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Fraudulent Fliers Make Their 2016 Appearance

One of the oldest dirty tricks in the Election Day book is the distribution of fliers intended to prevent people from casting their votes. Some of them seem far fetched, but others have the potential to keep people away from the polls. Here’s a rundown of the worst fliers we’ve seen. To be clear, every one of the claims on these fliers is a lie.

An Alabama flier urging Democrats to vote Wednesday.

We sent this tip to our partners at Birmingham Watch. The Tuscaloosa sheriff’s office told Birmingham Watch that it had received several phone calls about the poster. The sheriff's office said it had not been able to find any physical copies but here’s a photo:

If you look closely, you’ll see the number listed is 867-5309, the number from Tommy Tutone’s one-hit-wonder “Jenny.” Otherwise, given the county insignia it may appear to voters to be legitimate.

Next, a flier circulating on a college campus tells Clinton voters they can “vote from home.”

WBIR reports that students at the University of Tennessee woke up to fliers that appeared to come from the Hillary Clinton campaign (they do not) that told students to “Save time. Avoid the line. Vote from home.” It included instructions to text your vote in. We have seen this exact image before in the form of tweets. Twitter has begun to take the image down when it is reported, but that doesn’t do much good when folks take it upon themselves to pass around physical copies.

Another flier directed at college students was passed around Bates College with fake instructions for voting.

The flier told students that if they wanted to vote locally they “MUST” (all caps!) change their driver’s license to a local license, and “pay to re-register any vehicle you have.” It said the process was “usually hundreds of dollars in total.” None of this is true. Students in Maine can easily register to vote locally without doing any of this.

A flier distributed in Greensboro, N.C. told voters polls were only open between 1 and 3.

As the News & Record Reports that is not true. Polls are open until 7:30.

A Kentucky voter reported that the KKK left a threatening flier at her friend’s door.

She has declined to speak with any of our partner reporters thus far, but her post is here:

While the local Kentucky Democratic Party sent an email with the pictures of the flier to partners KYCIR, the local sheriff’s office has reported no reports of such materials.

About Electionland

ProPublica’s Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Our coalition of newsrooms around the country are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more.

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