Alyssa Tyler editor in chief
On Sunday night, Grace Garrett, sophomore in political science, and others received a text message from the group, Voting Futures. The text message included her exact address and her voting location; however, the voting location was wrong.
For some Pittsburg State University students, the text message listed the Overman Student Center, or Shirk Hall as their voting location. Both of these locations either offered early voting or were drop box locations for mail-in ballots. However, neither of these locations offered voting services on Election Day.
Although, Crawford County voters weren’t the only ones receiving these messages, other counties in KS., and at least five other states received them as well.
“We had some voters that received some texts from Voting Futures, stating that they had their information. They had their address, then voters’ address that was in their database and public records suggest that they hadn’t voted yet. And then would give them their voting location, which none of the voting locations that were sent out were correct,” said Crawford County Clerk Lisa Lusker. “They were all drop boxes, or advanced ballots, or an early polling location, but not actually voting day sites.”
A second text message was sent out by the same organization stating that the information may not have been correct. Then a link to find the correct information was included in the text as well.
“This can be a problem because if people are going to start asking, ‘Where do I go vote?’ You can’t send out misinformation like that,” Garrett said.
The text messages were sent through the company Movement Labs, where three campaigns and movements used their services. Movement Labs took responsibility for the mistakes as seen in a statement released on their website.
“Unfortunately, in text messages sent on behalf of Voto Latino, Black Voters Matter, and Voting Futures to voters in KS, NJ, IL, NC, and VA, we sent information to encourage voting that has caused confusion amongst voters. We take full responsibility for these mistakes and have issued correction texts encouraging voters to verify their voting place with the Secretary of State website.”
Not only do these texts lead to an opportunity for young and new voters to become confused, but they can also cause a variety of other issues.
“Anytime incorrect, misleading information about voting is released, it really hurts the credibility of the office, and that’s not that’s not a good thing. You know, we would never text out any information like this. This is not from our office. This is not from the Secretary of State office. Our understanding is that it’s an out of state company that has targeted several other states, so we’re not alone, which is not a good thing. So, we just want to assure the voters that their polling locations have not changed. If they would like to, they can go to The Secretary of State website. They can go to voter view, and they can put their name and their address in there and it’ll pull up their polling location and they can even put a copy of pull a copy of a sample ballot from their precinct,” Lusker said.
If voters are concerned about their voting locations or have any questions, there are a variety of different ways to find that information.
“They can always call our office. It’s 620-724-6115. And they can get up to date information. Also, when a voter registers to vote in Crawford County, they submit the proper paperwork and we send them a card, a note. It’s called a notice of disposition and will have all their information on their polling location, party and everything. And if it’s not correct, they have to send it back to us. We never send anything out via social media or text or anything like that,” Lusker said.