Miles Parks

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers voting and elections, and also reports on breaking news.

Parks joined NPR as the 2014-15 Stone & Holt Weeks Fellow. Since then, he's investigated FEMA's efforts to get money back from Superstorm Sandy victims, profiled budding rock stars and produced for all three of NPR's weekday news magazines.

A graduate of the University of Tampa, Parks also previously covered crime and local government for The Washington Post and The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla.

In his spare time, Parks likes playing, reading and thinking about basketball. He wrote The Washington Post's obituary of legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.

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A MARTINEZ, HOST:

As Gavin Newsom defeated the effort to unseat him as governor of California, last night, his main opponent in that race, Republican Larry Elder, did something that is no longer a given. He conceded.

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Voting officials nationwide are still grappling with a new reality after the 2020 election that includes death threats, conspiracy theories and legal penalties for making what were once regarded as minor mistakes, but on Wednesday, a bipartisan group of attorneys announced an organization aimed at helping them fight back.

The Election Official Legal Defense Network is the first organization of its kind aimed at providing pro-bono legal help and advice for election officials who up until a year ago did not really need it.

As Democrats maneuver to pass voting rights legislation through Congress, some high-profile members of the party have expressed an openness to one GOP-backed policy they have long opposed: voter ID requirements.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It's been more than nine months since Election Day 2020, but as the nation's top election officials met in Iowa over the weekend, it was clear the shadow of that race will stretch far into the future of American democracy.

In 2021, Ben Shapiro rules Facebook.

The conservative podcast host and author's personal Facebook page has more followers than The Washington Post, and he drives an engagement machine unparalleled by anything else on the world's biggest social networking site.

An NPR analysis of social media data found that over the past year, stories published by the site Shapiro founded, The Daily Wire, received more likes, shares and comments on Facebook than any other news publisher by a wide margin.

To Matt Masterson, the review of 2020 ballots from Maricopa County, Ariz., that's underway is "performance art" or "a clown show," and definitely "a waste of taxpayer money."

But it's not an audit.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' biggest fear as a parent isn't gun violence, or drunk driving, or anything related to the pandemic.

It's social media.

And specifically, the new sense of "brokenness" she hears about in children in her district, and nationwide. Teen depression and suicide rates have been rising for over a decade, and she sees social apps as a major reason.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 2:39 PM ET

CNN. ABC News. The New York Times. Fox News.

Those are the publishers of four of the five most popular Facebook posts of articles about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week. They're ranked 2 to 5 in total interactions, according to data from the tracking tool CrowdTangle.

The No. 1 posting, however, isn't from a news organization. Or a government official. Or a public health expert.

The odds of dying after getting a COVID-19 vaccine are virtually nonexistent.

According to recent data from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, you're three times more likely to get struck by lightning.

But you might not know that from looking at your social media feed.

Darren Linvill thought he was prepared for 2020 and the firehose of false information that would come flooding down on the United States during an election year in which the country was bitterly divided.

Linvill is a researcher at Clemson University in South Carolina and he tracks disinformation networks associated with Russia.

The elections company Dominion Voting Systems, which has been at the center of many of President Trump's conspiracy narratives about the 2020 election, filed suit Friday against one of the loudest amplifiers of those false stories.

The company sued Sidney Powell, a lawyer who previously worked for the Trump campaign and who has spent much of the past two months claiming Dominion rigged the election and was somehow tied to the Venezuelan regime of the late Hugo Chavez.

Updated on Jan. 7 at 1:55 p.m. ET

After the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol, calls have continued to grow from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as former U.S. officials, for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and assume the powers of the presidency.

On Wednesday afternoon, Congress will meet to count the Electoral College votes that have come in from across the United States.

But what is normally a simple bureaucratic step on the road to inaugurating a new president may drag on for many hours this year and feature more drama than usual, as many Republicans have signaled a willingness to go along with President Trump's false claims about election fraud.

A top election official with the Georgia secretary of state's office went line by line Monday refuting allegations made by President Trump about the state's voting system.

The strong pushback by state officials comes a day after a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was made public, in which Trump urged the secretary to "find" enough votes to overturn his loss in the state.

More than a month ago, Eric Coomer went into hiding.

The voting conspiracy theories that have led millions of Republicans to feel as though the election was stolen from them, which are still spreading, have also led to calls for Coomer's head.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received the needed majority of votes in the Electoral College on Monday in another step putting them closer toward taking the White House in January.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Republicans at the national level have mostly stayed quiet during President Trump's monthlong baseless crusade against November's election results. But at the state and county level, it has been a different story.

Local election administrators, most of whom are elected along partisan lines, are in charge of the nuts and bolts of voting in America's decentralized elections system.

Jennifer Morrell understands more than most that when voters experience new ways to vote, it's not easy to take them away.

When Morrell was overseeing elections in Utah's Weber County, it offered what was going to be a onetime, all-mail election to decide a library bond issue.

"People were surprised at turnout, I do remember that," said Morrell, now an elections consultant.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Efforts to protect U.S. elections from disinformation are proceeding amid reports that the head of the agency in the Department of Homeland Security that oversees election security expects to be fired soon by the White House.

Christopher Krebs, director of DHS' Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, spearheaded an agency campaign to counter rumors about voter fraud and election irregularities.

Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET

Despite calls from many for a concession this weekend, President Trump and his campaign say they are pushing on to fight the election results tooth-and-nail.

Practically speaking, that means lawsuits.

"Our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated," Trump said in a statement Saturday. "The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots."

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

With former Vice President Joe Biden inching closer to the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win, President Trump and his campaign have ramped up their efforts to delegitimize the vote-counting process.

Those efforts have come both in public comments, with Trump airing unfounded conspiracies and incorrect information about voting in recent days, and in lawsuits that have thus far had almost no success.

Election Day itself went off far more smoothly than many election officials would have predicted seven months ago, as the pandemic took hold in the middle of primary season.

But for months, those officials warned that the expected influx of mail-in votes this year could mean a longer wait before the winner of the presidency was known.

As Nov. 3 turned into Nov. 4, it became clear that's exactly what was happening.

Government officials have spent the year touting Tuesday's election as potentially the "most secure" in the nation's history.

Fewer voters are set to use the riskiest machines — electronic systems that leave no paper record — as compared to four years ago, and there is a whole-of-government approach to election security that never existed before.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Throughout his eight-year career as the Washington Wizards' starting shooting guard, Bradley Beal has scored more than 11,000 points. He's made two All Star teams and he's hit over a thousand three-pointers.

One thing he hasn't done in all that time: Vote.

"I can selfishly say I was that person four years ago, and eight years ago," Beal said, as his home court, Capital One Arena, was being announced as a voting center this fall. "I was someone who didn't take registration seriously, and I was someone who thought my vote didn't count."

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