Investigation Underway into Fake Biden Robocall Urging New Hampshire Democrats to Skip Primary Voting
The New Hampshire attorney general’s office has launched an investigation into a fraudulent robocall impersonating President Joe Biden, urging recipients not to vote in the Tuesday presidential primary. The call, which mimics or digitally alters the president’s voice, claims that voting on Tuesday only serves to support Republicans in their efforts to re-elect Donald Trump.
In response to the incident, the attorney general’s office issued a statement expressing concerns about the apparent artificial generation of the message and characterizing it as an “unlawful attempt” at disrupting the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election. They advised voters to disregard the content of the message.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by a prominent New Hampshire Democrat, whose personal cell phone number appeared on the caller ID of those receiving the robocall. The message, starting with a familiar Biden phrase, encourages recipients to save their votes for the November election, asserting that voting on Tuesday would contribute to the Republicans’ aim of electing Donald Trump again.
The robocall concludes with a phone number belonging to Kathy Sullivan, a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair running a super PAC supporting the campaign to encourage Democrats to write in Biden’s name in the primary.
Notably, Joe Biden’s name does not appear on Tuesday’s ballot due to the primary date set by state election officials ahead of South Carolina’s on Feb. 3, the first sanctioned contest of the 2024 nominating race under new Democratic National Committee rules. However, local supporters initiated a late write-in effort to garner support for Biden and emphasize the Granite State’s centurylong tradition of hosting the nation’s first primary.
Kathy Sullivan, who received calls about the robocall, expressed disbelief at the situation and questioned how her number was associated with it. A volunteer for the write-in effort recorded the call and shared it with organizers, though it remains unclear how many voters received the robocall and which demographics were targeted. Sullivan emphasized that the intention behind the robocall appears to be harming Joe Biden, though the identity of the responsible party remains unclear.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Robocalls
Q1: What is a robocall?
A1: A robocall is an automated telephone call that delivers a pre-recorded message to a large number of people simultaneously. These calls can be used for various purposes, including political campaigns, telemarketing, and public service announcements.
Q2: How do robocalls work?
A2: Robocalls use computerized autodialers to deliver pre-recorded messages to a list of phone numbers. The process is automated, allowing the sender to reach a large audience quickly and efficiently.
Q3: Are all robocalls illegal?
A3: Not all robocalls are illegal. Some are legitimate and serve informational or business purposes. However, illegal robocalls, such as those involving scams, impersonation, or attempts at fraud, violate regulations and can result in penalties.
Q4: How can I stop receiving unwanted robocalls?
A4: You can take several steps to reduce unwanted robocalls, including registering your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, using call-blocking apps, and being cautious about sharing your phone number online.
Q5: Can I block all robocalls?
A5: While it’s challenging to block all robocalls completely, call-blocking apps, features on some smartphones, and services provided by phone carriers can help filter and minimize the number of unwanted calls you receive.
Q6: What should I do if I receive an illegal or fraudulent robocall?
A6: If you receive a robocall that seems illegal or fraudulent, do not provide any personal information. Hang up immediately and report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your phone carrier. Additionally, consider adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry.
Q7: Can robocalls be used for voter suppression?
A7: Unfortunately, yes. Robocalls have been used for malicious purposes, including attempts at voter suppression. If you receive a suspicious robocall with misinformation about elections or voting, report it to the relevant authorities, such as your state attorney general’s office.
Q8: What action can authorities take against illegal robocalls?
A8: Authorities, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the FTC, have the power to impose fines and penalties on individuals and organizations responsible for illegal robocalls. Law enforcement agencies may also investigate and prosecute those involved in fraudulent or malicious robocall activities.
Q9: How do I verify the authenticity of a political robocall?
A9: Be cautious when receiving political robocalls. Verify the information from credible sources, and if in doubt, contact the political campaign directly. Legitimate political robocalls should comply with relevant regulations and provide accurate information.
Q10: Is it possible to trace the origin of a robocall?
A10: Tracing the origin of a robocall can be challenging due to technology that allows for caller ID spoofing. However, authorities may use their resources to investigate and identify the responsible parties in cases of illegal or fraudulent robocalls.