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Category Archives: Free Speech

Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It

Scientific American: “…We prefer information from people we trust, our in-group. We pay attention to and are more likely to share information about risks—for Andy, the risk of losing his job. We search for and remember things that fit well with what we already know and understand. These biases are products of our evolutionary past, and for tens of thousands of years, they served us well. People who behaved in accordance with them—for example, by staying away from the overgrown pond bank where someone said there was a viper—were more likely to survive than those who did not. Modern technologies are amplifying these biases in harmful ways, however. Search engines direct Andy to sites that inflame his suspicions, and social media connects him with like-minded people, feeding his fears. Making matters worse, bots—automated social media accounts that impersonate humans—enable misguided or malevolent actors to take advantage of his vulnerabilities. Compounding the problem is the proliferation of online information. Viewing and producing blogs, videos, tweets and other units of information called memes has become so cheap and easy that the information marketplace is inundated. Unable to process all this material, we let our cognitive biases decide what we should pay attention to. These mental shortcuts influence which information we search for, comprehend, remember and repeat to a harmful extent…”

#Protect2020 Rumor vs. Reality

Chris Krebs, the DHS Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was fired by President Trump on November 17, 2020. His agency’s website, “RumorControl – Mis- and Disinformation can undermine public confidence in the electoral process, as well as in our democracy,” is still online but may not continue. “This webpage is for people with… Continue Reading

The machinery of American democracy is working

The New York Times – “This article is part of Democracy by Mail, a series following the absentee-ballot process from printing to mailing to counting: “…But for the most part, mail-in balloting — and balloting at the polls, too — went smoothly and revealed two competing truths: The machinery of American democracy is working, its… Continue Reading

The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history

Statement by the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – the Nation’s risk advisor: “The members of Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) Executive Committee – Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Assistant Director Bob Kolasky, U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chair Benjamin Hovland, National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) President Maggie Toulouse Oliver,… Continue Reading

The Degradation of American Democracy And the Court

134 Harv. L. Rev. 1 Volume 134, November 10 2020 –  The Supreme Court Term 2019 – The Degradation of American Democracy — And the Court – Foreword by Michael J. Klarman. “On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated the geographic coverage formula of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, effectively abrogating the preclearance requirement… Continue Reading

Growing Discomfort at Law Firms Representing Trump in Election Lawsuits

The New York Times via MSN – “There was Big Tobacco. There was the Bin Laden family. There was even the hated owner of the Cleveland Browns football team as he moved the franchise to Baltimore. Now Jones Day is the most prominent firm representing President Trump and the Republican Party as they prepare to… Continue Reading

Day and night, under historic scrutiny, the nation’s vote counters carried on

Washington Post – ‘We will not allow anyone to stop us’: Day and night, under historic scrutiny, the nation’s vote counters carried on -“…Long before the fall, elections officials were quietly preparing for what was to come. “We knew we would be under a microscope from day one,” said Peter Antonacci, the election supervisor in… Continue Reading

2020’s record voter turnout in the US is still lower than many other countries

Quartz: “At least 158.8 million people voted in this year’s US presidential election. That’s some 20 million more than the 137.5 million Americans who voted in 2016, and 25 million more than the 132.9 million who voted in 2012. The big difference in this election was that close to 102 million people voted early—either in person… Continue Reading

Counties with worst virus surges overwhelmingly voted for Trump

AP – “U.S. voters went to the polls starkly divided on how they see President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with a surprising twist: In places where the virus is most rampant now, Trump enjoyed enormous support. An Associated Press analysis reveals that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases… Continue Reading

New on LLRX for October 2020

Why there’s so much legal uncertainty about resolving a disputed presidential election – As stated in this article by Richard Pildes, Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University – the Constitution does not create rules or an institutional structure for resolving a modern, disputed presidential election. It provides a fail-safe mechanism for only one situation,… Continue Reading

The State of Race, Police Brutality and Gun Violence in America

Free ABA Webinar [this link includes list of speakers]- “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many victims have died because of police brutality and gun violence. The surge in police brutality and gun violence against the Black population recently led all people to come together to peacefully march against these tragedies. This moderated… Continue Reading

Election 2020: How to spot misinformation while you wait for results

CNET – “As expected, Tuesday night didn’t bring a final result in the presidential election, so we’re still targets for people trying to confuse the issue. The 2020 presidential election wasn’t over when the polls closed on Tuesday night. Calling the winner — President Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden — is taking longer than… Continue Reading