastically capturing your voting experience, please be respectful of others in the process. Some people may find the act of being recorded intimidating or offensive. So try to respect people’s boundaries in the process. For example, it’s probably generally not a good idea to video tape someone without their permission or knowledge.
Are PBS and YouTube working with any election officials on this project?
YouTube and PBS have been in touch with the National Association of Secretaries of State (“NASS”) to help ensure that people are adequately informed about the voting laws in each state. NASS has also sent a communications to the Secretaries of States around the country to ensure their awareness of this project in advance.
How is PBS informing users of state election laws and guidelines?
While each individual is responsible for ensuring compliance with the applicable state laws, PBS and YouTube have provided some guidance by including a link to the Citizens Media Law Project’s site on their respective sites. The Citizens Media Law Project site provides a clear and comprehensive list of states where videotaping at the election site is expressly prohibited, thereby saving some individuals the trouble of reviewing the law for those state.
How did the Video Your Vote project originate?
YouTube and Google approached the NewsHour and Judy Woodruff about doing a project around the election. VideoYourVote grew out this collaboration and now other PBS news and public affairs producers, including NOW, P.O.V. and Tavis Smiley, are contributing to the project.
How are local PBS stations participating?
Stations are participating in a variety of ways. Many already have citizen journalism programs in place and will be using Video Your Vote to extend these projects. Some examples:
KNME, New Mexico (students): “We will distribute cameras to 5-7 students so they can document the Millennial voting experience as well as expanding their horizons in New Media video production.”
Detroit Public TV: “We will expand our already successful www.MiVote.org election video project. The partnership with the University of Michigan Dearborn has already generated more than 250 videos from a network of college & high school students.”
How can I get a Flip Cam?
Unfortunately, we had a limited number of free cameras and have distributed all of them to stations and nonprofit organizations on a first-come, first-served basis.
What is NewsHour’s role?
The Online NewsHour is providing exclusive interviews and voting information content for the Video Your Vote site. The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer may feature some of the material posted on YouTube during its Election Day coverage. Both the NewsHour and PBS will curate some of the most interesting and relevant video onto their respective election sites at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2008 and http://www.pbs.org/vote2008/youtube.
What’s the relationship between Video Your Vote and videothevote.org?
“Video Your Vote” and “Video the Vote” are two separate, independent organizations. Video the Vote is a non-profit organization working with filmmakers to create video on Election Day with an aim toward ensuring no voters are disenfranchised during the election. While they are a content partner and are sharing some of their videos with the Video Your Vote channel, they are not one in the same. Video Your Vote is intended to simply offer viewers a look at Election Day from voters' perspectives.
Official press release: http://www.pbs.org/aboutpbs/news/20081015_pbsyoutubevideovote.html
AP story: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gD5OnzA0TMMtMSkDMdFlXtzF0veAD93R5NOG0