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The State of Reform
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Brennan Center for Justice

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform, revitalize – and when necessary, defend – our country's systems of democracy and justice. At this critical moment, the Brennan Center is dedicated to protecting the rule of law and the values of Constitutional democracy. We focus on voting rights, campaign finance reform, ending mass incarceration, and preserving our liberties while also maintaining our national security. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them – in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.
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Webinar: How to make sure your vote counts

Webinar rewind: How to make sure your vote counts

With legal fights over the election being waged across the country and disinformation clouding the truth about voting systems, Americans can be forgiven for their confusion about how to cast a ballot this fall. Because each state sets its own rules — for registering, getting and returning vote-by-mail ballots, timetables for balloting in person and so many other things — keeping it all straight can be difficult for both voting rights advocates and individual voters.

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Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images

Two federal agencies have issued a warning that Russians and others may attempt to undermine our election by spreading misinformation.

FBI and DHS warn of foreign misinformation on election results

Remember election security? The Russians? What happened in 2016?

With much of the focus on mail-in ballots, drop boxes and other mechanics of voting during a public health crisis, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security want to make sure Americans know: Foreign actors are again trying again to disrupt our presidential election — including with a disinformation campaign about the results.

"The increased use of mail-in ballots due to Covid-19 protocols could leave officials with incomplete results" the night of Nov. 3, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (a part of DHS) and the FBI emphasized in a joint statement on Tuesday, and "foreign actors and cybercriminals" are expected to spread misinformation and disinformation to "exploit the time required to certify and announce elections' results."

The warning was issued as the Brennan Center for Justice,a progressive think tank that has done significant research on a broad range of election threats, issued a new study concluding that great improvement has been made in securing election systems from hacking, especially in the swing states that will decide the presidency.

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NYU Photo Bureau.

The Brennan Center's Myrna Pérez speaks at the New York University Law School two years ago.

Meet the reformer: Myrna Pérez, advocate for a trustworthy election in the pandemic

The Brennan Center for Justice, a progressive think tank at New York University Law School, is one of the preeminent groups pushing for a comprehensive, reliable and safe election during the coronavirus pandemic. And helming that litigation, research and lobbying effort is Myrna Pérez. She runs the voting rights and elections program and has been with the Brennan Center most of her professional life, arriving after a stint at a civil rights firm in Washington and clerkships for federal trial and appeals court judges in Philadelphia. Before getting a law degree from Columbia in 2003, she was a health care and housing analyst for what's now called the Government Accountability Office, the congressional oversight agency. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length.

What's democracy's biggest challenge, in 10 words or less?

Politicians manipulating the rules so some of us can't vote.

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