Source of wrong Iowa election-day texts revealed

posted by Sue Danielson -

DES MOINES, Iowa-  Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says the source of text messages, sent to Iowa voters with incorrect polling place information was the Abby Finkenauer campaign.   

She was a candidate for Congress in Iowa's First District, and won her race.

Pate says the campaign and its vendor fully cooperated with the investigation, and a correction was sent to voters.

Pate says it appears the text messages were the result of  a data management error and not malicious in nature.

The Secretary of State's Office first learned of the issue late Monday evening, June 4th.

Pate says while some voters outside of Iowa’s First Congressional District received the erroneous text messages, he confirms the known cases were due to a data match error that occurred within the Finkenauer campaign’s files.

“I encourage all Iowans to utilize the polling place look up tool on our website, sos.iowa.gov,” Secretary Pate said. “Moving forward, I also encourage candidates to include an attribution statement in all messages sent to voters. The inclusion of an attribution statement makes it easier for voters to contact a campaign if issues arise.”


Statement from Finkenauer campaign manager Joe Farrell on erroneous text messages:

As part of our efforts to engage voters and increase participation in this election, our campaign sent out text messages on Monday reminding voters of election day and where they go to vote.  When we heard that there might have been a problem with texts from our campaign, we took immediate action.  We contacted our vendor to start investigating how this might have occurred and who may have been impacted. We then sent out a text asking voters to check their polling location with the Secretary of State's office and provided a link to the polling location finder.

We then contacted the Secretary of State's office to let them know we were aware of an error and we're working with our vendor to investigate what might have gone wrong. Our understanding is that a few dozen people were sent inaccurate polling locations unintentionally.  

Our campaign never intended to misdirect any voter and we are deeply disturbed this happened. We apologize for the confusion this might have caused any voters.  We hope the text with the link to the Secretary of State's website averted anyone from going to the wrong polling location.  We are taking corrective steps to ensure this never happens again.  We sincerely apologize for this error.



Iowa Primary UPDATE: Text messages with wrong info were campaign mistake
Iowa Primary UPDATE: Text messages with wrong info were campaign mistake

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