Trial Set To Begin For Meme-Posting Doug Mackey, Who Faces 10-Year Charge For Memes Relating To Voter Misinformation In 2016

March 15th, 2023 - 5:59 AM EDT by Brandon Wink

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Doug Mackey, a political memer who posted memes encouraging Hillary Clinton supporters to vote for the candidate via phone and social media instead of in person, is set to begin trial for misinformation and constitutional rights violations.

During the 2016 Presidential Election, Mackey posted a political ad meme that was supposed to look like official correspondence from the Clinton campaign, encouraging its voting base to vote by posting "Hillary" with the hashtag "#PresidentialElection" on voting day.

According to the press release from the Department of Justice, "Mackey made coordinated use of social media to spread disinformation relevant to the impending 2016 Presidential Election. The disinformation spread by these individuals often took the form of 'memes.'"


Mackey reportedly used group chats to coordinate the misinformation campaign and how to make their posts as believable as possible to fool people, ultimately using the same color scheme and design as Clinton's official ads.

The reaction to the charges online was somewhat divisive, with many defending Mackey and his right to post memes without facing 10 years in prison, while some felt the charges were justified and others too harsh.

Doug Mackey

One of the central points of the case, Mackey's posting about false Election Day procedure that would ensure the person didn't actually vote if they followed through, is also being attributed to another political poster by some proponents of Mackey — except many noted this other person did not receive any charges.

On November 8th, 2016, the Twitter account belonging to comedian Kristina Wong posted to Donald Trump supporters that it was possible to text in their vote and actively said to skip the lines of "#Election2016" by not going in person.

This notably led to calls of bias against President Biden's Department of Justice for what they claim is caring about one case but not the other despite them being similar.

However, others also pointed out that Wong's post was clearly a joke, while Mackey attempted to maliciously trick people.

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This article doesn't mention everything. The full complaint, found in Judd Legum's thread :

It elaborates in great detail about how Mackey was in group chats whose members purposefully made those memes to spread misinformation. Regarding the memes in question, group chat members discussed how to make their memes most believable, said to use the color scheme of Clinton's recent campaign posts (at the time), they held the posting a few days back just to post them when it would be the most effective, they talked about using their own accounts to fake anger in replies that Clinton voters could vote by text and they couldn't…
If you're reading this and intend to say your piece on it, I urge you to read the full complaint, it really drives home that they knew exactly what they were doing.

Now for Kristina Wong : many peopled linked her tweet to point out "she should be arrested too", as her video tweet also encouraged to vote by text (likely in response to Mackey's tweets). They forget Mackey was already planning and discussing this with his group chats as early as September of 2016. Wong was also a known comedian (it was in her twitter bio) and her video was very obviously a joke, she encouraged to vote on November 9th, the day after the election. Meanwhile, Mackey's memes were looking to be as authentic as possible. Both are wrong but the scale is just not comparable.


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