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May 01, 2008

Facing South on the North Carolina robo-calls

Chris Kromm and his team at Facing South have been doing a phenomenal job investigating robo-calls in North Carolina perpetrated by a secretive but very well-funded group called Women's Voices Women's Votes.

Recently, Facing South learned that North Carolina voters were getting automated messages from a person calling himself "Lamont Williams" who urged voters to send in their voter registration materials. The calls were associated with the mailing of 276,000 voter registration kits to North Carolina voters. Unfortunately the reminder calls came out after the registration deadline for the upcoming primary had passed.

Many of these people were already registered to vote. As you might expect, these calls created a lot of confusion among voters who assumed they had registered and suddenly got a disembodied voice implying they weren't.

One might assume this was an innocent mistake, but the behind the calls turns out to have disseminated inaccurate voter information in multiple states. Page Gardner of Women's Voices Women's Votes says the whole thing was just a misguided attempt to register women voters. Somehow they ended up targeting a fair number of people who were neither women, nor unregistered, and telling them to do things that couldn't possibly help them register. WVWV also forgot to identify itself as the sponsor of these calls. Finally, they forgot to specify whether submitting one's application now would register someone for the primary or the general election, if indeed they weren't registered already.


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If "Women's Voices Women's Votes" were trying to help people to register, then they would have been PROUD, and would have insisted that the robo-calls clearly state their name.

The lack of their name in these calls suggests they were ashamed of doing something slimy, like misleading people into thinking they couldn't vote.

I might willing to give them the benefit of the doubt if these robo-calls were done all-at-once instead of in one state, then another, then another.

I speak from some experience when I say that it costs a fucking boatload of money, from setup and thru execution, to do a combination mailing and robocall campaign targeting 276,000 voters. That is one very expensive "misguided" attempt. A "non-profit" organization that committed such a "mistake" would see heads roll and/or would see its funding dry up pronto. Especially since NC wasn't the only state in which WVWV did the exact same thing.

Eric's right. If WVWV's efforts were in fact devoted to the laudable cause of registering women voters, they'd say it loud and proud. There would be no reason for them to be "secretive" about it.

I for one would really like to know what specific demographic(s) these WVWV campaigns targeted.

Andrew Sullivan Is A Fraud

How are they being "secretive"?

They didn't identify themselves as the sponsors of the call. That's secretive in my book.

Agree. But it's business as usual.

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