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02/06/24 Safeguarding Democracy: Technology and Election Security
Tuesday, February 06, 2024, 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM EDT
Category: Events


Join the Women's Foreign Policy Group and Microsoft on February 6th, 2024, at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center for "Safeguarding Democracy: Technology and Election Security," co-organized by WFPG and Microsoft’s Democracy Forward initiative, in partnership with National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI).

In an age when democratic backsliding is becoming increasingly widespread, taking proactive, strategic measures to protect democracy has become critical. Microsoft’s Democracy Forward initiative has been actively facilitating tools to preserve democratic institutions and election integrity. HDP, NDI, and IRI are similarly working on this issue, and we look forward to highlighting all four organizations' achievements. We also aim to foster a discussion around how the public and private sectors can work together to promote democracy worldwide including, importantly, via technology.

The event will also feature a video address from Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who will discuss The Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, a bipartisan bill that addresses the threats posed to our elections by the use of AI to generate materially deceptive content to spread disinformation.

The panel will feature Ginny Badanes, Senior Director, Democracy Forward, Microsoft, Derek Luyten, Executive Director, House Democracy Partnership, Katya Rimkunas, Director for Democracy, Rights, and Governance Technical Leadership, IRI, and Moira Whelan, Director for Democracy and Technology, NDI. It will be moderated by Mohar Chatterjee, a POLITICO technology reporter covering artificial intelligence and special projects. A breakfast reception will precede the panel discussion.

 Interested in attending but not a member? No problem! We have a variety of different membership levels to fit your needs. As a WFPG member, not only are you invited to attend events like this, but you also receive complimentary admission to all other in-person and virtual professional development and mentoring programs, such as Career Pathways and Mentor Minutes. Additionally, you will gain access to exclusive member experiences and opportunities.

 Membership types are available here.

Memberships are valid for one full year.


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Tuesday, February 6, 2024 | 8:00 - 10:00 AM ET 

Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center
901 K St NW, 11th floor, Washington D.C., 20001

7:45 - Doors Open
8:00 - Breakfast Networking Reception
8:30 - Video Address and Panel Discussion
9:30 - Audience Q&A


U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the Senate, draws inspiration from her Minnesota roots. Raised by a grandfather who toiled in iron ore mines and parents deeply committed to their community, Klobuchar prioritizes bipartisan efforts to strengthen the economy and support families. Recognized as the "most effective" Democratic senator, she has led impactful initiatives, from swiftly securing funding for the I-35W bridge rebuild to championing legislation against human trafficking and the opioid epidemic. Her dedication extends to agriculture, where she worked on bipartisan Farm Bills, and to technology, as seen in her leadership on broadband connectivity. As Chairwoman of the Senate Rules Committee, she promotes fairness and transparency, while her role in the Judiciary Subcommittee focuses on competition policy and antitrust. Klobuchar's legislative achievements span issues such as election reform, antitrust laws, prescription drug prices, and climate change. With a background as a prosecutor and a commitment to public service, she has received numerous accolades, showcasing her dedication to the people of Minnesota and the nation.

Ginny Badanes leads Democracy Forward, an initiative within Microsoft’s Technology & Corporate Responsibility organization that is focused on addressing ongoing challenges to the stability of democracies globally. The program includes efforts to protect elections, political parties, campaigns,  and NGOs from cyber-enabled threats. The Democracy Forward team also leads  Microsoft’s work to improve the information ecosystem, which includes combating disinformation, expanding news distribution, increasing media literacy, and working with community-based programs and newsrooms to use technology to expand their reach. Ginny has spent her career at the intersection of politics and technology. Before joining  Microsoft in 2014, she was Vice-President of Political at CMDI, where she advised presidential and senate campaigns on their efforts to leverage data and technology to improve their finance and treasury operations.  Ginny was named to Washingtonian’s 2021 & 2022 “Most Influential People” list for national security and defense. She is a graduate of Duke University and currently lives in  Arlington, VA with her husband, Dave, and their three boys.

Derek Luyten currently serves as the Executive Director of the House Democracy Partnership. Mr. Luyten advises Members of Congress on developments related to HDP partner countries and to U.S. democracy and governance programs more broadly, including preparing Members to participate in congressional delegations and other HDP programs.  Luyten also oversees the development and implementation of all HDP programs, including outbound congressional and staff delegations, U.S.-based training programs, technical assistance missions, and assessments of current or prospective partner countries.


Katya Rimkunas serves as the Director for Democracy, Rights and Governance, Technical Leadership for the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Global Impact. In this role, she provides strategic direction for and oversight of IRI’s development and implementation of approaches and innovative programming across IRI technical areas—from political party strengthening to conflict prevention and stabilization. She brings more than 18 years of experience in international development and democratic governance. Prior to Katya’s appointment to this role, she served as IRI’s Regional Deputy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean where she oversaw the development and implementation of a wide range of development programs including on citizen-centered governance, legislative strengthening, inter-government coordination, and elections and political processes in 20 countries. In 2018, Rimkunas testified before the U.S. House of Representative’s Foreign Affairs Committee on elections in the Western Hemisphere and the implications for U.S. policy. She’s a regular commentator for the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Advisor on regional issues and is a member of the Global Advisory Council for the McCain Institute’s Global Leaders Program.
Prior to joining IRI, Rimkunas worked in the office of Senator John McCain. She was born in Peru and grew up in Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Political Science and Latin American studies. She is also a graduate of the Campaign School at Yale.

Moira Whelan is the director of the Democracy and Technology team at the National Democratic Institute. She brings a wealth of experience to the Institute bridging the gaps between technology, policy, and democracy and is a regular contributor to the global conversation around strengthening the information integrity space and fostering a digital ecosystem that supports democracy worldwide. She is a trailblazer championing the end of tech-facilitated gender-based violence, uniting survivors, policymakers, governments, and the private sector in the fight for a secure, inclusive, and accessible digital ecosystem that bolsters democratic resilience. She is a career communications professional, having served as the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Digital Strategy, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and roles at the Department of Homeland Security. In each role, Moira spearheaded the early adoption of technology tools and helped build an information space that enhanced transparency and accessibility. She was a founding partner in BlueDot Strategies where she advised technology companies and worked with nonprofits in using digital tools to enhance citizen engagement. Early in her career, she was a founding staff member of the National Security Network, an advocacy organization dedicated to progressive national security principles. Prior to that, she held senior communications roles at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and on the House Committee on Homeland Security Democratic Staff. Moira started her career in editorial and legislative outreach roles at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

  Mohar Chatterjee is a technology reporter, covering artificial intelligence and special projects. She was formerly a POLITICO fellow. Mohar joins us out of Columbia University, where she received two master's degrees in computer science and journalism. Simultaneously, she was a senior fellow at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, leading computational journalism projects for NPR's California newsroom and the Detroit Free Press. Her words have also appeared in Wired. Previously, Mohar completed a residency at CERN in Geneva, under the apprenticeship of filmmaker Leslie Thornton. And before she was a journalist, Mohar completed her bachelor's degree at Caltech, majoring in both mechanical engineering and business economics. This isn't her first D.C. rodeo — prior to POLITICO, she worked at The Washington Post's newsroom engineering team on election modeling, document forensics and facial recognition projects.


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