SANFORD, Fla. – As the Nov. 3 general election approaches, many Central Floridians have been receiving text messages on their mobile devices soliciting donations for political candidates, offering assistance with mail-in ballots or inquiring about voter registration status.
“I actually got a text message from a third-party group saying someone at my residence was not registered to vote,” said Chris Anderson, who is certain he and his family are properly registered.
The political group that sent the text message apparently did not realize Anderson is Seminole County’s Supervisor of Elections.
Anderson said he and his staff have received numerous complaints from voters who have received text messages like the one sent to him, along with political emails, phone calls and mailers.
Some of the political text messages reviewed by News 6 appear to be legitimate.
One text message, reportedly sent by a Chicago-based political action committee that supports a presidential candidate, encouraged a Seminole County resident to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.
The text message included a clickable link to the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections website.
Anderson, who was unfamiliar with that particular text message, is warning voters to be cautious when responding to a political text message or opening an unfamiliar website that could attempt to steal the user’s personal information.
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“Do your research. Know what you’re actually getting involved with,” Anderson said. “The last thing you want is to become the victim of some type of fraud.”
Robert Pendarvis said he typically receives several political text messages on his phone every day, including one that reportedly offered to assist with voter registration for a fee.
“It definitely is fraudulent because they started asking for credit card information,” Pendarvis said. “It doesn’t make sense. Why do they want credit card information to register you to vote when that is free?”
Like Anderson, Lundi Campbell said she also received a text message erroneously claiming she was not registered to vote.
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“Don’t do it,” said Campbell, who is advising others not to respond to such text messages. “Go to a place you know, like a government facility, to register to vote.”
Based on elections officials' warnings and cases of people receiving questionable political text messages, News 6 gives all political text messages a “Be Careful” on its Trust Index.
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