One Big Thing: Are you concerned about foreign or domestic election interference?
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What is it?
- Concerns have been raised about the integrity and legitimacy of the 2020 November elections and whether they will go forward on time. With coronavirus threatening normal public life, many election officials are looking for creative and legal ways to ensure that November’s election reflects the will of American voters.
- Internationally, China and Russia have stepped up their game in terms of election meddling. Both have enhanced their ability to project disinformation on social media and through Russian government owned news stations like RT.
- Domestically, there has been debate about the need for more funding for elections. Congress allocated $400 million in March, but as reported by the Brennan Center, many experts believe more is needed in light of COVID-19.
- Additionally, concerns of legality have been raised about the use and distribution of mail-in-ballots and applications for them; however, in most localities across the United States, mail-in ballots have been used for decades without issue.
- Local election officials – who actually plan and execute elections at all levels – are making plans to ensure an election with the highest of integrity but additional funding looks to be needed.
Why is it important?
- Electoral transparency and legitimacy are core functions to the transition of power in a democracy. True democratic representation is when citizens’ desires are reflected in the election results and must be protected from foreign and domestic meddlers.
- Although Russia and China have already successfully deployed election meddling campaigns around the world including Madagascar, Zambia, and even the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
- Domestically, the only way the election can be postponed is by an act of Congress, agreed on by both the House of Representative and the Senate. Even if Congress were to choose to enact this option, the 20th amendment stipulates that “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.” The United States has never postponed a presidential election.
What can you do?
- Tune into NPR’s 26 minute toolkit on How to Spot Misinformation.
- Voting is the best way to ensure electoral legitimacy is by voting! Register to vote HERE
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