On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter-protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, provided live assistance to more than 1,000 voters through its 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. Voters reported complaints, some of which impacted systemic problems, or sought assistance with voting. Since 2001, Election Protection has been the go-to source for voters seeking assistance with navigating the voting process. The volume of calls into the hotline suggested increases in voter turnout relative to comparable election periods from years prior and expanded interest in local electoral contests such as district attorney races. The Lawyers’ Committee led-effort identified a number of problems including robo calls imparting false information to voters; poll workers providing false information regarding voter eligibility; police presence outside of polling sites, the proliferation of false information regarding the voting process on social media, and other deceptive and suppressive tactics as reported by voters around the country.
Ah yes, the alt-right trolls, back at it again with their meme warfare. Not content with destroying the GOP and the beloved Internet frog Pepe, these tee-hee-we’re-into-Trump-and-white-supremacy “pranksters” have been making fake Hillary Clinton ads again — this time, about being able to vote via text message. Except, unlike last week’s fake Hillary Clinton ads and the associated hashtag #DraftOurDaughters, these photoshopped images, that began circulating the evening of November 1st, may have been illegal. The very least, a violation of Twitter’s TOS on deceptive content and impersonation. Cohorts of the troll that originally spread the fake ads, the now suspended “Ricky Vaughn” whose former Twitter bio described himself as a “hero of the racist alt-right” and a “known white supremacist” (oh wow so trollsy), say the photoshopped images are just intended to be a joke, a parody.
Pennsylvania: Murrysville councilman claims online voting post was joke; officials not laughing | WPXI
A Republican councilman said he deleted an online posting about casting presidential votes via Facebook and Twitter because people didn’t realize he intended it as a joke, but state officials are taking the matter seriously. No state allows voters to cast ballots via social media, and Pennsylvania’s election oversight agency warned voters not to be misled by posts claiming otherwise. The governor’s office also issued a statement that said efforts to disrupt the election would be prosecuted. Joshua Lorenz, a Pittsburgh attorney and councilman in Murrysville, told The Associated Press the meme — which said, “Vote Hillary November 8th” and “You can vote at home comfortably online” — was meant as a joke for his friends. He said he took down the post within a couple hours Saturday because “the person who had questioned it, who I thought was a friend, had apparently misconstrued it.” In sharing the image, Lorenz wrote that it was “more proof that the election process is rigged.” GOP nominee Donald Trump has made similar claims.
Pennsylvania: ‘Rigged?’ Republican elected official circulates fake meme about online voting in Pennsylvania | BillyPenn
After weeks of Republican candidate Donald Trump warning that Pennsylvania’s — and the nation’s — election would be rigged, one Western Pennsylvania Republican official circulated an image claiming Pennsylvanians can vote online for Hillary Clinton. The official, according to a screenshot of a Facebook post, is Murrysville City Councilman Joshua Lorenz. Lorenz, a Republican, was most recently elected in 2015 and his term runs through 2019. He also works for the Meyer Unkovic Scott law firm in Pittsburgh and is the vice president of the Murrysville City Council. The image features an American flag with the phrase “You can vote at home comfortably online!” in big lettering. It then instructs voters to type “Hillary” with the hashtag #PresidentialElection to vote online on November 8. The bottom left corner features a similar but inaccurate logo resembling the Democrats’ election motto of “Change That Matters.” Big problem here: Pennsylvanians can’t vote online. For that matter, neither can voters in any state.
More than 250 Madison County voter registration forms have been secured by the Indiana State Police as part of a statewide investigation that some registrations may be fraudulent. ISP detectives visited the Madison County Voter Registration Office on Wednesday after being contacted by Joe Spencer, the Democratic Party representative of the office. The ISP investigation was initiated when the Hendricks County Clerk’s Office raised concerns about 10 voter registration forms received through the Indiana Voter Registration Project through Patriot Majority. Spencer said the Madison County office received 13 voter registration forms that were questioned. Some of them had Indianapolis ZIP codes and at least one with a Pendleton address on a numbered street. “There are no numbered streets in Pendleton,” he said. As directed by Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the Madison County office contacted the state police about the registrations.
Virginia: Amid voter ID fight and ‘misleading’ mailings, voting to begin in battleground Virginia | The Washington Post
Voters begin going to the polls Friday in this battleground state, where Republicans and Democrats continue wrangling over voter ID laws, and elections officials were warning Virginians to ignore “misleading” letters about their registration status. Voters who cannot make it to the polls on Election Day may cast their ballots in person at their local elections offices starting Friday. In-person absentee voting continues through Nov. 5. Virginia does not offer early voting to all voters, as some other states do. But it allows people to vote absentee — with mail-in ballots or in person — if they fit certain categories. Those include voters who will be away at college or on business trips and vacations, who have long commutes or religious obligations, are first responders or active-duty members of the military or are in jail awaiting trial. … Earlier this week, state elections officials warned that some voters may have received mailings that suggested their voter registration status was in question. Edgardo Cortés, the state’s elections commissioner, said the mailings came from at least two organizations, America’s Future and the Voter Participation Center.
Australian federal police have dropped their investigation into Queensland Labor’s election day “Mediscare” text messages, saying they could not identify any commonwealth offences. The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had blamed part of his shock election result on the belief that many voters had been misled by text messages sent by Labor’s Queensland branch on election day, purporting to be from Medicare. He accused Labor, during his election-night speech, of running “some of the most systematic, well-funded lies ever peddled in Australian politics”.
New Hampshire: ‘Voter-Shaming’ Mailer That Made Noise in Iowa Shows Up in New Hampshire | The New York Times
A controversial voter-turnout tactic employed by Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in Iowa is cropping up in New Hampshire, this time by way of a mysterious organization about which few public details are available. Voters in New Hampshire received envelopes in the mail this week claiming to contain “important taxpayer information,” according to Christopher Crawford, who received one of the mailers and posted pictures of it on Twitter. Mr. Crawford, who recently moved to Washington, was visiting his parents at their home in Nashua, N.H., this week when he opened an envelope addressed to him only to find a chart showing the names and voting history of several of his parents’ neighbors.
Editorials: Ted Cruz’s Iowa Mailers Are More Fraudulent Than Everyone Thinks | Ryan Lizza/The New Yorker
… On Saturday, Twitter came alive with pictures from voters in the state who received mailers from the Cruz campaign. At the top of the mailers, in a bold red box, are the words “VOTING VIOLATION.” Below that warning is an explanation:
You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.
Below that, a chart appears with the names of the recipient of the mailing as well as his neighbors and their voting “grade” and “score.”
… After looking at several mailers posted online, I was more curious about how the Cruz campaign came up with its scores. On all the mailers I saw, every voter listed had only one of three possible scores: fifty-five per cent, sixty-five per cent, or seventy-five per cent, which translate to F, D, and C grades, respectively. Iowans take voting pretty seriously. Why was it that nobody had a higher grade?
Before Election Day, many Mainers received an ominous postcard in the mail that claimed to show whether their friends and neighbors had voted in past elections, and included a veiled threat that they too could be exposed if they didn’t do their civic duty and vote. The threatening mailers angered some Mainers, but exactly who sent them remains a mystery. It also is a mystery – even to state elections officials – how the group apparently got hold of the state’s confidential voter database, access to which is limited by law. “It certainly had a pungent odor to it,” said Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, whose office received dozens of complaints about the letter, mostly from registered Republicans, who appear to be the primary recipients. “You can tell that whoever did this did not want people to know who they are, and for obvious reasons.”