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When it comes to Texas elections, only Texas residents who are American citizens are allowed to vote. However, that didn’t stop a rogue volunteer for Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke from texting unapproved messages to supporters about bringing undocumented immigrants to the polls.
On Wednesday, several people on Twitter reported having received texts from someone claiming to be with the campaign, asking for help to “transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths” to vote. Another message, shared by a Texas Tribune reporter, asked the recipient of the text to participate an internal poll on “the dangers of socialism.”
It appears that this texter wanted to make O’Rourke supporters believe that he was interested in gaining illegal votes and in socialism.
“Hi, it’s Patsy here w/ Beto for Texas,” the first text reads. “Our records indicate that you’re a supporter. We are in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able [sic] vote. Would you be able to support this grassroots effort?”
“Hi, it’s Patsy here w/ Beto for Texas. We are conducting an internal poll and would like to know your thoughts on the dangers of socialism,” another text reads.
This is an actual text a friend in Texas just received. It is NOT from the Beto campaign. Very slick, Ted Cruz & Texas Republicans. pic.twitter.com/oyIU2TzoA4— Jerry Ochoa (@jerryochoa) September 5, 2018
I just posted it. Someone posted it on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/HkX9AkJU2V— Mary (@lovealaska1105) September 5, 2018
Some #txsen leftovers today — @BetoORourke campaign says texts like these that surfaced today were not "approved" messages by campaign and "sent by an impostor."— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) September 6, 2018
"We're continuing to look into what happened," spox says. pic.twitter.com/pzMyw79fK8
According to the Austin-American Statesman, a spokesperson for O’Rourke’s campaign said the person who had sent the text had signed up to be a volunteer on the candidate’s “texting team” and had sent the unauthorized messages.
“It was sent by an impostor,” spokesman Chris Evans told the Statesman. “But we’re continuing to look into what happened.”
The campaign later texted O’Rourke supporters explaining that someone on the volunteer texting team had sent the message, and that it’s taken steps to prevent such texts from happening in the future.
“An imposter signed up to be a volunteer on our texting team and texted you today with a message that was not approved by the campaign,” the apology to voters read. “We’re very sorry about this and have taken the necessary steps to make sure that they do not continue sending text messages with our campaign.”
“I thought it was hilarious,” Houston resident Frank Freeman, an O’Rourke supporter, told the publication after he received the text. “It’s pretty transparent.”
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.