With more than 20 major elections scheduled in the next two years, governments on both sides of the Atlantic are still not prepared to fend off outside attacks to meddle in campaigns and election counts, an international bipartisan group of political, technology, business and media leaders warned Monday. “Governments are scrambling to prepare for the last disinformation campaign, rather than the next,” the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity said in a statement after a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. “In the coming years, the proliferation of technology will make it easy for everyone to sow the seeds of confusion and distrust,” the group said. The commission formed in May in the wake of reports that Russia had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and worked with favored parties in votes across Europe in recent years. U.S. election officials have said they expect Russia to try to interfere in the November midterm and 2020 presidential elections as well.
The commission’s 14 members include former heads of state and top officials, among them former NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.
Mr. Rasmussen in May noted that Russia uses a “wide range of instruments” to sow discord in an effort to “stir up dissatisfaction and populism and nationalism in many countries.”
Mr. Chertoff, who served in George W. Bush’s Cabinet, told the Voice of America that Kremlin tactics to undermine elections went beyond cyberactivity to contributing money. He cited a loan reportedly advanced by the Russian government to Marine Le Pen, the head of the French nationalist far-right National Front party.