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

Fake messages target Obama backers

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. USAF Staff Sergeant

    AH! Man this just makes me mad.

    The people who have the time to come up with these ideas need a job!

    Come down to my office.... I can set you up with a nice job... good benefits.... see the world......

    November 4, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Minneapolis Mikey

    This kind of story makes me sick. I hope the people perpetrating these frauds are caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I don't care if it was a joke to them... intentionally disenfranchising voters (Republican, Democrat, or Independent) is inexcusable.

    November 4, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Lawrence in Denver

    For the rethugs, desperate times call for desperate measures!

    Obama/Biden 08'

    ~Lawrence in Denver

    November 4, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Barbara in NC

    I think the man in Virginia that thought it was a joke should be put in jail for a month, so he can quit laughing at his brilliant idea.

    The state police are obviously republican, since the dates were to get rep. votes but invalidate the dem dates.

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

    are you kidding me? in VA, they KNOW who distributed flyers and this person isn't being held accountable?

    November 4, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Corey

    So the GOP needs to cheat to win?

    And they are the ones that are defending the democratic ideals of our nation from terrorists? How can any civilian member of the GOP rightly say that they are supporting freedom and democracy?

    November 4, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Jose, San Diego

    The voter suppression techniques from the Republicans (fake letters advising Dems to vote tomorrow;, or visit another polling place, or that there registration & permanent address don't match, or the use of police to swarm polling places in minority wards to intimidate voters) demand a Congressional investigation on the order of the Iran-Contra hearings, with the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004 to be included; BBC reporter Greg Palast could be one of the star witnesses (a name you'll never see mentioned at CNN).

    November 4, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. Melissa

    joke that got out of control? – that is not a joke and the man should be charged – regardless of what party he is in or who it would benefit

    November 4, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Ben

    What a crock....I've heard this reported against McCain AND Obama...yet the headline reads "obama supporters targeted in bogus messages". If CNN was fair they would say voters are being targeted in bogus messages....

    It's little things like these that show how much liberal bias there is in the media.

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. California Gold

    A joke? Puh-lease.

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. JuTon

    I hope whomever is responsible for this gets what they deserved. I really want Obama to win but I would never go to these extremes to get him elected. If you have to win in this way it's not worth it. Some people need to grow up!!!!

    It's Obama Time Yall!!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Jane - Indiana

    Why are these problems always trying to disenfranchise the supporters of Democratic candidates?

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. frank Honolulu HI

    Those republicans are really sleezy. How low can you go?

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Macguyver4voting

    I am so tired of stuff like this. People need to be sent to jail for this. Stop laughing it off people and start prosecuting!

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Susan

    This type of behavior should be a federal offense. Hugh fine, and jail time!

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Allan G.

    Dumb enough to vote for this unknown, inexperienced,untested, enemy endorsed guy...dumb enough to believe the message.

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. salm

    The republican machine is hard at work like 2000 and 2004

    November 4, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Irma in North Carolina

    Well you can see that the Mccain camp and republicans are still at this. It sure is shameful to have such people residing here in the USA.

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


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

    For the life of me, I can't understand why these people are not prosecuted. These attempts to disuade voter turnout are targeted and they are NOT 'jokes'. What is a joke is law enforcement's response.

    November 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Cathy in Vermont

    As I tell my first graders when they say "I was only joking..", it is not a joke unless everyone is laughing.
    This is a misdemeanor...

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

    This is pathetic. I will be so glad when this is over, politics stopped being any fun years ago.

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

    I voted today for Sen. Obama!! yeah !!! va. beach, va.

    November 4, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. SFC Drennan

    OK people lets get out there and show them blank blank rpubs that we are a people that will not stand for the blank, but we will stand together with all that want a change, black, white, red, yellow, short, tall, fat, skinney,,, we will all stand together to take our country back from the right wing loons that has messed this up for so long... take the hill OBAMA, take the hill.....

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

    Well if they are stupid enough to fall for something like that then they don't deserve to vote.

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