Strange Times

Foreign interference in 2020 U.S. general election doesn’t blatantly occur on Election Day, but will manifest as additional tension and civil unrest in the following days.

U.S. election interference was postulated to be a concerning matter in November 3, 2020. No flagrant indicators that such activity is occurring or has occurred at this point in time.

In response to public concern surrounding potential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (“COVID-19”) by means of community spread in polling places, many municipalities around the U.S. have expanded and encouraged absentee voting (“mail-in voting”). As a result, there is postulated to be a significant amount of yet-to-be-counted votes remaining at the end of Election Day–November 3, 2020.

Municipality- and state-level election agencies operate within a wide array of policy regarding the handling early/by-mail/absentee ballots. As such, there are variances in when state-level election results are finalized, and published. There is potential that a firm victor for some states will not be known, or announced, for days to weeks. Not to say that this is a matter of concern, for efforts placed in ensuring accurate and equitable tallying of ballots is critical to ensuring a fair election. But tensions will fester and expand per-state as the time elongates between the close of polls in a state and the announcement of a winner for said state.

With this in mind, it is predicted that these almost certain tensions and frustrations in this year’s election period will be prime for foreign influence to insert some sort of manipulation. Social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, already show how misinformation and emotional-catering messaging can sow division and mistrust, in both fellow citizens and institutions (government or otherwise). Tensions from not knowing election results will result in capricious activity from outside entities seeking to do harm to the United States.

This prediction forecasts that external influence(s) will seek to fan the flames via social media and other free-wheeling communication vehicles to sow and foster division and mistrust. There is a potential for election outcomes to be manipulated not directly by external malicious actors, but by means of instilling intra-national pressure on election bodies and government organizations to “count the ballots faster” and possibly even prematurely announce a winner or end a ballot counting effort.

The current U.S. election cycle is subject to numerous societal pressures and tensions, and the ongoing pandemic situation only magnifies peoples’ frustrations and anxiety surrounding the process. Foreign ne’er-do-wells may capitalize on domestic-based divisions to push an election result in a desired direction, not by direct manipulation of the election itself, but by manipulating the represented bodies of the U.S. via expounding of already high-running emotions among the nation’s populous.

Pressure/manipulate the electorateelectorate pressures the election institutions institutions act with partiality or unequally resulting from influence