Combatting Foreign Election Interference: Canada's Electoral Ecosystem Approach to Disinformation and Cyber Threats

This paper argues for an “electoral ecosystem” approach to combatting the threat of foreign intervention in elections. Under an electoral ecosystem approach, the electoral system is viewed as an interconnected network of institutions, processes, and actors, all of which must coordinate together to ensure electoral effectiveness and legitimacy. To further explore the electoral ecosystem approach, this paper focuses on Canada’s response to foreign interference in elections. The ecosystem approach consists of several strategies, including new campaign finance regulations, new measures to reduce disinformation and to lessen its distorting impact on democratic discourse, and various measures to strengthening Canadian cyber security. The paper claims that these strategies provide protection across the electoral ecosystem.