Voters across multiple US states have been targeted today by robocalls telling them to stay home or come vote tomorrow, on Wednesday, due to massive turnouts and long lines at voting stations.
US citizens and authorities have reported robocalls messages in nine states, including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.
In response to the reports, state officials have taken today to social media to dispel the misinformation shared in the robocalls, urging voters to vote in-person by 8 PM ET today, the last day of voting, and not follow the advice shared in some calls, which was trying to mislead voters by tricking them to come vote tomorrow — after polls were set to close.
However, while some messages were specifically trying to mislead voters to show up to vote on the wrong day, the vast majority of robocalls featured even simpler messages that merely tried to convince voters to stay home.
The message, which didn’t mention the voting process in an obvious attempt to avoid a possible law enforcement investigation, said: “This is just a test call. Time to stay home. Stay safe and stay home.“
According to the Washington Post, more than 10 million robocalls of this type have been placed today.
US officials, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), said they are aware of the campaigns and looking into the matter.
DHS says this happened before
Nevertheless, the issue doesn’t seem to alarm US federal officials too much either.
According to a Cyberscoop report, speaking on background in a press conference today, DHS officials said robocall campaigns had taken place each election cycle, and this one was not out of the ordinary.
Some of these campaigns started even before the voting process.
For example, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed official charges on October 1 against two Republican operatives for their role in a recent campaign targeting minority voters in Michigan this fall.
Nessel identified the suspects as Jack Burkman, 54, of Virginia and Jacob Wohl, 22, of California, who, if found guilty, face up to 24 years behind bars.
According to a Reuters report, the FBI is formally investigating today’s new wave of robocall campaigns.
Federal agencies like CISA and the FBI also said that despite a few malfunctions here and there, today’s election process has not been marred by cyber-security issues.