Experts warned Congress that Black voters and voters of color are targeted with misinformation which may greatly affect the outcome of the midterm elections, reported NBC News. In addition to the hurdles put in place with voting restrictions, now Black voters have been discouraged from voting due to false narratives around their power to vote.
Joi Chaney, executive director of the National Urban League’s Washington bureau, told the House Administration committee that Black communities have been facing an increased number of disinformation campaigns. Per NBC, these campaigns were through a variety of social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the 2016 election found that Black people were targeted the most out of all other groups.
More on voting misinformation from NBC:
Concerns about misinformation intersect with dozens of new state laws to further regulate voting. Since 2020, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan voting rights organization at New York University Law School, legislatures in 49 states have introduced more than 400 bills that Democrats and other critics contend would restrict access to the ballot and disproportionately affect voters of color. Republican lawmakers and supporters have said the bills are voter integrity measures.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., who chairs the subcommittee, called “misinformation, disinformation and malinformation” a “threat to our democracy and the free, fair and equitable access to the ballot every voter is entitled to.”
The practice of misinforming voters “has been weaponized and targeted at communities of color by racist and antidemocratic actors who seek to intimidate voters of color and discourage them from participating in the democratic process,” Butterfield said. “Voters of color are targeted with disinformation narratives specifically designed to appeal to each community’s concerns in ways that will alienate voters and suppress turnout.”
Luckily, Chaney shared some strategies on how to counter the issue. Both local and corporate groups must work together to fight disinformation campaigns, Chaney suggested per NBC. Additionally, social media companies need to step up to monitor those campaigns and legislation needs to be put in place to require transparency on website algorithms and content practices.
As if Black people didn’t already face enough barriers to the basic right to vote, now technology is being used to turn them away from the polls. Along with the recent redistricting maps, election police and new rules to using mail-in ballots, it is becoming increasingly obvious that someone doesn’t want Black people to vote.