Misinformation and Elections
Resolved, That the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 13-15, 2020, reaffirms its recognition that the process of voting and political participation is an act of Christian stewardship, and that such processes must be fair, secure, and just; and be it further
Resolved, That given the reality of foreign interference and widespread misinformation campaigns in elections in the U.S. and around the globe, the Executive Council recognizes the need for policy and appropriate safeguards to reduce content that is false and designed to cause harm (also known as disinformation); be it further
Resolved, That the Executive Council urges individual Episcopalians, congregations and dioceses in all provinces of The Episcopal Church to be vigilant as they engage with information, especially information shared through online platforms, and encourages fact-checking and source identification so as not to spread disinformation; and be it further
Resolved, That the Executive Council directs the Office of Government Relations to advocate for policy to ensure free and fair elections and to promote government accountability in providing this necessary service, including:
Closing loopholes in current laws that allow for interference in elections
Developing policies that prohibit interference in ballot initiatives
Reducing the risk of electronic voting machines being hacked or other means of interference or manipulation
Reducing the risk of voter personal information data breaches
Requiring paper back-up copies of cast ballots
Reducing the spread of content that is false and designed to cause harm.
Reference EC and GC resolutions EXC062016.07 - Support for Campaign Finance Reform “reaffirms its recognition that the process of voting and political participation is an act of Christian stewardship”
“That in the aftermath of the Citizens United Ruling of 2010 and with the rise of super PACs in the electoral process, the Executive Council recognizes the need for policy to delineate fair limitations on the influence of corporate interests in elections”
“That in the spirit of just political participation, The Episcopal Church urges Episcopalians to engage in legislative advocacy for campaign finance reform and other efforts to increase transparency in election finance and to reduce the influence of special interest money in politics.”
Resolution 2018-D096 - Urge Advocacy for Good Governance and Fair Participation
“be concerned about a worldwide surge in autocratic governments”
“affirm that governments function best when they are responsive, participatory, and transparent, and ensure adequate protection for minorities”
“encourage the Office of Government Relations to partner with Anglicans and Anglican provinces globally to support one another in advocating for good governance and free and fair participation of its citizens in civic processes”
“encourage individual Episcopalians, parishes and dioceses in all provinces of The Episcopal Church to engage their own governments and civic institutions to be responsive, transparent, and participatory, and urge their governments to promote these principles of good governance globally.”
Understanding Information Disorder
Global non-profit that supports journalists, academics and technologists working to address challenges relating to trust and truth in the digital age. Recommended to Rebecca Cotton by a Wilson Center misinformation event organizer
This document is a little long, but it’s written for a lay audience and provides some very helpful definitions for different types of false or misleading information.
See pg. 8-10 for helpful diagrams and definitions around information disorder
The Full Fact Toolkit From Full Fact
A UK-based independent factchecking charity
What to ask yourself when reading/watching news/social media to evaluate content:
Where is it from?
What is missing?
How do you feel?
NY Times Analysis of Russia Interference in the 2016 Election
Examples of social media posts/engagement: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/16/us/politics/russia-propaganda-election-2016.html
A timeline of Russian interference: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/09/20/us/politics/russia-trump-election-timeline.html