(Bloomberg) -- The US and UK have held high-level conversations over security risks that may be triggered if the two countries hold elections around the same time later this year, people familiar with the matter said.

Officials in Washington and London are concerned that Russia or other adversaries could see an opportunity for hostile action elsewhere in the world if both countries are preoccupied by a potential handover of power to new administrations. 

There are also fears about interference in the two elections by other foreign countries, though the focus is predominantly on Russia, according to the people, who discussed the sensitive possibility on condition of anonymity. The UK government declined to comment, as did the US State Department and National Security Council.

The US presidential election is set by law for Nov. 5, while a UK general election is expected in the second half of this year. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has yet to announce the date of the vote in Britain, though there has been speculation he could choose a polling day in October, November or December. The UK has some flexibility to move its election date and minimize the overlap with the US, though the election must be called by Jan. 25, 2025.

Elections in the two countries last overlapped in 1964.

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The US and UK have discussed managing the security relationship between the allies during any transition between governments after the elections to make sure cooperation doesn’t slow or get tripped up, according to the people.

Keir Starmer’s opposition Labour Party has a commanding lead in opinion polls as he tries to oust Sunak’s Tories from power after 14 years. In the US, Donald Trump is almost certain to be the Republican nominee, and he leads President Joe Biden in each of seven swing states, according to a monthly Bloomberg survey.

The allies have also become worried about so-called hybrid threats from Russia, as some 2 billion voters go the polls in more than 50 countries in 2024.

That includes the potential for disinformation and intimidation, one of the people said, citing a recent attack on an Estonian minister’s car and an anti-Semitic campaign in France in which Star of David graffiti was sprayed on buildings in Paris. Both incidents have been blamed on Russia.

In the UK, officials have stepped up work to thwart the threat from misinformation concerning the election, particularly around deep fakes and the use of artificial intelligence, one of the people said, though adding that it was unlikely these newer challenges would undermine the integrity of the vote.

--With assistance from Alberto Nardelli.

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