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The State of Reform
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Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.
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Perspectives on the Electoral College: Is 2020 a Turning Point?

Organizer: R Street Institute

No matter how the popular vote for President comes out on November 3, 2020, Americans will select their President through the electoral college. With a recent Supreme Court case clarifying states ability to control electors and states representing more than 70 percent of the threshold having enacted legislation to join a National Popular Vote Compact, the status and importance of the electoral college is very much up for debate.

Will the aftermath of the 2020 election change these dynamics? Does the current electoral college system advantage one political party over the other? Is the electoral college a bulwark against fraud or not? Our panelists will weigh in on the likely impacts of the court case, the coming election and other dynamics in helping elucidate what the future holds for the electoral college.

Location: Webinar

NurPhoto/Getty Images

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge ranks among the leading Republicans who support voting by mail.

GOP support for mail voting is growing, but hard to hear over Trump

President Trump's increasingly hyperbolic attacks on voting by mail, amplified by Attorney General William Barr and the Republican National Committee, have triggered alarms that the country is heading toward another contested election.

Trump appears to be gearing up to cast doubt on an outcome that doesn't go his way. Primaries marred by hours-long lines, voting machine malfunctions and controversies over absentee ballots have many bracing for a meltdown starting Election Day. A much bigger surge of mailed-in votes in November virtually guarantees the results won't be known for days, setting the stage for a crisis in voter confidence if the results are close enough to be challenged, as happened in 2000.

Yet for all that, voting rights advocates mobilizing to secure the election and neutralize Trump's divisive voting rhetoric have surprising and influential allies in their corner: many leading Republicans.

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Promoting Free Expression Online: What are the options?

Organizer: R Street Institute

A new Gallup/Knight poll finds that Americans want the internet to be an open forum for free expression—even as they grow increasingly concerned about the effects of some harmful content. As a public health crisis and civil unrest reshape the public conversation, what approaches are available to policymakers and industry stakeholders to both protect free expression online and protect the public from disinformation, hate speech and political manipulation? Do attitudes point the way to legislative action or to forbearance toward regulation?

The R Street Institute will be joined by the Center for Democracy and Technology, Gallup, the German Marshall Fund and Knight Foundation for a briefing on this new study and to discuss the implications of the sometimes contradictory attitudes toward both Big Tech and the prospect that free speech might be further restricted by government.

Location: Webinar

Where’s Congress? Don’t Just Blame Trump for the Coronavirus Catastrophe

Organizer: R Street Institute

The United States has the world's highest rating on the Global Health Security Index. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may well have the planet's highest density of expertise in infectious disease. The nation had forewarning from its health experts and intelligence services that a pandemic was gestating in China and then southern Europe. So how is it possible that the United States mounted such an inept response to the coronavirus pandemic?

Join M. Anthony Mills (R Street Institute) and Robert Cook-Deegan (Arizona State University) for an in-depth conversation on fixing the broken links between expertise and governance, and on how improving the legislative branch's capacity for understanding science and technology is necessary to ensure that the country is better prepared for the next public health crisis.

Location: Webinar

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