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.

Go deeper

USPS operational changes temporarily blocked by federal judge

A mail worker on Aug. 25 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked U.S. Postal Service changes that 14 states had alleged interfered with their authority to administer elections, AP reports.

Driving the news: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in August that he would halt USPS operational changes until after the 2020 election to "avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail," following widespread delivery delays and backlogs.

Mike Allen, author of AM
18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Pence's former lead staffer on the White House coronavirus task force announced that she plans to vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, while accusing President Trump of costing lives with his pandemic response.

Why it matters: Olivia Troye, who described herself as a life-long Republican, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.