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. Joel Duncan

    The sleaze of certain Republicans... is it getting worse or what? Sadly, they're not unlike the Conservatives here in Canada.

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. B-Rad

    this is bad but at the same time...anyone who would believe that because you were sent a text or an e-mail telling you not to vote until the 5th is an idiot and shouldnt be allowed to vote to begin with. if we all believe everything we see or hear on the internet or over our phones, every man would have a huge you know and all women would have perfect figures. so dont be so mad at the people spending their time to create these upset that people would be dumb enough to fall for these.

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. KaraLynne

    Come on people! Really - settle down. I am an Obama supporter and thought it was funny. These kinds of things are meant to lighten the mood on such an occasion. Dont take yourself too seriously. I got the text and thought it was funny. If you dont know by now that election day is only on the 4th then you might be too young to vote because I knew that election day was only a one day thing back in like 3rd grade.

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

    Yea, except I got the same message the other way around telling McCain voters to vote tomorrow. How come nobody is whining about that? Come on people! Are you that stupid, you'll actually believe that! Of course you are! You are that stupid. Thats why Obama is gonna win.

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

    Susan.... I'm pretty sure that it IS a federal offense.

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. dave

    Nice to see people outside of Virginia actually care about upholding the law.

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. Keia in GA

    This shows how people really have nothing to do with there time. If the joke was on the other foot (rep) what would have been the punishment for there "joke". No matter who wins there are going to be some unspeaking upsets. It's time for a change no matter if you vote for Obama or McCain. The change comes from the way we as American's who have the right to actually vote, stop looking at skin color (which is what this truly seems to be) but look at the topics at hand. Pic the better candiate by his morals not by his skin color. I voted being color blind, which is something I think everyone should at least try...Leave ignorance in 08'

    Time 4 a Change

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. harry

    this kind of stuff should be a felony, 20 years minimum sentence. That will fix these problems.

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Corey J

    Any one who falls for such a stunt is too ignorant to be allowed to vote anyway. No harm, no foul.

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

    Poor GOP,
    They will stop at nothing to win. It's just too bad they are sinking faster than the Titanic.

    I wonder why this isn't being covered like "ACORN" scandle is...??

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Brian

    I guess they are scared that Karl Rove is right when he stated this morning "Obama will win by a landslide"....

    hahahahaha. Hey Republicans.. YOU ARE DONE!

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. T

    Wow, are you people seriously upset about this? Lighten up.

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Adam

    So where did the hackers originate? Just a relevant question in our world as some powerful hostile powers benefit greatly from an antagonistic US.

    And Prosecute prosecute prosecute.

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

    See, if anyone is dumb enough to fall for that of course they're going to vote for Obama.

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. David

    This is appalling and should be dealt harshly. No one has the right to try and sabotage or influence an election.

    It does matter if people fall for these tactics their votes need to be counted and those found responsible should be held accountable and publicly punished for this type of election fraud.

    Directly or indirectly it is the Republican Party that is responsible for these tactics.

    Obama has every right to to win as does McCain and if voters choose Obama then so be it. Those responsible should show their faces in public instead of trying to hide their identities. Be "man" enough to show your face in public! These people are lowlifes and should have their rights taken away!

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

    This wouldn't be such a huge issue if the message recipients weren't so gullible. Natural advantage to the Obama folks there.

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Ray

    Poor Americans.... stupid enough to belive this. Stupid enough to belive McCain. There is nothing wrong with taxing the rich and redistributing their wealth. Din't they already distribute our 401k's and retirement funds to the CEO?

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

    Is this a party...or thugs.

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Rob

    Actually it's not a hoax. Due to the anticipated high voter turn out, able-bodied voters are encouraged to wait a day, that way the dead that ACORN registered can get to the voting booths, seeing as they don't move very well.

    Another attempt by Barry's camp to prolong this election, so that they can try every dirty trick they can to steal this election.

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

    just wrong just like Acorn and all their illegal activities. hopefully those behind this will be prosecuted and so will Acorn. Matter of fact Acorn needs to be shut down and put out of existance for their continual illegal voter fraud election after election

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. Mike

    It is unquestionably a desperate attempt to defend the country against socialism.

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. Disgusted in Cary North Carolina

    Is anyone surprised? This is typical Republican behaviour, which is why they deserve to be utterly trounced in this election. If not, we're all in for a really rough continuation of Bush/Cheney, with even more problems – that is, of course, you're filthy rich!

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. Obama4Prez

    Wow, this is ridiculous! Hopefully the targeted people they called were smart enough not to listen to this foolishness!

    Obama/Biden 08!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. go mccain

    Please don't tell me there are people stupid enough to believe they can vote tomorrow ...

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Buck Jackson

    This is certainly a dumb 'prank'. But, if you're stupid enough to fall for it, you're certainly too stupid to vote.

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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