Voter Suppression Hoax Sweeps Across Social Media

If you're a student of American political history, then you know all too well just how far some people will go to suppress the vote of their political opposition. Especially nowadays ― whether it's statistically unnecessary voter ID laws that disenfranchise low-income and minority voters, or attempts to intimidate people at the voting booth with so called "poll watchers," people are playing dirty. And that extends to the world of social media, too, so remember: You can't vote by text message, no matter what some slick graphic you see on Twitter tells you.

The hoax looks impressively professional, like something that truly could've come out of one of Hillary Clinton's campaign ads. It's possible you've seen one of them, images circulating on Twitter insisting that you can avoid those Election Day lines by simply voting via text message.

This isn't true, and not by a long shot ― there is no state in the union where you can vote in a political election by text. Rather, it's a deliberate effort by hoaxers who support Donald Trump to drive down Clinton's turnout on Election Day. There's even one in Spanish, specifically geared towards convincing her Latino supporters (who could end up deciding the election) to stay home on Nov. 8.

Basically, if you see any of these voter suppression memes going around, make sure to reply to them explaining that they're false, because you wouldn't want anyone to be duped by such deliberate, malicious misinformation. For what it's worth, some people have been reporting the deceptive tweets, and although at least one person received a reply suggesting that they weren't violations of Twitter's terms of service, CEO Jack Dorsey jumped in to thank them, and stated that the problem was "fixed."

In other words, if you see one of these going around, make sure you report it, because Twitter is trying to take them down. This is the rare instance when even a relatively anonymous user of social media can make a difference in fighting back against gross political malfeasance.

It's a sad enough fact on its own that the 2016 election features one campaign that's been so deliberately inflammatory and horrible to whole groups of people ― people of color in particular, especially Latinos. It's worse yet that rather than trying to address their huge deficits with Latino voters through genuine outreach, or policy brainstorming, that the campaign's supporters seem eager to win by deception and disenfranchisement. It's as ugly as it gets, but that makes sense ― the Trump candidacy has, by virtually any measure, been the ugliest presidential run in modern American history.