dirty tricks

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Virginia: Voters Get Mysterious Robocalls That Their Polling Places Have Changed | The Intercept

Virginians go to the polls today to vote on a number of statewide and legislative races. But voters in one prominent swing county in Virginia have received robocalls falsely telling them their polling places have changed. Harry Wiggins, chair of the Prince Williams County Democratic Committee, told The Intercept that voters started alerting him about these calls last Friday. “Some of those people were actually called multiple times,” Wiggins said. “They’re saying, ‘Your regular polling places has changed, you need to vote at a different polling place.’” As of Tuesday, Wiggins said 32 voters have alerted him that they had received these robocalls. Robin Williams, chair of the Prince Williams County Elections Board, confirmed to The Intercept that they have forwarded these complaints to the state — which has the power to investigate and prosecute election shenanigans. He also said that the county was not responsible for these calls. “If we change a precinct, we can’t do it 60 days before an election,” he said. He pointed out that every voter is notified by mail if their polling station is changed. “We spend a fair amount of money in order to move one of these precincts, a lot of notice. … You will never get a phone call from us or anything like that. Our communication to you is by mail.”

Full Article: Virginia Voters Get Mysterious Robocalls That Their Polling Places Have Changed.

National: Pro-Trump Trolls Want You To Vote For Hillary Via Text (You Can’t) | Forbes

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.

Full Article: Pro-Trump Trolls Want You To Vote For Hillary Via Text (You Can't).

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.

Full Article: Murrysville councilman claims online voting post was joke; officials not laughing | WPXI.

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. 

Full Article: ‘Rigged?’ Western PA Republican circulates fake meme about online voting in PA.

Georgia: Kennesaw State University warns of ‘unauthorized’ voter drives | Atlanta Journal Constitution

A sudden increase of clipboard-wielding operatives roaming Kennesaw State University’s campus could be intended to tamp down African-American balloting in November. Michael Sanseviro, Kennesaw State’s dean of students, sent a memo to students Tuesday morning, warning that “unauthorized individuals are walking around with clipboards claiming they are registering students to vote” in recent weeks. “Some of these unauthorized individuals,” the dean added, “are targeting particular student populations.” A student tipster tells us that the talk on campus is that shenanigans are afoot: The clipboard corps is targeting black students, pretending to register them so they can’t actually vote in November. A campus spokeswoman said she could only confirm that the would-be registrars were not permitted to be on campus, but the dean’s memo suggests this is a familiar problem.

Wisconsin: Feingold says campaign infiltrated | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

An apparent Republican activist tried to join Democrat Russ Feingold’s team this week in what Feingold’s campaign suspects was a plot to dig up dirt on him. In an interview with Feingold staff on Wednesday, she initially said she wanted to work on issues affecting women’s health care and unions, but clammed up when confronted about whether she had worked for conservatives and tried to infiltrate Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Iowa last year. “I’m not going to be answering any questions, so if you want me to leave, I’ll leave. If you want me to stay, I’ll stay,” she responded, according to an audio recording provided by the Feingold campaign. Told she needed to leave, she responded, “Cool! Well, it was great meeting you.” The woman signed up to be a volunteer as Allison Moss on Tuesday, but was let go Wednesday after the Feingold campaign asked her if she was actually Allison Maass.

Full Article: Feingold says campaign infiltrated.

Canada: Chief electoral officer hopes public remains vigilant over political dirty tricks | Calgary Herald

The upcoming federal election will see tougher rules around the use of robocalls, but Canada’s chief electoral officer hopes greater public awareness will help stamp out improper use of automated calls and other political dirty tricks. Fraudulent robocalls to direct voters to the wrong polling station in the 2011 election in Guelph helped lead to new rules requiring political parties and service providers to register with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) before contacting voters. Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand said in an interview that Elections Canada will be watching closely for abuse of any robocalls on election day, set for Oct. 19 under the federal fixed election date law. But he said there are also other potential issues to watch for, including false Facebook and Twitter accounts and the risk of someone hacking into party or Elections Canada computer systems.

Full Article: Canada’s chief electoral officer hopes public remains vigilant over political dirty tricks | Calgary Herald.

Tajikistan: Dirty Tricks Discredit Opposition Ahead of Tajikistan’s “Vote” | Transitions Online

Less than a month before elections to Tajikistan’s rubber-stamp parliament, members of the embattled opposition say the authoritarian-minded government is resorting to new tactics and old – sex tapes and arrests – to discredit them. A flurry of allegations about alleged sexual impropriety among members of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) has surfaced on social media and state television in recent months. Meanwhile, another opposition group has seen several members arrested on what supporters call spurious charges. For longtime observers, the harassment in the run-up to the 1 March parliamentary elections is an unsurprising attempt to discredit opponents of President Imomali Rakhmon. In its most recent report on Tajikistan, Freedom House ranked the country’s electoral process a 6.75 out of 7, with 7 representing the farthest a country can be from democracy. The Central Asian state has never held an election judged free and fair by independent observers, though it regularly goes through the motions of holding polls. Eight parties, several of them loyal to the president, will field candidates in the elections next month.

