A deceptive phone call, predominantly targeting older Virginians, from unidentified individuals is making its way around Virginia. The suspicious phone call incorrectly informs voters of the ability to vote early and over the phone, due to the possibility of long lines at the polls on Election Day. The information conveyed over these phone calls is completely inaccurate.
The Virginia State Board of Elections is advising Virginians to ignore phone calls offering over-the-phone voting. They have advised that “any voter who receives a call matching this description to ask for the name, phone number, and organization from where the individual is calling” and report it immediately.
This call is an example of deceptive election practices - the dissemination of false or misleading information about elections and the voting process in order to alter the outcome of the election and to prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots. As Election Day approaches the possibility of more deceptive phone calls and flyers as well as incorrect information disseminated through Twitter and Facebook could increase.
We will continue to monitor deceptive practices, counter them with correct information to voters, work with election officials to prevent these practices, and litigate to prevent them where possible.
If you have ever received a suspicious phone call regarding voting please:
- Write down the number on your caller ID
- Take down any relevant information (what information was given over the call, what time they called, etc.)
- Record call if possible
- Report it to Election Protection immediately by calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or by emailing us at info@866OurVote.org.
In order to effectively combat these fraudulent election practices, we need stronger laws. Earlier this year Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Common Cause released a report on deceptive election practices with recommendations for solutions at the local, state, and federal levels to strengthen laws in order to combat the misleading information. Federal, state and local officials should be empowered not just to punish violators, but also to quickly correct deceptive information through sources trusted by affected communities.
For more information on deceptive practice regarding election issues, please visit our website. We all must work together to make sure no incidents of this nature go unnoticed.