Miles Parks

Big Tech taking questions from Congress is becoming a quarterly event.

The latest edition came Thursday, when Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter's Jack Dorsey, and Google's Sundar Pichai appeared virtually before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The hearing was centered around misinformation. It was the first time the executives took questions from lawmakers since the riot at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters on Jan. 6 and since the widespread rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine began.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received the needed majority of votes in the Electoral College on Monday in another step putting them closer toward taking the White House in January.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

It may come and go without much fanfare, but on Tuesday, the U.S. will pass a key deadline cementing President-elect Joe Biden's victory as the 46th president.

The day, Dec. 8, is known as the "safe harbor" deadline for states to certify their results, compelling Congress to accept those results.

Most Americans see Election Day as the end of the long political season aimed at choosing new federal leadership, but it's really only the beginning.

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Updated at 6 p.m. ET

With former Vice President Joe Biden inching closer to the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win, President Trump and his campaign have ramped up their efforts to delegitimize the vote-counting process.

Those efforts have come both in public comments, with Trump airing unfounded conspiracies and incorrect information about voting in recent days, and in lawsuits that have thus far had almost no success.

Election Day itself went off far more smoothly than many election officials would have predicted seven months ago, as the pandemic took hold in the middle of primary season.

But for months, those officials warned that the expected influx of mail-in votes this year could mean a longer wait before the winner of the presidency was known.

As Nov. 3 turned into Nov. 4, it became clear that's exactly what was happening.

The pandemic has changed a lot about how we vote this year, including when we may find out who won.

It's possible — because some rules have changed, and some haven't — that Nov. 3 could come and go without a clear answer as to who the next president will be.

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We got more news from the federal government tonight about cyberattacks on the U.S. election. Yesterday, the story was about efforts by Iran; tonight, we're learning more about attacks originating from Russia. NPR's Miles Parks covers voting and joins us now.

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The U.S. government said tonight that Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to U.S. elections. Here's director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.

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With an unprecedented number of people planning to vote by mail this year, we wanted to dig into this number.

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COVID-19 is still spreading across the United States, but you would barely know it by how people are planning to vote this year.

As the pandemic took hold in the spring, voting experts predicted a national shift toward mail or absentee voting. Some experts predicted as many as 70% of all votes cast could be by mail, as was the case in Wisconsin's April primary.

In a call that included a number of "tense moments," Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sought to reassure a group of the nation's top election officials Thursday that election mail will be his agency's highest priority this fall, according to one state election official on the call.

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Postmaster General Louis DeJoy promised some of the nation's top election officials on Thursday that mailed ballots would be the U.S. Postal Service's top priority this autumn.

DeJoy and the Postal Service have been engulfed in a political firestorm following operational changes he ordered — and now has paused — which slowed the throughput of mail and raised some fears that they might constrain voting by mail.

The FBI says it has no evidence of any coordinated fraud schemes related to voting by mail this year, undercutting repeated claims by President Trump and his camp about what they've called security problems.

That disclosure was made in an election security briefing for reporters on Wednesday by high-ranking officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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Updated at 11:46 a.m. ET

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy defended his leadership of the Postal Service on Friday and sought to reassure senators that his agency would be able to deliver the nation's election mail "securely and on time," calling it a "sacred duty."

"There has been no changes in any policies with regard to the election mail for the 2020 election," he said.

President Trump cast a vote-by-mail ballot in Florida this week after months of questioning the security of the method of voting, and in doing so he returned it to election officials using a technique many Republicans say should be illegal.

The way Trump voted shows how he's had to walk a fine line, and often tweak his language around voting, to adjust for political realities and his own behavior.

President Trump's claims about why November's election could be marred and illegitimate shifted again Thursday, after he walked back his desire to potentially delay voting.

Trump falsely claimed that the U.S. is sending out "hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots" and also repeated a conspiracy theory about foreign countries counterfeiting ballots.

Teams in the National Basketball Association, the American pro sports league long most vocal on social justice issues, are stepping up their civic participation, as three have now volunteered their facilities to serve as voting sites amid the pandemic.

The development comes as local election officials, especially those in major metropolitan areas, frantically search for places that are centrally located and big enough to allow voters to social distance while waiting in line and casting their ballots.

Some residents of Washington, D.C., have lived there for years but still cast their votes from elsewhere in the United States.

D.C. is home to over 700,000 people, a population greater than Wyoming and Vermont — but unlike citizens in those states, D.C. residents don't have anyone voting for their interests in Congress.

Updated at 8:44 p.m. ET Thursday

Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that he doesn't believe President Trump has overstepped the boundaries between the White House and the Justice Department in a number of big recent cases.

Barr told NPR in a wide-ranging interview that he believes Trump has "supervisory authority" to oversee the effective course of justice — but Barr said that ultimately, the choices were made and carried through independently by the Justice Department.

Casting a ballot by mail isn't a new way to vote, but it is getting fresh attention as the coronavirus pandemic upends daily life.

The voting method is quickly becoming the norm and quickly becoming politically charged as some Republicans — specifically President Trump — fight against the mail-voting expansion happening nationwide.

Here are answers to key questions about mail ballots and the controversy around them.

Facing a pandemic that continues to spread through the United States and protests nationwide over the killing of another black man at the hands of police, voters headed to the polls Tuesday in more than half a dozen states.

It's a primary election date that was already going to be a challenge for election officials due to health concerns, even before nationwide unrest led to curfew orders in conflict with polling place hours in some places.

America's new socially distant reality has warped the landscape of the 2020 election.

Candidates aren't out knocking on doors, and U.S. election officials are bracing for a record surge in mail ballots.

But another subtler shift is also occurring — inside people's brains.

Americans are extremely concerned that the coronavirus pandemic will disrupt voting in November's presidential election, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center.

They also overwhelmingly support allowing everyone to vote by mail, even as partisan divides over mail voting expansions have taken hold at the national level over the past few months.

Election officials nationwide are preparing for what may the highest election turnout in modern history in the middle of a pandemic. In response, several states will be turning to a relatively new and untested form of Internet-based voting to aid the voters who may have the most trouble getting to the polls.

Last week's Wisconsin election was extraordinary for a number of reasons.

Unlike more than a dozen other states, Wisconsin plowed ahead with the April 7 election in the face of the coronavirus pandemic after the intervention of the state Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Voting rights groups and many Democrats are ratcheting up pressure to make mail voting more available nationwide in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but President Trump is standing in opposition.

"Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they're cheaters" said Trump, during Tuesday's daily White House briefing. "They're fraudulent in many cases." He was responding to a question about Wisconsin, which proceeded with in-person voting Tuesday despite objections that the election should move to all mail-in ballots.

Now less than seven months away from a general election that could be held under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan to radically reshape voting to respond to the emergency.

It's a massive set of proposals that shows where the more liberal section of the Democratic Party wants to take Democracy, even if Republican lawmakers in the Senate and the White House have made it clear that such changes are political nonstarters.

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