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The Honest Ads Act, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Mark Warner, would directly counter the tactics used throughout the 2016 election that led to more than 126 million Americans consuming disinformation. writes McGehee

Foreign interference in our elections is an American crisis

McGehee is executive director of Issue One, a cross-partisan political reform group. (It is incubating, but journalistically independent from, The Fulcrum.) She leads its Don't Mess With US project to stop foreign interference in our elections.

The debate around election security has been fierce and full of misinformation in recent days. Now that it's circled all the way back around to the cable news and pundit class, it is time to clear the air around what's quickly devolved into a partisan, points-scoring exercise.

Foreign interference is a national crisis, and stopping foreign interference is about the integrity of our elections, not political wins.

Remember: Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and others don't see political party; they see weaknesses and vulnerabilities to exploit and divide our nation. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, and we need a strong and unified response because they are working to weaken America as we speak. This impacts all of us.

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Congress
Sara Swann/The Fulcrum

Maurice Turner was a 2017 fellow of TechCongress, which sends technologists and computer scientists to help the Hill understand how the world works in the 21st century.

Congress has a tech problem. This fellowship wants to change that.

Technological expertise has always been a rare, if not seemingly nonexistent, commodity on Capitol Hill.

This legislative branch's limitations were famously underscored for the country last year, when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress (and on national TV) and several members made plain they needed a crash course in Internet 101. Among the most memorable moment was when GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah asked Zuckerberg how Facebook sustains its business since it's free to use. "Senator, we run ads," was the social media titan's understated reply.

The Zuckerberg hearing is just one example of how Congress lacks the tech proficiency it needs — a shortcoming that, in the eyes of many working to improve democracy, is hobbling the legislative branch's functionality and ability to stand up to the president in balance-of-power tussles.

There's a technology policy fellowship, though, that's working to change this.

TechCongress offers stipends for a year to mid-career professionals in the tech industry willing to take a break from their regular work and bring more technological and computer science savvy to Capitol Hill.

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U.S. District Court

Judge Amy Totenberg

Judge ambivalent on how quickly Georgia must modernize voting equipment

The federal judge overseeing complaints about Georgia's election system says she's conflicted about how quickly the state should have to modernize its voting equipment.

The ambivalence announced last week by U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg is escalating tensions even further in one of the most polarized and impassioned disputes in the country about election administration.

Georgia is the nation's ninth-most populous state. And, after decades as the anchor of a solidly Republican South, last fall's extraordinarily close contest for governor revealed it could be turning into a political tossup, with its 16 electoral votes going either way as soon as 2020, but only if the pivotal black electorate turns out in significant numbers.

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Big Picture
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Where the presidential candidates stand on the top issues of democracy reform

This story has been revised after additional reporting.

Steadily if still softly, anxiety about the health of American democracy has become at least a secondary theme in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Proposals for restoring the public's faith in elections, and a sense of fairness in our governing system, have now earned a place on most of the candidates' platforms. And more and more of them have been including calls for democracy reform in their stump speeches.

To be sure, the topic has not come close to the top tier of issues driving the opening stages of the campaign. In the first round of candidate debates last month, for example, the contenders collectively spent less time talking about democracy's ills than eight other issues: health care, President Trump's record, immigration, social policy, economic inequality, gun control, foreign policy and the environment.

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