As Americans head to the polls on Tuesday, there are some longstanding concerns about their safety, and about exactly what to expect as the all-important contest rolls on.
For some, there are fears that a declaration of victory by either candidate could kick off unrest in the streets of our nation, particularly if the election itself is a close one. A Trump victory could send radical leftists into the streets of cities such as Portland and Seattle, while a Biden victory, potentially framed as as illegitimate by a Trump tweet, could bring a different breed of demonstrator to the public arena.
Furthermore, as the day goes on, there will be near-continuous coverage of incidents of voter intimidation, voter fraud, and voter suppression….some true, others not. These could further influence and instigate the masses as well, priming them for an explosion come tonight.
Now, to add to the mix, a strange and creepy robocall is being investigated by authorities.
Across the country, voters have received an estimated 10 million automated, spam calls in recent days telling them to “stay safe and stay home,” according to experts who track the telecom industry. In Michigan, government officials on Tuesday said they had witnessed additional attempts to deceive their state’s voters in particular, including one robocall campaign targeting the city of Flint that inaccurately told people to vote tomorrow if they hoped to avoid long lines today.
The origins of the each of the calls and texts remain unclear, reflecting the sophisticated tactics that robocallers typically deploy in order to reach Americans en masse across a wide array of devices and services. State election officials have scrambled to reassure voters in response, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pledging Tuesday to “work quickly to stamp out misinformation.” The FBI also has opened an investigation into the Michigan robocalls, a Trump administration official said.
New York, in particular, was taking the call seriously.
The reach and timing of the “stay home” calls similarly caught the attention of state and federal government leaders, including New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who said she had already sent subpoenas to investigate the source of the intrusion. Data prepared for The Washington Post by YouMail, a tech company that offers a robocall-blocking app for smartphones, shows that the calls have reached 280 of the country’s 317 area codes since the campaign began in the summer. The country’s top telecom carriers believe the calls are foreign in origin.
It doesn’t appear as though the call has had much effect, however, as voter turnout around the nation continues to break records.
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