House Committee on Oversight and Reform: Recommendations for Restoring Election Integrity

Over the past couple years, disinformation campaigns have increasingly been imposing dangers to American democracy and election integrity. According to the recent report “Exhausting and Dangerous”: The Dire Problem of Election Misinformation and Disinformation by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, 64% of Americans believe democracy is at risk of failing while only 20% feel confident about the integrity of the election system.

The Committee’s investigation found that the main driver of misinformation in the 2020 election was fraudulent audits. Despite the advice of election professionals, certain Republican officials in states such as Arizona and New Mexico proceeded with the hiring of unaccredited companies led by conspiracy theorists. Although Republican officials stood up against the lies being spread, the audits had already caused significant mistrust in elections.

Over the past year, there have been over 1,000 hostile contacts to election officials. The President of the Election Officials of Arizona explained to the Committee that the battle of countering election integrity harm has been an ongoing process since 2019 and is “exhausting and dangerous.”

After the large-scale subversion attempt following the 2020 election, the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and former President Trump’s coordinated strategy of stoking mistrust in American democracy, the U.S. remains at great risk for future election subversion. The Committee recommends that the President designate a federal agency to support state and local efforts in countering future election misinformation. Key efforts should include fact-checking throughout the election cycle and providing assistance for cybersecurity and personal security to election administrators.

Now more than ever, they need the resources and support that only the federal government can provide. A federal whole-of-government response to this growing crisis is an urgent necessity.

For more information, check out HSDL’s In Focus on Disinformation and Election Security.

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