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Common Dreams

As Election Day Closes In, Voters Bombarded by Misinformation Campaigns

Common Dreams staff

(photo: zen via flickr)

Voter intimidation and misinformation efforts are in full force this election season.

These efforts come on top of voter ID requirements already in place in 30 states that disproportionately affect Democratic-tending voters.

"We've seen an uptick in deceptive and intimidating tactics designed to prevent eligible Americans from voting," Eric Marshall of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law told Reuters.

Some of the voter intimidation and misinformation tactics that have been seen:

Pennsylvania: A voter ID requirement halted for this election, but the public is being fed misinformation that an ID is required. A headline in a Pennsylvania newspaper last week listed supposed accepted IDs. ThinkProgress points out: "The claim that voters will need to show ID in order to vote, as well as the claim that voters who do not show ID will be forced to cast a provisional ballot and then show ID later, are entirely false."  The state has also "made virtually no effort to change the widespread perception or its multimillion-dollar ad campaign that existed before Oct. 2 that a photo ID is required on Election Day."

New Hampshire: Town clerks in New Hampshire report that various groups have sent out invalid applications to register to vote to residents, but were misleading to make residents believe they were sent out by the state itself.  Some of the mailings mislead residents into think they can vote early, which isn't allowed in the state, while some groups sent misleading absentee voting forms. 

Virginia:  Phone calls targeting older voters have issued misleading claims that people can vote over the phone.

New Mexico: ProgressNowNM reported that Republican-aligned group True The Vote released a series of online poll challenger trainings to New Mexico poll challengers that included instructions that would lead to confusion by voters and "vigilante poll challenges"

Ohio and Wisconsin: Bain Capital-owned Clear Channel had posted anonymously-funded anti-"voter fraud" billboards in Milwaukee, Columbus and Cleveland that drew complaints of racism and voter intimidation.

Florida: Some eligible voters have received letters questioning their citizenship and voter eligibility which purport to be from real Florida county election supervisors. The letters say the voters must submit a Voter Eligibility Form within 15 days or be kicked off the voter registration list.

Voter intimidation from the Koch Brothers:  An investigation earlier this month from Mike Elk at In These Times revealed how the Koch Industries owners were attempted to control their workers’ votes. They sent a mailing to 45,000 employees that threatened "consequences" if Romney doesn't win while at the same time preventing the employees' own free speech

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