Who Would Call and Tell Voters to 'Relax'?

The writer of a robocall telling voters in areas with high percentages of black voters that  "everything is fine" says his message was "counterintuitive."

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robocall
Julius Henson (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun staff)

On Election Day 2011, about 110,000 voters in Maryland's Baltimore and Prince George's County -- two jurisdictions with high percentages of black residents --- got a call that seemed to encourage them to stay in and watch TV instead of voting because everything was "fine."

"Hello. I'm calling to let everybody know that Governor O'Malley and President Obama have been successful," the voice on the call played for the jury says. "Our goals have been met. The polls were correct, and we took it back. We're OK. Relax. Everything's fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight. Congratulations, and thank you," the message said.

Julius Henson, a consultant for former Maryland Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich's 2010 campaign, is charged with trying to suppress voter turnout with the call (oh, and he's black, by the way). But when he testified Monday that he wrote the Election Day robocall, he said it was actually meant to be a "counterintuitive" effort to motivate voters in the final hours of the election.

"In my mind I wrote the call to stimulate voting activity between 6 and 8 p.m.," he said. "At that late hour I wanted to write something that was counterintuitive."

The only things that's "counterintuitive" about this story is that "I meant the exact opposite of what I said" was the best explanation Henson could come up with to explain this transparent tactic.

Read more at the Washington Post.                                                         

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