Tests to the voters of Kansas rile the Democrats, the highest election official

Tests to the voters of Kansas rile the Democrats, the highest election official

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas’ top elections official warned voters Monday that text messages from outside the state were giving them incorrect information about where to vote, but groups involved in the text messages said they did not they are not trying to confuse or mislead people. .

Several Democrats said they started hearing about the texts on Sunday or had received them. Each message said it was from a representative of Voting Futures, Voto Latino or Black Voters Matter and provided the address of a voting site, along with a picture of a building. In some cases, the person has already voted; in others, people could not vote in advance at the list site, and in some, people could vote in advance, but not on election day, November 8.

Movement Labs, an Oakland, Calif.-based vendor that works for Voto Latino and Black Voters Matter, tweeted that the tests also went to voters in Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.

Kansas Democrats who read the texts worried that a disinformation campaign had targeted their voters in hopes of preventing their vote from counting or discouraging them from voting. And Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, a Republican, said voters should be on “high alert” about potential election misinformation from such texts.

Voting Futures later said in follow-up texts that their information may not be correct. Voto Latino said the problem was a “database problem” with the vendor, unnamed Movement Labs, and said voters would receive correct information.

Both Black Voters Matters and Movement Labs said the group had not endorsed the tests.

“We are very sorry for the confusion these text messages have created and have taken steps to correct this situation,” Black Voters Matter said. “The last thing we ever want is for our outreach to be confused with the intentional misinformation that is sometimes aimed at our communities.”

Movement Labs said in separate tweets for Latin vote and Black voters matter: “We take full responsibility for these mistakes and have published correction texts.”

Kansas counties began allowing people to vote in advance in person on October 19, and people don’t need a reason to request a vote by mail. While ballots by mail must be postmarked on or before November 8, they can still be counted if they arrive at electoral offices by November 11.

Democrats and abortion rights advocates pounced on the misinformation afterward misleading texts went to the voters on the eve of a state vote on August 2 decisively rejecting an anti-abortion amendment proposal to the Kansas Constitution. The texts falsely told voters that a yes vote would protect the right to abortion, when the opposite was true.

Schwab said in a statement that his office does not use third parties to send information to voters and urged them to contact state and local officials if they have questions, or go to the VoteKansas.gov website.

Voters across the state said they began receiving texts Sunday from the three groups about where they could vote, including in the Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka areas.

“The vote needs to be accessible to people and direct, and that complicates that,” said Alexis Simmons, the communications director for the Kansas House Democrats, who received two of the texts Sunday. “Voting should be empowering.”


Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

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