Auditor says confusing texts are misleading Iowa voters

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) — An Iowa auditor is telling people to ignore text messages about absentee ballots that are stirring up some confusion for Iowa voters.

The message claims that a person’s absentee ballot is “pending” but in some cases, that person never requested an absentee in the first place or had already turned theirs in days prior.

The first text message hitting phones claims to come from President Donald Trump. It states, “Question from President Trump: Do you know where to vote TOMORROW? Find your polling place”.

It then links to a get out the vote page for President Trump.

Later, a second message states it’s from the GOP headquarters.

“Your absentee ballot is PENDING as of 11/1. You MUST submit your ballot before the deadline for it to be counted. Learn more here..,” it reads, with another link included. That link goes to the GOP website.

On a busy day for early voting at the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, the text messages have been the pain and source of confusion.

“It had spurred a lot of calls to our office people going ‘but I mailed it in the other day.’ Then, it takes us time to look up that person’s ballot and go ‘yes, we have it here it is being counted’,” Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert.

Weipert, himself, received the same text messages, despite never having filed for an absentee ballot.

He recommends people do not click on the links.

“People just might click on it confused and who knows what it will do to their cellphone at that point,” he said.

The number for the texts varies for recipients but it comes from a 515-area code. The numbers trace back to an out-of-service line.

“This is a great way to, I don’t know if to intentionally disenfranchise voters or confuse them to not show up tomorrow but we want to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Weipert said.

Weipert said voters should ignore messages like these. Instead, he said all voters should relay their information about voting through their local auditor’s office or the State Secretary’s Office.

Those that requested an absentee ballot needed to have them postmarked by November 5 to be counted. Otherwise, Weipert said, absentee voters need to bring the ballot into the auditor’s office in-person on election day.

Jalyn Souchek

Jalyn Souchek

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