November 4th, 2008
05:06 PM ET
5 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. db.in.tx

    Barbara in NC you know this for fact that it was a republican, you were there I'm sure. You need to just be mad that it was done, and quit blaming republicans for everything, it may have been your teen age neice or nephew, so get off the blame game, that's why this country is in the shape it is.

    November 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. windfall

    how low. can't those things be traced?

    November 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Saint Genesius

    I agree with Barbara in NC, the idiot in VA should be prosecuted. Joke or not, intentionally attempting to suppress voting is a federal offense. It's also difficult to believe that someone could do that accidentally. We have seen the integrity of two elections destroyed –I fear our democracy cannot absorb another one.

    November 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Trin

    These people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No matter if you are independent, republican, democrat – NOBOY out there has the right to steal your vote and deprive you of your right as an American Citizen to have YOUR SAY in this election!!!

    I would hope that the vast majority of the message recipients are well aware of the fact that today is the ONLY day left to vote.

    Let's hope these people get grilled by law enforcement.

    November 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. dave harlow

    I think you should all be glad that if anyone did fall for this prank, it because they is to dum ta vote.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. A Democrat

    I voted for Obama 26 times. Thanks ACORN.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. adam

    Haha, only stupid Obama fans would believe that. They don't even know how to spell vute.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Jim

    It's going to be that much more satisfying when Obama wins in a landslide tonight. I'll toast to all the Republicans' tears. Cheerio, JTO'

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. nate

    Theres still time - YOU can change your life and change the world. Forget knocking anyone – its time to move forward and make a better life for your children, your parents and yourself. Its YOUR time now. O/08.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Danman

    Enjoy socialized medicine republitards.... The only reason we're going to have it is because you idiots elected and re-elected W... The worst president EVER....

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Imran, Lawrence, USA

    Re: 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.

    LOL. Now that I've stopped laughing and am angry.

    Why not?

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. jacobs

    GoBama!

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Ryan

    Ugh can Obama please just win already? Thanks.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Red

    Everyone one caught perpetuating this falsity (including the man in New Jersey) should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law & that SHOULD include jail time.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Bourne

    And liars want to start leading this country!!!!!!!!

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

    I recieved this message on my cell phone, and immediatly knew it was a joke. I think everyone is taking all of this a little to far.
    What ever happened to freedom of speech? What happened to humor? I think in times like these we should all set back, and have a good laugh, after we vote ofcourse.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    This is HORRIBLE....I can't believe nothing like this is happening to McCain supporters....hmmm.....

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Jim in Houston

    McSame's team of Rowe-vites have at least been consistent in one area--slinging mud from the hole that Bush go this country into.....

    GO BARACK GO--CHANGE IS ON ITS WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Angela N

    so, this guy gets a slap on the wrist but Starbucks, Ben & Jerry's violate election laws for actually encouraging people for voting with freebies. Love this country.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    It's not just the republicans doing this it is also the democrats.

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. S Callahan New York

    Yeah i got one too..turning it over to the police....already voted so it has no effect............pit-a-ful someone would stope this low to attempt to prevent a legitimate vote...

    November 4, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. Voter

    McCain once said about ACORN registraion issues "threatens the fabric of democracy"

    Yet, his supporters are doing crap like this, voter purging in 4 states and suppression in MI.

    November 4, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Drake

    What would you expect from the crooks that have run the country (into the ground) for the past eight years. This is exactly why the republicans will lose this election.

    November 4, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Ric on Vashon

    Another bogus email circulating is about Obama's illegal alien aunt.

    One can tell the republicans are scared when they resort to these petty pranks.

    Now get off the computer and get out to the polls and VOTE!

    ~ Ric on Vashon

    November 4, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Jeanette

    Why is it every time I hear about voter intimidation it's against the Democrats!! I think the Republicans really need to look at their "base" because they are sending out a terrible message to the rest of us watching.

    November 4, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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