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Voting & Elections 03.3.2024

Yahoo! News/PolitiFact: Yes, an Arizona voter received two mail ballots. That’s not a sign of wrongdoing or fraud.

Voters can do their part by updating their voter registration in a timely fashion, said Jenny Guzman, program director of Common Cause Arizona.

Voting & Elections 02.27.2024

Colorado Politics: 'Deepfakes' and AI content: Colorado lawmakers dive into new tech ahead of November elections

Aly Belknap with Colorado Common Cause echoed Holman’s concerns, highlighting the pervasiveness of deepfakes and other avenues for spreading “disinformation,” such as fake social media profiles. These issues, she said, combined with declining trust in the media among Americans, pose a threat to the future of fair elections. “The availability of generative AI tools makes it easier than ever to spread false information and propaganda with little resources and at a large scale, leaving voters confused and further questioning what they see or hear,” she said. “We can’t let generative AI go unchecked in political campaigns. In this increasingly complex information ecosystem, it’s critical that citizens have the tools to determine whether an image, video, or audio representation made by a candidate campaign is authentic and truthful.”

Media & Democracy 02.14.2024

Colorado Politics/Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado bill tasking attorney general to study online 'misinformation' sparks First Amendment debate

Andrew Barton of Colorado Common Cause, who supports the measure, said his organization has conducted an independent analysis of social media posts and that the study revealed an increasing prevalence of "misinformation" about candidates for office, election processes, and the validity of the country's voting system. "Our democratic institutions only work when we can all engage with them accurately and honestly," Barton said. "Because of the threat of misinformation and disinformation, it's imperative that data around how such information is spread through online media sources can be gathered and examined so the legislature can develop data-driven solutions that help build understanding and trust within our political systems."

Media & Democracy 02.14.2024

Yahoo! News/USA Today: As the cradle of tech, California looks to be leader in AI regulation

Jonathan Mehta Stein is a co-founder of The California Initiative for Technology and Democracy, a project of good government group California Common Cause, which has been advising legislators on the threats emerging technologies pose to democracy. He points to the growing use of AI in elections across the world as evidence it's no longer a theoretical, but an active practice. In the first month of 2024, deepfakes promulgating misinformation in Bangladeshi and Slovakian elections proved to be significant election disruptions. Here in the United States, AI-generated content is met with considerable concern on the heels of rising political violence and distrust in election processes. "All of these new technologies that can deceive voters and undermine elections are coming on the heels of other depressing trends," Stein said. "In our democracy, trust in institutions and in the media are all-time lows. Beliefs that our elections are being run securely and votes are counted accurately are in doubt among huge percentages of the American population."

Media & Democracy 02.8.2024

Common Dreams: FCC Announces New Rule to Confront Deepfake Robocalls

Ishan Mehta, media and democracy program director for Common Cause, said the calls in New Hampshire last month represented "only the tip of the iceberg" and warned that "it is critically important that the FCC now use this authority to fine violators and block the telephone companies that carry the calls." Mehta called on Congress to pass the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, which would prohibit the distribution ofdeceptive AI-generated audio, images, or video relating to federal candidates in political ads. "We hope that both the House and the Senate will follow the example of the FCC," said Mehta, "whose Democratic and Republican commissioners recognized the threat posed by AI and came together in a unanimous vote to outlaw robocalls utilizing AI voice-cloning tools."

Media & Democracy 02.8.2024

FCC Outlaws AI Robocalls

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to outlaw robocalls that utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) voice-cloning tools. Long a matter of concern, the issue made national headlines when the technology was utilized to mimic President Biden’s voice in robocalls in the runup to the New Hampshire primary. Those calls are currently under investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office. The FCC ban is effective immediately.

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