THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE IDAHO ATTORNEY GENERAL, LAWRENCE G. WASDEN
Boise, Idaho – In the lead-up to Election Day, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho Bart M. Davis and Idaho’s county clerks are urging Idahoans to get their election-related information from trusted sources.
In their role overseeing local elections, Idaho clerks say they’re encountering misinformation circulating among the electorate. Much of the false or misleading information originates in social media and is often shared unchecked. Elections officials statewide are trying to push back while also managing unprecedented levels of absentee voting during a pandemic.
“We are working tirelessly not only to pull off a successful election, but to also ensure the public has confidence in the process,” Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane says. “There are already many examples of where false information has disrupted these efforts. I encourage voters to turn to official sources like IdahoVotes.gov and local resources like AdaCountyElections.com to ensure they are getting election information they can rely on.”
Wasden says misinformation in social media is especially dangerous because of its unknown sources, their motives and how quickly it can proliferate across platforms.
“False election information can come from bad actors trying to influence who votes and how they vote,” Wasden says. “This misinformation helps sow discord among voters of different parties and creates unnecessary uncertainty about the election system. Perhaps worst of all, it can also lead to some voters simply giving up and choosing not to vote.”
Officials encourage voters to treat information from unofficial sources with a healthy amount of skepticism. If something seems unusual or sensational, voters should check it out with an official source. Secretary of State Denney asks voters to contact their county clerk or his office with questions. A list of Idaho county clerks with contact information is available at https://idahovotes.gov/county-clerks/.
“Idaho’s elections are run by 44 elected county clerks with oversight by the Secretary of State,” says Lawerence Denney, Idaho’s chief election official. “It’s only logical, then, that Idahoans’ trusted source of information on elections should start in the same place – with their local clerk. The more we can keep the disinformation from spreading by checking details at the source, the better election we can run for Idaho.”
Elections officials say Idaho’s system is safe and reliable. County clerks rely on strong laws enacted by the state legislature to administer elections. Election officials say this results in a uniform system across the state that Idahoans can be confident in.
On the federal level, U.S. Attorney Davis recently named three Assistant U.S. Attorneys to oversee the handling of election fraud complaints and voting rights concerns in consultation with the U.S. Justice Department in Washington D.C. The move, Davis says, was to help protect the integrity of Idaho’s election process.
“There are elements in our society that may wish to influence the election by spreading misinformation through social media and otherwise,” Davis says. “Citizens must stay vigilant and resist these efforts by seeking accurate information only from trusted, official sources. I strongly encourage citizens to report any sources of information about the election that they find suspicious to the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office or their respective county clerk.”
In addition to local and state resources, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency has also developed an online tool to help voters understand what’s rumor vs. reality.
Additional Media Contacts:
Cassie Fulghum, U.S. Attorney’s Office: [email protected]
Chad Houck, Idaho Secretary of State’s Office: [email protected]; 208-334-2862
Chelsea Carattini, Ada County Clerk’s Office: [email protected]