Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kochs sent hundreds of thousands of fake voter registration mailings in North Carolina

by Joan McCarter, DailyKos

When the North Carolina arm of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity group tried to register a cat to vote it was amusing. But with more of the story unfolding now, it's downright infuriating.

It didn't make any sense. Jennifer Odom's daughter shouldn't have gotten anything in the mail, let alone a voter registration form. "It was disturbing for a couple of reasons," said Odom. "First, Samantha would only be four-and-a-half years old. So it's a far cry from the age of voting. Secondly, she passed away two years ago."

Odom says her daughter died on Sept. 11, 2012.

"That's right about the time we started getting these notices," said Odom.

It turns out that AFP has sent hundreds of thousands of these error-ridden, confusing voter registration forms in North Carolina, and both local elections offices and the state board of elections have been swamped with phone calls from confused voters. The forms had numerous bits of misinformation, from filing deadlines to where to send the completed forms to who to contact for more information. The scope of this misinformation is massive, considering it's gone to hundreds of thousands of voters, and has resulted in an investigation by the state, after the state Democratic Party filed an official complaint. Deliberately misinforming voters is a felony.

But here's an interesting part to the story. Remember all the pooh-poohing about the Democrats' strategy of hitting the Kochs? When Republicans and pundits alike were saying that the Koch brothers had no name recognition and it would all backfire? Look at how the local news framed this story: "The group behind the mailing is the sharply conservative, Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity Foundation." No, nobody ever heard of the Kochs and their anti-democratic activities.

So far, there's no word whether AFP is trying this in other states with tightly contested Senate races, but as David Ramsey points out in the Arkansas Blog, they've got affiliates in a lot of states, and they're on a mission to misinform "educate" voters and "keep get out the vote" this cycle. So this probably won't be the last we hear of their phony voter registration drives.

(More here.)

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