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Protecting Democracy: Foreign Interference, Voter Confidence, and Defensive Strategies in the 2020 Elections and Beyond

Sep 17, 2020
9:30am to 12:30pm


On September 17, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), in partnership with the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) and the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC), both of the University of Pennsylvania, presented a virtual symposium, Protecting Democracy: Foreign Interference, Voter Confidence, and Defensive Strategies in the 2020 Elections and Beyond. This symposium engaged policymakers, practitioners, and analysts from both the public and private sector and academia.

Sessions included two virtual keynote panels that were open to the public, as well as an exclusive conversation with Christopher C. Krebs, Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), on the agency's efforts to secure this year's elections.

Patterns of Foreign Election Interference Since 2016

Featured speakers:

  • Claire Finkelstein (moderator), Algernon Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Director of CERL, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence and CERL Board Member
  • Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication; Walter and Leonore Director of the university’s APPC; and Program Director of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands

Voter Attitudes and Foreign Influence: Protecting the Vote

Featured speakers:

  • Carrie Cordero (moderator), Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow, CNAS
  • Scott Bates, Deputy Secretary of State, Connecticut
  • Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Bill Kristol, Director, Defending Democracy Together; Editor-at-Large, The Bulwark
  • Laura Rosenberger, Director, Alliance for Securing Democracy, German Marshall Fund

A Conversation on Bolstering American Democracy

Christopher C. Krebs, Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), joined experts Carrie Cordero and Claire Finkelstein for a conversation about the agency's efforts to #Protect2020.

Explore the commentary series

From August to September 2020, CNAS released weekly commentaries exploring issues related to foreign interference in elections and election security in Europe and the United States. Expert authors participating in the series examined how Europe is addressing foreign interference in its elections generally, how principles of international law apply to election threats, and how Poland specifically is countering disinformation. Shifting to the United States, commentaries from civil society and federal and state government officials addressed voter attitudes about foreign interference, election security, and fostering confidence in the November election.

Congress & National Security

Bolstering American Democracy Against Threats to the 2020 Elections

About this commentary series On August 13, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and Ru...

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