YouTube is encouraging its users to “video their vote” on election day on Tuesday, just as they did back in 2008. The idea is not about recording video of you casting your vote, to be clear, but is rather an opportunity for some first-hand, citizen journalism about the voting experience at your local polling place.
According to a post on YouTube’s blog about the initiative, users can record video of the lines they encountered, video of people encouraging friends and others to go out and vote, or even just vlogs about which candidate they’re supporting and why. The idea is to offer other viewers a more personalized take on the U.S. elections and the voting process itself versus what you would get from traditional news outlets. Of course, YouTube reminds users to check their state law for guidelines about what sort of activities are permitted at their polling place first, and check the Citizen Media Law Project’s Documenting Your Vote project for further details.
In order to get your recorded video on YouTube’s radar, you can either tweet them to @YouTubePolitics on Twitter or include the hashtag #YouTubePolitics in the video’s title on YouTube. By doing so, YouTube will be able to feature the video on its dedicated Elections Hub. Here, the service will also offer live coverage of the returns from news outlets like ABC News, Al Jazeera, Larry King, New York Times, BuzzFeed, Phil DeFranco, Univision, and the Wall Street Journal.
As before, what YouTube is doing here is just formalizing the collection and organization of all the user-generated content related to the elections, which would have likely been uploaded to its service anyway. As research from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism pointed out earlier this year, more than a third of the most-watched news videos on YouTube come from citizens as it is, with 51% coming from news organizations.