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New Hampshire is investigating a robocall that was made to sound like Biden

Malikiah Guillory, 19, stacks yard signs in Hooksett, N.H., on Wednesday, urging voters to write in President Biden's name on the Democratic primary ballot. Biden is skipping the New Hampshire primary because it didn't comply with party rules.
Will Weissert
/
AP
Malikiah Guillory, 19, stacks yard signs in Hooksett, N.H., on Wednesday, urging voters to write in President Biden's name on the Democratic primary ballot. Biden is skipping the New Hampshire primary because it didn't comply with party rules.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The New Hampshire attorney general's office is investigating recorded calls that appear to use a voice crafted to sound like President Biden to tell voters not to cast their ballot in the state's presidential primary on Tuesday.

"Although the voice in the robocall sounds like the voice of President Biden, this message appears to be artificially generated based on initial indications," the AG's office said in a statement.

The call, which was sent Sunday, said, "Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday."

Biden won't appear on the Democratic primary ballot because of a dispute between the state and the Democratic National Committee over the party's nominating calendar. Instead, some activists are urging New Hampshire voters to write in Biden's name so he wins the primary regardless.

"These messages appear to be an unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election and to suppress New Hampshire voters," the state attorney general's office wrote in the release.

The call was crafted to falsely suggest it was sent out by Kathy Sullivan, the treasurer of a political committee that has been encouraging voters to write in Biden's name on the Democratic primary ballot on Tuesday.

"My head exploded and I said, 'I can't believe that some son of a gun is trying to suppress the vote on Tuesday,' " said Sullivan, who formerly served as chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and was a member of the DNC.

The Biden campaign said the calls, the existence of which were first reported by NBC News, are part of a disinformation effort that undermines the democratic process in New Hampshire.

"Spreading disinformation to suppress voting and deliberately undermine free and fair elections will not stand, and fighting back against any attempt to undermine our democracy will continue to be a top priority for this campaign," Julie Chávez Rodriguez, who manages the Biden-Harris campaign, said in a statement.

Election experts have expressed concern about the impact of artificial intelligence on the 2024 campaign.

The calls are a "canary in the coalmine for what we're going to see" the rest of this election cycle when it comes to misinformation, said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research.

"It could very well be that this wasn't designed to help the campaign so much or to hurt President Biden, but to be one of the first shots in 2024 by some actors, whether they be foreign or domestic, to just get us to generally distrust our overall election system," Becker said. "Those who are pushing disinformation, whether they use AI or not, have an easier job than those who are pushing accurate information."

With reporting by NPR's Tamara Keith and Miles Parks

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jeongyoon Han