Duke University experts discuss security threats to this year's election
Two Duke University scholars discuss election security and various threats to this year's historic election, when a record number of Americans are expected to submit their votes by mail due to the pandemic.
here. Morning, Greg. Eso Gordon, I'd like to start with you three. U. S. Intelligence community has warned members of Congress about active foreign interference in this year's election. Based on your experience, how serious is that threat? And how concerned should Americans be about the possible effects? So it's a It's a real threat, I think, starting in 2016 when we saw Russian actions targeted on our election, um, the intelligence community has considered it significant enough that they have talked about it openly, recognizing that you needed to get the information in the hands of the people, citizens and state and local governments because they're the ones that control the election system. So first things first. That this is being talked about openly by the intelligence community community means that it's serious. Um, I we have adversaries who have long intended to, in the case of Russia, undermine democracy in the case of China to be able to use our system to increase their particularly economic power, and even Iran and North Korea, who want to achieve achieve their regional games by influencing what happens here and now we have a world that is digitally connected that allows both access to the possibility of interfering in the electoral electoral system and creating havoc on the influence influence side by using the magnification of social media. So it's riel. Um, should citizens be concerned, they should know that there are malign actors who are trying to shape what we dio. But I will also say that especially since 2016 there have been great effort put into securing the election system themselves, the voting system. So should US citizens feel comfortable that that we have, with the private sector, done a lot of things to protect the actual election voting system? And so people should be comfortable as comfortable as you can that that that work has been done to try and ensure the integrity. And we don't see efforts going on to now wreck the integrity of that system, but that that they should be mindful that some of the messages they here, some of the things that they see are potentially being manipulated by actors outside the United States. So be a critical consumer on be aware the possibility. But do I believe that we have done a good job to protect protect the election system Yes. Okay. Thank you. Lots to dig into there, and we'll come back to that. But now, Dean Kelly, I'd like to move on to you because of the pandemic, You know, we're likely to see an unprecedented volume of mail in ballots on the President has claimed that will create the potential for mass voting fraud. Those claims have any merit, Do you think? Thank you, Greg. Three points. First, this election is not going to be quote unquote one through massive mail in ballot fraud. Okay, that is not how this election will be won. Uh, the unprecedented volume. My second point is actually not that unprecedented. In the last election, 25% of the electorate cast their ballot by mail with 30 million ballots cast by mail. So it's not like we haven't had the volume before. That would enable massive fraud. And yet we do not have a history off such massive fraud. Furthermore, when there have been attempts at what's called ballot harvesting, they have been one small and two discovered case in point being the ninth district here in North Carolina. The system worked, uh, the cheaters in this case where on the Republican side were caught, and the election was we run. Third point is that it is true that mail in ballots are rejected at a much higher rate than in person ballots. However, mail in ballots are projected roughly only at 1% rate, and when they are rejected, they're not rejected because of fraud. They're rejected because voters make mistakes with pen and paper, and sometimes there is not adequate time to correct. Those are notified the voter that this ballot is not able to be processed the way you indeed may be notified if you are attempting to put it through a machine. When you cast your ballot and personal me, spit it back out and say You voted for two people on this Go back, fix it. You know we can't do that. Eso the biggest take away point for the American voter is no different from the point that the post office actually wisely made, which is that the American people, if they intend to cast their ballot by mail, should do so as early as possible. And when they do so, this ballot can be trapped just like a UPS or other kind of package and there is a bar code or another form of code, you will be able to see how it's moving through the system and when it has been received. And it is a safe way to cast your ballot. Just pay attention to how you fill it out. Gotcha. Thank you very much. Thank you both for those opening answers, we will now open it up to questions. Um, if you're on Zoom, you can type of question into the Q and a window, or you can raise your hand is you zoom so we can amuse you. If you're calling it by phone, you can raise your hand by pressing start nine. Um, on that, we could ask your question in person. Um, s O God, I'd like to come back to you. You talked about the different malign actors internationally and what their interests are. Could you talk a little bit more about what their varying abilities are to interfere with the election and their interest is that seems to be a matter of some confusion and dispute. Yeah. So the thing to know is, um mhm. In a world of cyber, everyone