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White paper: Preventing President Trump from manipulating the 2020 election

A new white paper from Protect Democracy sounds the alarm that presidential interference in the 2020 election is more than a remote possibility, and calls on Congress to act immediately to protect free and fair U.S. elections. In doing so, Congress can prevent President Trump, and his successors, from implementing “well-known and well-understood authoritarian tactics for interfering with elections.”

President Trump has repeatedly signaled that he may use his official powers to manipulate election outcomes. In addition to “joking” about staying in office beyond the permitted two terms, he has:

  1. Demanded the criminal investigation of political opponents; 
  2. Spread unfounded allegations of voter fraud to justify disenfranchising voters of color; 
  3. Encouraged and endorsed violence toward voters who don’t support his policies; 
  4. Used rhetorical and regulatory tools to silence unfriendly media; 
  5. Stoked fears of “invasion” by black and brown migrants in advance of the midterm elections; and 
  6. Suggested that he will tolerate, or even welcome, foreign interference in our elections.

Through his brazen attempts to manipulate elections to his advantage, the President has followed in the footsteps of authoritarian leaders like Viktor Orban in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Hungary, and others, and has threatened the sanctity of the democratic process.

As a result, Congress must erect new guardrails to protect our elections from improper interference and manipulation. The House of Representatives took an important initial step toward protecting free and fair elections by passing H.R. 1, but more must be done to empower voters – and disempower presidents who would abuse their position and the trust of American voters. Among other measures, Congress should limit the role of federal law enforcement, including immigration officials, around the polls on Election Day, restrict politicized prosecutions of political candidates, and tighten prohibitions on deceiving and intimidating voters.

The white paper is available here.

More information about Protect Democracy’s work to prevent election manipulation in 2020 is available here.

Press inquiries: press@protectdemocracy.org