Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs pro-democracy election bills on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023, at the NAACP Headquarters in Detroit.

LANSING, Mich., Dec. 1, 2023 — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has underscored Michigan lawmakers’ commitment to protecting the integrity of the democratic process by signing 23 elections-related bills yesterday. Among the pro-democracy bills signed was a bipartisan four-bill package that requires a disclaimer on political advertisements that use materials generated by artificial intelligence (AI). These new laws also set penalties for the use of these AI “deepfakes” to deceive or influence voters.

“There’s a lot of mistrust in government these days, and with the growing use of AI and deepfakes in political advertising, I believe we have a duty to demonstrate that Michigan stands firmly against deceiving voters. This legislation affirms our state’s commitment to truth, honesty and transparency — core American values,” said state Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing), Chair of the House Committee on Elections and lead sponsor of the AI bill package. “Trust in government is paramount in a healthy democracy, and these new rules help ensure an electoral system where voters are empowered with the truth.”

Experts are emphasizing the unique significance of the 2024 election as the first campaign season where accessible AI tools can be used to synthesize audio, create lifelike images and videos and program chatbots to human-level conversational abilities. These new and emerging circumstances mean safeguarding against AI misuse has become crucial. While the federal government lags behind, Michigan aims to lead in AI regulation with its new rules.

“With this legislation, Michigan will be ahead of the curve on emerging AI technologies that today are already being used to manipulate and mislead voters,” said Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum. “These legislative measures will ensure voters know when an election ad is using this type of faked imagery and videos that’s becoming more indistinguishable from reality. This is yet another meaningful step we’ve taken to further strengthen truth and transparency in our elections.”

“As a technologist and entrepreneur, I recognize how rapidly evolving artificial intelligence is already changing our economy, elections and public discourse,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Voting is a fundamental right that must never be compromised. Requiring political advertisements generated using artificial intelligence to include a disclaimer will protect Michiganders from AI-driven misinformation and maintain the security and integrity of our elections. Gov. Whitmer and I will keep standing tall for secure and fair elections in Michigan.”

These measures are one of many efforts House Democrats have taken this year to strengthen Michigan’s elections ahead of 2024.