Voters targeted by disinformation campaigns

Matt Masters • Oct 11, 2018 at 7:43 PM

Voters across the state have been targeted by phone calls, social media campaigns and physical mail in an attempt to spread disinformation and influence the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

This according to Phillip Warren, administrator of elections with the Wilson County Election Commission, said the Election Commission who has received numerous calls from voters about the communications.

“We’re getting a lot calls where people are getting called or have gotten a piece of mail that tells them that they are not registered anymore or that their registration has expired, and registrations don’t expire. The best thing for them to do is to call us,” Warren said.

Warren said the efforts are part of a disinformation campaign by numerous unknown groups or individuals who seek to either convince registered voters to not show up to the polls or to sway election results in unknown ways.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett issued a press release last week, where he warned citizens of misleading information that surrounded the Nov. 6 elections.

“To avoid misleading information, I urge voters to come straight to the source,” Hargett said. “Tennessee’s election officials are dedicated to making sure voters have all the information they need to participate in the November election.”  

Warren also said the number of registered voters in Wilson County has increased to possibly record numbers, which underscores the importance and impact of the upcoming election, as well as the number of scams throughout the state.

“I think what we’re seeing more of this year are some groups of people who are trying to discourage people or confuse people about voting, and in my opinion, they are trying to disrupt the foundation of our democracy, whether it be from foreign countries or domestic agents, and I think we’ve got some of both who are doing that,” Warren said.

“If voters would just keep that information and call us and tell us who has been contacting them to the best of their ability, then we can pass that along. We have a way of reporting that, and hopefully things can be done to stop some of that disinformation, some of these rumors and this attack on our democracy.”

The Wilson County Election Commission can be contacted by phone at 615-444-0216 or at wilsonelections.com. The Wilson County Election Commission office is at 203 E. Main St. in Lebanon.

Voter registration in Tennessee ended Tuesday for the Nov. 6 election. Early voting will be from Oct. 17 through Nov. 1, with Election Day set for Nov. 6.

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