APPC Works With CNAS and Penn Law’s CERL to Protect Election Integrity

The Annenberg Public Policy Center will collaborate with the Center for a New American Security and Penn Law’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law on a project to help protect the integrity of the 2020 election against foreign interference.

The short-term, high-impact project will convene national security, legal, academic, and policy experts at the forefront of research and engagement on issues surrounding foreign interference in democratic elections, foreign intelligence activities, and election administration and security.

The project, led by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for a New American Security (CNAS), aims to assess the level of malign foreign activities on the forthcoming 2020 elections, identify efforts to prevent such influence, and develop strategies that will help to ensure voter confidence in the integrity of the election process and its outcome. The project will run from June 2020 through the November elections.

“Our system of government is premised on the integrity of our election process and public confidence in it,” said Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson. “We need to aggressively safeguard both.”

Carrie Cordero, Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at CNAS, said: “Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was a deliberate attempt by a foreign power to influence American voter attitudes and affect the outcome of the presidential election. Malign foreign actors continued their activities during the 2018 midterm elections. As we approach November 2020, American institutions and citizens must understand that foreign influence on our domestic elections is an assault on our democracy, and learn what we can do to protect the administration – and ensure confidence in the outcome – of this highly consequential election.”

The project will produce written commentaries, podcasts, and a conference in September. Activities will be conducted primarily in public forums and be accessible to a broad policy, media, and public audience.

Claire Finkelstein, Faculty Director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) and Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at Penn Law, commented: “The 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as elections in Europe and elsewhere, taught us that foreign-sourced propaganda is becoming one of the central security issues of our time. Making use of what we have learned to ensure the integrity of our elections is one of the most important challenges facing the rule of law today.” Finkelstein, who is also an APPC distinguished research fellow, added: “This project with CNAS and APPC will bring together experts whose writings and podcasts will educate the public and help advance expert analysis on this vital issue. I am excited about this collaboration.”

During this project, APPC will develop content for unique teaching material about foreign interference in a constitutional democracy, ensuring a wide public audience for understanding and addressing this foundational national security and civic challenge. APPC is the home of Annenberg Classroom, which offers a free, nonpartisan multimedia curriculum for teaching the Constitution, as well as the Civics Renewal Network, a consortium of more than 30 nonpartisan, nonprofit institutions dedicated to strengthening civic life by providing free, high-quality educational materials. Among the members of the Civics Renewal Network are the Library of Congress, the U.S. Courts, the National Archives, iCivics, and the National Constitution Center. APPC also is home to FactCheck.org, a nonpartisan fact-checking website that serves as a “consumer advocate” for voters.

Learn more about the project. For additional information or to schedule an interview with the project leads, contact CNAS Communications at comms@cnas.org; at APPC, michael.rozansky@appc.upenn.edu; and at CERL, ekenney2@law.upenn.edu.

About the Collaborators

Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

CNAS is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and defense policies. CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow.

Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL)
Established in 2012, CERL is a nonpartisan interdisciplinary institute dedicated to preserving and promoting ethics and the rule of law in twenty-first century national security, warfare, and democratic governance through conferences, symposia, and publications.

Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC)

Since its founding in 1993, APPC has been the nation’s premier communications policy center. APPC is the home of Annenberg Classroom, which provides free, nonpartisan educational resources to teach the U.S. Constitution, and FactCheck.org.