Washington — Dozens of voters in a heavily Democratic county in Florida and across several states reported receiving emails on Thursday purporting to come from a right-wing group threatening to "come after" them unless they vote for President Trump.
But an examination of the messages, which are now under investigation by state and federal authorities, shows they were sent via servers located overseas, raising questions about their origin amid concerns about voter intimidation just two weeks before Election Day.
Democratic voters in Alachua County, Florida, began receiving the email on Tuesday morning, and voters in Alaska and Arizona also reported receiving the message. Early voting began in Florida on Monday. The emails appeared to come from the right-wing group The Proud Boys, and showed a "from" address of email@example.com. The Proud Boys has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy group.assessed that Russia is actively working to "denigrate" Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and boosts Mr. Trump's campaign, while China prefers the president loses his reelection bid.
On Sunday, Admiral Mike Rogers, the former head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, said he believes Russia is attempting to spread disinformation on social media and other mediums to sow confusion and discord, including by using false identities.
"What you're watching the Russians do is really double down on the idea of using disinformation via social media and other paths to continue to polarize our nation, to incite violence, to incite hatred and to attempt to pull us apart," he said in an interview on "Face the Nation."
Alachua County was the target of a cyberattack launched by Russia's military intelligence service, the GRU, in 2016, though the effort to gain access to the county's election office through a phishing email was unsuccessful.