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June 26, 2024 ABA Task Force for American Democracy

Democracy Depends On All of Us | Brennan Center for Justice

Brennan Center of Justice, April 25, 2023


Brennan Center’s Annual Report on Activities

This report is an overview of a few of the Brennan Center’s major efforts from 2022 and provides some insight into what they hope to focus on and accomplish in the year ahead. First, the report discusses Brennan’s work in advocating in Moore v. Harper against the independent state legislature theory, as it sees it as a problematic infringement on checks and balances. Additionally, the report analyzed the 2022 election showing that state secretary of state candidates that denied the 2020 election results fared worse than officials from the same party in those same elections. The report similarly highlights the rise in misinformation that affects people’s perception of their vote with polling that said that 26 percent of people do not believe that their vote “really counts.” Brennan highlights actions they are taking via social media campaigns to counter false messaging.

On the subject of threats against election officials, Brennan identified that one of the key concerns was a desire for greater connection with law enforcement. Brennan aided with programs to connect election administrators with law enforcement to discuss how to effectively respond to threats. The report also highlighted how deliberate messaging can affect skeptics of election integrity, as they cite data that Republicans’ confidence in elections increased by 21 percentage points when they were informed about existing election safeguards. The report also details some of the means of advocacy through state constitutions, such as moving to strike down gerrymandered maps under state constitutional law since Rucho has held that the Supreme Court will not. The report also highlights concerns about funding of elections post-Citizens United, as they see too much power in the hands of too few donors, especially those funding election misinformation. They advocate for small donor public financing programs in which a city or state will match small donations or increase them by large factors to increase the power of donations from small donors. 

Key Findings/Messages

Highlights the importance of messaging to combat misinformation to improve trust in elections. A way to improve local election security is to connect local election officials with local law enforcement to discuss how to handle threats or issues before they arise. 

Key Recommendations Made

  • Messaging programs to counter misinformation that leverage the same platforms through which it spreads (social media).
  • Procedures to engage election workers with local law enforcement before elections to understand how to handle threats to their safety or other issues.
  • Advocates for more public financing programs to increase small donor power and reduce the role of large donors.