Fliers that falsely said people could vote for Hillary Clinton just by posting to social media were found in Michigan State University buildings on Monday.
University officials instructed facility supervisors on Election Day to walk through their buildings to find and remove the fliers, fearing they “could dissuade voters from following legitimate voting procedures,” Daniel Bollman, associate vice president for strategic infrastructure planning and facilities, said in an email distributed 2:16 p.m. Tuesday.
“I saw 20 or so copies tacked to the walls in Wells Hall yesterday,” said Emily Schlansker, a 19-year-old sophomore at MSU. “I felt very angry at these signs. The person who put these signs up was trying to trick people out of their right to vote. Tactics like this which aim to confuse voters have no place in a democracy.”
Because Emily did not have a social media account, her sister Katie put a picture of one of the fliers on her Facebook account. The picture received more than 180 shares and was noticed by East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks.
“I was first made aware of these signs by our county clerk, Barb Byrum, and through one of the candidates on the ballot for the school board who I know through Facebook, believe it or not,” Wicks said. “I made it very clear that, first of all, voter suppression of any kind is absolutely unacceptable.”
The scam drew ire from the MSU Board of Trustees as well. Vice President and Secretary of the Board Bill Beekman was made aware of the signs late last night. “We received an e-mail from Trustee Dianne Byrum, sent to her by County Clerk Barb Byrum, that showed an image of an alleged poster that stated that a person could vote from home,” said Beekman. “Frankly, you’d have to be a pretty naïve person to fall for the poster, but it is possible that some of our first-time voters might not know better.”
Beekman later said that their communications team has tweeted about the false nature of the poster. He also said that people are busy taking them down around campus.
Upon searching “Hillary #PresidentialElection” on Twitter, the Spartan Newsroom found that only a handful of users had tweeted that on Tuesday. In response to those tweets, two bots, by the handles of @scamguard2016 and @truthteller2432, had replied to all those tweets, stating that the fliers were a hoax. The bots included links spelling out correct voting procedures.
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