Miles Parks

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers election interference and voting infrastructure and 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.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The head of the Iowa Democratic Party filed his resignation Wednesday, as the organization is still picking up the pieces from last week's caucus debacle.

Troy Price had been head of the state party since 2017, but after his role in overseeing a process widely panned as disorganized and opaque, it became an open question whether he would stay on in his job.

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For the second day in a row, we're in the fabulous coffee shop here. It is called Smokey Row Coffee Company in Des Moines...

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The Iowa Democratic Party says an unusual delay in reporting caucus results on Monday night was due to "inconsistencies" they found in a few results sets, not "a hack or intrusion."

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.

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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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Let's just say it - our elections in the United States remain vulnerable. That's what Shelby Pierson, the head of election security for the U.S. intelligence community, said on our program yesterday.

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A district encompassing Greater Seattle is set to become the first in which every voter can cast a ballot using a smartphone — a historic moment for American democracy.

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Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The FBI says it plans to warn state and local election officials if it discovers cyberattacks this year. It hopes the new policy will build new bridges to more authorities involved with election security.

The federal government has been criticized for poor communication with election officials during and since the Russian attack on the presidential election in 2016.

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