thinks that cyber is something unique and different. It is just the way that today that everyone effects their interests. So let's talk about the interests of the various nations. So Russia and long before in the Soviet Union, had doctrine had intention toe under on democracy and the Cold War is called active measures, um, propaganda activities to get us Thio, perceive ourselves a different way or not believe in ourselves. So the Russian interest is undermining democracy. And so their involvement in the elections and their considerable abilities as an intelligence service makes them particularly worrisome because we saw them in 2016 directly because we know they have broad capability and because it is so tied to their doctrine that that's that's why we talk about Russia so much. Um, China has a growing, um, participation in terms of trying to shape elections or interfere. They certainly used digital media. They certainly cove. It was a great example where we saw them trying thio shape, undermine or steal information. Um, but China's interests are much more about their economic advance, their power. And so when they conduct actions against the United States, it's That's why we see so much intellectual property theft um, and so much work on the tech side in terms of what the policies are in terms of trade. It's really to seek there, own power advantage. And then you have actors like Iran that they're not really global actors, in a sense. But they now have global reach technically and so their interests will be to try and shape issues related to them. Get us out of the Middle East, undermine the alliances that we have with the West around J, C, P. O. Or other things. So what you see is varying interests being affected through the same mode. But it's important to understand what's trying to be achieved, because that's one of the really important elements of protecting yourself against it. So the elections are the vehicle. But the aim is something very different by actor. Well, that makes sense. Thank you, Dean Kelly. You work a lot of the studied a lot the area of international election observation on, but I think some Americans might think of international election observers or something. Generally we see in developing countries with fragile democracies. But of course, international monitors have been observing US election since 2002. could you tell us how that process works on what difference observers can make If they do find evidence that an election isn't it fair and free? Is the law requires? Yes, I will if I may just backtrack on, make one more point, about million ballots and then I'll get to your point, Greg. Another point I had wished to make about male and balance is that I think we're seeing a situation right now what we're being set up to believe that if mail in ballots are taking time to count, that means there's a problem with them. How long it takes to count mail in ballots is not a function off their quality. It is a function of when they officials are allowed to start to count. So I just want to make that very clear assed faras International election monitoring. It's worth putting in perspective that the United States has been a beacon of democracy around the world, and one of its primary tools has been international election monitoring. Uh, the United States, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute on the Carter Center, has some in some of the foremost organizations. Two of those funded, you know, by Congress to promote election monitoring and democracy around the world. In the in the United States, United States, uh, being part of the O S C. E, uh, signed the Copenhagen Declaration off 1990 that obligates it to receive we see observers and after the, uh, 2000 Florida election or C E observers began to come to the United States, uh, it works in three ways. First, there's a pre electoral mission that's already been here from the O. C. I believe that actually might be holding a press conference today. So whoever some the call should try to tune into that. They issued a report. They normally issue a report after their pre electoral assessment mission in which they sort of assess the context for holding the election, whether or not the logistical and the legislative context is sound and they make a serious of recommendations. And they did so for the United States as well this summer. In addition, they then sent a team of long term of servers who arrived 3 to 4 weeks before the election, sometimes two weeks before the election, depending on when things fall into place and they may stay up to a week after the election or longer if there's something that's very contested. And then there is a huge team off short term observers that come and do the bulk of the work in actually observing the conduct. Opt off the polling and they'll just arrived A you know, a couple of days before and and leave the day after. Historically, they were in two ways. One. Election observers can have a deterrent effect that if you think you're going to be watched and caught, may be less likely to cheat. And, you know, some of my work has shown that statistically that that has been true for for emerging democracies doesn't work for autocracies that the dictators have just not really gonna care either way. Um, so there's a deterrent effect. More importantly, though, is the relationship that gets developed and the recommendations that get made where we really have been in the United States has been a position off playing the role off teacher saying here the things you can do it different, hear things you could do better if you really wanna have credible elections and it's really, um, quite confusing for me as somebody who studied election