Today we launched the War in Ukraine: Military Bloggers dashboard, an interactive, open-source tool for analyzing the reach and messaging of prominent Russian military bloggers on Telegram! Check out key takeaways from the dashboard here.
Republican lawmakers are steering the conversation about Ukraine on X, posting 59% more tweets about the war and earning roughly 2.5 times more retweets than their Democratic colleagues, Research Analyst Joseph Bodnar finds in a new analysis.
Although Russian propagandists have been slow to exploit Meta’s Twitter-alternative Threads, the platform’s lax regulations for labeling state-media accounts could cause major problems in the future, Research Analyst Joseph Bodnar writes for the Alliance for Securing Democracy.
This week, the Securing Democracy Dispatch continues with our Q&A series. We sat down with David Levine, ASD at GMF’s senior elections integrity fellow, to talk about the upcoming 2024 US elections.
What first made you realize you wanted to prioritize safeguarding democracy in your work?
The thing that inspired me to pursue safeguarding democracy was working for the Cuyahoga County, Ohio Election Review Panel in 2006. At the time, I was a law student who was just trying to scrape a couple pennies together between years of law school, and I was going to be interning at the Department of Justice, which was great but unpaid. There was a call out by the people who ran the panel to find grunts to look at what went wrong with Cuyahoga County’s 2006 election. I didn’t know much about elections and I hadn’t done a lot of work around safeguarding democracy, but I thought this could be interesting. It was exciting to understand the interplay of law, technology, elections, political participation, and even the behavior of bad actors. And that’s led me on this path to where I am now.
Where do you think ASD can have the biggest impact ahead of the 2024 US election?
I think the biggest impact that ASD can have ahead of the 2024 election is in helping those who are on the frontlines stay abreast of what autocratic actors may do to try and subvert the election process—and work with them to come up with ways to mitigate those threats. Through our work, we know that foreign actors like Russia, China, and Iran continue to evolve their tactics in terms of interfering not only in US elections, but democratic elections throughout the world. We also know that there are domestic malicious actors that are trying to do similar things. ASD is well positioned to help those on the frontlines stay abreast of the threats and equip them with strategies to try and mitigate those threats as much as possible.
What do you consider the greatest threat to US elections right now?
I think the greatest threat to US elections right now is the eroding, or relatively low, trust in the election process. AP-NORC recently published a poll that found that just 44% of Americans strongly believed that the ballots will be counted accurately in 2024. That is a disturbing number. going to be critical to countering these efforts. Securing elections is a challenging task in and of itself, but securing elections when you have inexperienced people at the helm is much more difficult. So at a time when we’ve seen large numbers of election officials depart the field, the numbers of experienced elected officials who remain could play a critical role in how well 2024 goes.
What are you reading?
I am reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. I’m reading it 10 years after most people, but I’m interested to know how things take off, not only because it’s relevant to my own work in understanding why certain election narratives, particularly pernicious ones, gain traction, but also because frankly I’m curious. Malcolm Gladwell is brilliant in his own right and is a captivating writer. The way that we not only push back on narratives but out-innovate, outcompete, and do things to become a better society that is constantly improving, is by having an understanding of how things take off and how things get supported by others.
“For people who might be concerned the costs are getting too high, we’d ask them what the costs—not just in treasure but in blood, perhaps even American blood—could be if Putin subjugates Ukraine.”
- White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said on funding Ukrainian aid this week.