Elections are safer than ever despite rising skepticism from election deniers, according to Major Garrett, CBS’s Chief Washington correspondent, and David Becker, the nation’s foremost elections expert, during a panel discussion hosted at Wallis Annenberg Monday.
The pair gathered to discuss their recently released book, “The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Era of the Big Lie.” Director of USC Annenberg’s Media Center Christina Bellantoni moderated a discussion during which the authors debunked claims of fraud during the 2020 election.
With the midterm elections just two weeks away, Becker and Garrett shared worries over voter turnout. Garrett has traced voter sentiment since 1984.
“Elections are a miracle,” Garrett said. He pointed out how successful election officials have been in making a complicated endeavor work so efficiently.
They wrote “The Big Truth” to dispel misinformation that might prevent voters from trusting the current election process. The book explains how elections are run, and how the process is more foolproof than ever.
Garrett described the 2020 election as, “10,000 little elections all over the country on different pieces of paper, with different things on the ballot, using different technology.”
And yet not only are they veritable, but they are also verifiable. Garrett said this while referring to the ballot recount that took place in Georgia in 2020. Because of current technology, the paper trail of the ballots can be checked, and rechecked.
Despite that, both Garrett and Becker spoke on how misinformation efforts have distorted the public’s view of the election process.
Students left the talk with a greater understanding of how elections work, but with an equal concern about the power of misinformation.
“It brings up questions of what happens next,” Tawfiq Othman, a sophomore majoring in architecture and employee of the Center on Communication, Leadership and Policy shared. “What’s the next election going to look like if people are very riled up?”
Othman worries that voters often seek a confirmation bias when consuming news.
“Everyone supports their own news organization that they listen to,” he explained. “They’re shielded from the other side of the stories.”
But it’s for this reason that Garrett and Becker wrote the book. It is meant to be a reference for those who may not yet fully distrust the election process but who have concerns that could be quelled with more concrete information.
“People are more anxious about voting than they’ve ever been,” Garrett said.
“We wrote this book as an answer to the lies and the slander,” Becker said.