Update Oct 23 – As this saga continues, Homeland Security says that this email campaign is being waged by Iran. Director of National Intelligence called a hasty news conference with DHS and said that their analysis says this is the work of Iran, who, after all, is not on great terms with this administration. Iran, for their part says it wasn’t them. Hmm. Who should I believe? Credit: Washington Post
Update Oct 22 – Now we need to add Arizona to the list and also a video describing, they say, how they can manipulate the vote. Experts say that this technique would be detected, so this is categorized as fear mongering. Credit: Vice
Update Oct 21 – News reports now say that Florida is not the only state affected; residents of Alaska have also gotten similar emails and election officials in both states say that they have referred the matter to a combination of local, state, federal and Homeland Security (CISA) law enforcement authorities. Credit: CNN
Some Florida voters who are registered Democrats have received emails supposedly from the Proud Boys with a subject line that says “Vote for Trump or else!”.
As many people know, there is no security in regular email, so it could be them or it could be, to quote the President from a different attack, a 300 pound guy in his parents basement.
The email goes on to say:
“You are currently registered as a Democrat, and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure. 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. Good luck.”
The first problem here is that they know that these people are a registered Democrat (if they are) because that information is publicly available. Your name, address and party affiliation is not protected information. This has nothing to do with any voting infrastructure being hacked.
They go on to say that you should change your party affiliation to let them know you will comply. Being a registered Republican has nothing to do with who you vote for, of course.
Finally, we will know which candidate you voted for is complete BS because not even the election officials know that information. Voting is anonymous, whether you vote by mail or in person, but especially if you vote in person because once you go into the voting booth, no one knows what you did.
While the email header said it came from info @ official proud boys . com, the IP address says it came from Estonia. None of this means anything since all of this can be forged.
The Proud Boys have said through some online channels that they are not responsible for this, but even they were, would they admit it? After all, voter intimidation in a federal election is a federal crime and my guess is that an aggressive prosecutor might go for domestic terrorism style charges. Among the penalties under the Patriot Act for domestic terrorism is civil asset forfeiture where the government can take your assets, even if you are not charged with a crime. You then have to fight to get them back. It is, in my opinion, a nasty law, but it is the current law.
Some of the Proud Boys leaders claimed it is a leftist plot. That is certainly possible, but it is equally possible that it really came from them. The President, when recently asked to condemn the Proud Boys, instead said “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by“, which the group took to mean an endorsement by the President, whether that was actually what he meant or not.
Supposedly, the FBI is investigating. How “hard” is unknown and even if they are, unless the people who did this were careless, it will take time to identify the senders.
We don’t know how many people received these emails and whether they were scared enough to change their vote or not. It does appear that Google is NOW blocking this as spam. Credit: Vice