Tag: Elections

Social media impacts our elections, protests, and politics

Last April, states began to sporadically reopen after weeks of being shut down. Georgia was among the first to begin the process, while some states didn’t start lifting restrictions until June. The uncoordinated reopening caused chaos, according to Sinan Aral, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy.

Why? Because Georgia pulled in hundreds of thousands of visitors from neighboring states — folks hoping to get a haircut or go bowling.

Aral was tracking Americans on social media, and it became clear to him that having uncoordinated policies for the coronavirus doesn’t make sense. As people watched their social feeds fill with images of people heading back outside, they stepped out too — even if their state wasn’t at the same phase.

Aral, the author of “The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health — and How We Must Adapt,” has used social media as a tool to gain insight into everything from pandemic reopenings to protests and politics. And core to what he’s learned is that “social media is designed for our brains.”

Humans have an intrinsic need to seek out and process social signals, he says — something we’ve used to our advantage throughout history.

But the invention of social media? It’s “like throwing a lit match into a pool of gasoline,” he said.

We can’t look away, no matter the cost.

Three takeaways:

  • Social media is immensely powerful, Aral says. The “tremendous leverage” it has to “influence opinions and behaviors in the physical world” can be captured for good or bad. How do we hang on to the good and scrap the bad? Aral says creating more competition could go a long way.
  • There’s a strange dance between real people tweeting fake stuff and fake accounts amplifying those tweets. That was clear in 2014 when Russians used social media to reframe the annexation of Crimea as an “accession,” rather than a takeover, Aral says. This changed its perception on the ground and internationally, as diplomats struggled to decide whether or not to intervene.
  • The Russian social media strategy in 2020 is “much more sophisticated” than it was in 2016, Aral says — and the US intelligence community agrees. As platforms have cracked down on fake accounts, Russia has covertly encouraged US citizens to “start and spread false propaganda and manipulative content.” Plus, they’ve moved their servers to US soil, which makes them harder to find.

fbq('init', '813271415445416'); fbq('track', "PageView");

Source Article

Continue reading

Haiti – Politic : Constitutional reform and elections, the Senate advocates dialogue


Haiti – Politic : Constitutional reform and elections, the Senate advocates dialogue
08/10/2020 10:51:27

Haiti - Politic : Constitutional reform and elections, the Senate advocates dialogue

In a note, the Senators of the Republic advocate dialogue and consultation to facilitate constitutional reform and the organization of elections.

Note from the Haitian Senate :

“The Senate is very attentive and very sensitive to the opinions expressed by the various sectors of national life on the presidential decree of September 18, 2020 appointing the members of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-31835-haiti-flash-appointment-of-cep-members-and-mandate.html

Subjects so delicate as constitutional revision or general elections deserve to be treated with wisdom and serenity and above all with a strong dose of patriotism and a very high sense of national interest.

The halt or the delay arranged by the abstention of the Court of Cassation from receiving the oath of the advisers offers to all the actors animated by a sincere and resolute patriotism the opportunity of a deep reflection and an honest approach to the search for a constructive agreement on this great file of collective importance.

The Senate of the Republic invites all actors, protagonists and antagonists, to objectively assess the data of this perilous situation and to urgently take the path of dialogue and consultation for a lasting solution to the recurring crises which maintain the country in chaos, political instability and the pangs of poverty.

Aside any plans for reform or constitutional revision, local authorities need to regain popular legitimacy to fully enjoy their autonomy in the exercise of their mandate, and Parliament to regain its full strength to fulfill its fundamental mission of legislation and control and to restore the balance of power.

The Senate remains convinced that dialogue and consultation constitute the nourishing sap of democracy and the rule of law and remain the only way likely to bring the country back to respect for the rules of the democratic game and promote political stability, social peace and economic growth.”

HL/ HaitiLibre

Source Article

Continue reading

Kuwait’s emir asks government to stay on, prepare for elections

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait’s new emir has asked the cabinet to carry on its duties and prepare for parliamentary elections due this year after the prime minister handed in his government’s resignation, state news agency KUNA reported on Tuesday.

