'Here & Now' Highlights: Bryan BainBridge, Lisa Tollefson, Edgar Lin

Here's what guests on the Feb. 23, 2024 episode said about a youth treatment center for being built by Wisconsin tribal governments, what it takes to count absentee ballots, and use of artificial intelligence in campaign ads.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

February 26, 2024

FacebookRedditGoogle ClassroomEmail
Frederica Freyberg sits at a desk on the Here & Now set and faces a video monitor showing an image of Lisa Tollefson.

Frederica Freyberg and Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

With opioid overdose deaths among tribal communities rising, the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council is building a facility to help addicted teenagers — the group’s CEO Bryan BainBridge describes its goals. Local clerks currently have to wait until Election Day to count absentee ballots, which can delay election results, given the time they take to process, explained Rock County Clerk Lisa Tollefson. Edgar Lin, a lawyer with the non-partisan, non-profit group Protect Democracy, details the growing risks of generative AI being used in election advertisements to try to deceive voters.

Bryan BainBridge
CEO, Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council

  • Tribal nations in Wisconsin want to build a facility in Oneida County to provide culturally competent substance abuse treatment for teens. This Adolescent Recovery and Wellness Center would be a 36-bed residential facility for 13-to-17 year olds with substance abuse disorder and accompanying mental health conditions. The center has faced local opposition, but BainBridge is optimistic the facility will open to help not just tribal members but any youth seeking help.
  • BainBridge: “The tribes are seeing the crisis and needing to react. We need to make sure that we have a place — safe place, safe space — where we can have an opportunity to save our kids, save other people’s kids, throughout the whole state. … And so as this facility’s plan — over 20 years in the making — the thought moving forward, and the need — it’s really about making sure someone has a good place to go. It’s with just about any type of trauma or incident. There’s a background, there’s a story to that for each individual, and we need to have a place where they’re comfortable telling that story in order to move forward.”


Lisa Tollefson
Rock County Clerk

  • The Wisconsin Legislature is not expected to pass a proposal to allow local election clerks to start counting absentee ballots the day before Election Day. Absentee voting is on the rise in recent years with huge spikes during the pandemic, which leaves election clerks counting results well into the night after polls close. Tollefson described the time it takes to count absentee ballots.
  • Tollefson: “Absentee ballots take a lot more time to process. You’re having two people review everything. You have to open it. You have to log it. There’s a whole process that’s an extra step throughout. And all of that takes time. You don’t want anyone to rush. You want them to be accurate as possible. When people come in to vote in person, they’re doing all that work for you — they do. They sign the poll book, they give them a number, they get their ballot. They put it in the machine on Election Day. If we’re doing your absentees, you have two people doing all that work for that voter. It takes a lot of time.”


Edgar Lin
State policy strategist and counsel, Protect Democracy

  • The Wisconsin Legislature is moving quickly to pass regulations addressing the use of artificial intelligence in political campaigns. A bill would require ads that contain synthetic media or “audio or video content substantially produced by means of generative artificial intelligence” to include a disclaimer. Lin said these types of ads are predominantly designed to deceive the viewer or listener.
  • Lin: “It is likely — and this is something that we are not used to, because historically we trust what we see and we trust what we hear. That’s video and audio. In today’s world, as the technology ramps up at an increasing speed, the detection is very hard. And so with that, the likelihood of deception is very possible.”


Watch new episodes of Here & Now at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read the full statement.