A company is apologizing after sending text messages to North Carolina voters that many found confusing.

The company, Movement Labs, sent text messages to voters with their early voting locations, but made it sound like that was the address for their Election Day polling site.

“We didn’t specify in our text that we were trying to encourage voters to vote early. Some voters familiar with their election day location thought we were telling them to vote on election day at an early vote location,” Movement Labs Founder Yoni Landau said in a statement.

What You Need To Know

  • A company apologized for sending confusing text messages to voters about polling sites

  • The messages had early voting site addresses, but sounded like they listed the voter's polling site for Election Day

  • The most accurate information on polling sites, sample ballots and to check the status of a ballot is the State Board of Elections Voter Search Tool

  • Early voting in North Carolina ends Nov. 5 and Election Day is Nov. 8


Article - Your Voter Guide

“This program relies on difficult-to-compile polling location data from multiple sources matched to individuals on the voter file, and we fell short of our rigorous standards with these errors,” Landau said.

The messages went to voters in North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Kansas and Illinois. The company sent the messages on behalf of Voto Latino, Black Voters Matter and Voting Futures.

“This is Myra with Voting Futures, reaching out to make sure you have what you need to vote,” reads a message sent to a voter in Durham, North Carolina.

The message lists the address of a Spectrum News 1 reporter and states, “Public records suggest you may not have voted yet (this data could be wrong, or old). If we got your address right, it looks like your vote location should be 300 North Roxboro Street.”

The text message, sent Friday, shared a picture of the Durham County Main Library, an early voting site, and listed its address.

On Tuesday morning, the company sent a second text message: “Hi, I'm Jordan w/ Voting Futures. We may have sent you a picture and address of a dropbox or early voting location, and that information may not have been correct. Please visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/vote-early-person to find the accurate information.”

The company apologized for the messages Monday.

“Our goal is to help all voters easily and legally vote at their assigned polling location with confidence. To that end, we have reached out to every voter that received a message from us to encourage them to seek accurate information from their secretary of state,” Landau said.

“As a team of grassroots organizers committed to voter integrity and democratic values, we know that mistakes like this, when the stakes are high, have a true impact. We are humbled by this and will continue to work for democratic and progressive values,” Landau said.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections said it has received questions and complaints about misleading texts and mailers, including the messages sent by Movement Labs.

“The State and county boards of elections are not sending these. They come from private political groups,” the state board said in a statement.

“Such communications have become a common get-out-the-vote tool for political organizations,” the board said. “Sometimes their data is incorrect or outdated. For example, a text message may claim that you haven’t voted when, in fact, you voted a day before receiving the text.”

The data in the messages come from public voter rolls and are sometimes combined with data like phone numbers sold by private companies.

“While we know these communications can be annoying and confusing, the purpose of most of them is to encourage voters to exercise their right to vote,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

“Elections officials share that goal and encourage voters to seek out trusted sources of elections information, including the State Board and county boards of elections,” she said.

“Do not vote twice if you get a text message saying you have not yet voted. Groups sending these texts may not be using up-to-date information about your vote. Voting twice in an election is a crime,” the state board warned.

The most up-to-date information for each voter, including polling sites, races on the ballot and the spot to check that a voter’s ballot has been counted, is on the State Board of Elections voter search tool.

Early voting in North Carolina ends at 3 p.m. Nov. 5. Election Day is Nov. 8.