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Board of Elections: Beware of 'Vote by Phone' Scam

Virginia State Board of Elections says scammers solicit votes over the phone.

The Virginia State Board of Elections said Friday voters — particularly older Virginians — are receiving phone calls from unidentified individuals informing them they can vote over the phone. 

"This information is false," the SBE said in a release. "Virginia law does not permit voting through the telephone. Apart from voting at the polls on Election Day, eligible Virginians may vote an absentee ballot by mail or in-person at the registrar’s office or other authorized satellite location."

SBE said it was not clear how widespread the scam calls had been. Voting cannot be done via the phone, email, or any other means than absentee voting by mail and in-person during the absentee voting period or on Election Day, the board said.

"These calls may violate several state and federal laws and the State Board of Elections will alert appropriate law enforcement authorities  regarding this matter and provide new information if SBE receives additional voter complaints," SBE said in a release. 

If you receive a call matching this description, SBE recommends asking for the name, phone number, and organization from where the individual is calling. Then, contact the State Board of Elections at 800-552-9745 and provide a staff member with that information.

John Smith October 14, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Assuming this alleged scam is for real (a rather big assumption, I'd hope) the only logical motivation for it would be to thwart legitimate votes by the people being scammed. Are the people who claim to have been approached by these scammers all registered Democrats or all Registered Republicans? This might offer a clue as to who is behind it, again assuming it's for real. Frankly, if anyone is foolish enough to fall for such a blatant scam, maybe it's just as well that their vote not be counted? It certainly wouldn't speak highly for their intelligence or good judgement.
Carol Lewis October 14, 2012 at 01:41 PM
John, it's not such a big assumption. There have been other attempts to dissuade people from voting on election day, such as telling them that if they voted in the primaries they don't have to vote again, or giving them the wrong date to vote. It's done on both sides. And those who might assume it's true aren't always foolish - they may be elderly people who might welcome the chance to "vote by phone" rather than go out, they might be young first-time voters for whom doing anything by phone is a good deal. A good percentage of people in this country don't know who the vice president is, don't know when election day is, don't know where to vote, don't know a lot about government, unfortunately. But they still have the right to vote and to honest good information. There is no intelligence test for voting. Please don't be so hard on those who don't or can't see this as a scam.

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