A round of robocalls that hit people’s phones Tuesday breathed new life into concerns that automated messages could have a chilling effect on Election Day turnout, The Washington Post reported.
Over the past few days, American voters have been on the receiving end of approximately 10 million automated calls and messages recommending they “stay home,” according to the Post’s report. As the Post reported, the source of the robocalls and texts was not immediately known Tuesday.
YouMail, a tech company that provides a call-screening service, has been tracking the flood of robocalls and provided data to the Post showing these calls have affected the vast majority of area codes across the country. The company found these robocalls might be coming from overseas.
“If you wanted to cause havoc in America for the elections, one way to do it is clearly robocalling,” Alex Quilici, YouMail’s chief executive officer, told the newspaper. “This whole thing is exposing [that] it can be very difficult to react quickly to a large calling volume campaign.”
The latest round of robocalls was met with quick responses from law enforcement and election officials across the country, who sought to combat the spread of misinformation.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said voters in Flint have received calls discouraging them from voting due to long lines and telling them to vote on Wednesday instead.
“Getting reports of multiple robocalls going to Flint residents that, due to long lines, they should vote tomorrow. Obviously this is false and an effort to suppress the vote,” Nessel tweeted. “No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don’t believe the lies! Have your voice heard!”
Getting reports of multiple robocalls going to Flint residents that, due to long lines, they should vote tomorrow.— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) November 3, 2020
Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote. No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don’t believe the lies! Have your voice heard! RT PLS.
Robert Evnen, the secretary of state for Nebraska, said his office has learned of reports of anonymous phone calls telling voters to “stay home and stay safe.”
“Our polling places across the state are open,” Evnen tweeted. “Our voters and our poll workers will be kept safe.”
The Secretary of State Office has received reports of anonymous phone calls to voters telling voters to “stay home and stay safe.”— NE Secretary of State Robert Evnen (@NEvnen) November 3, 2020
Our polling places across the state are open. Our voters and our poll workers will be kept safe.
“Elections matter and your vote counts." pic.twitter.com/XdKvtKWwWT