Parliament, which must approve the emir’s choice of crown prince, will end its term on Oct. 8, Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim later said in remarks broadcast on state television.

Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah met Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who assumed power last week, and in line with the constitution submitted the government’s resignation “to ensure ministerial responsibilities are held by those who enjoy the emir’s confidence”, KUNA said.

It said Sheikh Nawaf expressed his full confidence in the current cabinet, which was formed last December.

Sheikh Nawaf, 83, took the helm of the U.S.-allied OPEC member state following the death of his brother Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed last Tuesday aged 91.

Kuwaitis have been waiting for Sheikh Nawaf to name a crown prince to help guide state affairs at a time when low oil prices and COVID-19 have hit state finances against the backdrop of continued tensions between Kuwait’s larger neighbours Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The parliament speaker said if the emir names a crown prince on Wednesday, then he would call a session for Thursday morning. If there is no announcement by Wednesday, then parliament would vote on the candidate at an extraordinary session. [D5N2EC036]

Al-Ghanim said the body would hold two sessions on Wednesday, one to honour the late emir and another to finalise pending items.

(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy, Aziz El Yaakoubi and Hadeel El Sayegh; Writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Alison Williams, Ed Osmond, William Maclean)

Source Article

Continue reading

1,612 DOJ Alumni Warn Bill Barr Will Use Law Enforcement Powers to Undermine Free and Fair Elections

U.S. Attorney General William Barr could attempt to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, according to allegations made in an open letter from 1,612 former members of the Department of Justice.

Barr has claimed that this year’s election results could be tallied incorrectly because of the prevalence of mail-in ballots. In September, Barr said that the mail-in ballots could be highly susceptible to fraud. Barr has also said that foreign entities, such as the Russian government, could forge ballots and send them in which could cause election results to be unfairly unbalanced.

In the letter, the DOJ alumni cited a fear that Barr “intends to use the DOJ’s vast law enforcement powers to undermine our most fundamental democratic value: free and fair elections. He has signalled this intention in myriad ways, from making false statements about the security of mail-in voting from foreign hackers to falsely suggesting that mail-in ballots are subject to widespread fraud and coercion.”

Newsweek reached out to the DOJ for comment.

Newsweek subscription offers >

Both Barr and Trump have condemned the practice of widespread mail-in voting. In a September interview with CNN, Barr said that the use of mail-in ballots was “reckless and dangerous.”

Trump has attempted to delineate between mail-in voting and absentee voting, a process Trump himself claims to use.

william barr
Former members of the U.S. Department of Justice are concerned that Attorney General William Barr may be attempting to undermine this year’s presidential elections.
Oliver Contreras/AFP/Getty

“I’m an absentee voter because I can’t be in Florida because I’m in Washington,” Trump said at a July press conference. “I’m at the White House, so I’ll be an absentee voter. We have a lot of absentee voters, and it works.”

Newsweek subscription offers >

According to Trump, mail-in ballots are different because they are sent to people who did not request them. Trump cited California as an example where “tens of millions” of ballots are expected to be sent out.

All registered voters in California are expected to receive mail-in ballots because of the threat of community spread coronavirus at polling places. However, if an individual chooses to vote in person, they must take their mail-in ballot with them as verification that they did not vote twice.

Barr has also expressed concerns in a September interview with CNN that states could receive ballots that have been counterfeited “either by someone here or someone overseas.”

When asked by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer if the DOJ had received any reports of such ballots, Barr said, “No. But most things can be counterfeited.”

In response to Trump’s social media posts about the dangers of mail-in voting, Twitter placed a fact-checking link on some of Trump’s tweets. Upon clicking the link, Twitter users are taken to a page with the headline, “Voting by mail is legal and safe, experts and data confirm.”

In a corporate blog post published in September, Twitter said it would either label or remove “false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence

Continue reading