monitoring for so long to see the exact same things that United States has pressed has expressed concerned about in election monitoring missions funded by the United States to see those exact same concerns being raised in this election. Recently, the United States conduct its own election. Thank you. Yes, and that actually brings me to another major point that I wanted to make here Is that, you know, popular elections, obviously at the heart of American democracy. But the president has been making comments that seemed designed to undermine confidence in the election. I mean, is that a form of election interference in itself? Onda, How dangerous is it? So I'll jump first and you go, then you fix it. I think from a long time, uh, intelligence officer, under understanding a bit about our adversaries and competitors and the interest I just mentioned, there's a piece of me that is listening to our national discussion that is, centers around telling our citizens that either you can't trust your institutions or you can't trust the voting process or you can't trust the other guys. If I am sitting in our adversaries shoes, who are trying to shape and particularly in the case of the Russians, what I worry about is there sitting back going. Yes, we can. We have achieved our rain, That beacon that you just talks about, that the world has relied on actually looks like we're telling people that our system is not trustworthy. And listen, I'm a career bureaucrat. I have lots of opinions about how bureaucracy needs to be fixed. So this isn't about that. Things don't go wrong and need to be fixed. Judas Point about. We detect things, and then we repair them. I'm just thinking this notion of this national conversation that is centered around lack of trustworthiness or that you can't believe it or this massive cheating that that in itself is an undermining act, particularly in the light of adversaries and competitors who are hoping that we become weaker so they could become stronger. So I absolutely agree with Sue. This is, um, I think we have to be very careful not to use fear in this election. In general, I don't think fear is a constructive captain, but I do think that if there's one thing we all ought to be very concerned about. It's the state of our democracy itself. And this type of undermining and the confidence of our institutions is undermining and the confidence of our democracy. Um, it's interesting having watched election observers and dictators over the years. How is that are the strategy, actually is because normally if you have somebody who can't win an election and they are strong incumbent, what they will do is they will I plan to cheat. But then they will tell everybody that the election is gonna be great. It's gonna be perfect. We have everything under control. It's we it's gonna be smooth. It's gonna be free and fair, and then I'm gonna cheat, and then I'm gonna win. And the election was credible. That's how you maintain, you know, a mandate because you don't maintain a mandate through an election that wasn't free and fair. So you want to try to say it's going to be afraid it's gonna be fair In this situation, we have the opposite happening. Um, and, uh, where the where the president is trying to undermine the confidence in the election. Which is quite ironic when you think about the fact that we also at the same time saying that we are the best country in the world, that we are the greatest. So shouldn't we have the greatest election system to, you know? But apparently, you know, we don't And I think it comes down to the fact that, uh, that this president is not actually trying to win this election. This president is trying to not have to concede this elections got That's what's going on. Okay. Thank you. Thank you both for that. Um, we'll get a little bit feedback from somewhere. Not sure what's happening there, but we've had some questions from reporters on Dean Kelly. I'd like to you toe take this one first. It specifically about situation here in North Carolina. Um e you may be aware, the we've learned that the national Republican groups have instructed republic cans here a county board of elections in North Carolina to not comply with new absentee ballot rules sent out by the state of elections because they claim that the workers the rules haven't been approved by the cops. Is this something? Is this common to see in the US that a national group would would send instructions to party members on county boards on. Do you think that it poses any risk to the processing of absentee ballots or public confidence in the account? It is absolutely not common. I don't recall a similar situation again. It plays right into just on the local level what Sue was talking about in the beginning. It's just it's an effort to sow confusion and and and undermine the confidence in the process. We should all be able to unite around the process, and this is not is not helpful. Sure, absolutely. Thank you, Andi. I have a few other questions regarding process, so don't tell. You said before that it's hard to rig an election in the U. S. Because the system so decentralized. But given that we know there are certain places in the country that are likely to be crucial to the overall result of the presidential election, whether it's Florida, Ohio, on so on, is there a risk that people could try and place their thumbs on the scale in certain places and like, how would that work? Absolutely. And I think they will in the sense of, you know, there there will be small efforts that trying t cheat because you can't. Massively, you will have to be very strategic about putting your thumb on the scale in the right places. My point is not that you can't do that. My point is that