As you all head to the polls between now and next Tuesday, be vigilant for voting scams and general shenanigans.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that voters in Florida have been inundated with some foul play this election season.
Among them: a campaign falsely informing voters that they can vote by phone (they can't) , a large anti-President Obama mailing campaign handing out DVD's questioning the true identity of the president's father and claims by individuals that they are official ballot collectors for the elderly in South Florida (there is no such thing).
There has also been a flood of fake voter purge letters circulating the state.
Considering that Florida could be among the handful of states deciding this election, voters need to be on the look out for these sorts of underhanded attempts to steal votes from Floridians.
The AP reports that Eric Marshall, a legal mobilization manager at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law-- an organization that helps out with watch-dogging voting access and rights nationwide, says that voters have to be on the lookout because sometimes the law doesn't protect against some sneaky tricks.
Marshall said such misinformation tactics surface election after election because it’s not illegal in most states to deceive someone about the timing or place of an election, or to lie about a candidate’s political affiliation. Most laws, he said, are more geared toward preventing voter intimidation and ensuring physical access to polling places. Those who do get caught in deception usually claim it was all a big misunderstanding.
“It’s very difficult to stop,” he said. “The tactics have evolved but the law hasn’t.”
The best way to protect yourself from voter intimidation or misinformation folks, is to familiarize yourself with your rights as a voter.
Here is a nifty voter guide from the ACLU of Florida that breaks down your many rights as a voter, as well as clarifying most the questions you may have.