MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After many voters in several states, including Florida received ‘Vote for Trump or else’ intimidating emails, US officials accused Iran of being behind the electronic correspondence.
Emails were sent to Democratic voters in multiple battleground states in a late-stage efforts to sway public opinion and interfere in the presidential election.
The emails, purportedly from far-right, pro-Trump groups like the Proud Boys, the fake emails were apparently aimed at intimidating voters.
On Thursday, October 22, the Florida Department of State released a statement, which in part read:
“The Florida Department of State is aware that an email of this nature has been sent to voters in multiple counties. The emails were immediately provided to our law enforcement partners and an investigation is ongoing. We will provide additional information if it becomes available.”
Additonally, the statement said, “There has been no breach to Florida’s Voter Registration database. Information provided in submission of a Florida Voter’s Registration Application is public record pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, and is publicly-available. Those public data files do not contain any confidential/exempt voter information nor do they contain information for voters that have filed an Address/Identification Confidentiality Request form with the Department of State or the local Supervisor of Elections.”
US officials did not lay out specific evidence for how they came to pinpoint Iran.
A spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations, Alireza Miryousefi, denied Tehran had anything to do with the alleged voter intimidation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday it will have special agents available in each field office to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on election day.
MORE ON CBSMIAMI.COM
Chief Colina: Actions Of Uniformed Miami Officer With Pro-Trump Mask At Voting Site ‘Unacceptable’
Biden Campaign On ‘Ongoing Tactics In Florida’: ‘We Will Not Stand For Any Behavior That Could Intimidate Voters’
FBI: Miami Attorney Accused Of Being Serial Bank Robber
Feds seek to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open through election day.
“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud,” said United States Attorney Fajardo Orshan. “The Department of Justice will always act appropriately to protect the integrity of the election process.”
“As Americans get ready to vote, the FBI is asking each citizen to remain vigilant and report any suspected criminal scheme targeting voters to the FBI immediately,” said Special Agent in Charge Piro.
Officials say actions of persons designed to interrupt or intimidate voters at polling places by questioning or challenging them, or by photographing or videotaping them, under the pretext that these are actions to uncover illegal voting may violate federal voting rights law.
In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights concerns during the voting period that ends on November 3, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, United States Attorney Fajardo Orshan stated that Counselor to the U.S. Attorney and District Elections Officer Harry Wallace will be on duty in this District while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at the following telephone number: 786-439-3288.
Also, the local FBI field office can be reached by the public at Miami.fbi.gov or (754) 703-2000.
Click here to learn more about the FBI’s role investigating election crime.
In the case of a crime of violence or intimidation, officials urge you to please call 911 immediately, as state and local police have primary jurisdiction over polling places.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)