November 4th, 2008
05:06 PM ET
6 years ago

Fake messages target Obama backers

Fake text messages were sent out on Election Day.
Fake text messages were sent out on Election Day.

(CNN) - Voters in several states have receiving bogus text messages or e-mail urging supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to put off voting until Wednesday because of long lines, spurring threats of prosecution in at least two states.

The messages - a perennial election stunt - popped up Tuesday on mobile phones and computers in the battleground states of Florida, Virginia and Missouri, as well as in several other states. One falsely claimed to be a "CNN breaking news" alert.

"All Obama voters, due to long delays, are asked to wait and vote tomorrow 11/05," that message stated.

Election Day is a one-day event, of course - and in a statement issued Tuesday, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said she had "no tolerance" for anyone attempting to confuse voters.

"I am working with local election officials around the state to make sure poll workers and voters understand their rights," said Carnahan, a Democrat.

"Anyone attempting to deprive voters of their rights on Election Day will be prosecuted."

In Maryland, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Douglas Gansler said his office had passed along complaints about the messages to the U.S. Justice Department and state prosecutors.

Similar messages were reported in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Maryland and Arkansas.

In Virginia, hackers breached the computer network at George Mason University to send the message, university Provost Peter Stearns told students, faculty and staff in an e-mail denouncing the hoax.

"I am sure everybody realizes this is a hoax," he said. "It is also a serious offense, and we are looking into it. Please be reminded that Election Day is today, November 4th."

A flyer with a similar message was spread around the Hampton Roads area of southeast Virginia last week. Virginia State Police said Monday that they would not bring charges against the man who printed them, and state Board of Elections Secretary Nancy Rodriguez called the flyers "a joke that got out of control."


Filed under: Voter Problems
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. DrFill

    Lies and deception from McCain
    What a shock!
    DrFill

    November 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. dantini

    You know what would be hilarious? If the people who did this got jailed and then were the victim of a silly paperwork mixed and comically ended up on death row! :D

    Just for a few weeks, I mean... Then back into the general prison population to serve the rest of their sentence. What a great gag!

    November 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Kayla Rice

    I love Obama he is AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    God Bless...

    November 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. CW

    Typical of the modern Republican party of today. Trying to steal victory at all cost once again. It is a disgrace and totally Un-American! Stand up America! Get out and Vote, come hell or high water!

    To quote a song by the Who: "We Won't Get Fooled Again!!"

    November 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. DM

    How in HELL can they not prosecute the people in Virginia?! I could *maybe* understand if there were some little joke between a few people, but if someone took that "joke" and distributed flyers with this misinformation, at least the person who distributed the flyers should be prosecuted. Unfortunately, Virginia has chosen to make an exmaple of these people–an example that says voter suppression is acceptable.

    November 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Tony in NC

    One more dirty trick from the right wing. Hopefully, those affected are smart enough to see through the charade. I would hope that those on the left would not stoop so low, but to some, all is fair in politics.

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Barbara in NC

    USAF Staff Sergeant – anything for an old woman whose job was outsourced?

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. Charlie Bradley

    I think this is absolutely punishable. C'mon!!! its one thing for a Bigfoot hoax like we saw a few months ago, but an issue which affects the CONSTITUTIONAL rights, that is Punishable most definitely!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Paul Brown

    Anyone who participates in deception of this nature should be thrown in jail for the next 4 years. I do not care if they thought it was a "joke".

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. turn az blue

    why isn't there anything out there telling the GOP to vote on a diff date? Wait... what? Oh yeah, cause it's the GOP causing this CRAP.... they seem to be unamerican to me... not letting us vote is american? RIIIIIIIIIGHT

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Chi4Obama

    "Elections Secretary Nancy Rodriguez called the flyers "a joke that got out of control."

    So let me get this straight. When ACORN solicits phony registrations for voters that don't even exist, the Republicans call for a Federal investigation.

    But when people purposely try to disenfranchise actual voters in VA, than it is written off as a joke.

    Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture???

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. 47yo male for McCain

    I'm convinced that these threats, attacks and jokes are from the liberal left. Obama supporters are the only type of people that would do something of this nature. I mean all one has to do is watch the news. It speaks for it's self.

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Glenn in California

    Gimmicks like these are the only hope for a McCain win. He likes gimmicks, so it fits.

    Those perpetrating these types of stunts need to be locked up for a LONG time. The fate of our country could literally be at stake. Just remember how close Florida was in 2000, and other states too in 2000 and 2004.

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Fritz

    Virginia State Police made a mistake not dealing with this "joke" swiftly and justly. It basically was giving approval to others to try this "joke".

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Vic Roberts

    Why is the man who is known to have printed the fliers that gave voters the incorrect date to vote not being prosecuted? This is an attempt to interfere with the voting process and is a crime, not a joke!

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. armen terzian

    I voted for Obama and this is trouble BUT, how gullible can people be??????

    November 4, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Barnhardt in NC

    It's a sad fact that Republicans know that when everyone votes they lose. They are not about real democracy. They are not about Contry First – it's an empty slogan.

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Frank Jacobson

    Are you kidding? Those who go for such joke are idiots and should not be joking, any way!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. Carolina Z

    It's a joke people!

    Anyone ignorant enough to fall for this trick is more deserving of punishment than the person who sent the message.

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Jim

    If you're dumb enough to fall for it, you shouldn't be voting anyway!

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. colleen janes

    Losers. That's all McCain has, loser supporters make a loser.

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. Chi4Obama

    Hmmm,
    I wonder why FOX news has yet to cover this story?

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. mkepha

    They can send millions of messages but the fact is that pple most pple have already voted...and for OBAMA/BIDEN

    News flash
    Mccain just lost in ARIZONA BY TWO POINTS

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. Elle

    Why do the republican voters have to be so ugly? I just don't get it. For "conservatives" who typically hold Christian values in such high regard, this seems to be very un-Christian-like behavior. In fact, they're acting like a bunch of bullying thugs!

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. PC

    Hilarious!

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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