Video Your Vote

On Election Day this November 4, PBS and YouTube invite you to join thousands of other citizens across the country to document democracy in action.  Video Your Vote is a project designed to shed light on voting in America through the eyes of voters like you; and we're asking you to share videos of your experiences on Election Day and upload them to YouTube as soon as you've shot them -- ideally as early as possible on November 4th. 

The laws regarding video recording at polling places vary by state and we urge you to watch this video from the Citizen Media Law Project, with tips on how to video your vote on Election Day, and to refer to their website for specific information about your state: 




Here are a few ideas for video topics to consider:

  • Interviews: Talk to fellow voters before and after they vote; interview poll workers about their experiences; interview campaigners about their work on Election Day.

  • First-person accounts: Give short accounts of the scene at your polling place. Offer your take on the atmosphere and describe what is happening there.

  • Documenting Problem Areas: Keep an eye out for problems that may arise at the polls. If you witness any disruptions or irregularities, make sure to capture these on camera. Be on the lookout for:

    • Excessively long lines.

    • Problems with voting machines or the vote collection process.

    • Voter intimidation tactics or antagonistic campaigning techniques used at or around your voting location.

    • Overly-aggressive voter identification procedures.
  • Voter enthusiasm: Keep an eye out for good voting experiences as well as problems. Are there first-time voters getting tips from poll workers? Kids learning about voting while watching their parents?


Here are a few suggestions for creating good videos:

  • Keep it short: 30 second to 3 minute-long videos do best on YouTube.

  • Add Color: Narrate as you film to add context to what you're seeing.

  • Be loud: Speak loudly and clearly, and make sure your interview subjects do the same.

  • Hold steady: Hold the camera steady and move it slowly when panning a scene or a crowd.


It's very important to upload your Election Day videos to YouTube as soon as possible on November 4th. Stake out a reliable Internet connection that you can easily access throughout the day, and don't wait more than 2-3 hours before uploading.

When you're ready to upload a video:

  • Make sure you're logged into your (or your organization's) YouTube channel, and go to the YouTube upload page (

  • In the video description, add your NAME and the LOCATION (City, State, and precinct) of the video. Also include the DATE and CITY & STATE of your video under "Date and Map Options."

  • In every video you upload, be sure to use the tag "videoyourvote".

  • IMPORTANT: If your video documents a problem at the polls, use the tag "pollproblem" and include detailed information about the problem in the video description. ALSO email us the link directly at

  • FINALLY: After you've uploaded a video to YouTube, go to the Video Your Vote channel ( Add your video by clicking on the "Submit a Video" button on the page and follow the directions from there.



(provided by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights)

It is important to remember that video cameras at the polling place can be intimidating to voters. As a participant in the Video Your Vote program, you must be sure you’re empowering voters, not preventing them from feeling comfortable exercising their rights. The number one rule is: if there is any question that someone feels intimidated at the polls, STOP FILMING IMMEDIATELY.

When capturing the events of Election Day, you should follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Video Your Vote is strictly a non-partisan program. While filming, do not engage voters in political conversation. Additionally, do not wear any partisan or campaign paraphernalia, including campaign buttons, t-shirts or other clothing, or any visual references to partisan organizations.

  • Approach voters with your camera in your bag or pocket. After assessing the situation, talk with the voter to establish trust, and then bring up the subject of filming.

  • Before conducting an interview, always get the voter’s permission. To alleviate voter’s concerns about filming, clearly explain why you are documenting voters’ experiences on video.

  • If the voter does not want to be filmed, do not attempt to persuade them to do so.

  • When shooting an interview, set up your shot so that you do not inadvertently capture the faces of other voters on video.


If you experience any problems at the polls, be sure to tag your video "pollproblem", and call Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE immediately. And remember:

  • If a poll worker asks you to leave the polling place, do not argue. Leave immediately, even if you believe their judgment is in error. If you think they are in the wrong, call Election Protection.

  • If police are present near any polling place, or if you are asked to surrender your camera, call Election Protection.

  • Because of your role as a videographer, there is a remote possibility that you may become a witness in a lawsuit.

These guidelines were provided by the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights and Election Protection. To find out more, go to