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President Trump in the Oval Office on Monday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Neither has signaled support for more funding to help states hold safe elections.

Election aid in limbo as talks open on next big virus relief package

As negotiations intensify on the final major coronavirus relief package before November, a last-ditch if somewhat optimistic lobbying push is underway to get hundreds of millions for safe and comprehensive elections into the bill.

Top administration officials spent much of Tuesday at the Capitol, laying out President Trump's opening bid to congressional leaders of both parties. While his proposed payroll tax cut, school funding and aid to state and local governments will get headlines, there's also a looming clash over aid for states to conduct the general election.

Trump is emphatically opposed to expanded voting by mail, falsely claiming it's a proven incubator of substantial election fraud. But many Republicans in Congress say that, since a surge of absentee voting is inevitable because of the pandemic, they should help election administrators pay for equipment, supplies and people who can assure the voting is perceived as comprehensive and the results accurate.

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Big Picture
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People fill out voter registration forms at a memorial site for George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Confronting the intersection of American democracy and American racism

Ballou-Aares is the CEO and Petrow-Cohen is an impact associate at the The Leadership Now Project,, a membership group of mostly business leaders that invests in nonprofits and candidates that "advance a modern, effective democracy."
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Pandemic Propaganda: A New Electoral Crisis

Organizer: Brennan Center for Justice

How will the misinformation pandemic inflamed by the coronavirus crisis reshape the political landscape? And how might domestic and foreign actors weaponize rumors, conspiracy theories, and disinformation about Covid-19 against American voters in the lead-up to the November election? A distinguished panel will discuss measures that can address these challenges in the upcoming months and help ensure the 2020 election is free, fair, and safe.

Laura Rosenberger is the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States. The Brennan Center's Ian Vandewalker is senior counsel for the Democracy Program, where he works to address the influence of money in politics and foreign interference in U.S. elections. Ángel Díaz is counsel in the Brennan Center's Liberty & National Security Program; his work focuses on the intersection of technology with civil rights and civil liberties. They join Foreign Affairs executive editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan.

Location: Webinar

Sara Swann/The Fulcrum

Bogus fraud claims cloud real obstacles to expanded mail voting

On the surface, the idea of conducting elections mainly by mail appears deceptively simple. It evokes images of a serious-minded citizen at the kitchen table, poring over information about candidates before thoughtfully marking a ballot, slipping it in an envelope and dropping it in the corner mailbox.

But the history of recent elections show that, even though such absentee ballots have accounted for only a quarter or so of the total vote, the system has faced serious obstacles. Suddenly doubling or even tripling the mail-in volume, which looks very plausible this November because of the coronavirus, will only magnify those challenges.

Compounding the problems is how the issue has become yet another partisan fight — with Democrats all in favor and President Trump pushing Republicans to oppose efforts to make voting by mail more available and reliable. The president's vastly overblown claims about a looming explosion of voter fraud, in particular, are overshadowing genuine worries about the abilities of election officials and the Postal Service to handle the coming surge of ballot envelopes.

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