How To Combat Election Disinformation

April 30, 2023

The Do’s and Don’ts learned from randomized placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) in Arizona and Georgia.

Data For Democracy Generic Website Banner

In September 2022, Citizen Data compiled valuable insights on effectively countering disinformation in our Playbook for Trusted Elections.

In November 2022, we conducted follow-up experiments that tested before and after the midterms to examine whether any effects lasted through and beyond the elections.

What We Tested

1. Debunking Works

Positive framing of election officials and negative framing of disinformation sources reduced disinformation beliefs in both states.

However, positive framing of election officials proved slightly more effective for most of the outcomes we measured. This combination of interventions was especially effective at reducing locally-focused election disinformation.

Georgia Experiment Results

2. Do’s and Don’ts

Our experiments led us to expand our trusted elections playbook, with the following as key takeaways:

Do's and Don'ts

3. Who’s Movable?

The most significant reduction in disinformation beliefs occurred among voters who were ambivalent and unsure about disinformation narratives and election outcomes.

This “unsure” segment should be the top target for anti-disinformation messaging.

For more insights and findings, download the updated Playbook for Trusted Elections.


Debunking election disinformation is important to defending the health of our democracy. To better engage with voters on these topics, follow our 5M method:

  1. Identify and target pro-democracy voters who are most likely to engage on these topics using Citizen’s modeled segments, such as our Democracy Defenders;
  2. Conduct message tests to develop a strategy that debunks election disinformation; and
  3. Execute research experiments to determine who is best to deliver disinformation debunking messages and where to reach your audience with them.

Please reach out if you’d like to learn more about any of the action items above. Enjoy Citizen’s Data for Democracy series? You can find past installments here.

Share this report

Download Report
Download How To Combat Election Disinformation