Like it or not, we are entering into a whole new era of technology that will revolve heavily around Artificial Intelligence, and what that tech can do to manipulate elections has lawmakers in Minnesota scrambling to introduce new laws.

“Deepfakes are here, people are doing them, and we need to be very real about how we address them,” said Rep. Zack Stephenson from Coon Rapids, and that is what he and some other representatives are doing by introducing HF3625, a new bill that will add language to already existing deepfake laws.

This new law would update legislation that was enacted in 2023 by updating the definition of what is considered a deepfake, and it would make the punishment for using deepfakes during an election more robust.

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If the new law is passed, it will do the following:

  • Bar candidates convicted of a deepfake crime from:
    • Being nominated for office.
    • Holding office again.
  • Expand the definition of deepfakes to include:
    • Videos.
    • Images.
    • Any other recordings that deceive voters.
  • Apply deepfake protections to:
    • Minnesota's primary and general elections.
    • Political party nominating conventions.
    • Local or special primaries.
    • Special elections.
  • Make spreading deepfake misinformation within 90 days of any such election a crime.
  • Allow for equitable relief, in addition to injunctive relief, against violators, meaning:
    • Convicted individuals could owe damages to their victims.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said, "AI, which powers deepfakes, is not in and of itself a threat to our elections or our democracy, but it is an emerging and powerful amplifier of existing threats, such as disinformation."

The billed has been officially introduced and will head to the Elections Finance and Policy Committee for further discussion before moving on for an official vote.

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