07 October 2008

'Tis the Season of Election Dirty Tricks: Scaring Student Voters

Flyer Warns of Undercover Police Presence at Polls on Election Day

"It doesn't take much to discourage people from voting," said Dr. Larry Sabato, political analyst and director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"Generally when people see that, they think 'I just don't want to take a risk. I've got enough problems in my life, I think I'll just skip this one."

Raymond and Sabato say voters should be on the look out for a number of other time-honored tricks, including:

- "Push-poll" phone calls using the guise of a survey to push negative information about a candidate.

- Leaflets or emails listing the wrong date or a "rain date" for the election.

- Automated voicemail messages telling voters that the location of their polling place has changed.

- Repeated late night automated "robo-calls" with a message from a candidate.

Raymond says that some of the dirtiest – and most effective – tricks are designed to trigger a "latent bigoted reaction."


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