VOTERS are being encouraged to think critically about campaign material, as political parties and campaigners are urged to campaign transparently ahead of the forthcoming general election.

The Electoral Commission is calling on all campaigners participating in the election not to mislead voters and to consider how their campaign material will be received, particularly when using generative AI.

The warning comes as the Commission publishes new advice for voters on how to engage with campaign material and to think critically about the material they see and hear.

Vijay Rangarajan, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, said: “Getting information to voters in an election campaign is a fundamental part of any election; voters need reliable, trustworthy information to help them make decisions about how to vote. Yet our research tells us that most voters see political mis and disinformation as a problem – 70 per cent said so in our recent survey. So, tackling political dis- and misinformation is essential if we are to protect and build voter confidence in our electoral system.

“We are calling on campaigners to fulfil their vital role responsibly and think carefully about the material they are producing. Campaigners should consider if the material they are creating could mislead voters – it is their responsibility to make sure it does not. Anyone using generative AI should make that clear to those seeing the material. We will closely monitor the use of AI in this election.”

The Commission does not have legal powers to regulate the content of campaign material. No UK organisation does. It is therefore advising voters to think critically about the information they see, before deciding whether to let it influence their vote. Voters should look for an imprint, showing who has paid for material to be created and promoted. This is a legal requirement for all election material.

The Commission is also advising voters to use its website to fact-check information about voting or electoral processes and says it will proactively correct any false information about voting.

Rangarajan added: “We are providing voters with a source of trusted information about voting processes in the run up to this general election. While the vast majority of people taking part in elections in the UK want to support voters to have their say, they [sic] are malign actors out there trying to mislead voters and prevent them from casting their vote. If we see mis- or disinformation about the voting process we will correct it rapidly and publicly.

“We encourage all voters to think critically about what you see and hear in this campaign, and to check our website to be sure you have the information you need to vote on 4 July, or by postal vote before that.”

The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. it works to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:

  • Enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible.
  • Regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches.
  • Using its expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency.

The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK, Welsh and Scottish parliaments.

* Source: The Electoral Commission