This op-ed was originally published in Persuasion.

America courted disaster during the 2020 election cycle. President Trump sowed lies about election fraud in a bid to remain in power—and came dangerously close to succeeding. His attempt at election subversion failed in large part because of people who were willing to do the right thing at key moments. As we approach the anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration, we must remember the individuals and organizations who protected the democratic process in 2020, and ensure that next time, we don’t have to rely on heroic acts to preserve the integrity of our elections.

1. The Pre-Election Voting Crisis that Wasn’t: The United States Postal Service

Career staff warned states of problems, enabled mail-in voting on an unprecedented scale, and prevented multiple crisis scenarios.

With COVID-19 driving an abrupt nationwide shift toward mail-in voting in the lead up to the election, it was not a foregone conclusion that the United States Postal Service (USPS) would be able to return ballots to election administrators on time. In fact, before the election, the USPS warned many states that it simply wouldn’t be able to meet their ballot acceptance targets, causing some states to change their timelines.

Read the full article on Persuasion.

About the Authors

Alexandra Chandler

Head of National Election Advocacy Team & Policy Strategist

Alexandra Chandler leads Protect Democracy’s national-level elections and voting rights advocacy and national security policy work.

John Paredes

Counsel, Free & Fair Elections

John Paredes is an experienced litigator whose practice focuses on protecting voting rights and free and fair elections, and ensuring accountability for political violence.

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