Rep. Kilmer legislation would protect elections from AI

U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Tony Gonzales (TX-23) introduced the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, bipartisan legislation to safeguard the integrity of federal elections.

This pioneering legislation aims to combat the rise of deceptive AI-generated content in political campaign advertising, according to a news release. U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN), Josh Hawley (MO), Susan Collins (ME), and Chris Coons (DE) previously introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“Artificial intelligence holds immense potential to revolutionize many aspects of our lives, from health care to national security to everyday life,” said Rep. Kilmer. “But when it comes to our democratic processes, the intentional use of AI to create and spread deceptive content threatens the very fabric of our electoral integrity. The bipartisan Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act is a crucial step toward ensuring that AI is harnessed for positive change — not to undermine the trust of the American people in their elections.”

This bill seeks to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to expressly prohibit the distribution of materially deceptive AI-generated audio, images, or videos that pertain to federal candidates within political advertisements or certain issue ads aimed at influencing federal elections or fundraising efforts. Under the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, federal candidates who are affected by such deceptive content would be able to initiate actions to have the content removed and would be entitled to pursue damages in federal court.

The prohibition would apply broadly to any individual, political committee, or entity that distributes content with the intent to fraudulently influence an election outcome or raise funds. Importantly, the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act includes exceptions to uphold First Amendment rights, allowing for parody and satire. Additionally, there is an exception for the use of AI-generated content in news broadcasts when clearly identified as such.