Pre-Debate Trends to Watch and Talking Points

The National Task Force on Election Crises is a diverse, cross-partisan group of more than 50 experts in election law, election administration, national security, cybersecurity, voting rights, civil rights, technology, media, public health, and emergency response. The Task Force’s mission is to use its expertise to help civil society and decision-makers prevent, prepare for, and mitigate a range of election crises. The only electoral outcomes the Task Force advocates for are free, fair, and safe elections in the United States.

The talking points and guidance below are focused on the topic of free, fair and safe elections and the peaceful transfer or continuation of power. 

Key messages about our election system: 
  • Election experts have stated that the 2020 election was the most secure election in American history. States across the country have added more safeguards for 2024. 

  • The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of democracy. Candidates should agree to accept the results of this November’s election and participate in the peaceful transfer or continuation of power. 

  • Election officials and poll workers across the country – everyday Americans serving their communities – receive training to ensure that our elections are free, fair, and safe. 

  • There are safeguards in place in every state to ensure that only eligible individuals are registering to vote and are casting ballots.


Our elections are managed at the state and local level by community leaders in 3,000 counties and 117,000 polling locations. 

Election officials and poll workers – everyday Americans serving their communities – are well-trained to ensure that our elections are secure. 

In every state, bipartisan networks of poll watchers are able to examine the process at polling locations during early voting and on election day. 

In states across the country, voting machines and tabulation machines undergo rigorous testing that can be viewed by the public.

95% of Americans live in jurisdictions that will vote with a paper record, ensuring that their results can be easily recounted and audited.

While hand-counting can be helpful in small jurisdictions or during a recount, widespread hand counting of ballots has been widely discredited as inaccurate, costly, and time consuming – including by the National Task Force on Election Crises

Each state has their own process for verifying the eligibility of their voters, and updating their registration lists applicable with federal law. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in our elections.


Despite false claims about the 2020 election, the facts are clear: The 2020 election was free and fair and was conducted according to the U.S. Constitution and state laws. The closest results were audited, recounted, and litigated to confirm that the results were accurate. 

When Americans are unsure of whether they are hearing the truth about our elections, they should seek out trusted sources – especially their local election officials.


Elections in the country are often hard-fought and contentious, but for generations, the American people have been able to count on an orderly transition after all votes have been cast and counted. Any suggestion by a candidate that he or she will refuse to leave office or will otherwise interfere with the will of the people if he or she loses an election must be rejected swiftly and decisively.

Election officials have faced record levels of threats and intimidation since the 2020 election. A recent survey found that 38% of election workers have faced threats, harassment, or abuse. Despite these threats, these officials continue to ensure that our elections remain safe and secure for voters. 

The January 6th attack on the Capitol was an attempt to thwart the transfer of power that is a hallmark of our democracy and to overturn the will of the voters. Leaders should be clear and unequivocal in their continued condemnation of that assault on the Capitol and our election system.


Each political candidate is entitled to request recounts and to engage in litigation to ensure that the results of the election are accurate. They should also commit to accepting the final results after those opportunities have been exhausted.