State and federal officials readily acknowledge that the shadows that hung over the 2016 vote have not cleared. These include attempts to interfere with state voting systems, dissemination of misinformation through social media platforms and using techniques such as automated “bots.” With the recent revelation that the data of up to 87 million Facebook users may have been harvested by Cambridge Analytica, the firm connected to the Trump campaign, there is heightened fear and confusion ahead of November’s midterm elections.
On May 14, we brought together digital, policy, and philanthropic experts to address threats to a functioning democracy, the concrete ways to protect election integrity in the United States and around the world, and the role of funders. We met at at the Hewlett Foundation, which recently pledged $10 million to study social media and digital disinformation.
Speakers and Resources
- Ann Ravel is the former chair of the Federal Election Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission
- Christopher Jerdonek has served on the San Francisco Elections Commission since 2014, served as President in 2015 and 2017, and currently chairs the Commission's Open Source Voting System Technical Advisory Committee
- SF Elections Commission
- SF Open Source Voting System Technical Advisory Committee (OSVTAC)
- California Clean Money's advocacy page
- Recent Thursday, May 10, 2018 video of SF Budget Subcommittee hearing re: open source voting (agenda item starts 1:38:30)
- Samuel Woolley has conducted cutting-edge social science research on political bots and is one of the foremost academic experts on this topic. He heads the DigIntel Lab which is hosted by the Institute for the Future
- Computational Propaganda Worldwide: Executive Summary from Oxford Internet Institute
- The Biology of Disinformation from Institute for the Future
- Chat Apps: Frontiers and Challenges for Journalism from Institute for the Future
- Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information from Data & Society
- Kelly Born is a program officer for the Madison Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she oversees grantmaking in areas including campaigns and elections, media and journalism, and civic engagement
- Jean Bordewich is a program officer for the Madison Initiative at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she oversees grantmaking related to U.S. democracy reform, including election administration reforms
- "The State and Local Election Cybersecurity Playbook" from the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center
Additional resources from this program can be accessed below.