you won't win that way. Ultimately, because I have confidence that way. Detect these things. Why did we detect the male harvesting in North Carolina in the last election? Well, because, you know, for the same reason that the media doesn't call an election right away, you know, they have expectations about how a certain district is going to come out. They eso if they don't see those expectations playing out, they're gonna wait to have a certain percentage counted until they're confident that this is really true. And so we will. When you have instances where foul play is a hand, it will ultimately show up, and something's off here. Now that may be because of fraud, or it may be because voters actually cast their ballot that way. But when there's a flag that goes up, it will be investigated. Right? And then we have data on. Okay, So who were sent mail ballots? Well, if you know all the mail ballots were sent to Democrats to be extreme, then it would be very odd if they came back. Um, you know, all past for Republicans or vice versa, right? So there are flags that we will catch, and then we will take time to investigate them. And unfortunately, you know, both sides are very lawyered up, and that is what is going on. We will have conversation after this election, and which is why we we should not be surprised that, you know, unless we have a landslide, we won't know the result right after the election. And that's actually a good thing because it means the system is working right. If you've got somebody who's really cheating, then they just declare victory right away. And there's no further investigation. Um, and if you stop the system and say no, there are places we need to enquire and and sort it out and make sure we've got it right. We wanna have a result in which we have confidence in which voters have confidence and we have all the mechanisms to do that. Thank you very much. Before we move on, there is what what you mentioned about how you know we should expect to delay in the result, and that means the process is working. But given the unprecedented level of attention that there's gonna be in the pressure to get a result, are you concerned that any kind of delay you know, is going to result in people whether it's taking legal action or bringing pressure to bear to get a result before we actually have fully counted ballots? I think we're all concerned right now about how the period after the election is going to play out. This is happening in the context in which we already have protests in our streets because of black lives matter. Um, civil unrest in places. And now we have a situation in which you throw in the Supreme Court instability, the president potentially appointing somebody to the court that may decide the outcome off a particular suit that's brought up. Uh, this is a highly volatile situation, and I I am very concerned about somebody claiming premature victory about the process not being allowed to play out, and about how the American people and even more American politicians will conduct themselves in the weeks after the election. Can I jump in for a second. Can I jump in for a second, Greg? So, uh, yeah, kind of three points, One thio pick up on the this point about the system. So I mentioned earlier in my comment the work done since 2016 between the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Security Agency and the intelligence community at large to not just talk about interference, but to work with state and local governments to make sure that at every level, because one of the A Z you just said one of the great things about our country is that we're open desperate. We have not completely locked down one system. We actually have a lovely framework, and that allows some protection. But we have had to work through that in order to give every state, every locality, the best wisdom, access to the best capabilities, get monitoring those places, and that has been done. And so we're well positioned there. But even more than that, the private sector has really leapt into the fray both in terms off offering expertise to protect the systems themselves, but also doing much more work on authentication of accounts and data that air going through, say, the social media. So there's a lot of work that has been undertaken to put our systems in, in my estimation, the best they have been in the last few years to try and organize them if I were going to now this is Citizen Sue Gordon. Um, talk Thio, my fellow citizens. I would say two things. One vote and feel confidence and confidence in voting and into this year particularly be patient because it is likely going to be take more time for us to be certain of the results. And remember, we don't actually know the result on election night. Any time it has toe, have votes come in and serve out. That just usually goes on in the background and more confident, so voters will be a little bit patient. I agree with Dean Kelly that I think, um, the system will work and we will get to a solution that can trust. But there's gonna have to be some patient involved. It's gonna be so important, you know? I know it sounds strange, but to say, Hey, we should not make this election process into a political issue, but it's going to be so important to understand that there are, uh there are voters out there. There are Republicans and they're Democrats. They all have a right to cast their ballot, and and they want to do so with confidence. And we should let that process play out and let the people speak Andi, and hold on to our institutions of democracy, foremost rather than the short term interest off any party. Yes, sure, thank you both there. And so I'd like to come back to you on this notion of patients