June 15, 2024

Fair Elections During a Crisis

Even before the crisis of COVID-19, which will have severe implications for the conduct of the 2020 elections, the United States faced another elections crisis of legitimacy: Americans can no longer take for granted that election losers will concede a closely fought election after election authorities (or courts) have declared a winner.

Along with two dozen other scholars (in Tech, Law, Political Science, and Media), I joined an ad-hoc working group convened by Professor Rick Hasen of the U.C. Irvine Law School, to make recommendations on steps that American election administrators (and others) can take this year to deal with these two overlapping crises. Our report has just been released:

Fair Elections During a Crisis: Urgent Recommendations in Law, Media, Politics, and Tech to Advance the Legitimacy of, and the Public Confidence in, the November 2020 U.S. Elections.

We make 14 specific recommendations. In Law: regarding absentee ballots, emergency plans, COVID-19, vote-counting dispute-resolution protocols. Media: how media can provide accurate information to voters about the election process, expectations for timing of election results (slower this year than before). Politics and Norms: Funding for COVID-19 costs, bipartisan Election Crisis Commission, principles for fair elections, responsibilities of social media. Tech: paper ballots and audits, resilient election infrastructure, .gov domains for election officials, monitoring and auditing of voter-registration databases.