Facebook Takes Down Ads From North Dakota Democrats Telling Hunters They Might Not Want to Vote


FILE -- Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 16, 2018. Heitkamp, an endangered Democrat, ran an ad criticizing her opponent for comments about sexual abuse. But it backfired, just three weeks before the midterms. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

With Facebook under constant fire for allowing false political advertising on their platform, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised they’ve now taken down those ads from North Dakota Democrats telling hunters they might not want to vote:

You can see what the ads looked like originally right here. They told hunters they should consider not voting lest it cost them their hunting licenses in other states.

Earlier this week Senator Heitkamp defended the ads and their message. “It is really important people understand the consequences of voting,” she said when asked about them, but according to Politifact the ads were pants-on-fire lies:

We called the Fish and Wildlife offices in North Dakota’s neighboring states: Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Minnesota. They all told us that voting in North Dakota wouldn’t make them lose their licenses.

“If they purchased that license prior to leaving Montana as legal resident, it is valid until the expiration date, no matter what they do in North Dakota,” said Ron Jendro, the assistant chief of enforcement for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.

The same goes for Wyoming, South Dakota and Minnesota; the licenses are valid until they expire.

For other states, establishing residency elsewhere means their resident hunting license is void. That’s the case in North Dakota and Kentucky, the two other states whose hunting permit offices we called.

But there’s no way that casting a vote would suddenly make those licenses null. Lee Ann Oliver, elections specialist at the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office, told us they have a central voter file, but fish and wildlife departments don’t get access to that database.

Senator Heitkamp and the North Dakota Democrats weren’t trying to inform hunters. They were trying to confuse them, and deter them from voting.