The Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act addresses the threats posed to our elections by the use of AI to generate materially deceptive content to spread disinformation

WASHINGTON - Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration with oversight over federal elections; Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law; Chris Coons (D-DE), Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property; and Susan Collins (R-ME), Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee and former Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, introduced the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, bipartisan legislation to ban the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to generate materially deceptive content falsely depicting federal candidates in political ads to influence federal elections. 

“Right now, we’re seeing AI used as a tool to influence our democracy. We need rules of the road in place to stop the use of fraudulent AI-generated content in campaign ads. Voters deserve nothing less than full transparency,” said Klobuchar. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation would update our laws to prohibit these deceptive ads from being used to mislead voters no matter what party they belong to.”

“We must protect the right of Americans to vote without being controlled or manipulated by artificial intelligence companies. Elections belong to the people, not the tech companies,” said Hawley.

“American democracy faces novel threats from deceptive content generated by artificial intelligence, and we must take action to defend our system of free and fair elections. That is why I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to introduce legislation to safeguard federal elections by restricting the use of AI-generated content. I urge my Senate colleagues to swiftly pass this bill and to protect our electoral system from the risks posed by unregulated AI,” said Coons.

“This bipartisan legislation would help to strengthen the integrity of our elections while also protecting First Amendment rights,” said Collins.

This bill would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to prohibit the distribution of materially deceptive AI-generated audio, images, or video relating to federal candidates in political ads or certain issue ads to influence a federal election or fundraise. The bill allows federal candidates targeted by this materially deceptive content to have content taken down and enables them to seek damages in federal court. This ban extends to a person, political committee, or other entity that distributes materially deceptive content intended to influence an election or raise money fraudulently. Consistent with the First Amendment, the bill has exceptions for parody, satire, and the use of AI-generated content in news broadcasts.

As Chair of the Rules Committee, Senator Klobuchar has worked on a bipartisan basis to safeguard our elections and strengthen democracy. She shepherded bipartisan reforms to the Electoral Count Act through Congress with former Senator and Ranking Member of the Rules Committee Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). In February, Klobuchar reintroduced the bipartisan Honest Ads Act with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, to improve the transparency and accountability of online political advertising by requiring online political advertisements to adhere to the same disclaimer requirements as TV, radio, and print ads.

Klobuchar has also led efforts to address the threat of misleading AI-generated content in our elections. In May, Klobuchar and U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the REAL Political Ads Act to require a disclaimer on political ads that use images or video generated by artificial intelligence. Companion legislation is led in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY).