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January 20, 2022

Defending Democracy: Protecting Election Officials from Digital Threats

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Election officials increasingly find themselves the target of online harassment campaigns with potentially dangerous consequences.

The threats can take several forms, from digital attacks on official infrastructure to an election official’s photo and home address shared through extremist networks. Effectively addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach. Even if a threat emerges in cyberspace, the responses must also address possible physical dangers. The digitization of our lives – from social media to public records – means that the boundary between individual and organization safety is increasingly porous. Complex threats warrant nuanced solutions.

We propose a safety planning framework that organizes measures by domain (digital, physical, psychosocial); who should take those measures (individual, organizational); and when to take them (before, during or after an incident).



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