Douglass Mackey, a supporter of former President Donald Trump who created a popular pro-Trump then-Twitter account, was sentenced to seven months in prison for election interference related to social media posts.
After posting memes ahead of the 2016 election between Trump and two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Mackey was accused of a “scheme to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.”
One of the memes in question urged Democrats to “Avoid the line. Vote from Home” by texting “’Hillary’ to 59925.”
Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who sentenced Mackey, insisted his meme-sharing was “nothing short of an assault on our democracy,” Courthouse News Service reported.
“One of the foundational rights we hold as Americans, a right that many fought so hard to obtain, is the right to vote. The defendant weaponized disinformation in a dangerous scheme to stop targeted groups, including black and brown people and women, from participating in our democracy,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. “This groundbreaking prosecution demonstrates our commitment to prosecuting those who commit crimes that threaten our democracy and seek to deprive people of their constitutional right to vote.”
Mackey was charged shortly after President Joe Biden took office, years after the 2016 election. Prosecutors asserted Mackey “intended variously to provoke, mislead, and, in some cases, deceive voters in the 2016 presidential election.”
Many users on X – formerly Twitter – have pointed out that left-wing self-described artist Kristina Wong shared a similar post in 2016, which urged Trump supporters to “Skip poll lines at #Election2016 and TEXT in your vote!” Wong has not faced any election interference charges for the post.
“Text votes are legit. Or vote tomorrow on Super Wednesday!” she wrote in the post that remains up as of Thursday.
“In 2016 @mskristinawong posted a tweet and video jokingly trying to trick Trump voters into not voting. Douglas Mackey did the exact same thing to Hillary voters. The DOJ just threw Mackey in prison. Wong was never charged with anything, and this tweet is still up,” podcaster Matt Walsh wrote on X, along with a screenshot of Wong’s post.