With deadline fast approaching, St. George opponents contact voters directly through text messages
BATON ROUGE – Organizers of a vocal group against the proposed City of St. George sent mass text messages this weekend to voters who live in the boundaries of the proposed area.
Phone numbers were obtained through voter registration information and were sent to voters whether they had signed the petition or not. St. George supporters turned in the petition with some 14,000 signatures backing the proposed city in a southern swath of East Baton Rouge Parish Monday.
Michael Beychok with One Baton Rouge, a group against the proposal, said it was the most efficient way to try to contact the most amount of people who may have signed the petition since St. George organizers have not provided them with a copy of the names of those who signed it.
“It was the only way,” Beychok said in a phone call with WBRZ Saturday afternoon.
Beychok and his team have a deadline of Monday, he said, to try to get people to remove their name from the petition.
The messages came from out-of-state phone numbers.
The text message urges people to visit the group’s website where voters can download a form and have it returned so their name can be removed from the petition.
The text message campaign this weekend created a controversy on social media where people argued its legality, though Beychok pointed out non-commercial and political text messages are exempt from a text message “spam” law.
Beychok said One BTR would not have messaged people who never signed the petition had St. George organizers provided them with a list of names of people who signed the petition.
St. George organizers responded in a series of posts on social media denouncing the message campaign.
"This is the lengths [opponents are] willing to go to in order to prevent a vote. Let them know that we will see them at the ballot box," organizers wrote on social media.
The EBR Registrar of Voters must validate the names of everyone who signed the petition.
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