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Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Glamour

Former first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday urged people to vote in spite of conspiracy theories and disinformation "about the validity of our election process," per CNN.

Between the lines: Officials are sounding the alarm about the heightened potential for disinformation in an unusual election year. That comes as President Trump has stoked fears of election fraud, telling "Axios on HBO" in August that "lots of things can happen" with voting by mail if the presidential race isn't decided on election night.

What she's saying: Obama, during the event hosted by her voter engagement group When We All Vote, said that certain people want young voters to "feel intimidated to the point where you’re not voting."

  • “Voting is easy. It is something that we can do. Don’t listen to people who will say that somehow voting is rigged and your vote will get lost and it won’t be counted. That is not true,” Obama said in an Instagram Live conversation with actress Zendaya.
  • "I don’t want people to be discouraged by those conspiracy theories that are being peddled out there about the validity of our election process because it’s just not true.”
  • “They want you to stay home. They want you to feel so confused by the process that you just throw your hands up. And then, you know, they let those in power make the choices for you. But you know, you can’t let any process make you feel so intimidated that you don’t make your voice heard.”

Go deeper ... Special report on virus-era voting: Prepare for unprecedented threats

Go deeper

Dominion worker sues Trump campaign and conservative media for defamation

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

An election worker at Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit Tuesday against President Trump, his lawyers and conservative media networks, among others, for spreading false conspiracy theories that he says forced him into hiding.

Why it matters: Trump and his allies' baseless claims of election fraud, including allegations that Dominion rigged its voting machines, have resulted in threats against election workers.

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

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