Full Article: Dirty Tricks Discredit Opposition Ahead of Tajikistan’s “Vote” - Transitions Online.

Editorials: Election conspiracy theories, an American staple | Los Angeles Times

During this 2014 midterm election season, mainstream and social media have inundated voters with tales of schemes and skulduggery. Whatever the result of Tuesday’s election, many will believe that the process was rigged, the outcome is fraudulent, and they were cheated. The pattern of conspiracy theories is unfortunate but familiar. How pervasive is the belief that American elections will be swayed by improper means? Very. In 2012 we conducted surveys to gauge what Americans thought about the integrity of the system. Just before the election, we asked a national sample of respondents about the likelihood of voter fraud if their preferred presidential candidate did not win. About 50% said fraud would have been very or somewhat likely. When asked if someone was using “dirty tricks” in the election, about 85% believed that some candidate, campaign or political group was. These sentiments are not driven by members of one party or the other: Near equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats (between 40% and 50%) said fraud would be very or somewhat likely. Each side believes that if they lose, cheating is to blame, and they believe it about equally. Nobody likes losing, but it appears hard for about half the country to accept that they lost fair and square.

Full Article: Election conspiracy theories, an American staple - LA Times.

New Zealand: Key wins third term with outright majority in New Zealand’s ‘dirty tricks’ election | Telegraph

New Zealand’s ruling National party secured a third term in government in the election on Saturday, winning an outright majority on a platform to continue strong economic growth. Prime Minister John Key’s centre-right party received 48.1 per cent of the vote, giving it 62 of 121 parliamentary seats and improving its performance on the previous vote in 2011. The 53-year-old former foreign exchange dealer triumphed despite allegations of dirty political tactics involving government ministers, and claims that a government spy agency had planned mass secret domestic surveillance. Investigative journalist and liberal activist Nicky Hager had previously published a book called “Dirty Politics,” which exposed the extent of the National Party’s links with a conservative blogger.

Full Article: Key wins third term with outright majority in New Zealand's 'dirty tricks' election - Telegraph.

New Zealand: Dirty tricks, spies overshadow New Zealand election | Sydney Morning Herald

New Zealand’s election campaign has been bitter and bizarre, unable to shake off the long shadows cast by an internet mogul and a blogger. Opinion polls suggest Prime Minister John Key’s National Party may cling to power after the real polls close on Saturday night, but it will be close. If Mr Key prevails for the centre-right, he will have overcome allegations of government dirty tricks – based on the hacked emails of burly blogger Cameron Slater, aka Whale Oil, that resulted in Justice Minister Judith Collins being forced to resign from cabinet. And a feud with German giant Kim Dotcom meant Mr Key, 53 and a fellow self-made multimillionaire, had to spend much of this week batting away claims that the nation’s GCSB spy agency is engaged in mass surveillance of its citizens. Mr Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the US to face internet piracy charges, hosted an event in Auckland on Monday featuring WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden (both via video link), as well as US investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald to assert the spying allegations.

Full Article: Dirty tricks, spies overshadow NZ election.

New York: Attorney General calls for passage of voter intimidation prevention act to combat barriers to the ballot box | Empire State News

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced new legislation to restore accountability and ensure access to the ballot box by eliminating baseless and intimidating challenges to voter eligibility at the polls on Election Day. Under current law, voters who are challenged at the polls are required to recite an oath affirming their right to vote. The challenger, on the other hand, has no such obligation. Under the Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, introduced by Assembly Member Karim Camara, those who mount challenges to voters at the polls will be required to provide the factual basis for their challenge and attest their right to challenge a voter. While these basic accountability requirements are already enshrined in law for challenges made during the time of voter registration, no such protections exist at the polls on Election Day. The Act will correct this imbalance and ensure greater access to the ballot box. 

Full Article: New York State News on the Net!.

National: As election looms, many voters fear process is compromised | SouthCoastToday.com

Only days before millions of Americans cast their ballots, a climate of suspicion hangs over Tuesday’s national elections. Accusations of partisan dirty tricks and concerns about long voter lines, voting equipment failures and computer errors are rampant, particularly in key battleground states such as Ohio and Colorado, where absentee and provisional ballots could decide a close election. “Those will be the states that are the most prone to confusion and chaos and contesting if the election is close or within what some people call the ‘margin of litigation,’ ” said Charles Stewart III, a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Full Article: As election looms, many voters fear process is compromised | SouthCoastToday.com.

National: Dirty tricks sully US presidential election | Deccan Chronicle

Scare-mongering ads, voter registration forms dumped in the trash and misleading statements on the stump: the list of dirty tricks sullying the US presidential election is seemingly endless. With the high-stakes race culminating with voting on Tuesday, experts warn that the unfortunately typical attempts to keep a rival’s supporters from the polls or sway voters with flat out lies could end up deciding the outcome. “If an election is close those kinds of things can matter,” said Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. “We’ve had the chastening experience of 2000. And 2004 was close as well.”

Full Article: Dirty tricks sully US presidential election | Deccan Chronicle.

