Americans For Prosperity (AFP), an advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers, is being investigated for sending out forms with incorrect registration information to thousands of voters in North Carolina.
According to ThinkProgress, around 2,000 voters have called the State Board of Elections regarding confusion over an “official application form” sent by AFP which “gives voters the wrong deadline for voter registration, and directs them to send their registration documents to the wrong address.”
In a statement, AFP spokesperson Levi Russell told the Huffington Post that,
“Americans for Prosperity has registered thousands of North Carolinians to vote through this registration drive, which is a great thing for the democratic process and getting people involved. While there were a few minor administrative errors in our mailers and some old information in the data, the program has been highly successful so far. Any large mailing even with 99.9% accuracy is always going to have a few inaccurate recipients, but we’ll always be striving to make it better. Ultimately our forms are working as intended – when a resident fills out our form and sends it in consistent with our directions, they will be registered to vote, period.”
The State Board’s public information officer Joshua Lawson said that they had been receiving calls non-stop about the mailings.
“It’s unclear where [AFP] got their list, but it’s caused a lot of confusion for people in the state,” said Lawson.
It is a felony to disseminate intentionally misleading information about voting procedures in North Carolina. And while it might be almost impossible to prove AFP’s intent, a look at their stake in the upcoming NC election, combined with the fact that they’ve done this before in Wisconsin and West Virginia, should show that this was an attempt to confuse voters and keep them from the polls.
As of March 31, AFP had already spent more than $7 million in ads attacking Sen. Kay Hagan (D), according to the Washington Post. The GOP needs to pick up six seats in November to take back control of the Senate, and since low voter turnout usually benefits Republican candidates, it’s not hard to see why AFP would try and mislead the public.
“The State Board needs to thoroughly investigate these complaints to determine if the felony statute about purposeful misinformation was violated,” Bob Hall, executive director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Democracy NC, told HuffPo in a statement.
“There’s a sad tradition of misleading voters, going back to the days of Jesse Helms. At a minimum, the State Board needs to get a mailing list to see who was targeted by these mailings, interview the people involved in putting this project together, and see how the mailing fits within a multi-state campaign by Americans for Prosperity. All that will help the Board determine whether this was stupid and dangerous or also a criminal violation.”