Washington, D.C.– Today, Damon Hewitt, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, provided testimony for the AI Insight Forum on Elections & Democracy convened by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Mike Rounds, Martin Heinrich, and Todd Young. The AI Insight Forum on Elections and Democracy brought together a diverse group of participants, and marked the latest iteration in a series of convenings with business and civil society leaders to address the potential implications of artificial intelligence on our democracy. This forum was one in a series discussing the potential problems and promise of AI technology across sectors, and the role of Congressional leadership in this area.
Hewitt showcased a current lawsuit spearheaded by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and co-counsel Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in National Coalition on Black Civic Participation v. Wohl, citing as an example how rapidly advancing AI can exacerbate existing threats to democracy like racially-targeted disinformation. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights has long led efforts to combat these same risks as the convener of the national nonpartisan Election Protection coalition which runs the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline, extensive policy advocacy on voting rights and digital justice, and litigation against voter suppression efforts.
Read Hewitt’s full testimonial here.
“The unchecked use of AI technology threatens to turn already fragile conditions for our democracy into a perfect storm,” said Hewitt. “The spread of misinformation and disinformation online to influence elections and disenfranchise voters, often specifically Black voters, is already commonplace. Our democracy is too precious for lawmakers to be silent on civil rights and democracy protections while the tools of the future become the weapons of its demise. Congress must meet the moment and pass new civil rights legislation for a new century and new technology.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights stands at the helm of ongoing efforts by various civil rights organizations working in and outside the courtroom to monitor the influence artificial intelligence has on civil rights. Through work with the organization’s Digital Justice Initiative, Voting Rights Project and Election Protection program (866-OUR-VOTE), the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights remains committed in their ongoing efforts to monitor and address the issues that intertwine AI, racial justice, and digital privacy.
The event marked the fifth installment of the bipartisan AI Insight Forums, a series dedicated to advancing innovation and developing bipartisan artificial intelligence legislation. Congressional action is needed to harness the transformative potential of this technology in a way that benefits society.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the nation’s leading lawyers as agents for change in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Lawyers’ Committee uses legal advocacy to achieve racial justice, fighting inside and outside the courts to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.