The Bipartisan House bill aims to prepare election workers for AI

Ahead of a Senate markup this week on a trio of bills addressing artificial intelligence in elections, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Monday introduced companion legislation aimed at preparing election administrators for the challenges posed by the technology. brings.

The Preparing Election Administrators for AI Act from Reps. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., and Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., would require the Election Assistance Commission to work collaborated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology on a report that provides voluntary guidance for election administrators on the related risks and benefits of AI.

Houlahan said in a news release that the legislation — the House counterpart to a March bill from Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine — aims to “strengthen confidence” in the electoral system, something she called “a shared responsibility that cuts across party lines.”

“With the rise of artificial intelligence, we must equip our election administrators with the necessary tools and guidelines to protect our democratic process,” Houlahan said in a news release. “This bipartisan bill underscores our commitment to fair and secure elections by addressing the potential risks of AI, including the spread of misinformation and cybersecurity threats.”

Given the potential for AI-powered cheating in the conduct of the election, Fitzpatrick said that “it is essential that state and local officials are prepared and resourced to keep the election process secure,” adding that Congress must continue to work to “ensure the public trust and integrity of our elections are not compromised.”

The bill calls for the EAC and NIST to provide their report to Congress and state and local election offices within 60 days of its enactment. The report would also detail the cybersecurity risks of AI systems in elections.

There are also calls in the bill for the EAC and NIST to outline how election agencies should respond to information generated and disseminated by AI that compromises the sharing of accurate election information. The report would also detail how AI could influence the spread of election-related disinformation, undermining public confidence in the process.

Spanberger said in the press release that the legislation is important not only to strengthen election infrastructure, but also to “strengthen our defenses against bad actors,” specifically citing Russia and China.

“Americans need to have confidence in their vote – and our hardworking election officials need the tools and training necessary to navigate AI-related vulnerabilities in our election systems,” she said.

Officials in Arizona, Minnesota and other states across the country have organized training exercises for local election workers to identify and combat AI-generated content, and November voting is being dubbed by some as “the AI ​​election.” However, at last week’s RSA conference in San Francisco, federal officials told reporters that physical violence against election workers is a greater threat than AI in November.

In addition to election administrators preparing for AI bill on Wednesday, the Senate committee will also consider the Protecting Elections from Deceptive AI Act and the AI ​​Transparency in Elections Act of 2024 on Wednesday.

Matt Bracken

Written by Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken is the editor-in-chief of FedScoop and CyberScoop, overseeing coverage of the federal government’s technology policy and cybersecurity. Before joining Scoop News Group in 2023, Matt was a senior editor at Morning Consult, where he led data-driven reporting on technology, finance, health and energy. He previously worked in various editorial roles at The Baltimore Sun and the Arizona Daily Star. You can reach him at [email protected].