Proud Boys say they aren’t responsible for email threats to Florida Democratic voters
Democratic voters in Southwest Florida reported receiving messages to vote for President Donald Trump, or someone will come after them. This threat was also recently received by voters in other parts of Florida.
The email appears to come from the right-wing group the Proud Boys, but the group says it wasn’t them. Voters who received the email threats told us they will not back down from voting how they choose to.
A woman we spoke to Wednesday is angry and wants police to go all out to find the sender.
“I mean, I think it’s frightening to get this kind of letter, but let’s put it this way, it doesn’t intimidate me to do the right thing for our country,” said Kathy, who received an email threat and did not want to share her full name in the story.
The sender of the email claims to be a member of the Proud Boys, a group that was brought up during the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
UPDATE: Top intelligence officials announced Wednesday evening that Iran and Russia have taken actions to try to compromise the U.S. election and have obtained some voter registration data. This includes responsibility for email threats sent to Florida Democratic voters and voters in other states.
But in a statement to The Washington Post, Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the Proud Boys and Florida director of Latinos for Trump, denied the Proud Boys had anything to do with the emails sent to hundreds of Floridians.
“It was a little bit unnerving,” Kathy said. “It was, I will say, if I had to crawl on my knees to vote, I would have voted.”
The FBI is investigating this case and looking into whether another country might be responsible.
“When you have a foreign adversary, a foreign government coming in, spreading disinformation, that turns into a counterintelligence investigation,” FBI Special Agent Michael McPherson previously told WINK News.
Listen to the full interview from 92.5 Fox News with host Trey Radel and WINK News’ Rich Kolko on October, 7, as they talk with McPherson.
Law enforcement agencies in Southwest Florida and the supervisor of elections offices in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties all say they’re getting reports of possible intimidation.
“It’s extremely sad that we can’t just have an election where everybody votes with their heart and their soul,” Kathy said.
Anyone who receives an intimidating email should call their local sheriff or police department.
“We have been made aware of the reports of these emails being received nationwide,” said Lee County Sheriff’s Office in a statement to WINK News. “We have received a complaint of a Lee County resident receiving a similar email. We continually work with our partners at the FBI and FDLE, who are also aware of these emails. The FBI requests that anyone receiving these emails, or other “phishing scams”, submit a tip directly to the FBI.”
The FBI said in a statement:
“Though the FBI’s standard practice is to neither confirm nor deny any investigation, we take all election-related threats seriously, whether it is vote fraud, voter suppression, or threats from cyber or foreign influence actors. We’re committed to supporting our election security partners in Florida and protecting our communities as Americans exercise their right to vote.
Help from the public is also vital to our effort. We encourage members of the public to remain vigilant and immediately report any suspicious, election-related activity to their local FBI field office or online at tips.fbi.gov.”