A bipartisan Senate duo is pressing the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to help prepare state and local officials to ward off artificial intelligence-produced disinformation targeted at voters.
In a new letter exclusively obtained by CBS News, Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins shared that they have “serious concerns” while urging for more steps to be taken to help officials around the country “combat these threats.”
Tuesday’s letter comes after an incident involving New Hampshire’s presidential primary.
Before the contest, aimpersonating President Biden encouraged voters not to vote in the Jan. 23 primary and instead “save” their vote for the November general election.
“Voting this Tuesday only enables Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again,” the recording obtained by CBS News said. “Your vote makes a difference this November, not this Tuesday.”
Mr. Biden easily won the state’s Democratic primary as a, but concerns about the robocall are apparent. Klobuchar and Collins cited the interference effort in their letter and added that “AI-generated deepfakes have also impacted multiple Republican presidential candidates by deceptively showing them saying things that they never said.”
Klobuchar, a leader on elections legislation in the Senate, introduced a bipartisan bill with Collins and several other senators last September aimed at banning “materially deceptive AI-generated audio or visual media” involving federal candidates. The bill, which has not passed the Senate, would apply to a fake robocall like the one in New Hampshire.
The two Senators are asking the commission to give election administrators around the United States “comprehensive guidance” on defending elections and voters from AI-tied disinformation.
We have introduced bipartisan legislation to address the challenges that this kind of deceptive AI-generated content poses to our democracy,” Klobuchar and Collins said in their letter. “As this year’s primary elections are now underway, it is critical that those who administer our elections have the information necessary to address these emerging threats in a timely and effective way.”
The New Hampshire robocall was the latest major flashpoint in AI-generated images, video and audio propagated online by bad actors during the already contentious 2024 campaign cycle.
Last May, an AI-generated photo appearing to show an explosion near the Pentagon circulated on social media, setting the S&P 500 on a brief drop-off and causing panic in the D.C. region after multiple “verified” accounts on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, shared the image.
Numerous AI-generated videos and images of former President Donald Trump have circulated online as well, including fake images of Trump running from the police and crying in a courtroom.
Last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign released an ad featuring AI-generated images of Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci embracing, despite that never happening. The presidential campaigns of former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez had also put forward generative AI bots to answer voter questions before they suspended their respective campaigns.