Election officials push back against voter intimidation

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 4:43 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The State of Florida is reassuring voters their information and their ballots are secure after the FBI announced Iran was behind intimidating emails sent to registered Democrats in the state.

The intimidating emails are the latest in a string of alleged voter intimidation cases across the country.

Democratic voters in multiple states, including here in Florida received a threatening email urging them to vote for Trump or else the Proud Boys will “come after you”.

The FBI has blamed Iranian actors for intimidation campaign.

“It’s concerning, but not unexpected that we’re seeing foreign actors, foreign countries interfering in our elections,” said Ben Wilcox with Integrity Florida.

It’s not entirely clear how voter information was obtained, but Wilcox pointed out someone doesn’t need to be a hacker to get voter information in Florida.

“Their email address and other information might be available to the public,” said Wilcox.

In an emailed statement the Department of State told us, “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.”

The email campaign comes as authorities investigate alleged domestic voter intimidation efforts.

Police were called after an armed man arrived at an early vote site in St. Pete Wednesday.

And American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp told us when we spoke Monday of threatening letters allegedly left on Trump voters' doors in Kansas City.

“This voter intimidation I think is a really serious problem. That’s not just a state question, you know that’s really a federal question,” said Schlapp. “When are people over the line and when is this violence just getting to be out of hand?”

For Wilcox, the stories are disheartening to hear.

“It’s too bad that those kind of tactics are at play here. Floridians need to just tune out the noise, have confidence in the electoral process, have confidence in the vote,” said Wilcox.

In a tweet, The Secretary of State told Floridians the state’s databases are secure and while some voter information is public, no one can know who you voted for.

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