With concerns about voter fraud and suppression mounting in the lead-up to Election Day, officials from the Indiana Democratic Party reportedly admitted to sending text messages directing roughly 2,000 voters to the wrong polling place.
According to the Indianapolis Star, officials from the Indiana Democratic Party and a nonpartisan voter advocacy organization acknowledged the error Monday, blaming a database problem that led to a glitch. The party reportedly sent more than 400,000 text messages to likely Democratic voters using phone numbers received through voter registration files.
Drew Anderson, a spokesman for the party, said the text messages with the wrong polling locations were sent to about 2,000 registered Indiana voters, according to the report. However, at least one Republican, City-County Councilman Jeff Miller, claimed he also received a text with incorrect polling place information despite always voting in Republican primaries.
In response, Anderson clarified that the text messages were sent to “Hoosiers who were likely to support our candidates.”
The Indiana Democratic Party’s initial text messages informed voters that “Election Day is Tuesday” and offered the incorrect polling place information, according to the Indianapolis Star.
“Make your plan NOW to vote,” the message read. “Polls are open from 6am-6pm on Tuesday Nov. 8. Your polling place is [POLLING LOCATION AND ADDRESS].”
The party’s subsequent message claimed the "election is TIED" and directed voters to find their polling place at www.indianavoters.com.
A nonpartisan voter advocacy organization, Vote.org, also sent out mass texts to remind voters of Tuesday’s election. Some of those texts also included incorrect polling place information.
Concerns over voter fraud and suppression have been heightened during the current election cycle. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly stoked concerns about alleged large-scale voter fraud, speculating about a potentially “rigged” election.
Initial reports about Monday’s text messages led election officials to contact law enforcement. The texts were ultimately forward to the Marion County prosecutor’s office, the Indianapolis Metrolitan Police Department and the U.S. attorney’s office, according to the report.
“We are aware of those text messages and would encourage all individuals to report those incidents to our offices or to local law enforcement agency or the State Police or the FBI,” Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, told the Indianapolis Star.
A similar case recently played out in Missouri’s Johnson County, KMIZ-TV reported. In that case, an unknown phone number gave the wrong polling location to a resident. As a result, county clerks across the state reminded voters to double-check their polling places.
This isn't the first case of alleged voter fraud coming out of Indiana. Last month, Indiana State Police raided the offices of a liberal voter registration group, alleging fraud in 56 counties. However, the voter registration group, Patriot Majority USA, accused State Police and the Indiana secretary of state’s office of trying to suppress the vote, according to the Indianapolis Star.