because certainly patience is required. But certainly it also seems like patients can be in short supply a lot of the time. What are you concerned about? From a kind of intelligence and national security perspective, if there is a significant delay to the result of the election and it causes a lot of tension, you know, across the country does that kind of further the goals that you mentioned about the foreign actors might have in terms of destabilizing the country? What do you see is some of the potential effects if there is a substantial delay. Yeah, I'm on the record and I've told the President as well that I think the greatest threat to America right now is that we won't believe in ourselves. I mean there, Yeah, there are worries that you could have a cyber attack on the Eastern Seaboard power grid, and that's worrisome on bond. Armed conflict is always worrisome, but America's withstood those things. We are. We are not yet to our 3/100 birthday on this democracy. Thing is hard on. One of the things that it is predicated on is believing that you have the right idea of freedoms and justice and transparency. Um, and all those things are important. And what worries me if this continues to go on what was started in one direction has now blooming and others is if people believe that they can't trust the CDC or the FBI or name your organization if they believe that their neighbor is actually personally against them, rather than my experience that almost every American is good, optimistic helps their neighbor tolerant of those things, we start believing that we are fundamentally not good as opposed to fundamentally bad, that will. It wrote our confidence, and it will lessen our ability to be that projector of how it can be, particularly the time where the world is changing so much, so many of our institutions air trying to catch up to a world that is turning so fast in times off chaos, um, totalitarian ism looks attractive to people who can't tolerate uncertainty. So I think I think they're really is this moment where kind of the whole world is in the mix. Which system is gonna win at a time that the world is changing And we have to ensure that our fundamental premises that are born on the backs of our people, believing that they're right, can continue because I think the worldwide effects off of what's happening here will be far greater in terms of alliances, in terms of ability of our partners and emergent nations to withstand pressure from other countries. Just so much is at stake here, and I don't know whether you disagrees with May, but that's how I said absolutely agree with you. I would just also say that to keep our democracy alive, it it's so important that we don't malign uh each other. You know, the polarization we've seen. Play is playing right into this, and if we start to get into this mindset that that whatever party we don't belong to, that the other party is evil. Um then we are also undermining democracy because democracy relies on a robust debate between different viewpoints and we should be discussing policy issues, not identity issues. We should be discussing whether trade policy, X, y Z or environmental policy x y c What are the actual costs and what are the actual benefits and who pays and how were those distributed and should we should not do it? Not I am a Republican or I am a Democrat and therefore I simply, you know, take the stand. We need this course and we need we need, therefore, to be able to respect one another and and not and not just say, these actors are bad, so important for our democracy. Sure, that makes sense. Sue Gordon. It seems like we have nothing but $64,000 questions today. But here is one for you. Given your decades of experience in intelligence and national security, you know, the President has said outright that he might not accept the election result. What? What do you How would you see that unfolding If if there were a clear defeat. If the election certified and the President has lost but refuses to accept what actually happens then uh huh uh, what? I'm not sure that I'm the best position. Um, Thio, talk about the big effect. My immediate response will be. I don't like this statement. I think it against those uncertainty. But I would probably also say there's a big difference between a tweet and policy, so I would be or even a statement and policy. So I would say is not overreacting to that, not imagine that we're gonna have to mobilize our own military to do this, but rather say that's a statement of his intention to continue to be the president, Not necessarily an intention. Thio override all the government things here. So just be a little careful with some of those single statements, and I wouldn't I wouldn't carry them too far. I believe in the system. Yeah, I would add to, you know, there are neither sewer ir constitutional lawyers and but even if you ask, constitute constitutional lawyers. There are a bunch of different scenarios that can play out, all of which reveal that we actually have this far less under control them. We think we do. Like we did not play all these scenarios out when we when we wrote the rules on. But it's even conceivable that two different people will show up to be, um, sworn in to office on. You know, we were apparently close to that, uh, some in some election with Hayes, etcetera. So, uh, what e think the more important answer is, what will it depend on? Whether or not we have a mess. And what it will depend on is how the Republican and the Democratic Party's each choose to react. How does the leadership choose to react after the election? Um, the leadership of each party will have a choice either to stand up and say We are democracy and we believe in the