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Raising the Alarm on Election Integrity

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Election officials and experts on voting rights are raising concerns about misinformation, decreasing access to voting, and the threats posed by artificial intelligence as the November election approaches.

During a panel discussion at The State of Equity in America forum hosted by U.S. News, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold emphasized the crucial role of a well-informed citizenry in safeguarding democracy, drawing lessons from Eastern European allies who faced foreign disinformation campaigns.

“Colorado stands tied for No. 1 in the nation for confidence in our elections. However, we’ve faced a surge of misinformation, both from foreign adversaries and domestic sources, since 2020,” Griswold stated.

Colorado has taken proactive measures against propaganda, including establishing the first state-level counter-disinformation office and launching public awareness campaigns to educate citizens on verifying information from trusted sources. Griswold emphasized the need for legislative action to address political harassment and threats to ensure election integrity.

The discussion also addressed how voting rights restrictions, coupled with misinformation, threaten democracy. LaFleur Stephens-Dougan, an associate politics professor at Princeton University, highlighted the widening racial turnout gap following the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which weakened the Voting Rights Act.

“Actions like voter roll purges and stringent ID laws disproportionately affect minority communities, exacerbating inequalities in voter turnout,” Stephens-Dougan explained.

To counteract voter suppression tactics, Griswold outlined Colorado’s inclusive voting measures, such as universal vote-by-mail and extended early voting periods. Despite these efforts, she stressed the ongoing need for vigilance against threats to election integrity, urging bipartisan cooperation in election preparation.

Neal Katyal, a partner at Hogan Lovells and former acting solicitor general of the United States, emphasized the importance of proactive measures to prevent election manipulation, citing the inadequacy of legal remedies for last-minute interference. He underscored the urgency of reinforcing tools like Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to safeguard voting rights amid ongoing legal challenges.