Countering Disinformation in Elections
Foreign governments are using sophisticated disinformation campaigns to undermine American confidence in our core democratic institutions, particularly elections. The Colorado Department of State is taking steps to protect our elections from foreign interference. Two representatives from CDOS will present “Countering Foreign Disinformation in Colorado Elections” on Monday, May 3, at 4 p.m. via Zoom, a presentation on the threat, what the department is doing to mitigate it and actions you can take to help.
After the presentation, CPW will honor Karen Petersen, 2021 Colorado Communicator of Achievement, and Colorado winners in the NFPW At-Large Communications Contest. We will also elect officers and vote on bylaw amendments.
Please share with others! RSVP by Friday, April 30 for this free event at email@example.com to receive the Zoom link.
Nathan Blumenthal began as director of Rapid Response Election Security and Cyber Unit in July 2020 after two decades working in national security in Washington, DC. Most recently, he was Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and the head of DHS’s Counter Foreign Influence Task Force, positions responsible for preventing foreign influence in US elections. He also served two tours at the White House/National Security Council and in positions at the Director of National Intelligence
Aaron Hayman is a Senior Elections Security Specialist with CDOS/RESCU. He worked for nearly a decade in the intelligence community in Washington, DC and overseas. He has experience analyzing a range of national security threats and working with government agencies to mitigate those threats. He leads RESCU’s efforts to counter foreign disinformation. Hayman recently sent the following email to “Colorado Partners”:
This week the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) issued a report (available here), and the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security jointly issued a report (available here), outlining how foreign adversaries meddled in the 2020 election. We know everyone is busy so we wanted to briefly provide our assessment of the key takeaways for Coloradans:
Technical Interference: Foreign adversaries did not “….alter any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 US elections, including voter registration, casting ballots, vote tabulation, or reporting results.” DHS and the FBI investigated claims that Cuba, China, or Venezuela manipulated election systems—and determined these claims are not credible.
Attempts to Influence: Russia and Iran did spread disinformation about the electoral process—particularly in regard to fraud, mail voting, and results—to decrease Americans’ confidence in the system. They also attempted to sow division and exacerbate social and political tensions in the US.
Looking Forward: The reports warned that adversaries almost certainly will meddle in future elections, for example, “…that Moscow will continue election influence efforts to further its longstanding goal of weakening” the US.
The Colorado Secretary of State recently posted on Twitter (thread available here) regarding these important reports. We would appreciate any efforts to re-tweet or otherwise share this important information with your community here in Colorado to increase awareness about the threat of foreign influence and continue to build resilience.
The Zoom link will be sent to all paid CPW members.
Ongoing CPW Events
The CPW Writers Group welcomes new members interested in stretching into creative writing, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry or scripts. We meet on the second Saturday of the month. For details, contact Ann Lockhart.