Summary: Fraudulent emails and paper fliers sent out before Election Day tell Democrats or Republicans to vote on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
Description: Email hoax
Circulating since: Oct. 2000 (this version)
Email example contributed Oct. 26, 2000:
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 10:11 PM
To: Recipient list suppressed :
Subject: IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
Presidential Election Announcement
Due to an anticipated voter turnout much larger than originally expected, the polling facilities may not be able to handle the load all at once. Therefore, Republicans and Independents are requested to vote on Tuesday, November 7.
The Democrats will vote on Wednesday, November 8.
Please pass this message along and help us to make sure that nobody gets left out and everything will run smoothly with this minor change.
Be sure to vote!!! Know where your voting place is near you!!
2000 Presidental Election Commission
Email example contributed by Eddy, Nov. 7, 2000:
Subject: Important Election Info
Due to an anticipated voter turnout much larger than originally expected, the polling facilities may not be able to handle the load all at once. Therefore, Republicans are requested to vote on Tuesday, November 7, and Democrats and Independents on Wednesday, November 8. Please pass this message along and help us to make sure that nobody gets left out.
2000 Presidential Election Commission
Comments: Despite some controversy over the issue of whether these emails were sent out as a prank or were part of a serious plot to defraud potential voters, officials in California where the messages were first sighted were quick to debunk their contents.
"We're just trying to repeat the message that Nov. 7 is the day for everyone to vote," Secretary of State Bill Jones told the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 20. Precinct registrars began fielding calls about the hoax last week.
If caught, the perpetrator(s) could be charged with felony voter fraud, punishable by up to three years in prison.
Commenting on the earliest version of the message, which targeted Democrats, a Republican Party official said he first took it to be a joke, adding that it could be "very serious" if people believed it to be true.
A Democratic Party spokesperson characterized the hoax as a "last-minute dirty trick."
Sources and further reading:
Email Hoax Tries to Give GOP a Lift
Los Angeles Times, 31 October 2000
Email Hoax Targets Democrats
Las Vegas Sun, 2 November 2000
Email Attempts to Disrupt Voting
Charleston Gazette, 2 November 2000
Fake Election Day Emails Cause Problems
[i[St. Louis Post Dispatch, 2 November 2000
Last updated; 10/28/08