Pandemic Election: From Crowds to Clouds
Monday, October 19, 2020
4:00pm to 5:30pm
Event contact: Jessica Stewart: jsart [at] berkeley.edu
Please note, times are PDT.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses myriad threats to the safety, security, and fairness of the forthcoming US elections. Civil rights advocates and elections watch dogs are on high alert for voter suppression, including the purging of voter rolls, limiting access to ballots, relocating or closing polling centers, and other means of selective disenfranchisement. Trump’s efforts to discredit mail-in ballots — the only viable alternative to in-person vot-ing — coupled with his repeated threats to cut federal funding for the US Postal Service have distressed both his allies and enemies. Technologists, meanwhile, warn that the migration of voter registration to online platforms is rife with vulnerabilities, cautioning that Russian hackers have devised stealthier interference tactics, and that their activity is surging. Ever since the Wisconsin primary, pundits have predicted a contested elec-tion, suggesting that the final outcome will most likely be determined by the judiciary — that the courts will be left to decide the will of the people.
In this Matrix on Point discussion, panelists will discuss how the pandemic is contribut-ing to efforts to suppress and intimidate voters, the changing dynamics of virtual cam-paigning and voter outreach, the insecurities of online voter registration, and attempts to undermine absentee voting either through disinformation or the under-resourcing of the US Postal Service, among other issues.
Henry Farrell, SNF Agora Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Bridgett A. King, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of the Public Administration Program, Auburn University
Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Swarthmore College
Catherine Meza, Senior Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Bertrall Ross (moderator), Chancellor’s Professor of Law, Berkeley School of Law
IGS is pleased to co-sponsor this MATRIX ON POINT event, sponsored by the UC Berkeley Social Science Matrix.