Press Releases

The Tech Oversight Project Applauds Committee Passage of Bipartisan AI Bills to Safeguard U.S. Elections

May 15, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, The Tech Oversight Project applauded the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration for passing key legislation that would safeguard U.S. elections from AI-related threats. Sen. Klobuchar’s Preparing Election Administrators for AI Act passed unanimously, and Klobuchar’s Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act and AI Transparency in Elections Act passed with a bipartisan vote of 9–2.

“Today, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration led by example in putting aside partisan bickering to safeguard our elections from AI-related threats and cyber attacks from foreign adversaries. When it comes to holding Big Tech monopolies accountable for their unchecked and dangerous rollouts of generative AI, this bipartisan cadre of Senators is acting with the urgency that this moment demands,” said Sacha Haworth, Executive Director of the Tech Oversight Project. “Congress needs to put its foot on the gas to stop the disastrous effects of AI that are already here, like the decimation of our natural resources, a toxic social media landscape with widespread misinformation, and market concentration that ensures powerful tech CEOs will dictate the future of the internet for years to come. I applaud Chairwoman Klobuchar for moving swiftly and urge Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring these bipartisan bills to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible.”

Brief summaries of the bills can be found below:

Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act (S. 2770, – Klobuchar-Hawley-Coons-Collins):

  • Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) by banning individuals, political committees, or any other entity from knowingly distributing materially deceptive AI-generated audio or visual media of a federal candidate with the purpose of influencing an election or soliciting funds.

  • Includes exemptions for news items and satire or parody to protect against First Amendment challenges.

  • A federal candidate may seek an injunctive order to prohibit the distribution of deceptive AI content or may seek damages against the distributor.

AI Transparency in Elections Act (S. 3875, Klobuchar-Murkowski):

  • Requires disclaimers for political ads substantially generated by AI but not ads that only use AI in minor ways such as cosmetic adjustments, color editing, cropping, and other immaterial uses.

  • The disclaimer would apply to political ads that 1) call for the election or defeat of a candidate (for example, ads that say “vote for” or “vote against” a candidate), 2) mention a candidate in the 120-day period before an election but stop short of expressly calling for a candidate’s election or defeat (for example, ads that say “President Biden wants to raise your taxes” aired 120 days before an election), or 3) solicit campaign contributions.

Preparing Election Administrators for AI Act (S. 3897, Klobuchar-Collins):

  • Directs the Election Assistance Commission, in consultation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to issue a report with voluntary guidelines to address the use and risks of AI in election administration, cybersecurity, and information sharing about elections.
Jump to Content