Show Notes: Next Michigan Governor and Information Safety First

the mighty humanzee

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Deja vu, or just that nightmares are coming true more often than we’d like to admit.  Having the Trifecta of Benson-Nessel-Whitmer is like have Herpes – you can’t get rid of it and your moment of stupidity comes back to haunt you.

This Should Scare You A Little

Like Arizona where the Secretary of State lorded over her own election, Jocelyn Benson could be considering a bid for office.  In Michigan, however, the Secretary of State is the only official who may open an investigation into election fraud.  Michigan stupidly passed that law in 2020.

The secretary of
state shall conduct election audits, and shall supervise and direct county election
officials in the conduct of such audits. No officer or member of the governing body of
a national, state, or local political party, and no political party precinct delegate, shall
have any role in the direction, supervision, or conduct of an election audit.

In January she dropped a hint that she may run. 

Benson hints at a 2026 run for governor

“I’ve taken a state agency from being the butt of jokes to being a model for how a state agency can run,” said Benson. “And I really want to see if we can make all of state government work that well, and truly lead Michigan from a perspective of a common vision of who we want to be and operationalize the state government that serves everyone effectively and equally.”

Benson has 1 Million Dollars In a Campaign Fund

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has raised on more than $1.2 million to an independent political action committee since the 2022 election, leaving the state’s senior-most election administrator with more than $1 million to support candidates and causes heading into the 2024 election season.

The committee, Michigan Legacy PAC, raised nearly $600,000 in a little more than two months at the end of 2023, according to a campaign finance report filed Wednesday. She had been fundraising for the account throughout the year, and had previously taken in more than $600,000. Benson is not running for election this year.

Disinformation Makes Us Less Safe

Disinformation is a threat to the 2024 elections. Here’s how you can protect yourself and others.

Disinformation makes our communities less safe. The effort to erode public trust is tangible — and Arizona communities have felt the tension and impact uniquely. In Maricopa County, Ariz., local election workers — our friends, family, and neighbors — faced an onslaught of threats to their safety following the 2020 election, simply for doing their jobs.

Here is an example from the very same media outlet.

Emails reveal Michigan auditor general helped write GOP draft requesting 2020 election audit 

Have no fear, Jocelyn is here to protect us from AI and election fraud.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Wednesday that one of her top worries about the 2024 elections stems from the potential for artificial intelligence to foment what she called “hyper-localized” dissemination of mis- and disinformation.

“Imagine on election day, information goes out about long lines [in a given precinct] that are calling for violence that is false, but it’s generated through artificial intelligence,” Benson said during an interview at the Aspen Cyber Summit in New York.

As the chief elections officer of a battleground state, I am acutely aware that the biggest threat to
election security today is misinformation and disinformation designed to confuse voters and
obfuscate the voting process. And as we enter the first election cycle where Artificial
Intelligence will be used to amplify and expand exponentially these tactics and their impact, the
time is now to enact needed federal protections.

We go into this election cycle expecting bad actors, both foreign and domestic, to use
misinformation – turbo-charged through AI – to divide, deceive, and deter voter participation
throughout our country over the next year.

We already know AI voice generators can create manipulated audio technology to interact with
voters like the fake Biden robocall in New Hampshire before their primary. But I am also
worried AI will make it easier to create and distribute hyperlocal disinformation that misleads
voters about the voting process or conditions at their specific polling site. Bad actors may misuse
public data about voting locations to produce highly specific claims about long lines or even
violence to suppress the vote in key precincts. While voter suppression is not new, AI tools
supercharge the ability to generate large volumes of believable-sounding claims and to distribute
those messages at scale.

For example, one voter might get a text warning of long lines at his particular precinct, while
another might see a social media post claiming her polling location moved because of flooding.
The ability for AI to create content that includes specific details–like the name of individual
voting sites–makes it more likely that voters will be misled.

Current federal law already criminalizes certain types of interference in the exercise of our civil
rights–including voting. But the Senate should consider whether using AI in the commission of
those crimes should be made an aggravating factor or sentencing enhancement.
Second, I am concerned AI tools could specifically target language-minority voters in uniquely
harmful ways, producing credible-sounding claims in different languages. Large Language
Models (LLM) and Massively Multilingual Speech (MMS) models make it easier to adapt
disinformation and propaganda to reach more communities. As a result, misinformation may be
translated seamlessly across numerous languages, and quickly disseminated. As Senators, you
should continue pushing Big Tech companies to be transparent about their efforts to protect
users, including non-English speakers. The Senate should settle for nothing less than unequivocal
commitments that these platforms’ integrity tools are equally effective across all languages.
Finally, AI underscores the need for a renewed federal investment to harden state elections
systems against cyber-attacks. AI introduces a level of speed, scale, and sophistication that is
difficult for under-resourced state agencies to counter alone. New AI systems are increasingly
used to exploit vulnerabilities in code, to supercharge phishing, and to introduce ransomware that
could cause a catastrophic system freeze in an unprepared state. Adversaries who target our
states have nation-level resources, and our states should have nation-level resources committed
to the defense of systems critical to our democracy. I urge you to consider ways to support and
bolster state cybersecurity infrastructure in this evolving threat environment.

What about signature verification, why is that not as important?

Democrats Working To Revoke Parental Consent

Less than two years after assuring Michiganders Proposal 3 would not repeal the state’s parental consent law for abortions, activists are pushing to repeal the parental consent law for abortions.

“This law is actually of no benefit to the vast majority of young people who do involve their parent in the decision,” Human Rights Watch Advocacy Director Jo Becker told the Detroit Free Press. “And for the small number who can’t, it can be deeply, deeply harmful.”

Human Rights Watch and other aligned abortion activists are promoting a new report to call on likeminded lawmakers in Lansing to repeal a Michigan law that requires those under the age of 18 to obtain parental consent for an abortion.

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