Democracy

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  • A crowd of people surrounding images representing the news, design by Alyson Youngblood/RAND

    Article

    What Americans Think of the News—and What That Means for Democracy

    Apr 28, 2020

    RAND researchers asked a nationally representative sample of adults about their news-consumption habits. The answers reveal clues about what it might take to address Truth Decay—the decline of facts in U.S. public life.

  • A poll worker disinfects booths after every use during early voting in Knoxville, Tennessee, July 17, 2020, photo by Cavin Mattheis/News Sentinel

    Content

    Conducting Safe Elections During a Pandemic

    Aug 5, 2020

    There may be a continued need this fall for public health interventions—such as social distancing, reduced occupancy in indoor spaces, and aggressive sanitizing protocols—to limit the spread of COVID-19. How can the United States safely and securely hold its elections during this ongoing pandemic?

Explore Democracy

  • A line chart indicating a decline, with a government building in the background, images by Naypong Studio/Adobe Stock; design by Pete Soriano

    Report

    The Drivers of Institutional Trust and Distrust

    Trust in the government, news media, and other institutions has declined in the past two decades. What factors might explain this decline? And what else do we need to learn in order to begin rebuilding public trust?

    Nov 17, 2020

  • Woman and two young children place a ballot in a mailbox, photo by ArtMarie/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Democracy Depends on Hearing All Voters' Voices

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the confinement measures imposed in response, holding safe, effective, and timely democratic elections has become increasingly challenging. The risk of disenfranchising large parts of the electorate is real and should be prevented. In these difficult circumstances, governments need to increase their efforts to guarantee that every voter can exercise their right to vote.

    Oct 30, 2020

  • Blog

    'Vaccine Nationalism,' a Pandemic Election, Women in the Workforce: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why 'vaccine nationalism' could be costly, how Americans feel about voting during a pandemic, why women are leaving the workforce, and more.

    Oct 30, 2020

  • A man wearing a protective mask due to COVID-19 pandemic holds a sign outside Madison Square Garden, which is used as a polling station, on the first day of early voting in Manhattan, New York, October 24, 2020, photo by Jeenah Moon/Reuters

    Report

    Do Americans Expect Safe and Secure Elections?

    The number of Americans who expect the election to be conducted safely declined slightly from May to August, from 62 to 60 percent. And the percentage of survey respondents expecting their vote to be accurately counted declined from 59 percent to 54 percent.

    Oct 29, 2020

  • Voters wait in line to cast ballots on the first day of early voting in New City, a New York City suburb, New York, October 24, 2020, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Report

    How Is the Pandemic Influencing Intention to Vote?

    Changes in intention to vote and intended voting method were modest from May to August but notable nonetheless. Those with low perceptions of safety were among the least likely to vote. And among those likely to vote, there was a continued shift toward mail-in voting.

    Oct 29, 2020

  • Report

    Voter Attitudes Toward the 2020 Election: August 2020 Update

    This appendix provides additional methodological and research material for two reports that summarize results of an August 2020 survey of Americans' attitudes about voting in November 2020. The August survey is a follow-up to one conducted in May.

    Oct 29, 2020

  • An election worker places mail-in ballots into a voting box at a drive-through drop off location in San Diego, California, October 19, 2020, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ensuring the Safety and Integrity of the Vote

    The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the U.S. election into disarray coming on top of disruptions to traditional campaigning and the increased burden on election officials. Still, with careful planning, the election can be held with integrity, while keeping the American electorate safe. But it will require everyone to help.

    Oct 23, 2020

  • Blog

    Truth Decay, Opioid Settlement Funds, Veterans Health Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on fighting back against Truth Decay, how to spend opioid settlement funds, China's lack of friends, and more.

    Oct 23, 2020

  • A compass pointing to facts, image by frankpeters/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Think Tanks in the Era of Truth Decay

    Truth Decay is the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life, and it cuts much deeper than any political party or demographic. It's why nonpartisan think tanks like RAND are as important now as they have ever been.

    Oct 22, 2020

  • Blog

    Russian Propaganda, Domestic Terrorism, America's Electric Grid: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on how Americans react to Russian memes on Facebook, the possibility of domestic terrorism during election season, protecting the U.S. electric grid, and more.

