facebook linkedin twitter

Harvard’s Belfer Center Releases Playbook to Address Nefarious Election Influence

September 4, 2020 by Dan McCue
A staff member in the Kweisi Mfume campaign uses gloves while holding a cell phone during an election night news conference after Mfume won Maryland’s 7th Congressional District special election, Tuesday, April 28. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Election officials across the country have a new tool to help them recognize and respond to malicious interference in the votes they oversee.

Created by the Belfer Center at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the new “Election Influence Operations Playbook” focuses on the most common types of disinformation attacks that have been found to interfere with the election process, and equips election officials with recommendations on how to counter them.

The multi-part Playbook, written by members of the centers “Defending Digital Democracy Project, offers an introduction to election influence operations: what they are, how they work, and why they can impact our elections.

It also includes recommendations for reporting, responding, and countering mis/disinformation incidents.

“In this era of attacks on democracy, your preparations, your response, and your voice as a trusted source within your jurisdiction, in coordination with other officials across your state, will strengthen your ability to effectively counter these threats,” the authors write.

The Playbook can also be a resource for those who can help officials get correct information to voters, they said.

For election officials, any incorrect information presented to voters, regardless of the source or intention, can pose a threat because it undermines understanding and trust in the election. Modern influence operations typically attack the democratic process online and can spread quickly. The most effective responses are swift, simple, and clear.

But the authors note influence operations are an evolving threat and there is no concrete solution to counter all of them.

They stress that recommendations in the Playbook need to be adapted for each jurisdiction’s needs and as those tactics evolve.

“Knowing what to look out for, how to prepare, and how to respond is a starting point for officials and those involved in the democratic process,” they write. “The recommendations shared throughout the Playbook are informed by what we know today with an understanding that we will continue to learn more about the best strategies and tools to bolster our ability to counter these threats.”

Elections

October 20, 2021
by Dan McCue
Senate GOP Blocks Democrats’ Election Reform Bill, Filibuster Support Softens

WASHINGTON -- Despite changes reflecting the spirit of compromise, Senate Democrats were unable on Wednesday to convince a single Republican... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Despite changes reflecting the spirit of compromise, Senate Democrats were unable on Wednesday to convince a single Republican to vote with them in support of guaranteeing Americans the right to easy access to the polls.  As a result, the Senate voted 49-51 to end... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Dan McCue
Poll Shows Youngkin Gaining in Virginia Governor’s Race, Redistricting Delays

With just two critical weeks to go before Election Day, Republican Glenn Youngkin has pulled into a statistical dead heat... Read More

With just two critical weeks to go before Election Day, Republican Glenn Youngkin has pulled into a statistical dead heat with Democrat Terry McAuliffe. A widening partisan gap in voter engagement and an apparent shift in issue priorities are bolstering the GOP newcomer, a new poll... Read More

October 19, 2021
by Dan McCue
Senate to Vote on Voting Rights Bill Wednesday, Despite Filibuster Threat

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote on the Freedom to Vote Act Wednesday, despite Republicans’... Read More

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote on the Freedom to Vote Act Wednesday, despite Republicans’ vow to block the bill. The bill, a slimmed down version of the For the People Act, a sweeping elections overhaul passed in the House earlier... Read More

October 2, 2021
by Dan McCue
Tired of Endless Election Cycles? Perhaps the Dominican Republic Has The Answer

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Political candidates, parties, independent policy groups and their members and supporters in this island nation... Read More

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Political candidates, parties, independent policy groups and their members and supporters in this island nation all got a stiff warning recently -- if they campaign outside the prescribed times for that activity they will face fines and ejection from the ballot.... Read More

October 2, 2021
by Dan McCue
Texas Secretary of State’s Office Announces Election Audits

AUSTIN, Texas - What the Texas Secretary of State’s office is calling a “comprehensive” audit of the 2020 presidential election... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas - What the Texas Secretary of State’s office is calling a “comprehensive” audit of the 2020 presidential election is now underway in the state’s largest Democratic and Republican counties -- Dallas, Harris, Tarrant and Collin. In a brief announcement, the office said it anticipates... Read More

September 21, 2021
by Reece Nations
DOJ, FBI Addressing Threats of Violence Against Election Officials

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation alongside the Department of Justice is reaching out to election supervisors around the... Read More

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation alongside the Department of Justice is reaching out to election supervisors around the country following months of abuse and threats of violence long after the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. The DOJ launched a law enforcement... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top