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You may have noticed a series of ads by American Crossroads that often run in what I assume is the premium ad space at the top of this site, or top right sidebar.  They urge you to vote against the Democrat, McAuliffe, or for the R, Cuccinelli, but also feature prominently the admonition to vote early, and promote a link to information about early voting.

But when you follow that link, you find a tool that pretends to help you find the nearest location for early voting, but actually gives misleading information abut these locations.

Should dKos be running advertising that helps suppress the vote?

The tool in question prompts you to enter your zip code, then displays a map of nearby voting locations.  But if you enter my, Fairfax County, zip code, 20191, you get a map with nine locations, only one of which is correct.  Go to the other eight, and you'll just get a run-around.

The correct information, which I supply for comparison purposes and to redirect Fairfax County voters to where and when they should go to vote early, is here.  Visit that site, and you will find that there are eight locations in the County where you can vote early, but only one is among the Crossroads ad nine, and that ad doesn't have the other seven.

The potential this misinformation has to suppress the vote should be obvious.  A voter could easily become discouraged calling or visiting the wrong location, and the odds are that if you follow the ad, your first choice is going to be the wrong one.  Even if the information in the ad is wrong because of incompetence rather than malice, either way, information that tends to suppress the vote is being put out, on our site.

Normally I am glad to see ads by conservative groups on our site.  They're both wasting their money, and funding our side, and you rarely get a twofer like that in life.  But this is different.  This is voter suppression.  These ads should be removed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Never mind whether we should be running ads (19+ / 0-)

    that say vote early (which I think we all support).

    The real question is should they be putting out misleading info.

    Kudos for catching that!


    1. What is the best way to report this to the U.S. Attorney General.

    2. How do we capture the misinformation on their site before they change it?

    "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

    by Dave in Columbus on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:00:12 PM PDT

  •  Yes, this brings the definition of fair play or (4+ / 0-)

    just making money into a new light.  This voter suppression thing is going to be with us as long as we tolerate GOP office holders in our midst, but to have them on KOS is disgraceful.  They should be removed so we are not a part of voter suppression in any form on KOS.

    •  The site may not be able to refuse ads... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... just because the management doesn't like the political bent.  Even if that were not a rule dKos had to live by, I would hope that it would voluntarily encourage Teatards to waste their money on this site.

      But I think the people who run dKos should certainly be able to kick an ad for factual errors that tend to suppress the vote.  I hope that dKos wouldn't be compelled to run an ad that said that Rs vote on Tuesday, and Ds have to vote on Wednesday.  This ad isn't quite that bad, but it's bad enough.

      The states must be abolished.

      by gtomkins on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:44:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe they have refused some in the past. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gtomkins, pixxer

        The normal response by the management is to let them spend their money here all they like, since it's pretty much wasted to them, but dKos will put it to good use. But I think I recall hearing some discussion of certain lines they wouldn't allow to be crossed. This may be one.

        Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

        by rcbowman on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:57:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you remember where the discussion was? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice, pixxer

          My real intent was just that, to get the ads pulled.  Had I realized what has since occurred to me, that probably only people with VA zip codes see the ads, therefore there is less widespread interest, I would have been even less inclined to publicize this as a diary to get the management's attention.

          Any idea who at dKos would make these decisions on pulling ads, and how I might contact them?

          The states must be abolished.

          by gtomkins on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 12:03:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it is a good thing to have publicized this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gtomkins, rcbowman

            You can start a discussion with the admins by clicking on the help button at the upper right hand corner of the page.  Or you can send a message directly to kos after going to his page.

          •  Sorry, no. (0+ / 0-)

            It was a few years ago, and my recollection is hazy. I think it was kos himself who posted an explanation of it (though it might have been another site VIP) - saying that 'yes, we've heard your complaints about a bunch of the right-wing ads which appear here, but here's our reason for not getting rid of them'. I believe there was some particular ad campaign mentioned at the time that they did in fact exclude, whether it was RW and just too embarrassingly awful, or whether it was something that was otherwise just wrong to give any public outlet to, I do not recall.

            In any case, I'm virtually certain they can say no to ads from any particular source if you give them a cogent reason to.

            Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

            by rcbowman on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:01:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  How much money do we make from this Judas price? (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, I agree that the writen word must be free to be on this KOS site because we believe in free speech.  I would like then a fair defense of voter suppression from Tea Baggers/Tea Party hard core like the swivel eyed loons who passed the Shut Down the government, shut down the financial markets law.  And that means no stock or bond trades, how long do you want to go out  on strike, let's say one month a year.  That is every stock exchange world wide must agree to let employees be off for one month a year  and 7 years on and 1 year off for, sabbatical.  

          •  A few year ago, DKos offered an ad free experience (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for a Hundred Bucks so some of us don't see the ads at all. A question that needs to be asked of DKos is how much of the necessary budget could be earned if ads like the ones here were excluded,  and if there is a different profile which would pay all the necessary bills. This argument has been had before and the response was we need money and the way we sell ads doesn't screen out this kind.

            And of course, perhaps a method is to make the ad free experence more than a one time payment, more like a once a year payment or some such.

      •  Please do not ever use this term: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PinHole, jiffykeen, gtomkins, Wee Mama
        It could easily earn you an HR.

        This might help your thinking on this:

        R-Word | Spread the Word to End the Word

        Thank you for your consideration.

      •  refusing an ad that disseminates lies (0+ / 0-)

        goes beyond refusing for mere "political bent"

  •  Suggestion. Go to the site and enter your full zip (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins, duhban

    Then come here and report whether or not the info is accurate.  I wanted to try that, but I don't see the ad.

    "I wonder why Congress again in a new poll out today--11% approval rating. (It's) because they don't work for us. They work for the sons-of-bitches who pay them." Cenk Uygur

    by Dave in Columbus on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:04:06 PM PDT

    •  It rotates (0+ / 0-)

      And there's more than one of them.  One of them headlines voting against McAuliffe, another voting for Cuccinelli and there's at least one version that's just about early voting.  They all have "Vote Early Virginia" somewhere in their text.

      Try opening and closing the site a few times. One of them will be at the top, or top right sidebar.

      The states must be abolished.

      by gtomkins on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:39:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Columbus

      I just tried opening the site 5 times, and .... no American Crossroads ad!  I've seen it for days, and it was definitely there earlier today.  Maybe it only airs certain times of day.

      And yes, when it was there, I entered my won zip code, with the results I report, only one of nine of the locations that come up for my zip code are actually a place that a Fairfax voter could vote early, and seven of the eight places that are available for early voting aren't reported by the ad.

      The states must be abolished.

      by gtomkins on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:50:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps it only runs for people who live in VA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Columbus

      One of the ads that has replaced the ad in the rotation that I see is for Barbara Comstock, running for VA House of Delegates here in Fairfax.  Perhaps you will never see this VA-specific ad in Columbus.

      The states must be abolished.

      by gtomkins on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:56:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anything is better than the toenail fungus ads (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    •  I don't know (0+ / 0-)

      I've always had a soft spot for onychomycosis.  Nice, forbidding spelling to it, and you have to feel some sympathy for a disease that everyone despises, but no one really fears.

      American Crossroads, on the other hand, isn't despised by nearly enough people.

      The states must be abolished.

      by gtomkins on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:58:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You are getting screen captures, right? nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gtomkins, Drewid

    Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

    by rcbowman on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 11:58:36 PM PDT

    •  You must imagine that you're dealing with... (0+ / 0-)

      ...someone of even minimal tech competence.  Sadly...

      What I do feel is within my capacity, now that the ads have stopped (they only run until midnight?), is to Google Vote Early Virginia.  I do know how to grab URLs!

      The states must be abolished.

      by gtomkins on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 12:08:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I got the URL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's this.  You start there, click "In Person" and then put in a zip at the next screen, which, when you put in my zip of 20191, gives the results I've described.

      Do I need to do anything else?

      The states must be abolished.

      by gtomkins on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 12:11:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does it change when you use your zip+4 code? nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster
      •  If you use Windows, (0+ / 0-)

        Go to the site showing the disinformation map, hold down Alt and click the key marked Prt Scrn (that's Print Screen) on your keyboard. This will copy the current contents of your screen to your computer's clipboard, just like copying and pasting text.

