Vote by phone and other fun tricks

by twit

via Threat Level on October 31, 2008:

The residents of Broward County, Florida have recently received misleading robocalls telling them that they can vote by phone on Election Day, according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Friday.

um, what?

Another unknown group is distributing flyers (see the flyer after the jump) with official-looking letterhead around the area of Hampton Roads, Virgina that erroneously inform recipients that because of the crowds at the polls, the Virginia State Board of Elections is scheduling Republicans to vote on November 4th, and Democrats on the 5th.

they… really expect that to work?

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that people in the area have been receiving robocalls with the same message. This particular trick is an old one: In 2004, the New York Times reported the same message going out in the Pittsburgh area via flyers.

apparently, yes.

update: via CBS News on November 2, 2008:

In Nevada, for example, Latino voters said they had received calls from people describing themselves as Obama volunteers, urging them to cast their ballot over the phone.

… Complaints have surfaced in predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Philadelphia where fliers have circulated, warning voters they could be arrested at the polls if they had unpaid parking tickets or if they had criminal convictions

… In Pennsylvania, e-mails appeared linking Democrat Barack Obama to the Holocaust. “Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, Nov. 4,” said the electronic message, paid for by an entity calling itself the Republican Federal Committee. “Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake.

… Other reports of intimidation efforts in the hotly contested state of Pennsylvania include leaflets taped to picnic benches at Drexel University, warning students that police would be at the polls on Tuesday to arrest would-be voters with prior criminal offenses.

In his Jewish neighborhood, Stalberg said, fliers were recently left claiming Obama was more sympathetic to Palestinians than to Israel, and showed a photograph of him speaking in Germany.

… In New Mexico, two Hispanic women filed a lawsuit last week claiming they were harassed by a private investigator working for a Republican lawyer who came to their homes and threatened to call immigration authorities, even though they are U.S. citizens.

… Trying to mislead voters is nothing new.

In 2006, automated phone calls in the final days leading to the federal election wrongly warned voters they would not be allowed to vote without a photo ID. In Colorado and Virginia, people reported receiving calls that told them their registrations had expired and they would be arrested if they showed up to vote.

The White House contest of 2004 was marked by similar deceptions. In Milwaukee, fliers went up advising people “if you’ve already voted in any election this year, you can’t vote in the presidential election.” In Pennsylvania, a letter bearing what appeared to be the McCandless Township seal falsely proclaimed that in order to cut long voting lines, Republicans would cast ballots on Nov. 2 and Democrats would vote on Nov. 3.

update: The Brennan Center is tracking voter suppression incidents.

update:  Just in case you haven’t heard what happened when Oprah tried to vote

update: via Wired on November 3, 2008:

REMINDER TO VOTERS: If you have problems casting a ballot, please contact us at vote@wired.com or add a report about your issue to our election map so we can track and investigate problems that come up. If you’re adding a report to the map, please provide as much detail as you can to make it possible for us to verify the information. If you can provide us with your name and contact information to follow up with you and get more details, that would be even better. If you don’t feel comfortable putting your name on the map, contact us at vote@wired.com.

update: More information from the ACLU:

The Voting Rights Project of the ACLU is dedicated to providing citizens with information and assistance in exercising their right to vote! We are urging citizens to ACT this election year. For more information or to voice a voting rights complaint, call 1-877-523-2792, email us at vrp@aclu.org, or click below. Know your voting rights. Act!

update: via Wired on November 4, 2008:

Voters in the battleground states of Florida and New Mexico are reporting that they’re receiving spam texts on their cellphones telling them that Obama supporters can vote on Wednesday.

… The Associated Press reports that voters in Missouri have received similar messages, and those have been forwarded to the Secretary of State’s and the US Attorney’s offices.

2 Responses to Vote by phone and other fun tricks

  1. TheROSA says:

    Hmmmm, my brother just registered in California this year and he just received a phone call stating that he could not vote due to zoning or something? they advised him to call a # and speak to someone about something????? i wonder if this could be the same tricks to detere people from voting…
    I’ve never been more excited and/or more fearful for this country.

  2. I’ve added some updates with links to places to report the incident and find out whether that call is a load of crap (which I think is likely)…

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