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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."

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.