November 4th, 2008
07:12 PM ET

Voting Hoaxes

Matt Smith
CNN Wires Writer

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: 2008 Election
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. David

    If you believe those text messages, then I have some swamp land in florida to sell you. GIVE ME a break.... You all get so whiny, and pissed off and cant take a joke. On a serious note though, i think Americans should have to take a simple exam before casting their vote....with simple questions such as knowing who their running mate is...

    November 5, 2008 at 12:41 am |
  2. Sana

    I think it is pretty funny if people actually believed it. And the sad thing is, there are probably some people out there that believed it. Obama supports that is.

    November 4, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  3. Joyce

    Of course all votes should be counted. Why is it that I can't find anything on CNN regarding the military votes? McCain went to court to be sure their votes would be counted. Obama "said" they should be counted, but McCain acted and went to bat for our military and made sure their votes would count. I feel sorry for our brave military if Obama becomes their commander-in-chief.

    November 4, 2008 at 9:52 pm |
  4. lampe

    How, is that any worse, then the Two Black Panthers, that stood at the entrance to a polling place in Pa, with night sticks in their hands, trying to spook people. Is that fair play?

    November 4, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
  5. Pjohnson

    Interesting that you are chosing to report on this but not report on the activity going on in California where the opposition to Proposition 8 is calling Republican voters telling them the race for President has been decided and they need not get out to vote. That is despicable!

    November 4, 2008 at 8:56 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Its deplorable that people are trying to fool others out of their chance to vote – I hope the voters are smart enough not to be fooled. I guess some groups if they can't win fairly will try to win by any means possible.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 4, 2008 at 7:42 pm |
  7. Steve /Marion, Indiana

    In Marion, In. most of our voting spots only had 1 machine in them, only 22 people could vote per hour. At one place there was 3 districts with 1 machine. We was told we would have the same number of machines that we had in primary........didn't happen. If the people in power can control the number of machines,,,,then who is winning.........

    November 4, 2008 at 7:42 pm |
  8. Lilibeth

    This is just unbelievable. It's obvious from this post which party the hoaxers belong to. And these people pride on their "morals?"

    November 4, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  9. no mo boo b ooo

    last thing we can need is a boo boo

    November 4, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  10. Marcia, Warren MI

    That message was even posted to facebook a week ago.

    November 4, 2008 at 7:18 pm |

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