Protecting Democracy: Foreign Interference, Voter Confidence and Defensive Strategies in the 2020 Elections and Beyond
A virtual symposium with public sessions presented by CERL, Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC)
9:30 am – 10:45 am Public Session 1: Patterns of Foreign Election Interference Since 2016
This panel will examine the current state of foreign interference in the 2020 election and in other democracies worldwide. How have the steps taken by governments and the private sector worked to thwart foreign interference in the current election cycle? How have the states used the federal funding allocated in 2018 and 2020 to secure their election processes? Have the efforts of the private sector been adequate to prevent the spread of disinformation? How confident is the intelligence community that the 2020 election will be free from foreign interference?
Claire Finkelstein, Algernon Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
James Clapper, Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence; CERL Executive Board Member
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication; Walter and Leonore Director of the university’s Annenberg Public Policy Center; Program Director of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands.
11:30 am – 12:30 pm Public Session 2: Voter Attitudes and Foreign Influence: Protecting the Vote
Seventy-one percent of people surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 2018 said that foreign influence is a major problem. But the general public’s concern alone does not prevent or combat influence. As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, our adversaries are spreading disinformation and propaganda about the United States. Both foreign influence and the pandemic itself present new threats to ensuring the integrity in the conduct and result of the fall election.
As state and local election officials scramble to deal with the multitude of issues that the pandemic poses for the 2020 elections, have the federal government and the private sector taken steps to combat the spread of disinformation about the pandemic? Has the messaging of foreign actors related to the pandemic changed to influence the election? Is there anything different about the messaging surrounding the pandemic from earlier disinformation campaigns meant to influence elections? How should states, the private sector and civil society address protecting the integrity of our election processes?
Carrie Cordero, Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow, CNAS
Scott Bates, Deputy Secretary of State, Connecticut
Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Bill Kristol, Director, Defending Democracy Together; Editor-at-Large, The Bulwark
Laura Rosenberger, Director, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund