North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp endorsed a Facebook ad paid for by the North Dakota Democratic Party despite the fact that it makes a false claim and is apparently designed to keep certain people from voting.
The endorsement came as Heitkamp is trailing her Republican challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, in her bid for reelection, Fox News reported.
The ad in question appeared to discourage voters who have out of state hunting licenses from voting, saying that they might lose their licenses if they vote in Tuesday’s election.
The ads, which appeared on a Facebook page called Hunter Alerts that was created on Oct 31, began running on Nov 1.
“ATTENTION HUNTERS: If you vote in North Dakota, you may forfeit hunting licenses you have in other states. If you want to keep your out-of-state hunting licenses, you may not want to vote in North Dakota,” the advertisement said.
“If you want to keep your out-of-state hunting licenses, you may not want to vote in North Dakota,” the ad said, linking to a webpage with a similarly sinister warning on the North Dakota Democratic–Nonpartisan League Party website.
“By voting in North Dakota, you could forfeit your hunting licenses. You MUST be a resident of North Dakota to vote here. And if you are a resident of North Dakota, you may lose hunting licenses you have in other states,” the website reads.
According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, political blogger Rob Port first broke this story, and in his investigation contacted Secretary of State Al Jaeger and asked if he had heard of that claim before.
Jaeger said that he had not.
“A question like what you have needs to be directed to the Game & Fish Department,” Jaeger said. “I doubt that there’s any connection.”
A spokesman for North Dakota Gaming and Fish told the Port the same: “We’ve never heard of that.”
Even the left-leaning PolitiFact gave the North Dakota Democratic advertisement a “pants on fire” rating.
When asked about the ad, Heitkamp stuck by her endorsement, and told a reporter that it is “really important that people understand the consequences of voting.”
Heitkamp also said she believes the ad is true. “Voting means you are a resident, it means you pay taxes here, it means that if you want a residential hunting license in Minnesota, it means you’re not going to get that, if you vote here,” Heitkamp said.
MIT Election Data research director Cameron Wimpy said he believes the ad is an intentional act of voter suppression, according to PolitiFact.
“I do absolutely think it is voter suppression to try and trick folks this way,” Wimpy said.
Fox News reported that North Dakota’s Republican Party slammed the Democrats for pushing the falsehood.
“Heidi Heitkamp is using her anti-Kavanaugh campaign coffers to suppress voter turnout in North Dakota,” Jake Wilkins, the North Dakota GOP spokesman, told Fox News, adding she’s “made it clear that she only cares about winning re-election, not helping her constituents.”
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