election result and we're going to back it up because it stops. Now. The game is over, the election has played out. Or they can say, Well, maybe we can get away with it and we can push on. We can make a mess, and maybe we can stay in power for another four years. Maybe we can capture flower power for the next four years. That's just a That would be such a short sighted gain and such a long term loss, our country so so much will depend on What is Nancy Pelosi? What is Mitch McConnell? What each? What is Trump? What is Biden going to say after Election Day? And particularly, what would the party leaders say? Because without their support, honestly, neither presidential candidate will be able to play whatever game they may have in mind playing. I believe the election results will be believable. I dio I think I think our system is sound. I think the work we've put in they will be believable results. The question is, well, the party's allow them to be believed. That's right, Yes, it's certainly gonna be interesting to watch that unfold. We have a reporter question for you. So Gordon, which says that obviously, as you mentioned earlier, the 2016 election cycle kind of shed some light on foreign election interference. But is it a new concern? Is that in the U. S. Is there any evidence that previous elections may have been impacted by foreign interference, or is it basically a product of the cyber era. Yeah, I think I think it is a relatively new phenomenon, with the advent of a digitally connected world that you could have the potential of big systemic effects with relatively little cost and little presence, especially given the diversity of our system. So I don't think there's any, um, real concern looking backwards. Not that there hasn't been intent. Not that there hasn't been interest. Not that there haven't been physical actions, whether that is bribes, payoffs, pamphlets, other sorts of things, but not any systemic activity. I I think that we could be confident in that regard because it would be so hard to effect physically. And it is really hard to affect digitally. Sure, thank you, Dean Kelly, and a question for you. You know, you mentioned the North Carolina congressional race a couple of years ago. The issues there, if on a on a national scale, let's say that in six months evidence of fraud was uncovered or evidence of irregularity, that would change the result. Um, what on earth would happen then? You know, if the courts are faced with an election that was in some way, um, illegitimate. What recourses their toe go back in time and change anything. Is there anything that course could? Well, I mean, what we did in North Carolina was that theoretician result that had been obtained illegally was actually, you know, it was actually allowed to be in effect until the election could be rerun. Uh and so and so I I don't You know, I I don't foresee, but not within the world of pure speculation. I don't foresee us somebody in and then four months later, unsparing them in I mean, I don't I don't think that's gonna happen. That was different processes, impeachment. Other things would have to, uh, be put into place that I don't really think impeachment would be the relevant process unless that win or had a hand in it. Um, So, uh, so I think that's that zits. Pretty farfetched. Um, you know, a year ago, there are a lot of things that are happening in our world right now that we thought were would have been pretty far fetched if somebody had mentioned that to us. Eso Who knows? Uh, that is a true story, but I you know, I mean, when when you talk about foreign influence and like Sue Gordon was talking about to, You know, these days in advanced democracies, influence and fraud does not occur at the ballot box. It occurs in the minds of voters. It occurs in the pre electoral period, and and and that makes it very ambiguous and difficult to both. Both identify and also actually identify what the true effective it ISS. And so when you say what's actually in fact, how do you How do you really trace that? It's difficult. Sure. On Google, I'd like to come back to this notion of foreign interference. Do you have? I mean, you say you the intelligence community spoke openly about it because it was considered a legitimate, realistic threat. But in 2020 especially with the chaos that's being fermented here in the US, how seriously do you expect the threat foreign interference to be taken in Washington, you know, And in the halls of power, do you have any sense that that it is being taken seriously? Oh, I think it is, I think one of things for folks Thio remember is you see what's going on at the presidential on the top level, but But there are women and men in jobs and agencies who are doing their job and they do that job. Undeterred, there is probably. There are probably few issues that air getting mawr attention right now. Then election security and ensuring, no matter what effort we've put in to date that we continue to stay on top of it, we can continue to monitor the threats and carry this all the way through. So seriously? Absolutely. And just remember, there is all the things that are happening at the very highest levels. But then they're below that just regular old work to do the systems business, to make sure that we are free and open and repeatable on all those things and all that work is going on. So you should feel completely confident that this work is getting the attention of the system and staying on top of it, because it is. If it were allowed to occur, it would be so damaging and it is so insidious. A lot of focus and some of the best work I've seen recently going on. It's encouraging to hear a same time, you know, the beginning. You said about