2024 Election Warning Issued by Secretaries of State

A group of bipartisan secretaries of state has warned that “disinformation” poses the biggest threat to this year’s election.

Officials from Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia spoke at a Meet the Press panel discussion on how to “safeguard democracy” on Sunday.

The upcoming election, likely between President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, will take place against the backdrop of 2020 when Trump claimed that Biden’s win was not legitimate. Meet the Press host Kristen Welker said on the show that a third of the country still believes this.

The group discussed their worries about misinformation and threats in the context of the “ugliness” that followed, as Michigan State Secretary Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, described it.

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, said: “I think the biggest challenge that we are all facing in November is the perpetuation of the mis- and disinformation from government officials in the United States of America. This is the problem that is bigger than any other problem.”

But the conversation turned to artificial intelligence, which Fontes called “an amplifier and a magnifier of mis- and disinformation.”

He recalled his office’s tabletop exercise where they made an eerily real-looking AI-generated video of him making an announcement. Fontes said he wanted to “make sure that our elections officials were aware of it, we had processes to deal with it within each of our counties.”

His office also held exercises with media partners “so they would know how to react to it and recognize” AI. They are currently carrying out exercises with law enforcement.

Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt, a Republican, said: “We’re monitoring this environment—we have a team focused on it.

“I think one of the biggest concerns is how much AI has developed in the past few years. In 2020, we saw absurd threats—they just spread so easily,” Schmidt said.

“People getting motivated by someone’s idiot uncle posting something on Facebook.”

A voter checks in before casting a ballot at a polling place in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 12. Politicians are worried about misinformation this year.

The officials also discussed the threats that politicians and election workers faced in the wake of the 2020 election. Fontes took a very serious line about it, saying that “threats against election officials is domestic terrorism.”

Schmidt reminded voters that elections are “run by your neighbors” in local jurisdictions and that they are “protecting democracy.”

They also all encouraged people to ask questions about elections and how they work so that they could have faith in this year’s results.

“Elections have never been more safe and secure, with a voter-verifiable, paper ballot record of every vote that is cast that is used in not one but two audits,” Schmidt said.

“When you know more about elections, you have more confidence in them.”

Uncommon Knowledge Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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