Your Voice 2016
2016 marks a critical election for America, make this Your America by voting and encouraging your friends and family to vote. Register to vote today.
Election Day is this Tuesday, Nov. 8. You can vote at your local polling place, and Google will be happy to tell you where that is, if you don’t already know.
Anything you hear that contradicts these simple facts is probably a scam, but that doesn’t stop nefarious schemers from trying.
There’s been a stream of attempts—some of them laughable, some of them pretty serious—to feed people misinformation about voting.
Twitter has begun blocking fake ads claiming to contain information from the Clinton campaign on how to vote via text message. The company originally ruled that the messages did not violate its terms of service, before quickly reversing course after the images began to spread.
These ads are probably the high water mark when it comes to voting scams in that they contain good graphic design and might stand a chance of fooling someone who does not know how elections work.
Other scams that have been circulating have not been as meticulously planned. Some other voter suppression campaigns that have been reported include:
- A meme that began on 4chan told Hillary voters they can “vote at home comfortably online!” This one’s a bit enthusiastic, but Trump supporters over at r/The_Donald loved it, with a post upvoted by thousands calling it “the lords work.”
- Yet another meme promising online voting specifically targeted Pennsylvania voters.
In an interview with Philly news site Billy Penn, Pennsylvania Department of State spokeswoman Wanda Murren said she thinks “most Pennsylvania voters are aware that Pennsylvania doesn’t have online voting.”
- Voters in several Virginia counties reported receiving letters in early October from groups called the Voter Participation Center and America’s Future Inc., telling them that their voter registration status was in question. SWVAToday.com reported that the letters were received by people who were already registered to vote, ineligible to vote at the address the letters were sent to or just, y’know, dead.
- The Cincinnati Enquirer reports at least one Ohio voter received a phone call telling him he could vote for Donald Trump over the phone. The strange thing about this scam is that it didn’t appear to originate from a rival political group as the phone number for the call traced back to the Trump campaign. The campaign told the Enquirer they were not telling people to do this, so who knows what happened here.
Most of the stories we’ve mentioned so far have been politically-motivated, trying to prevent voters who support a particular candidate from reaching the polls. But a Texas chapter of the Better Business Bureau also put out a warning about more profit-minded scams, such as fake campaign fund solicitations, voter registration forms that are actually phishing for personal info and election surveys that ask for a fee.
Just remember: Nov. 8. Get out of your house to the poll place. Vote. nothing else matters.