Voting Blogs: Romney Campaign Training Poll Watchers To Mislead Voters In Wisconsin | ThinkProgress

Mitt Romney’s campaign has been training poll watchers in Wisconsin with highly misleading — and sometimes downright false — information about voters’ rights. Documents from a recent Romney poll watcher training obtained by ThinkProgress contain several misleading or untrue claims about the rights of Wisconsin voters. A source passed along the following packet of documents, which was distributed to volunteers at a Romney campaign training in Racine on October 25th. In total, sixsuch trainings were held across the state in the past two weeks.

Full Article: EXCLUSIVE: Romney Campaign Training Poll Watchers To Mislead Voters In Wisconsin | ThinkProgress.

National: Will voter suppression and dirty tricks swing the election? | Salon.com

On Thursday of last week, Virginia authorities charged a man working for the Republican Party with dumping the voter registration forms of Democrats. In Albertis, Pa., authorities arrested the town’s 19-year-old Democratic city council member after he allegedly stole yard signs of his Republican opponent.  In minority urban areas of Ohio and Wisconsin, an anonymous group has paid Clear Channel (owned in part by Mitt Romney’s former company Bain Capital) to put up billboards proclaiming that “Voter Fraud Is a Felony.”  And a Tea Party-affiliated group, True the Vote, is promising to send observers into polling places in Democratic areas, leading Democrats to cry voter intimidation. Does this stuff matter? Or is it just a bunch of noise before our hyper-polarized and hyper-partisan election, as polls show both sides expect the other to try to steal the election? The answer is probably a little bit of both. But the real action when it comes to affecting election turnout probably happened months or even years ago.

Full Article: Will voter suppression and dirty tricks swing the election? - Salon.com.

Voting Blogs: Elections officials aren’t the only ones prepping for Nov. 6 | electionlineWeekly

While the 2002 and 2004 elections were certainly watched following the issues in Florida in 2000 and the implementation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 this year could prove to be under the microscope more than any in the past. Not only will all eyes being the administration of elections this year because of the multitude of new laws and regulations governing how voters cast their ballots, but also because anyone on social media becomes a de facto “reporter.” With a little more than a month to go till Election Day 2012, elections officials and campaigns are hard at working making sure everyone is properly registered and that those who want a ballot will get a ballot. But they aren’t alone. In newsrooms across the country editors and reporters are plotting their November 6 course of action as well. Even for those of us who cover elections 24/7/365 there is planning to be done.

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgia’s rowdy election campaign | The Washington Post

The Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili, long a favorite of U.S. conservatives for championing pro-democratic “color revolutions,” is under fire for its own alleged suppression of a domestic opposition movement headed by a billionaire tycoon. Saakashvili was lauded as a reformer after he became president in 2004, following the Rose Revolution, and he has bravely challenged Russian hegemony in the region. But he has also shown a tendency to overreach, as in the imprudent military moves that offered Russia a pretext for invading Georgia in 2008. Now, critics charge, his government has been overly zealous in combating political challengers at home. Saakashvili’s rival is a wealthy businessman named Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made a fortune in Russia before returning home to form a political party called Georgian Dream. Ivanishvili’s supporters allege a series of repressive moves by the government, including a cyberattack that has ensnared not just Georgian activists but U.S. lawyers, lobbyists and security advisers for Georgian Dream.

Full Article: David Ignatius: Georgia’s rowdy election campaign - The Washington Post.

Indiana: Secretary of State: No such thing as over the phone voting | Chesterton Tribune

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is warning Hoosiers not to accept phone calls offering over-the-phone voting. Lawson was prompted to issue this warning after receiving complaints from voters who received phone calls offering to let them vote early over the phone, her the Secretary of State’s Office said last week. “Under no circumstances can you vote over the phone,” Lawson said. “If you receive a call offering to let you vote over the phone, hang up. It’s a scam. This investigation centers around a firm called Vote USA. But there could be other similar types of illegal contact with voters and we must remain vigilant.”

Full Article: Indiana Sec of State No such thing as over the phone voting.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Cyber attack underscores political rivals in Georgia | OregonLive.com

The Georgian government of President Mikheil Saakashvili, long a favorite of U.S. conservatives for championing pro-democratic “color revolutions,” is under fire for its own alleged suppression of a domestic opposition movement headed by a billionaire tycoon. Saakashvili was lauded as a reformer after he became president in 2004, following the Rose Revolution, and he has bravely challenged Russian hegemony in the region. But he has also shown a tendency to overreach, as in the imprudent military moves that offered Russia a pretext for invading Georgia in 2008. Now, critics charge, his government has been overly zealous in combating political challengers at home. Saakashvili’s rival is a wealthy businessman named Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made a fortune in Russia before returning home to form a political party called Georgian Dream. Ivanishvili’s supporters allege a series of repressive moves by the government, including a cyber attack that has caught up not just Georgian activists but U.S. lawyers, lobbyists and security advisers for Georgian Dream.

Full Article: Cyber attack underscores political rivals in Georgia | OregonLive.com.