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Media & Democracy 02.7.2024

USA Today: Hawaii looks to combat AI-generated deepfakes and disinformation ahead of 2024 elections

The legislation has also received support from non-profit pro-democracy groups such as Public Citizen and Common Cause Hawaii. Camron Hurt, program manager for Common Cause Hawaii, called the threat of AI deepfakes “a big issue for democracy right now.” “The cat’s out of the bag, technology has outpaced our laws. But now we must catch up and it’s important that we spearhead and that we help lead that charge and make sure that harmful AI deep fakes and alike are removed from any way of being in our elections," Hurt said.

Media & Democracy 01.23.2024

Politico: Seeing a viral pro-Biden TikTok? A PAC might have paid for it.

Ishan Mehta, the director for media and democracy at watchdog group Common Cause, said he was disappointed the FEC decided not to require paid influencer disclosures. He said regulations on paid social media political content should be the same as those for political television and print ads, which are required by the FEC to include disclaimers. “The ability to pay influencers to carry their message on behalf of a campaign is a loophole,” he said.

Common Dreams: 'Political Deepfake Moment Is Here': NH Robocall Sounds Like Biden

Also on Monday, Public Citizen and Common Cause submitted petitions urging state election officials in Alabama, Louisiana, and Wisconsin to regulate deepfakes in political campaign communications. "AI deepfakes represent a very clear and present danger to our democracy," said Ishan Mehta, director of Common Cause's media and democracy program. "The opportunity for deceiving and misleading voters has never been so acute as it is today with the vast improvements in fake computer-generated images and voices." "And ultimately if voters later realize that they have been duped by false and misleading—yet very convincing—campaign ads, they are going to lose even more confidence in the value of elections," Mehta warned.

Voting & Elections 01.19.2024

PolitiFact: FALSE: “Illegal immigrants now have the right to vote in New York."

Susan Lerner, the executive director of the voting rights group Common Cause New York, said that only U.S. citizens can vote in New York state. "Permanent residents and people authorized to work here are documented and approved by the federal government," Lerner said. "They pay state and federal taxes, and pay into Social Security as well. In many cases, they’ve lived in the United States for decades. There is nothing ‘illegal’ about them."

Voting & Elections 01.18.2024

NPR (Audio): The RNC wants Republicans to embrace early voting. Trump's rhetoric makes it tough

Jay Heck, the executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, said he thinks that Republicans lost recent state Supreme Court elections and a recent gubernatorial election partly because of their voters' aversion to early voting. "There is, I think, a realization on the part of some of them that they had better begin to do the things that progressives and Democrats are doing to turn out the vote if they want to carry the state for Trump or if they want to win a gubernatorial election in the near future," he said. Heck also predicts there will be a lot of "tension" within the party over early and mail voting as November gets closer. "I think there's going to be, if not an outright rupture, at least some pretty serious words back and forth between Republicans who are trying to encourage early voting and then those who just claim that early votes and absentee votes are all fraudulent," he said. "So it'll be interesting to see how that plays out."

Media & Democracy 01.17.2024

NPR Morning Edition (AUDIO): The GOP needs more of its voters to cast ballots early. What's the problem?

Despite endorsing Bank Your Vote, on the trail, Trump has continued to cast doubt on the legitimacy and security of mail voting in particular. Aaron Scherb with Common Cause says this is a huge hurdle for the RNC. He says Republicans across the country have been maligning mail voting since 2020. He says it's going to be hard for them to convince their voters to get over a distrust they created. AARON SCHERB: So getting voters to, like, unlearn or unhear those messages is tough to undo that damage. And so I think that's what this Bank the Vote program is trying to essentially do. It's somewhat analogous to getting a jury to unhear extremely damaging information that's presented against a defendant.

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