No one knows if social media phenomenon TikTok could allow China to meddle in the 2020 election, similar to Russia's attacks in the last presidential campaign. But two senators who are on the opposite sides of almost every issue want to find out.
The Chinese-owned video sharing app is rapidly increasing in popularity worldwide, especially among teenagers. It has been downloaded more than 110 million times in the United States alone. And just two weeks ago it said it was working to steer clear of the next election by banning all political advertising from its site.
Nonetheless, it has now become "is a potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore" in the view of the two senators, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and conservative Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
"The platform is also a potential target of foreign influence campaigns like those carried out during the 20I6 election on U.S.-based social media platforms," the pair wrote in a letter this week to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
The 2020 primaries are just around the corner, and thanks to this year's National Voter Registration Day, an additional 400,000 people are ready to cast their ballots.
The estimated number of registrations is nearly three times that of previous non-election-year events. And while some of these new or renewed registrants can now participate in local and state elections this fall, many are gearing up for important primary races happening as early as February of next year.
A handful of laws that took effect Tuesday in Maryland are designed to boost voting, political process transparency and civic engagement.
Maryland is a reliably Democratic state, and virtually all its elections won't happen for another year. But its proximity to Washington, and the fact that it's home to so many federal policymakers and advocates, means changes in the name of democracy reform get an outsized degree of attention from both fans and critics.
Like 20 other states plus D.C., Maryland will from now on permit people to both register and cast ballots on Election Day, so long as they can prove residency when they get to their polling location. The move to so-called "same day registration" will cost the local governments conducting elections a combined $2 million upfront and $600,000 each year after 2022, Patch reports.
Maryland is opening the door for increased civic engagement among children, allowing students starting in sixth grade to help out election judges on Election Day. Through what's dubbed the Page Program, younger poll workers will be trained and take an oath before they start service.