The U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) and the Charles F. Kettering Foundation hosted over 80 former Members of Congress and institutional leaders across the political spectrum for a conference on election integrity. Yesterday in states such as Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia, the system continued to perform as designed, but vulnerabilities – especially during a Presidential election – remain extremely worrisome. The near unanimous consensus of participants was a strong concern the upcoming 2024 elections will produce greater levels of disinformation, political violence, and threats against volunteers and election officials than we’ve already seen.
Carly Schmitt, Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana State, was among the small group of invited faculty to the symposium. “Ensuring the public’s confidence is essential to the health of our democracy. I look forward to campus and community conversations on this as we head into the 2024 election.”
“We were honored to host such a timely symposium to learn more about the nuts and bolts of our electoral process,” said Pete Weichlein, FMC CEO. “It’s clear there is deep apprehension surrounding the 2024 election, which makes organizing opportunities for collaboration even more important.”
“We’re pleased to have worked with FMC on this conference and of the conversations that came out of our time together,” said Sharon L. Davies, Kettering Foundation President and CEO. “The 2024 elections will be heavily scrutinized, but our participants have shown it’s possible to set aside partisan divides and work together.”
Symposium participants from over 40 universities and 25 states listened to expert panels on the structure of America’s elections and how misinformation is created and distributed. After engaging in small group discussions, participants agreed that clear messaging, as well as civic engagement and education amongst our nation’s youth, were some of the most important factors in preserving election integrity and fighting disinformation.
“Like many of my fellow former Members, I feel strongly about working to promote confidence in our electoral process,” said the Honorable L.F. Payne (D-VA, 1987-1997), FMC President. “While our symposium shows there is widespread fear surrounding the 2024 elections, it also proves defending election integrity and concern for our democracy’s health is not a partisan issue.”
FMC is a non-advocacy, nonpartisan group founded in 1970 and chartered by Congress in 1983. It is a voluntary alliance of more than 800 Former U.S. Senators and Representatives working to strengthen Congress in the conduct of its Constitutional responsibility through promoting a collaborative approach to policymaking and deepening the public’s understanding of our democratic system.
The Charles F. Kettering Foundation, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of inventive research. Founded in 1927 “to sponsor and carry out scientific research for the benefit of humanity,” the foundation is inspired by the innovativeness and ingenuity of its founder, the American inventor Charles F. Kettering. For the past four decades, the foundation’s research and programs have focused on the needs of democracy worldwide. Today, the organization is committing itself to advancing inclusive democracies by fostering citizen engagement, promoting government accountability, and countering authoritarianism.