Stanford Scholars Set Forth 2020 Election Security Recommendations

A group of 14 Stanford scholars put together a report of recommendations for increased election security, addressing problems of cybersecurity, ballot security, and election transparency.

A Stanford University group released a plan named Securing American Elections: Prescriptions for Enhancing the Integrity and Independence of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election and Beyond last week. The report was a comprehensive strategy to protect the integrity and independence of U.S. elections, and is the first white paper published by the Stanford Cyber Policy Center.

Voer-to-cover, the plan comprised 108 pages and 45 recommendations. From there, the 45 recommendations were organized into eight different chapters, which were:

• Understanding Putin’s Intentions and Actions in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

• Increasing the Security of the U.S. Election Infrastructure

• Regulating Online Political Advertising by Foreign Governments and Nationals

• Confronting Efforts at Election Manipulation for Foreign Media Organizations

• Combatting Organized Disinformation Campaigns from State-aligned Actors

• Enhancing Transparency about Foreign Involvement in U.S. Elections

• Establishing International Norms and Agreements to Prevent Election Interference

• Deterring Foreign Governments from Election Interference

The plan included specific recommendations on how to prevent a situation like Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election from happening again. In addition, the strategy addresses a few different election concerns such as cybersecurity, ballot security, and election transparency.

The report mirrors the 9/11 report in that it is hoping to turn its security recommendations into reality. Nate Persily, a report author and director of Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center, told The Washington Post that the group recognizes the partisan dissonance surrounding the topic of election security, but hopes the reforms are agreeable from both conservative and liberal standpoints.

“We’re not naïve,” Persily said. “We recognize that the topic of Russian intervention in the 2016 election provokes a partisan reaction and there’s a partisan allergy to some types of recommendations. But we believe Democrats and Republicans can unite around what are some common-sense reforms.”

There are 14 co-authors for the report and include both Michael McFaul, who was a U.S. ambassador to Russia during the Barack Obama administration, and Alex Stamos, who is the former Facebook chief security officer. The group set forth their recommendations at Securing Our Cyber Future: Innovative Approaches to Digital Threats on June 6.

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