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. Eddie

    Hey pranksters, tell me how my electoral votes taste.

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Larry

    This is no joking matter and the people responsible should be prosecurted to the fullest extent of the law. A message needs to be sent that this type of voter suppression will not be tolerated.

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. Lisa

    I guess they're scared Obama will win by a landslide.

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

    I'm laughing at this...if you are dumb enough to beleive this shouldn't get to vote anyway

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

    We may want to say people are "stupid" for believing this but when the source seems credible and most people don't follow the news, they won't question it. THIS IS A SAD STATE, THAT PEOPLE WOULD CHEAT TO TRY AND WIN, VERY SAD!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Sue in MI

    And when will McCain come out and apologize for his "honest" supporters trying this kind of hoax? He is so self-righteous and ingenuous I cannot believe people think he would be a good President. I'm beginning to believe these Republicans are the worst people ever to run for office. They should all be locked up with Bush and Cheney.

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. rmason

    unreal yet sooooooo believable. This is the very reason I gave up on the republican party. They will do anything, say anything and cheat anyone to win. Its ridiculous and completely un American. Funny the republicans tout themselves as the "real Americans" yet they do these type of terrible dishonest things.

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. Alicia in TX

    This is ridiculous! More Republican nonsense

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. roy -IL

    The sad paert is that no matter how BAD these frauds are....once the election is can prosecute someone, but you can't retrieve those lost votes.
    The Republicans know this and this is the plan in battleground states. Win, even if it is dirty, and tomorrow we'll worry about who gets blamed. Sickening.

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. kim hamilton


    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. nitro

    How about arresting them like you did the congressman son for hacking into Sarah Palins E-mail. Sounds about fair to me.

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Dai

    if anyone wants to know why I will never again vote Republican, stunts like these are why. Can McCain not win in a fair election? Is that it? Shameful.

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

    I think that there should be serious investigations of robo-calls, robo-texting; anyone caught should lose their right to vote. People engaging in electioneering of this nation should be forced to endure legally what millions of others endured in an earlier age– lack of political voice.

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. Frank Jacobson

    Are you kidding? Those who go for such joke are idiots and should not be voting, anyway!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. David E. Cowen

    No joking about this one. Whoever sent it needs to be prosecuted. Anyone who defends it is simply unAmerican. If you have to violate the Constitution to get your way, aren't you the same as the Nazis or the Bolsheviks? Aren't you the undemocratic one? Aren't you just ashamed?

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Ayuh...

    Anyone who is stupid or gullible enough to be fooled by this probably has no business voting in the first place....

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

    Who would fall for that? I mean seriously.

    November 4, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Kewpie for Obama

    I find it incredible to believe that anyone would actually fall for such a stunt.

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

    Here in Middleton, WI (a suburb of Madison, which usually happens to be a democratic stronghold) there's been bomb threats called in to polling locations.
    People are showing up at the official polling place only to be told they have to go vote somewhere else for safety reasons.

    November 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Ian Idaho

    Seriously people! It's a joke! What are they going to do to the person who started it? He didn't steal any information, didn't physically harm anyone, and if people actually listen to these messages they are too dumb to vote anyway.

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

    Okay, anyone who falls for this doesn't deserve to vote. Keep the stupid away from the polls! hahahaha...

    November 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Lauren in Seattle, WA

    A joke that got out of control? Would the people go to the lengths they did to make those hoax flyers in Virginia and distribute them if they were really a joke? They obviously had a malicious agenda and must be prosecuted!

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

    And having caught the person responsible, the are not prosecuting him because they think it was funny?

    What am I missing here. I thought that Virginia was the "New South."

    November 4, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Ram, Minneapolis

    If these sham messages about voting on 11/5/08 are true, they collectively will form a flight of stairs to a disastrous calamity (intentded to be redundant).

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

    Hey Staff Sergeant:

    How is that different than the line you feed to everyone who comes into your office? Thats a pretty terrible endorsement of the USAF.

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