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Residents Report Concerns About Possible Voter "Scam"

Town Clerk says it's not quite a scam, but not it's not quite right, either.

Responding to reports that prospective voters have been approached by an organization inviting them to "vote online," Town Clerk Claudia Weber said the outreach campaign is not quite a "scam," but some of the information being offered is not completely accurate.

"People have been stopping into the office to express concern over telephone calls that they've received in which they are directed to a website where they believe they're being told they can vote online," Weber told Patch.

She said Rep. John Hetherington, the registrar of voters and Republican Campaign Headquarters have received similar calls from concerned residents.

Weber said the callers identify themselves as part of The Legacy Foundation. They direct prospective voters to a password protected website for an organization called Democracy Depends on You! 

"Once they get onto the site, they're actually invited to request an application for an absentee ballot," Weber said.  Applying for an absentee ballot is legal. Weber says the problem is the language on the site.

With a password provided by the caller, prospective voters see the following message:

As you know, our Democracy depends on Americans from every part of our great country exercising their right to vote. Few elections have generated the enthusiasm of the election to be held this November 2nd.

 For a multitude of reasons, you can avoid the long lines at the polls and vote early from the comfort of your own home. 

 Download and complete your application for absentee voting now.

"There are only certain reasons to vote by absentee," Weber said. "Wanting to avoid lines is not one of them. You can vote by absentee ballot if you are going to be absent during voting hours, bcause of illness or physical disability, if you are in service in the armed forces, if your religion forbids secular activity on that day, or if your required performance as an election official precludes you from getting to your polling place to vote."

Patch was shown the Democracy Depends on You! website homepage, which provides no address or phone number. The site says it is "Paid for by the Alliance for America's Future – not affiliated with LongDistanceVoter.com". 

The Alliance for America's Future homepage says its mission is "dedicated to educating and advocating sound economic and security policies that will foster growth, prosperity, and peace for America's future."

There is no further information about or access to the website.

Weber said anyone with questions about absentee voting procedures should call the Town Clerk's office at 203-594-3070.

Claudia Weber October 29, 2010 at 04:32 PM
The mystery is solved! I found more information about the Alliance for America's Future made in a CBS Political Hotsheet post found at: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20018901-503544.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody
Sheryl Shaker October 29, 2010 at 07:26 PM
Thanks for this post. According to the article, Mary Cheney "oversees" Alliance for America's Future, as well as two other groups that together are "budgeted to spend $10 to $15 million in the 2010 campaign cycle."
debra cleaver October 29, 2010 at 11:03 PM
hello, this is debra cleaver from long distance voter (www.longdistancevoter.org). we would just like to reiterate that we are NOT affiliated with democracy depends on you. they've implicated us in their shenanigans before (most recently in South Dakota) and we are not happy with them in general. unfortunately we have no control over which groups link to us. here's more on voter sheninigans in general: http://www.longdistancevoter.org/5-reasons-to-be-wary-of-mailers here's an open letter we wrote to the RNC: http://www.longdistancevoter.org/open-letter-to-the-rnc
Sheryl Shaker October 29, 2010 at 11:47 PM
The Alliance for America's Future website has a disclaimer stating that they are not affiliated with longdistancevoter.org, and that is in the original piece. What do you mean they've "implicated" you "in their shenanigans"?
debra cleaver October 30, 2010 at 12:05 AM
they were doing something with robocalls in SD, which directed people to their site. there was no identifying information on the site at all (no footer at the time). there were three top level links: home, refer a friend, and learn more. learn more lead directly to www.longdistancevoter.org, so everyone who visited democracy depends on you thought we were behind the site. we insisted that they remove the "learn more" link and include an actual footer identify the site as a project of the alliance for america's future and clarifying that our two groups are not affiliated. feel free to check out the warning we posted on our home page about this: www.longdistancevoter.org
Carl October 30, 2010 at 05:42 PM
Carl from Long Distance Voter here. Just to add to Debra's points: the disclaimer, which intentionally or not misrepresents our URL as a .com, was only added after I insisted on threat of legal action that they stop linking to us in such a way that it looked like their site was the work of Long Distance Voter. It's kind of maddening though: it no longer makes sense to mention that we are not affiliated, since they kindly removed the "MORE INFORMATION" tab that linked to us. The bottom line is, I don't know who these people are, no one does; they clearly want it that way; yet they ask for lots of personal information, without explaining why or what will be done with that information. We at LDV are proud of our transparency (our about page [http://www.longdistancevoter.org/about] tells you who we are, how we gather information, who we work with, etc). This group abused our name to appear transparent, which is really uncool. I thought we were done with this after SD, but clearly we aren't. Sounds like their site has only gotten more secretive and shady, now requiring a password to even see it. I urge everyone, regardless of your political affiliation, to NOT give your information to any group that works this hard to make sure you to know nothing about them.

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