As we reported earlier today, illegal robo-calls giving false voter information to mostly African-American households in North Carolina are very similar to calls made to voters in southern Virginia before that state's primary this spring (as well as Ohio last year).

The Virginia State Board of Elections believed that the calls, which asked voters to return a "voter registration packet" that the caller said would be coming in the mail, were an attempt at identity theft.

Several Facing South readers have asked our opinion: are these calls attempted ID theft or voter deception?

It seems unlikely the bogus calls are related to identity theft, for two reasons:

(1) Why would identity theft criminals make a robo-call ahead of time, announcing their plans? Since they're one-way calls, they can't get personal information over the phone -- the calls just announce their plans.

(2) As far as we know, the mysterious "voter registration packets" never actually arrive, making it impossible for the would-be ID thieves to get the information they want.

(3) Finally, the timing: the calls always come shortly before an election. When a voter receives the call, it makes them think they aren't registered, and therefore shouldn't vote. Very clever, and strong evidence that confusing and discouraging voters, not ID theft, is the crime at hand.

ALSO: Our cross-post of the original piece is a top-rated diary at DailyKos. Over there, we have two more reports of "Lamont" in Ohio.