Let’s take a peek south of the border, and see how a judge there treated a voter suppression robocall. (Conbots will gleefully note that the lack of identifying who the robocall came from is one criminal aspect of the call, and the Guelph Liberals are already implicated in a call that omitted who it came from, although they confessed to the omission by “mistake”.)
Henson faces sentencing June 13 on the conspiracy count for failing to include an authority line on the call, which would have altered recipients that it was paid for by Erhlich’s campaign. He faces up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine in that case.
In the civil case, Gansler had sought a $10 million judgment against Henson, noting that the law allows for a fine of up to $104 million, or $1,500 for each of the nearly 69,500 calls that were actually received.
Blake, the judge, said a judgment for $10 million would have been disproportionate to the size of the Henson’s company and his presumptive ability to pay.
“While Henson’s efforts on behalf of the Ehrlich campaign were ultimately unsuccessful, his actions nonetheless damaged the public faith in the democratic process that is at the core of our system of government,” Blake wrote.
The call, recorded in Russell’s voice, went out to voters about two hours before the polls closed. It said, “I’m calling to let everyone know that Governor O’Malley and President Obama have been successful. Our goals have been met. The polls were correct and we took it back. We’re OK. Relax. Everything is fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight. Congratulations and thank you.”
Obama wasn’t on the ballot that year.
Henson argued during the criminal case that the call attempted to use reverse psychology to bring voters out to the polls.
There were thousands of calls received from RackNine by Guelph residents. Each call was treated as a crime in the State of Maryland. The max fine for an illegal voter suppression call is $5000, a lot more than the $1500 in Maryland. Something for the guilty in Guelph to worry about while they wait for the agonizingly slow Elections Canada investigation to press charges more than a year late.