What Did Urban Outfitters' Voting Information Say? Some Of It Wasn't Quite Correct
Forget the idea of voter suppression efforts turning up from the Democratic and Republican camps as Election Day gets underway. On Monday afternoon, retailer Urban Outfitters tweeted a voting guide supposedly intended to help its 1 million Twitter followers figure out where and how to vote today. But what did Urban Outfitters' voting information say, exactly? As it turns out, the clothing retailer told followers they couldn’t cast a ballot without bringing a “voter’s registration card,” along with a photo ID, to the polls, according to ThinkProgress. The problem? Voter registration cards aren't necessary for voting in any of the 50 states. Some states do require a photo ID to vote; some of those states accept voter registration cards as an acceptable form of ID.
When contacted by ProPublica this morning, Urban Outfitters deleted the tweet, updated its voter guide, and released the following statement:
This blog post was written by a member of our content team who made a mistake in researching the voting requirements. When this error was brought to our attention, we immediately updated the post to not only correct the information but also included an additional link for state-by-state voter ID requirements for readers to reference. We are deeply sorry for any confusion this error may have caused. In the future, we will be installing more stringent fact-checking procedures to ensure these types of error do not happen.
The Urban Outfitters post is just the latest example in a string of false information about voter requirements appearing on social media. For example, pro-Trump trolls on Twitter have encouraged Clinton supporters to "avoid the lines" and "vote from home" by sending a text; other tweets aimed at Clinton fans claim that voters must provide seven forms of identification to cast their ballot. Some are disguised as legitimate advertisements from the Clinton campaign and others are more easily identified as fraudulent. It appears, though, that Urban Outfitters didn't purposely intend to spread incorrect information.
However, Urban Outfitters does have a long history of being embroiled in political controversy. According to ThinkProgress, in 2014 the company sold a “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt” that appeared to be splattered with blood, a thinly veiled reference to the shooting that left four dead on Kent State’s campus in 1970. The millennial-focused brand has come under fire in recent years for selling other provocative items, including a card that used the word "tranny" and a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Eat Less" — which was pulled from the company’s website after women's health advocates complained it promoted eating disorders and negative body image.
If you've yet to vote today, make sure you're prepared when you arrive at your polling station. Visit the U.S. Vote Foundation website for identification requirements in your state.