the need for individual people to be critical. You know, observers of the things that we see. But we know that you know a lot of the propaganda that gets put out about the U. S. Election or for the U. S. Election from foreign agencies very sophisticated and certainly is able to deceive a lot of voters when it just provides extra parties and information that agrees with what they already think. How What can you suggest Thio for how people can be more critical or how on an individual level, people can kind of weed out what is foreign propaganda from what's actually going on here in the US Um, so I think I think again there are technical things that could be done in our social media, um, companies to look at what is a legitimate, not good or bad, not having an opinion. But whether it is, there's a pedigree to each of these accounts and it isn't bots, and it isn't for many things, you know, Truth, even when represented digitally, has its own sound. You know, how does it spread? So I think there's a lot of work that has gone on and much more that needs to go on to work on the truth side so that what we get is more likely be true, I would say on an individual side there, two things quit forwarding, amplifying messages that you don't understand where they came from, you know, just explosive. And when you watch the news, be really mindful of things that either don't make sense, do not comport with your experience or are trying to tell you what to believe. Look into the event, do your own research. But just this notion. So now when I see um, of report of Let's see what was what was today it was a New Jersey or no in Minneapolis with this notion that they caught these people doing ballot harvesting or something. You know what my thought was? I have no idea whether that's true. It looks true, you know, it's reported is it is true. It matches a message that somebody wants you to believe, but But I now almost don't believe things that don't necessarily comport with my experience of what was going on, and that isn't a very satisfying answer. But it would be lovely if we stopped being she people and started doing some critical thinking about the information that we're receiving, that would indeed be spectacular. Dean Kelly, I'd like to come back to you so much off how elections and democracies work is down to norms rather than laws and policies. Andi, think we're learning in 2020 how many norms we've taken for granted. And in the last four years, a lot of them have been just completely thrown out the window. When it comes to election protection, you know, are their policies of the US lax that it should have? Or can we have faith that our norms will be enough to carry them through and widespread acceptance of those norms? Are there any lessons we could learn from other countries? Um, I kind of feel like, you know, that person in the canoe headed towards the waterfall. And you're saying, so far, so good, you know, because our norms have held and our rules have been adequate. And yet it feels like there might be a waterfall were about to crash over very soon on our our norms will be put to a a nen or mus stress test. Um, now, in terms of what we could learn from other uh, countries might actually be to give some credence and pay some attention to international election monitoring and the views of other countries of our election. We have been encouraging other countries to do that for a long time. Um, we could go and and read some of the concerns that the OSC has already expressed about our election that is coming up. They have a long list of concerns that are more, I would say some of the more big picture. They're not like worried that we won't be able to count on pallets, etcetera, etcetera. There are concerns about 2013 changes to the Voting Rights Act and the fact that that that Congress has not established a new formula, as as the Supreme Court said would need to be done in order for, uh for for the Voting Rights Act section five to be implemented properly. Um, they have pointed out things about felon voting rights. You know, that are very, very different in the United States from a lot of other countries in the United States, once you're convicted felon. Now, even when you leave, um, prison, enough sort of your sentence, you are not able to vote the OSC has spoken out against and the fact that, um that people are being made to pay, you know, the definition off I convicted felon now, and having served your sentence apparently also is that you have to finish paying every single fine even after you were released. And if you haven't paid fine X Y c. You know, and some people argue that that's essentially master poll tax. So you can't vote until you pay these fines, etcetera, etcetera. So I I think what we could learn from other countries is thio at least pay attention to what international observers are saying when they come to our country and ask ourselves whether our standards could be improved overall, whether there are measures that we could take in our elections that would improve the credibility of them. There are still people, obviously, who question the fact that we don't actually directly elect the president, but that we have, you know, delegates who what we have is kind of bizarre system. Um, maybe we should be asking ourselves whether our system really is, uh, suited for the modern world when it comes to some of those things. Indeed, and, ah, discussion of the Electoral College. The delegate system could be another discussion of many years just by itself. Um, I'd like to move on here. We have another question in the chat, you know, So God mentioned earlier about how, when we have the kind of division that we have right now with the lack of trust