    Oct 16, 2020

  • News Release

    Facebook Users May Spread Russian Propaganda Less Often When They Are Aware of Its Source

    Russian propaganda is hitting its mark on social media—generating strong partisan reactions that may help intensify political divisions—but Facebook users are less apt to press the “like” button on content when they learn that it is part of a foreign propaganda campaign.

    Oct 15, 2020

  • Laptop depicting Russian propaganda on Facebook with a bullseye mark, images by guteksk7, iiierlok_xolms, carmelod, and FishPouch/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Facebook Users May Spread Russian Propaganda Less Often If They Know Its Source

    Russian propaganda is hitting its mark on social media, generating strong partisan reactions that help intensify political divisions. But Facebook users are less apt to press the like button on content when they learn that it is part of a foreign propaganda campaign.

    Oct 15, 2020

  • News Release

    Coordinated Efforts on Twitter to Interfere in the U.S. Presidential Election Are Likely Foreign

    A coordinated effort on Twitter to influence the upcoming U.S. presidential election—using trolls (fake personas that spread hyper-partisan themes) and super-connectors (highly-networked accounts)—aims to sow distrust, exacerbate political divisions and undermine confidence in American democracy.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • Overlapping silhouettes of mobile phone users, illustration by smartboy10/Getty Images

    Report

    Foreign Actors Are Again Using Twitter to Interfere with the U.S. Election

    After the 2016 U.S. election it became clear that Russian agents had engaged in online efforts to sow chaos and inflame partisan divides among Americans. Interference is happening again now. It includes posts from trolls—fake personas spreading hyper-partisan themes—and superconnectors designed to spread messages quickly.

    Oct 8, 2020

  • People line up to cast their ballots for the upcoming presidential election as early voting begins in Cincinnati, Ohio, October 6, 2020, photo by Megan Jelinger/Reuters

    Commentary

    Will There Be Domestic Terrorism During Election Season?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled the elections. The United States is deeply divided and the political system is polarized. Under these fraught circumstances, even a minor event can have far-reaching repercussions. What are the prospects for domestic terrorism in the context of U.S. elections?

    Oct 7, 2020

  • Russian Interference in the 2020 U.S. Election (Crop)

    Multimedia

    Russian Interference in the 2020 U.S. Election

    RAND military sociologist Marek Posard describes several broad risks of foreign interference in American democracy and explains how Russia may use reflexive control theory to cause disruption in the 2020 U.S. Election.

    Oct 1, 2020

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call with officials and public representatives of the region of Dagestan amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia May 18, 2020, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Reuters

    Report

    How Russia Targets U.S. Elections

    In this campaign season, Russia might try to manipulate U.S. voters through social media as it did in 2016. New technologies have made these efforts easier. Russia's tactics aim to polarize Americans, create distrust, and paralyze the political process. What is the best defense against them?

    Oct 1, 2020

  • Election worker Gisela Alberg cleans a voting booth at Sonoma Elementary School during the primary election in Las Cruces, New Mexico, U.S., June 2, 2020, photo by Paul Ratje/Reuters

    Multimedia

    RAND Remote Series: Preparing for Elections During a Pandemic

    In this video conversation, RAND's Jennifer Kavanagh and Quentin Hodgson discuss the unique voting challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Sep 25, 2020

  • Members of parliament attend the first session of the newly elected parliament in Kutaisi, Georgia, November 18, 2016, photo by David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

    Commentary

    Georgia: From COVID-19 to a Critical Test of Democracy

    Georgia has successfully dealt with the COVID-19 outbreak but now must meet the task of conducting free, fair, and transparent parliamentary elections on October 31 and dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic.

    Sep 23, 2020

  • Report

    Securing U.S. Elections Against Cyber Threats: Considerations for Supply Chain Risk Management

    The supply chain for components of U.S. election systems and equipment is at the core of election security. The authors of this Perspective describe the supply chain–related risks to election cybersecurity and integrity and how they can be managed.

    Sep 22, 2020