A Trump supporting white nationalist social media influencer has been charged with election interference for trying to get black voters to vote by text.
Douglass Mackey, aka Ricky Vaughn, 31, of West Palm Beach, was charged by criminal complaint in the Eastern District of New York. He was taken into custody this morning in West Palm Beach and made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart of the Southern District of Florida.
“According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendant exploited a social media platform to infringe one the of most basic and sacred rights guaranteed by the Constitution: the right to vote,” said Nicholas L. McQuaid, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “This indictment underscores the department’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who would undermine citizens’ voting rights.”
The complaint alleges that in 2016, Mackey established an audience on Twitter with approximately 58,000 followers. A February 2016 analysis by the MIT Media Lab ranked Mackey as the 107th most important influencer of the then-upcoming Election, ranking his account above outlets and individuals such as NBC News (#114), Stephen Colbert (#119) and Newt Gingrich (#141).
As alleged in the complaint, between September 2016 and November 2016, in the lead up to the Nov. 8, 2016, U.S. Presidential Election, Mackey conspired with others to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages designed to encourage supporters of one of the presidential candidates (the “Candidate”) to “vote” via text message or social media, a legally invalid method of voting.
Mackey is a white nationalist who is private school educated and worked in consulting or finance.
One of the things that must not be forgotten is that Donald Trump supporters aren’t just the stereotype of older white men or rural Americans. There are millions of Trump supporters like Mackey who look like a person you might work with or live next door to. They are educated and also very racist.
Mackey wasn’t alone in his activities, and hopefully, more criminal charges along with the restoration of the Voting Rights Act will be coming.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association