Some Florida residents woke up on Tuesday, checked their email, and found threatening messages telling them to vote for President Donald Trump or there would be severe consequences, according to a disturbing report from The Miami Herald:
“Alachua County officials were made aware of the emails on Tuesday morning. In one of the emails, the sender told a voter to ‘vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you, according to a copy obtained by the Miami Herald.
“’Change your party affiliation to Republican to let us know you received our message and will comply,’ the email said. ‘We will know which candidate you voted for. I would take it seriously if I were you.'”
The sender of the emails claimed to be the right-wing militia group the Proud Boys. Both federal and state law enforcement agencies are investigating the incident.
Officials with the Alachua Sheriff’s Office addressed the emails in a posting on their Facebook page, writing:
“The email appears to be a scam and we will be initiating an investigation into the source of the email along with assistance from our partners on the federal level.”
CBS News reports that the threatening emails were sent from the Middle East:
“The source code embedded in seven emails shows the message originated from IP addresses linked to servers in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Estonia.”
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio Jr., who calls himself the “chairman” of the Proud Boys, claims the email was “spoofed” and he contacted the FBI to let them know his group played no role in sending the emails to voters:
“There is no reason for us to send an email like that. To whoever did this, I condemn these people.”
Marihelen Wheeler, a member of the Alachua County canvassing board, said she hopes authorities can get to the bottom of the issue and charge those responsible:
“It is time to find out who is doing this, and if necessary press charges to the point that other people are dissuaded from doing it. There is no room for this kind of hanky panky and do it for fun because there are people who can really mess with us.”
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