Legislators investigate potential of regulating AI in elections – NBC Montana

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With 2024 being a major election year, Montana voters will have a say in local, statewide, and national politics. The state legislature will also be working to make sure the process continues to have integrity.

The State Administration Interim Committee has been tasked with studying election security and spent around an hour on Friday discussing the matter.

One new topic the committee is looking into is the potential of regulating the use of artificial intelligence in elections. A handful of states have already done so, some with civil penalties, others with criminal ones.

One example is in New Mexico, which now provides criminal penalties for those who don’t put a disclaimer on advertisements and other election related material that fall under their definition of “deceptive media,” or what is commonly known as deepfakes, where AI is used as a manipulative tool to fool the intended audience.

“Michigan and Minnesota’s (laws) both look interesting to me, and if we all agree, and this saves us all the work, it would be pretty easy to just copy and paste that legislation. I was wondering if the committee had any appetite for adopting or looking more into any of these states’ actions on this topic?” said State Rep. Kelly Kortum (D-Bozeman), the committee’s vice-chair.

“I think Senator (Janet) Ellis has a good point about seeing what the legal community thinks, how far we can go before we get too far. I’m interested in hearing more. But I don’t want to spend the next six months talking about something that’s going to be immediately challenged and thrown out. Usually, I’m fine with that,” joked State Sen. Forrest Mandeville (R-Columbus).

The committee did not take any action on the matter and will continue researching AI they will next meet in May, and the finalized election security report and proposed legislation from the committee are expected in September.

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