Authorities are investigating emails sent to Democratic voters across the United States claiming to be from the Proud Boys and demanding that they ‘vote for Trump’ or else.
The threatening emails have been reported by residents in Alaska, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania – all but Alaska are highly contested states for the election.
They appeared to have been sent to registered voters in the states using ‘voter files’ and other digital databases, the Washington Post reports.
Residents in Alaska, Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania have reported getting the emails
The emails tell voters to vote for Trump and for recipients to change their voter registration to Republican
‘(Insert name) we are in possession of all of your information,’ the concerning email reads. ‘You are currently registered Democrat and we know this because we have gained access to the entire voting infrastructure.
‘You will vote for Trump or we will come after you. Change your party affiliation to Republican to let us know you received our message and will comply. We will know which candidate you voted for. I would take this seriously if I were you.’
It is currently unclear who is behind the emails as the technical data embedded in them do not make it clear. While they claim to be from email@example.com, one email did say that it had been rerouted ‘via saudi-re.com.’
Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys and the Florida state director of Latinos for Trump, placed distance between the group and the emails. He added that the Proud Boys use two sites and had been working to get away from the domain used in the email campaign.
A chairman for the Proud Boys in Florida said the group uses two sites and had been working to get away from the domain used in the email campaign
‘Two weeks ago I believe we had Google Cloud services drop us from their platform, so then we initiated a url transfer, which is still in process,’ he said. ‘We kind of just never used it.’
Tarrio claimed that he had already spoken with the FBI about the emails but the agency refused to comment.
According to Jeanne Devon, communications director for the Alaska Democratic Party chair Casey Steinau, the FBI ‘is now involved in the investigation.
Art Forgey, a spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, said that local authorities were coordinating with election officials and had also sought the help of the FBI.
‘We believe them to be fraudulent,’ Forgey added.
Chris Krebs, director of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, took to Twitter to share the best steps for dealing with someone claiming to know who people support.
Chris Krebs, director of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, took to Twitter to share the best steps for dealing with someone claiming to know who people support
‘We’re aware of threatening emails with misleading info about the secrecy of your vote,’ he said in the October 21 tweet. ‘FACT: Ballot secrecy is guaranteed by law in all states. These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters’ confidence in our elections.’
Officialproudboys.com, the domain name in question, was dropped by a hosting company that uses Google Cloud services, according to Google Cloud spokesman Ted Ladd.
The registration was cancelled after Google Cloud notified that customer that concerns had been raised about the Proud Boys from a non-profit group, Ladd added.
The domain was subsequently left unsecured, which allowed for anyone on the internet to take it under their control, said Trevor Davis, CEO of Washington-based digital intelligence firm Counteraction.
Proud Boys is a far-right organization that admits only men as members and promotes and engages in political violence
Beginning on October 8, the lapse ‘likely made them vulnerable to this kind of hijacking,’ Davis said.
‘Bad actors are constantly scanning the Internet for opportunities. Given the public profile of the Proud Boys and the likelihood that whoever’s sending these emails has access to a voter file, this appears to be opportunism.’
Proud Boys is a far-right organization that admits only men as members and promotes and engages in political violence. The group believes white men and western culture are under siege and one of its co-founders recorded a video titled ’10 things I hate about the Jews.’
The news of the emails comes a week after several Biden supporters in Tennessee reported getting Ku Klux Klan calling cards at their homes because of signs they had their yards. =
‘You Have Been Paid A Social Visit By The Knights Of The Ku Klux Klan,’ the cards read. ‘Don’t Make The Next Visit A Business Call.’
An illustration depicts a hooded horseman holding a flaming cross.
Shelbyville resident Breana Green said she found 20 Ku Klux Klan calling cards strewn about a neighbor’s yard. The cards were dropped in a yard displaying a Biden campaign sign