Some federal lawmakers worried about voter disinformation ahead of midterms

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More states are preparing for primary elections this summer ahead of the midterms.

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On Capitol Hill, some members of Congress are concerned about the impact of disinformation on voters, election workers and the process itself.

Some Democrats say the false claims about the 2020 election being stolen from former President Donald Trump are a major example of election disinformation.

Meanwhile, some Republicans say that political speech still needs to be protected as free speech.

Experts say disinformation is false content created to intentionally harm a certain group of people or organization.

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Members of the nonpartisan organization Common Cause say they’ve tracked an increase in disinformation online in 2016 and 2018, with a significant surge in voting-related disinformation during the 2020 election cycle.

“Disinformation agents are seeking to keep voters from casting their ballots by spreading content designed to confuse voters about the time, place and manner how to vote, intimidate or harass them from going to the polls,” said Yosef Getachew, media and democracy program director at Common Cause.

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Several Republicans say they want to focus on making sure elections are run fairly and remain secure.

Some GOP lawmakers also blame Democrats for spreading misinformation about some of the new election laws in the South.

“Political speech is protected speech even when you don’t agree with its message yet too many on the left are dangerously close to implementing a socialist style ministry of truth in attempts to silence political parties,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, R – Illinois.

Common Cause believes social companies should do more to regulate misinformation and disinformation from circulating on its platforms.

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