Center for American Progress

RELEASE: EAC Chairman Warns in CAP Interview That Election Officials Face Disinformation, Harassment  
Press Release

RELEASE: EAC Chairman Warns in CAP Interview That Election Officials Face Disinformation, Harassment  

Washington, D.C. — As America’s election system continues to face formidable challenges, Benjamin Hovland, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, says it’s even more imperative to support officials who administer state and local elections amid unprecedented threats.

“The challenges we are facing are unlike anything I have seen in this country during my lifetime,” Hovland said in an interview with the Center for American Progress published today.

“We are asking state and local election officials to take on more and more responsibilities and become experts in many new areas, while also combating unprecedented threats,” he said. “Local election officials continue to do amazing work and deserve so much credit for that, but we cannot keep asking them to do more without providing additional support.”

Hovland spoke to CAP about how these local officials face an array of traditional and cutting-edge challenges, including mis- and disinformation, physical threats, and harassment, which has led to huge turnover. They also face cybersecurity threats and inconsistent funding. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a new frontier where Hovland says the threats currently outweigh the potential benefits.

“Of particular concern is the ability to use AI to further amplify mis- and disinformation and to lower the barrier to producing more convincing inaccurate content about elections,” Hovland said. He also stressed the key role Congress must play and urged lawmakers to protect the right to vote and to invest more resources in democratic infrastructure to ensure free and fair elections.

“America’s democracy continues to be tested in unprecedented and dangerous ways,” said Michael Sozan, a senior fellow at CAP who conducted the interview. “As the EAC plays its vitally important role, Congress must prioritize legislation to set nationwide standards for voting rights and stop partisan election subversion while also figuring out how to properly harness AI in elections.”

Read the Q&A:Democracy at a Crossroads: A Q&A About Free and Fair Elections with EAC Chairman Benjamin Hovland” by Michael Sozan

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For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].

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