Social Media Influencer Sentenced for Trying to Suppress Democratic Turnout in 2016 Presidential Election 

By Steve Neavling

A social media influencer who tried to suppress Democratic turnout in the 2016 presidential election by tricking voters into believing they could vote by text message was sentenced to seven months in prison on Wednesday. 

Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, conspired with others to spread the falsehoods on Twitter, now known as X, where he had 58,000 followers, between September 2016 and November 2016. 

The scheme targeted Black and Latino voters. 

Mackey was convicted in March of conspiracy against rights following a trial in federal court in Brooklyn. 

In one tweet, Mackey posted a photo of a woman standing in front of an “African Americans for Hillary” sign, with the message, “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home. Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said Mackey “weaponized disinformation in a dangerous scheme to stop targeted groups, including black and brown people and women, from participating in our democracy.”

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