Miles Parks | WAMC

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.

Delaware briefly deployed a controversial internet voting system recently but scrapped it amid concerns about security and public confidence.

Before the online option was shuttered, voters returned more than 2,700 ballots electronically — and those votes still will be counted, according to the state, along with conventional votes in the upcoming July primary.

Delaware Election Commissioner Anthony Albence said the decision to stop using the cloud-based return option was made to protect public perception of the election.

On the night of Pennsylvania's June 2 primary, things looked bleak for Nina Ahmad.

The former deputy mayor of Philadelphia was running in a crowded Democratic primary field to become the state's auditor general in a race that could be a preview of things to come across the country in November.

If Ahmad won, she'd become the first woman of color to be nominated for an executive leadership position in the state.

But she trailed in the race by tens of thousands of votes on election night. Supporters began reaching out with sympathy.

Almost exactly four years after Russian operatives hacked into the email accounts of prominent Democrats ahead of the 2016 election, Google confirmed on Thursday that foreign adversaries are still at it.

Chinese-backed hackers were observed targeting former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign staff, and Iranian-backed hackers were seen targeting President Trump's campaign staff. Both were targeted with phishing attacks, according to Shane Huntley, the head of Google's Threat Analysis Group.

He said there was no sign the attempts were successful.

Casting a ballot by mail isn't a new way to vote, but it is getting fresh attention as the coronavirus pandemic upends daily life.

The voting method is quickly becoming the norm and quickly becoming politically charged as some Republicans — specifically President Trump — fight against the mail-voting expansion happening nationwide.

Here are answers to key questions about mail ballots and the controversy around them.

Updated Tuesday at 7 a.m. ET

The image would shock just about anyone: a fire so large that it seems to stretch halfway up the 550-foot-tall Washington Monument, and burning so bright that it dramatically illuminated the landmark.

Shocking but fake.

America's new socially distant reality has warped the landscape of the 2020 election.

Candidates aren't out knocking on doors, and U.S. election officials are bracing for a record surge in mail ballots.

But another subtler shift is also occurring — inside people's brains.

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

The federal government is letting states know it considers online voting to be a "high-risk" way of running elections even if all recommended security protocols are followed.

It's the latest development in the debate over Internet voting as a few states have announced they plan to offer it to voters with disabilities this year, while security experts have voiced grave warnings against doing so.

Americans are extremely concerned that the coronavirus pandemic will disrupt voting in November's presidential election, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center.

They also overwhelmingly support allowing everyone to vote by mail, even as partisan divides over mail voting expansions have taken hold at the national level over the past few months.

Election officials nationwide are preparing for what may the highest election turnout in modern history in the middle of a pandemic. In response, several states will be turning to a relatively new and untested form of Internet-based voting to aid the voters who may have the most trouble getting to the polls.

In writing his new book, David Daley was looking to shake off a cynicism that had been following him around for years.

The former editor-in-chief of Salon gained attention in 2016, as the man who chronicled a Republican gerrymandering machine.

Last week's Wisconsin election was extraordinary for a number of reasons.

Unlike more than a dozen other states, Wisconsin plowed ahead with the April 7 election in the face of the coronavirus pandemic after the intervention of the state Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now less than seven months away from a general election that could be held under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled a plan to radically reshape voting to respond to the emergency.

It's a massive set of proposals that shows where the more liberal section of the Democratic Party wants to take Democracy, even if Republican lawmakers in the Senate and the White House have made it clear that such changes are political nonstarters.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

In a wide-ranging, digressive news conference Sunday evening, President Trump said he has activated the National Guard to assist New York, California and Washington, states that so far have been hit hardest by the coronavirus.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

While much of the country has come to a standstill because of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, democracy, it seems, goes on.

Four states are set to hold their presidential primaries on Tuesday, and many more states and territories are currently scheduled to vote before the end of April.

Here are answers to three questions you may have about voting in the time of a pandemic.

1. Are elections still happening?

Life Kit: How To Vote

Mar 8, 2020

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Every election year there are races across the country that are decided by tiny margins, yet every election, there are also tens of millions of people who could vote but don't. NPR's Miles Parks from our Life Kit podcast has this guide to the process and maybe deciding an entire election with your ballot.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Well, good morning, everybody. I don't think I've ever seen so many people at a board of elections meeting before.

Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET

Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City who had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ads during a 100-day presidential campaign, announced on Wednesday he's suspending his bid and is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Three months ago, I entered the race for President to defeat Donald Trump," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump — because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult."

Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET

Rep. John Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor and a vocal Republican defender of President Trump throughout last year's impeachment proceedings, will be nominated to be the next director of national intelligence, Trump announced Friday.

The director role is a critical one at the top of the intelligence community, which encompasses more than a dozen separate agencies and organizations including the CIA and the FBI.

"John is an outstanding man of great talent!" Trump tweeted.

Some of the most senior government officials assigned to the coronavirus crisis briefed House lawmakers Friday, and assured them that the Trump administration is not impeding their work or their communications with the public.

Representatives on both sides of the aisle have lauded some aspects of the outbreak response, while voicing frustration with others.

When President Trump announced Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence would oversee the government effort to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, he said the former Indiana governor "has a certain talent for this."

But not everyone agrees.

Pence's public health record, especially while he was governor, is now coming under harsh scrutiny.

President Trump will hold a news conference Wednesday afternoon about the rapidly spreading coronavirus, as fears have sent the stock market into a spiral and Republican and Democratic leaders have questioned the administration's response.

Trump announced the event in a tweet and said it was a retort to media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC trying to "make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible."

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers have voiced dissatisfaction with the administration's response.

Nevada Democrats, hoping to avoid a repeat of the fiasco of the Iowa caucuses, hosted an hourlong briefing with reporters Tuesday night in which they walked through a mock caucus.

Early caucusing begins on Saturday in Nevada as the race for the Democratic presidential nomination moves west.

Democrats in the state have been scrambling the past two weeks to adjust their plans in the wake of the caucusing debacle in Iowa.

The elections office of Florida's third-most populous county was breached by a crippling cyberattack in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, NPR confirmed on Thursday.

There is no indication that the ransomware attack was connected to Russian interference efforts leading up to the last presidential race, but the revelation about it now shows how election officials are preparing for this year's election without knowing all the details of what happened before.

As the Democratic primary season rolls on, one big lesson already is sinking in from the party's caucus-night meltdown in Iowa: Secrecy isn't a strategy.

State Democratic chair Troy Price declined to answer questions a month ago about what sorts of tests were conducted on the smartphone app the party was planning to use on caucus night or detail backup plans should it fail.

But he did promise some sort of transparency.

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The key question of President Trump's impeachment trial was answered Friday evening: There will be no new witness testimony, including from former national security adviser John Bolton.

That leaves very little for senators to discuss, as the third impeachment trial in U.S. history heads toward a close with Trump's acquittal now almost assured.

Local governments across the United States could perform a simple upgrade to strengthen voters' confidence that they are what they say they are: use websites that end in .gov.

Federal officials control the keys to the ".gov" top-level domain, making it less likely that somebody could get one fraudulently and use it to fool people.

Domains that end in .com or .org, meanwhile, could be set up by attackers to try to intercept users seeking information from real sources.

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

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 1:32 p.m. ET

President Trump "did absolutely nothing wrong," White House counsel Pat Cipollone said Saturday, as lawyers representing the president got their first shot to poke holes in the impeachment case made this week by Democrats.

Saturday's proceedings, which lasted a little more than two hours, set up the White House arguments in the impeachment trial. The proceedings resume Monday at 1 p.m.

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