MSNBC misleads voters on poll closing times

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

MSNBC is currently running a graphic along the bottom of the screen listing states in which polls close at a given time.

MSNBC's focus seems to be on when voting in a given state is finished so that they can "call" the winner.

The unfortunate result is that MSNBC is telling viewers that polls close in Florida at 8 pm EST. But for the majority of the state, that isn't true -- in most of the state, polls close at 7 pm EST. So Florida voters who rely on MSNBC could show up to vote after polls have already closed.

There are likely similar problems with MSNBC's listing of closing times for other states, too.

MSNBC should really fix this. And voters should check their local poll closing times with more reliable sources.

UPDATE: Chuck Todd explains MSNBC's graphics: "We encourage you, if you're confused about when your polls close, to go and check with your local officials ... we want to tell our viewers when we'll start seeing vote counts, and that's why we have those final times up on our screen. So if you need to know when your polls close, check with your local officials."

Of course, if you want to know when your polls close, you should check with local officials. But in an ideal world -- a world in which MSNBC recognized that it's a really bad thing to mislead voters about when they can vote -- you could count on news organizations like MSNBC to tell you the truth about such things.

Posted In
Elections, Voting Rights & Issues
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