Office of the President

November 6, 2020

Misinformation is a threat to self-government

Ana Mari Cauce

As the counting of ballots continues around the nation, which is the case after every election – even those where the winner is called on election night – UW faculty who study how misinformation is circulated and spread are seeing false claims and conspiracy theories abound.

As they wrote yesterday, “People seeking to delegitimize election results are weaving real-world events, such as isolated confrontations with poll workers or broken voting machines, into claims of broader malfeasance by nefarious partisans on one side or the other.”

As a university, we are dedicated to uncovering truth as supported by evidence and facts as well as the bedrock belief that an informed public is the cornerstone of self-government. That’s one of the reasons the UW’s Center for an Informed Public was created. It has resources on spotting and combatting misinformation, which are all the more vital as we navigate these current times.

We witnessed a record number of Americans cast their ballots this year, including a surge in voting by young people. And I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote, both in our state and national elections. Your voice matters. The will of the people, as expressed through the electoral process, must be respected. That means following the laws and constitutions of the states and of our nation.