Pandemic Election: Fraud, Voter Suppression, Media and the 2020 Presidential Contest

Color photo of a roll of I Voted stickers

Wednesday, October 28, 2020
12:00p.m. to 1:00 p.m. PDT

Online (Zoom)



Check out this video to watch the WESTERN HORIZONS - Pandemic Election: Fraud, Voter Suppression, Media and the 2020 Presidential Contest.


Brought to you in partnership with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the WWU Alumni Association

The discussion will consider challenges involved with conducting the 2020 election, and an analysis of the reporting on the election, during the COVID pandemic. Among other things, panelists will discuss efforts to expand voting by mail, perceptions of fraud, and current controversies surrounding attempts at limiting voting. We also consider how voter suppression might affect results, and discuss how claims of fraud and the expanded use of mail voting presents new challenges to reporting on elections. 

Panelists Alamillo and Donovan will each speak on fraud, expanded voting by mail, and suppression. Panelist Nielsen will speak on challenges associated with fact-checking and how election night results can be reported when millions of ballots are still to be counted. Marc Geisler, who specializes in critical cultural theory, will moderate the panel.

Western Horizons is a public webinar series featuring Faculty and Alumni of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Todd Donovan


Dr. Todd Donovan

Todd Donovan holds a Ph.D. from the University of California in Riverside. He's a professor of political science at WWU with visiting appointments and fellowships in Australia and New Zealand. His research examines the intersection of political behavior, representation, and electoral institutions, as well as public opinion and direct democracy. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited a dozen books (Oxford, Chicago, Michigan) including "Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process" and "State and Local Politics: Institutions and Reform" along with many articles. He has also advised media in several countries and serves as an expert witness in state and federal courts on election matters. He serves as an elected official in the U.S. and remains a defending champion of the Bellingham Pub Run.


Carolyn Nielsen


Dr. Carolyn Nielsen

Carolyn Nielsen, who holds a Ph.D. in communication, is a professor in the WWU Department of Journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for a decade before becoming a journalism professor. She has extensive experience covering local, state, and national elections and politics, including a brief stint reporting on the Clinton White House. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Cal Poly, SLO, a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Washington. Her research explores how journalists are navigating the emerging digital environment, particularly in the context of reporting on issues of race and immigration. Her book "Reporting on Race in a Digital Era" was published in March.

Rudy Alamillo


Dr. Rudy Alamillo

Rudy Alamillo earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Riverside and joined the Department of Political Science at WWU as an assistant professor in 2019. His research examines cross-racial campaign appeals in the United States, with a focus on white candidate appeals to minority voters. Dr. Alamillo’s research seeks to understand how white candidates racialize themselves to appeal to minority voters, as well as how minorities de-racialize themselves to fit into American society. His research has appeared in various journals and has been covered by outlets such as the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post.

Marc Geisler

Dr. Marc Geisler

In 2013, Marc became the Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. A faculty member at Western since 1992, he served as department chair of the English Department for seven years. Previously, he served the English Department as associate chair for three years and director of Graduate Studies for four years. He is a specialist in British Renaissance literature and critical theory and teaches courses in contemporary critical and cultural theory, Milton and nonconformist literature, early modern feminism, early modern patronage and popular culture, Shakespeare, Spenser, politics and literature, and cultural studies. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of California, Irvine.


Email Susanna Glatz, Administration and Communication Assistant, College of Humanities and Social Sciences at glatzs@wwu.edu with your questions or comments.

WWU is an equal opportunity institution.