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Republicans text ‘Wisconsin voter alert’ election message


MADISON – As southern Wisconsin braced for a tornado watch Friday afternoon, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly and the Republican Party of Wisconsin issued its own emergency alert warning voters not to elect liberal Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz on Tuesday.

The text message included a video that used alert tones and a scratchy radio voice found on official emergency alerts aired on television and radio. The screen read, “*** Emergency Alert System ***” and “Wisconsin Voter Alert” on the backdrop of differently colored bars that sometimes appears on screen when TV programming is interrupted. After three beeps, a voice says, “This is a State of Wisconsin voter alert. Attention citizens: our Second Amendment rights are under attack by Judge Janet Protasiewicz.”

A video advertisement from the Republican Party of Wisconsin and authorized by the campaign of Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly uses emergency alert sounds.

Voters received the text messages with the video around 2 p.m. on Friday as areas of southern Wisconsin were placed under tornado watches.

The video would likely violate federal law if broadcasted on television, according to recent Federal Communications Commission enforcement actions. What was less clear late Friday is whether it’s allowed to be transmitted via text message.



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