Keywords:  Security Engineering and Design, Infrastructure,

2022

Understanding Governance, Values, and Identity in the Online Election Information Infrastructure

Emma Lurie, PhD Student, School of Information, UC Berkeley

In the United States, people are increasingly turning to online sources to find information about elections. Election information includes everything from mail-in ballot instructions to candidate Facebook page posts. In the U.S., as well as around the world, online misinformation threatens democratic systems. Politicians, technology companies, journalists, and voters all understand the importance of high-quality online information to fair and trustworthy democratic processes. This project defines a strong online election information infrastructure as one that is robust to malevolent actors and enables constituents to easily identify important information. This project acknowledges that the current online election infrastructure is intricately related to technology platforms (e.g., social media sites and search engines). This research considers how the technical and policy choices of platforms, government agencies that support election administration, and civic organizations shape the online election information infrastructure; and how the misinformation they produce is interpreted by specific marginalized communities with legacies of voter disenfranchisement and shapes their trust in elections.