The robocall company at the center of a massive voter-suppression scheme has agreed to a settlement in the state of New York, but the fight is far from over. Thousands of New Yorkers were the target of specific (and fraudulent) messages were meant to specifically keep certain voters from casting their ballot. Here's what we know.

Voter Suppression in New York State

Nobody likes a robocall ("calling about your car's extended warranty", anyone?), but a plan to target and intimidate New York voters is especially heinous, says New York Attorney General Letitia James. In a press release characterizing the illegal calls as a "reprehensible" threat to democracy, James described the robocalls in detail.

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New York State Attorney General Responds to Voter Intimidation

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) says that two men, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, contracted Message Communications, Inc. to send out automated calls to over 5,000 black voters in New York State in an attempt to dissuade them from voting by mail. According to the OAG, the calls used many false scare-tactics to keep voters from participating in the 2020 election.

Screenshot from MessageCommunications.com
Screenshot from MessageCommunications.com
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False Vote-by-Mail Claims

"Did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts?" The calls dishonestly claimed. "The CDC is even pushing to use records for mail-in voting to track people for mandatory vaccines. Don’t be finessed into giving your private information to the man, stay safe and beware of vote by mail", it continued. the OAG stressed that these statements are plainly not true.

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"Voting is our most basic democratic right, and we will not allow anyone to threaten that right for any group of people in this country", asserted James. As part of the settlement with Message Communications, Inc, the robocall company agreed to send out a new voting message to be approved by a "non-partisan voter rights organization" to help reverse the damage done by the original calls. Message Communications will also pay $50,000 to be shared by the eligible voters targeted by the calls, amongst other agreements. The case against the creators of the plan, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, is still underway.

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