Meme Maker Sentenced to 7 Months in Prison for Election Interference

( – In 2016, Florida man Douglass Mackey amused himself on Twitter (now X) by making memes poking fun at Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Some would argue that the memes weren’t particularly funny, but the Justice Department took the sense of humor failure to new heights on October 18. A federal judge has just jailed Mackey for SEVEN MONTHS for his online jokes.

On March 31, a jury in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York found 33-year-old Mackey, who used the name Ricky Vaughn on Twitter, guilty of election interference. The charges against him went back to November 1, 2016, when Mackey and others released a series of anti-Clinton memes on Twitter.

The digitally altered images carried a cell phone number and urged people who wanted to vote for Clinton to “Avoid the line. Vote from home.” by texting “Hillary” to the number. Obviously, this wouldn’t actually have cast a vote for Clinton — but, according to federal prosecutors, no less than 4,900 people texted the number in an attempt to vote.

Mackey was arrested in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 27, 2021, and indicted on the election interference charge. According to prosecutors, he was guilty of “vaporizing votes, making them disappear” — and, incredibly, a jury agreed. On October 18 Mackey was back in court for sentencing, and now he’ll spend seven months in prison.

It’s been a controversial case from the beginning. Mackey has argued that the First Amendment protects his right to free speech; the DoJ countered that his memes infringed on the constitutional right to vote. Prosecutors say the phone number on the memes was real and capable of receiving incoming messages and pointed out that the memes carried legal-sounding text to make them look official. However, Mackey’s lawyer insisted the memes shouldn’t have fooled anyone, pointing out that they’re “ludicrous to anyone with a basic knowledge of how presidential elections work.”

Elon Musk slammed the decision, saying “If that’s the standard for throwing someone in prison, then there should be a lot of people in prison.”

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