in the system that we're doing the work of foreign agents for them on the question we have here is that given, given that what is the role and responsibility of higher education? A swell as nonpartisan, nonpolitical segments of our signature culture. In de escalating, this polarization and strength strengthen. And it's strengthening our overarching connections as citizens. What should higher education be doing? That was I think it was for you, Sue. Right? I'd like to hear from both of you on this. So So, Actually, one of the reasons why I'm so delighted to be, um, Rubenstein fellow at Duke is because I think this is where thoughts starts. I think it is the best opportunity to present the broadest view of what is happening in context because it is foundational that way. So So I'll let you two talk about from an institutional perspective on the individual on the people coming through our systems. I think these air important conversations toe have. I think it is important to talk about current events in historical context. I think that it's important to talk about US activities in in a global context to be able to see clearly, um, the good and the challenges, especially now because, as I mentioned, I think this is one of those moments where the world has changed so dramatically that before co vid we were kind of trying to pretend that we could do things the same way and muscle our way to achieving the same outcome. And I think what Covic showed is just how independent we I interdependent. We are just how much we're making decisions for each other. And so you have this almost open system again, that somebody is gonna have to come in and not necessarily organized a new but imagine new ways to achieve achieve the outcomes we've historically tried to dio. And if that doesn't go through our higher education, then I don't know what our higher education is designed to dio, I would add on to that and say as much as we've been, uh, voicing concern about X. Y C Truly, you should not be concerned because Duke is up to this challenge. Wear doing three things here at Duke one. We are educating the next generation, and we're educating them to be critical thinkers. And we do go doing that. And universities around this country are doing that. That's important, too. We are creating knowledge, Um, and actually, matter of fact, you will often find that some of the increase into the conduct of election and how things were done etcetera are done by academics. Academics sort of an important observation role. And they are the ones that often not able to statistically pick up abnormalities. They historically been in the forefront of conducting, uh, increase of different kinds. But they also create knowledge around, you know, voter turnout and all sorts of different things. Three. We're also providing real hands on solutions. You spoke earlier about how can how can citizens know what's real and what isn't really? And how can they? How can they saw that out? Well, right here at the Santa School of Public Policy, we are leading the fact checking development off automated fact checking throughout the weight while the Center for Media and Democracy we're working closely with Google, Facebook and others in embedding code in their language that enables fact checking organizations from around the world to fact check. Um, that is all work that's come out right here off the Sanford School of Public Policy. And if you want to follow up on that, you should be turned to Bill Adair, professor who has been doing all this with students find you, Thank you very much. And yes, I would point out Bill Adair was in our briefing that we had a couple of months back on misinformation and disinformation. I would encourage you to check it out on YouTube. We're almost the time here. I would give one more shout out for questions. You can post them in the Q and A if you like on we can get to those before we sign off. But s so called just mentioned co vid on Dean Kelly. I wanted to ask you about this, so obviously we know that so far the main impact on the election has been the increase in requests for mail in absentee ballots. Um, but on the day, obviously, this is a global pandemic. Do you have any experience? You know, in elections you've observed and things you started overseas of elections taking place in a pandemic. And what kind of potential chaos or problems we might see on the day as large numbers of people are trying to vote on, obviously doing so safely and in a distance away. Well, I mean, we have seen way, have some issues already. I mean, uh, Belarus Helen election recently. You know, in the middle of a pandemic. Uh, you know, we've held out primaries in the middle of pandemics, and some of them have gone better than others. I think that we are at a stage of the pandemic in the United States, where we are much better, uh, informed about how to set up safe polling stations. I think people wearing mask and doing social distancing and following all the health protocols, we know how to implement a safe voting experience. The concern is more with getting enough people to sign up to work in those polling stations. And we don't want that to decrease the number of stations we can we can we can muster? Because that has an effect on how far people have to travel to the polling stations. And we need to find ways to provide safe transportation to polling stations for people. Um and so those those are some logistical challenges. But, you know, we could put a man on the moon. We can figure out how to get a voter to the to the pole and do that absolutely on. I can't really think of a better place to leave it than there. This has been fantastic. I would like to thank everybody for joining us.