The Kansas attorney general’s office has opened an investigation into deceptive robocalls Democratic voters have received on the eve of the election. The Kansas Democratic Party has reported that some of their supporters got automated calls reminding them to vote on Wednesday—the election, for course, is on Tuesday—and to bring proof of home ownership and voter registration, which are not required in the state. All of the voters who received the calls gave the same phone number, originating from Birmingham, Alabama, and reported that the automated message said it was from “Republicans” without specifying an individual or group.
“Another annoying Political Robot call for the Republican Party—left a long message on my answering machine,” one voter wrote Sunday on a website for reporting unsolicited calls, under the subject heading “Harassed in Kansas.” The Kansas Dems say their supporters received the calls over the weekend, and a half a dozen voters told the attorney general’s office they received the misleading calls on Monday. “They are widespread, not targeted in any one geographic area,” says Gavin Young, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. Young said that the investigation had yet to uncover who might be behind the dirty trick. The Kansas Republican Party has denied any involvement. In 2000, a similar scheme was spearheaded in Kansas by a Republican candidate for state senate. While the federal races in Kansas are swinging solidly Republican, there are a number of hotly contested races for the state legislature, as well as a high-profile race for Secretary of State, where GOP candidate Kris Kobach—the architect of Arizona’s immigration law—has campaigned on fighting massive fraud.
When I called the number the robocalls originated from on Tuesday morning, an automated message picked up: “Thank you for call—if you have received a call in error, please press 1, and your number will be removed for our customer list.” The Kansas attorney general’s office and Secretary of State have tried to alert voters to contact them about the bogus calls, but there’s little else they can do at the last minute. “Outside of that, what can you do Monday before the election?” says Young. “You can’t send out a PSA.”
Kansas isn’t the only state where there are reports of misleading political calls. The North Carolina Democratic Party also alleges that unaffiliated and Democratic voters are receiving harassing robocalls “from conservative intereste groups meant to anger voters and suppress turnout,” according to an emailed statement from the party posted on Daily Kos:
These unsolicited robo calls, which are coming to a voters sometimes up to eight times in a row, include a Democratic candidate asking for support in tomorrow’s election. Not surprisingly, many people hang up the call before they can hear the full message…”These robo calls are a desperate, despicable, and unfortunately, predictable, attempt by the GOP to keep Democratic voters away from the polls tomorrow,” said Andrew Whalen, Executive Director of the NCDP.