Join Stephen Stedman, Nathaniel Persily, the Cyber Policy Center, and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) in an enlightening exploration of the recent report, Protecting Electoral Integrity in the Digital Age, put out by the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. Moderated by Kelly Born, Executive Director of the Cyber Policy Center.
More on the report:
New information and communication technologies (ICTs) pose difficult challenges for electoral integrity. In recent years foreign governments have used social media and the Internet to interfere in elections around the globe. Disinformation has been weaponized to discredit democratic institutions, sow societal distrust, and attack political candidates. Social media has proved a useful tool for extremist groups to send messages of hate and to incite violence. Democratic governments strain to respond to a revolution in political advertising brought about by ICTs. Electoral integrity has been at risk from attacks on the electoral process, and on the quality of democratic deliberation.
The relationship between the Internet, social media, elections, and democracy is complex, systemic, and unfolding. Our ability to assess some of the most important claims about social media is constrained by the unwillingness of the major platforms to share data with researchers. Nonetheless, we are confident about several important findings.
About the Speakers
Stephen Stedman is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, professor, by courtesy, of political science, and deputy director of the Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law. Professor Stedman currently serves as the Secretary General of the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age, and is the principal drafter of the Commission’s report, “Protecting Electoral Integrity in the Digital Age.”
Professor Stedman served as a special adviser and assistant secretary general of the United Nations, where he helped to create the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, the UN’s Peacebuilding Support Office, the UN’s Mediation Support Office, the Secretary’s General’s Policy Committee, and the UN’s counterterrorism strategy. During 2005 his office successfully negotiated General Assembly approval of the Responsibility to Protect. From 2010 to 2012, he directed the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy, and Security, an international body mandated to promote and protect the integrity of elections worldwide. Professor Stedman served as Chair of the Stanford Faculty Senate in 2018-2019. He and his wife Corinne Thomas are the Resident Fellows in Crothers, Stanford’s academic theme house for Global Citizenship. In 2018, Professor Stedman was awarded the Lloyd B. Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduate education at Stanford.
Nathaniel Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, with appointments in the departments of Political Science, Communication and FSI. Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Persily taught at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a visiting professor at Harvard, NYU, Princeton, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Melbourne. Professor Persily’s scholarship and legal practice focus on American election law or what is sometimes called the “law of democracy,” which addresses issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, redistricting, and election administration. He has served as a special master or court-appointed expert to craft congressional or legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, and New York, and as the Senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration.
Also among the commissioners of the report were FSI's Alex Stamos, and Toomas Ilves.