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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With rare, if not unprecedented, agreement, President Trump, Joe Biden, intelligence officials and Big Tech CEOs are all warning of threats to accurate and trusted vote counts before, on and after election day. 

American elections face a triple threat in 2020: 

  • Foreign governmentsespecially Russia, China and Iran — are actively spreading misinformation via social platforms.
  • The coronavirus is forcing a big chunk of the country to vote by mail. Trump is warning mail-in voting is inherently corrupt and inaccurate, an assertion not backed by data or history.
  • It's highly likely it will take many states longer to count votes — especially mail-in and absentee ones. So the winner on election night might be the loser when everything is counted.

Why it matters: This is the era of misinformation and mistrust, so it's easy to war game scenarios where the election provokes civil unrest and dispute. So here are the facts you need to know — and share: 

  1. Don't expect a conclusive outcome election night. Be patient. And go into the night knowing it might take a week to count every vote.
  2. History shows mail-in voting is safe. A Brookings analysis found minuscule numbers of fraud cases, going back many years, in the five Western states that vote almost entirely by mail. Go deeper.
  3. Be extra cautious of your sources of news, especially on social platforms. Don't share news unless you're 100% confident in its accuracy and legitimacy. 
  4. Click here to understand how you can vote in your state.
  5. Vote.

The bottom line: This is an unprecedented election, in an unprecedented time, that will test a lot of our electoral institutions and norms.

The Axios pledge to you

Axios brings you a clinical view of the news — clear-eyed and skeptical, explaining and illuminating all sides, with a bias toward facts and reality.

  • We don't love or hate on either side, and don't put our thumbs on the scale.

Why it matters: We're not a warm bath for partisans on either side — there are plenty of places for that. What we bring you is efficient news you can trust — and share with confidence. America faces a tense, complicated two months to Election Day. Axios promises to help you navigate it with an efficient, healthy news diet.

  • Let me know what you think, and how we can improve. Drop me a line: mike@axios.com.

📬 If you value the sanity and cleanliness of Axios AM and PM, please urge your friends, family and coworkers to join our daily conversations by signing up here.

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Go deeper

Off the Rails

Descent into madness

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.