Suggesting Brian Williams and the producers of NBC Nightly News assume a significant portion of their viewership is pretty dumb, the newscast began a story about how, as Williams fretted, “number of rumors and myths and threats that might keep some people away from the polls this year,” by highlighting a flyer, riddled with glaring misspellings and non-words, which made a false announcement about the date to vote. Rehema Ellis, who asserted voter “anxiety is valid,” intoned: “In Virginia, an official-looking flier is on the Internet saying, 'Republicans vote on November 4th and Democrats on November 5th.'” Ellis then decided she had to explain the obvious: “Not true. Tuesday, November 4th, is election day for everyone.”
For expert comment, Ellis turned to Jonah Goldman of Election Protection, a group partnered with a who's who of left-wing groups, including NBC News and MSNBC. (After her story, Williams plugged Election Protection to answer view concerns about “voting problems or problems at the polls.”) Goldman worried: “New voters aren't as familiar with the way that elections run, and because of that, they're more vulnerable to these types of misinformation.” Amongst the “rumors and outright misinformation aimed at holding down voter turnout” which Ellis proceeded to fact check: “Outstanding parking tickets make you ineligible to vote” and: “Can voters dealing with home foreclosure lose the right to vote?”
An article in Tuesday's Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, which ignited left-wing bloggers, “Phony flier says Virginians vote on different days,” reported:
The somewhat official-looking flier -- it features the state board logo and the state seal -- is dated Oct. 24 and indicates that "an emergency session of the General Assembly has adopted the follwing (sic) emergency regulations to ease the load on local electorial (sic) precincts and ensure a fair electorial process."
Check the posted newspaper story for an image of the flyer, or click here.
The intro and start of the story on the Wednesday, October 29 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: It is estimated one in nine voters have already cast their votes in early voting in 32 states. Turnout, by all accounts, is robust, record-breaking in some spots. But there's also a downside, a number of rumors and myths and threats that might keep some people away from the polls this year. So tonight we try to cut through the confusion. Our own Rehema Ellis reports on making your vote count.
REHEMA ELLIS: In this historic election, more than 15 million Americans have already voted in 32 states. As turnout grows, so do concerns.
MAN ON STREET: It's my first time. I don't know what to expect.
ELLIS: The anxiety is valid. In Virginia, an official-looking flier is on the Internet saying, “Republicans vote on November 4th and Democrats on November 5th.” Not true. Tuesday, November 4th, is election day for everyone.
JONAH GOLDMAN, ELECTION PROTECTION: New voters aren't as familiar with the way that elections run, and because of that, they're more vulnerable to these types of misinformation.
ELLIS: While it's true voting rules differ from state to state, authorities say rumors and outright misinformation aimed at holding down voter turnout are creating lots of questions. Questions, such as, can voters dealing with home foreclosure lose the right to vote? No....