Campaign text messages may be unwanted, but most are legitimate

Better Call 4

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As Election Day nears, campaigns are working overtime to rally voters, through TV ads, mailers, phone calls and, now, text messages.

With cybersecurity in mind, Better Call 4 received questions about their validity.

We asked the Franklin County Board of Elections if these unwanted texts are legitimate or a cause for concern.

You might have received a flyer from politicians in previous years, but in this digital day and age, candidates are trying to reach voters through their smartphones.

A Columbus-area woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said she’s a Democrat, but received messages from the Trump campaign, telling her to request an absentee ballot.

The campaign sent one message a day, about every three days, since Sept. 7. She said she’s worried scammers are behind the screen.

However, the Franklin County Board of Elections said there is little to worry about.

“They’re just trying to activate people and get them to register or to vote by mail,” said Aaron Sellers with the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Who are “they?”

“There are groups that are funded by outside organizations, research groups,” Sellers said.

So how do those groups get cellphone numbers? According to Sellers, that information is public.

“We’re a county Board of Elections, and the information that we have is public, knowledge and information,” he said.

Sellers said it’s up to the campaigns to decide who they target.

“They might be looking for age brackets, they might be looking for demographics, male, female, that type of thing,” he said.

But if you still have reservations about the sender and the content, you do have options.

“If there’s something that you get that you’re just not sure of, certainly, reach out to us,” Sellers said.

Another thing you can do to put an end to those text messages is to vote early.

The Board of Elections said once your ballot is cast, campaigns will turn their focus to people who have not yet voted.

Early voting started Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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