Authorities in Florida were looking into emails sent to registered Democrats demanding that they vote for President Donald Trump in the November 3 election “or we will come after you.”
The messages, allegedly from the far-right Proud Boys group, all have the same text but are addressed to voters by name.
“We are in possession of all your information. You are currently registered as a Democrat and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure,” reads the email.
“You will vote for Trump on Election Day 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,” the message ends, adding the voter’s address. “Good luck.”
Public information in state voting records in the US include a person’s name, address and party affiliation.
The Alachua County sheriff’s office in northern Florida said via Facebook that they “are aware of an email that is circulating, purported to be from the Proud Boys.”
The message “appears to be a scam and we will be initiating an investigation into the source of the email” along with help from FBI agents and state election officials.
The Miami Herald reported that University of Florida students received these emails, all coming from the address: [email protected]
The Proud Boys is a white nationalist hate group known for its misogyny and Islamophobia, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate groups nationwide.
The group made headlines when Trump refused to condemn them in his first debate with his Democratic rival Joe Biden on September 29.
Instead he asked them to “stand back and stand by.”
Enrique Tarrio, a Proud Boys leader and Florida state director of Latinos for Trump, told The Washington Post on Wednesday that his group had nothing to do with the emails.
A Republican Party spokesperson earlier told AFP that Tarrio’s Latinos for Trump group is not affiliated with the party, and denied all ties with the Proud Boys.
Similar email messages were received in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona – where, as in Florida, Trump is in a tight race with Biden.