        Then open Windows Paint (which comes with Windows, under Accessories in the Start Menu usually), make a new document and click Ctrl+V to paste the image into it. Or depending on your version of Windows, there may be an option on Paint that says "new image from clipboard" or something. You can do similar things with other image manipulation programs.

        I assume there's an easy screen capture method for Mac, too, but I don't know it. I expect Google will tell you, though.

        Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

        by rcbowman on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:11:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  continued... (0+ / 0-)

          I've looked at the map, and (not being from VA)  it's not obvious to me what information there is incorrect.

          You can use this screen capture several times (saving your images from Paint each time: File: Save As...) to capture the contents of the pop-up bubbles one at a time if they're the issue, or you can zoom in on the locations on the map and capture those images if the locations themselves are what's false.

          Hope this helps.

          Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

          by rcbowman on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:16:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The ads are targeted. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbird, serendipityisabitch

    You may be seeing them because you are in Virginia or because they flagged your interest in the race.

    Markos has declared that he will take almost anyone's money with the added benefit that they it's a drain on right wing resources when they advertise with the services he uses. In polling of the question the majority of the site's members support that position.

    You also came across an added benefit which occurs more often than it should. Deceptive ads appear occasionally and members bring then too the communities attention.

    Sending screenshots and links to popular progressive voices is used as a way to get more attention to the deception. Rachel Maddow is great about highlighting this type of stuff on her MSNBC broadcasts.

    You lost 100,000 progressive points with your failure to recognize that the questioned spelling referred to her.

    I, for one, have no problem being led by a 3500 year old Pharaoh who was trained by space aliens on a distant star.

    by Tomtech on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 02:05:09 AM PDT

  •  The general response to this is that (0+ / 0-)

    that site has no control over the ads, nor wants control, because that would imply endorsement which opens a huge can of worms.

    Which puzzles me because it seems like those huge complete wrap-around ads that run once or twice a month are ALWAYS for a progressive type of organization (just saying, Chevron NEVER gets those!) so it seems like there must be some level of vetting of the ads going on.

    Or an absolutely unbelievable (from the statistics POV) run of good luck in getting the 'right' ads to show up in that context.

    •  Maybe there's a difference (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      between the ad purchaser targetting where they show up, and the site owner selecting which ads to run? Maybe the wraparound ads are in a different category than regular ads--perhaps based on the legal classification of the group buys them.

      In general, though, I can't believe that voter suppression would work via a Republican ad on this site--who would click through a Republican ad looking for accurate information? The only reason to click through a Republican ad is either to (a) make it more expensive for the buyer, or (b) look for the name of whatever shady group is sponsoring it. But I wouldn't believe ANYTHING a Republican ad says.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:37:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, that's the irony (0+ / 0-)

        there definitely are a certain percentage of people who click through on those ads simply to drive up the advertising costs for their sponsors.

        Including myself when I have the time (to be effective, I think you have to keep the ad open for a few minutes and occasionally click on something in it, so they know you're actually paying attention to it . . . )

  •  Never forget: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IB JOHN, Shield Eater, earlybird

    This site is a business.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 06:52:08 AM PDT

  •  Just subscribe to Daily Kos and all ads are gone. (0+ / 0-)

    "I'm gonna dance between the raindrops"

    by IB JOHN on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 07:17:46 AM PDT

    •  Not a solution here. (0+ / 0-)

      The point is that people who might not know who is running the ads, are seeing ads leading them to incorrect voting information, which could in effect deny them their right to vote.

      We don't have poll taxes in this country anymore, and people shouldn't have to pay for accurate information (or the absence of deliberately inaccurate information) on how to exercise their civil rights.

  •  Are they charged every time you click on the ad? (0+ / 0-)

    If so, anyone who sees it should keep clicking on it to run up their costs without giving them a benefit.

    •  Generally, they are (0+ / 0-)

      Some ad systems charge by views as well as clicks. Google only charges by clicks. I don't know about the system used here.

      You will be costing them money, but it will be mere pennies at a time. There are more effective uses of your time to fight against such people.

      Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

      by rcbowman on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 05:19:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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