Over the weekend, Kansas voters received mysterious phone calls claiming to be informing them of the proper way to vote. The calls, which appear to be exclusive to voters within the state of Kansas, tell voters that they need to “bring their voter registration card and proof of home-ownership to the polls” when they open on Wednesday, November 3 — one day after the actual election.
Following the revelation of these robo-calls, the Kansas Democratic Party called upon the state’s attorney general to open an investigation into the group running them. On Monday, Attorney General Steve Six (D) agreed to an investigation, pointing out that in his state “misleading individuals about their vote is a felony“:
Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat, opened an investigation today after reports of false and misleading election phone calls. Some Democrats have complained of receiving phone calls telling voters to go to the polls Nov. 3 — although the election is Tuesday — and giving false information about the documents voters need to cast a ballot. In Kansas, first-time voters need to only show ID.
The Attorney General’s office wouldn’t disclose details about the calls they’ve heard about. “We opened an investigation into potential voter intimidation,” said spokesman Gavin Young. “In Kansas, misleading individuals about their vote is a felony.”
Although the Kansas Democratic Party has accused the Kansas Republican Party of being linked to the group that has produced the call, the GOP is denying any association. “The Kansas Republican Party clearly identifies ourselves at the beginning of every volunteer and robo-call we originate in accordance with state laws,” said Kansas Republican Party executive director Ashley McMillan.
Wherever the robo-calls are coming from, not only are they misleading voters about what day the election is, but they are also promoting a policy of voter disenfranchisement that has its roots in the 18th century. When the United States was first founded, ownership of property was one of the requirements to vote in most elections. Many of these restrictions were phased out by the 1820s and replaced with requirements that the voter pays taxes. By 1850 these requirements, too, were phased out.