Voter Suppression: 'Dem-Sponsored' Ad Threatens Hunters Who Cast Ballots
A series of political advertisements threatening North Dakota hunters appeared on Facebook days before the election.
According to information on the ads, they were purchased by the North Dakota Democratic-NPL.
North Dakota blogger Rob Port broke the story after his readers noticed the posts and alerted him about it.
Facebook advertising data has proven easily to manipulate when it comes to showing who actually paid for a given spot. However, if Democrats are behind it, as Port noted, it wouldn’t be the first time Democrats have attempted to trick voters in the state, either.
Last week, Port detailed a Democratic mailer campaign designed to confuse voters by promoting a last-minute independent candidate. But that trickery is nothing compared to the stunt on Facebook directed toward hunters.
The ads are currently listed as inactive on a Facebook database. A message on the now-censored photo says “This ad was taken down because it goes against Facebook’s advertising policies.” However, the ad can still be viewed inside the database.
The text of the ad begins “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,” before linking to a page on the website of the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party, as the Democrats are known in North Dakota.
Randy Meissner, a North Dakota Game & Fish licensing manager, cast serious doubts on the ad’s claim.
“We’ve never heard of that,” he told Port.
South Dakota and Minnesota, both neighboring states of North Dakota and popular sporting destinations, don’t have such a seemingly strict rule listed on either of their official guidelines for non-resident hunters.
It’s likely that this rule doesn’t exist at all, and whoever placed the ad was simply trying to influence the election through fear and intimidation.
Facebook’s own tools show the advertisements aimed at hunters reached thousands of people.
Unfortunately, Facebook’s poor election preparation muddies the waters a bit, casting a bit of doubt on who paid for the advertisements.
The social media giant was recently exposed for a poorly functioning ad system that allowed journalists to make political ad purchases under the names of United States Senators. Although likely fixed, more exploits are sure to exist on the platform.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s midterms, it hasn’t been not just Facebook feeling the pressure.
Other tech giants like Google and Twitter are likely to come under scrutiny in the wake of the elections for their role in any misinformation and fake news. Some candidates and parties are also feeling the heat, but unfortunately turning to tricks like the false “hunter alert” Facebook ads.
The final election results will hopefully show how voters truly feel about these dirty tactics, and set the tone for the next two years of American politics.
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