Phone Campaign Ad Sends out False Information

October 29, 2018 08:58 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- With just over a week left until Election Day, candidates across the state are ramping up campaign efforts.

Stretching or slanting the truth can be seen in several campaign ads on TV. Sending out false information though, especially when it might impact whether a voter cast's their ballot, is a concern.


Jeff Johnson’s campaign team has come under scrutiny for a recent phone ad.

A Kasson resident received a voice mail over the weekend that said: “Hi, this is Nathan and I am calling to remind you to turn in your mail-in ballot and to ask for your vote for Jeff Johnson to be our next Governor. Since you live in a vote by mail only precinct, you should have received a ballot already. Mailing it in as soon as possible will make a huge difference and help the entire Republican team win in November … Oh, and because I am volunteering for the campaign, I am supposed to say this call is paid and prepared for by ‘Johnson for Governor’.”

Some townships with less than 400 registered voters are holding elections by mail instead of at polling stations.

But the claim Kasson is in a "vote by mail only" precinct is false.

“You can vote by mail, it wouldn't be necessarily by mail but it’s absentee voting,” said Sara Marquardt, the Election Administrator for Dodge County, “but we have no mail-only precincts in Dodge County at this time.”

ABC 6 reached out to Jeff Johnson’s campaign team. They told us they already knew about the incident in Kasson but said there was only one resident in the community who received this phone call.

Still, Marquardt says sending out these campaign recordings without due diligence is irresponsible and can lead to confusion. “I'm a little concerned that it's been out there. You never know what calls are going out but when they are giving false information, a lot of people … especially elderly people will believe what’s told to them over the phone and go with that.”

Marquardt doesn't want any eligible voter to be deterred from casting their ballot. “We want to get people out to vote. We want them to be informed. They can go on either through our website or through the secretary of state’s website and if they are not sure what's on their ballot, there’s a ‘What’s on my Ballot?’ page that they can go to. It's also in the papers.”

Dodge County’s absentee voting office is located inside the Government Center in Manorville.

It’s open Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For information on where to vote on Election Day, click here

Disclaimer; the person we got the campaign voicemail from is married to an ABC 6 employee.   


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