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Florida Democrats threatened to vote for Trump 'or we will come after you'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Members of Trump-affiliated right-wing Proud Boys rally in Portland, Oregon, on October 8, 2020. (Photo by The New York Times)

Fears of violence and intimidation by right-wing supporters of US President Donald Trump are growing after authorities in Florida said they were looking into emails sent to registered Democrats urging them to vote for Trump "or we will come after you."

The emails read, “(NAME) we are in possession of all your information. 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. (VOTER’S ADDRESS) good luck,” the message ends.

The threatening emails received by Democrats in Florida and other parts of the US, including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Alaska, appeared to come from the far-right Proud Boy, the Alachua County sheriff's office in northern Florida said.

“We will be initiating an investigation into the source of the email" along with help from FBI agents and state election officials, the sheriff's office said.

A spokesperson for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a statement that it is aware of the emails.

“While we are looking into the emails, we can tell you this: your vote IS secret,” the spokesperson said. “These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters' confidence in our elections. Don't fall for sensational and unverified claims.”

The Proud Boys is a white nationalist hate group known for its misogyny and Islamophobia, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors hate groups nationwide.

The group made headlines when Trump declined to condemn it when asked about white supremacists in his first debate with his Democratic rival Joe Biden on September 29.

Trump keeps calling on his supporters in tweets and speeches, saying, "Fight for President Trump," directing them to the website ""

The US president has called the election "corrupt," and refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the vote to Biden.

Some experts said that Trump is trying to reduce confidence in the results and dissuade Democratic voters from casting their ballot.

Attempting to threaten or intimidate voters in federal elections is a federal crime punishable by fines and up to one year in prison.

Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys and the Florida state director of Latinos for Trump, denied involvement in an interview with the Washington Post, saying the group operates two sites and was increasingly migrating away from the domain used in the email campaign.

Trey Grayson, a Republican and former Kentucky secretary of state said, "My biggest concern, and both sides do this, is undermining confidence in elections across the board." 

"We've got to have people trust the outcome. The losers have to believe it was a fair fight,” he added.

Mary McCord, former top federal prosecutor focusing on national security and a professor at Georgetown Law School in Washington warned that armed groups of Trump supporters will "self-activate" in response to his calls to watch polling places.

The FBI has already warned of “combustible violence” on US streets in the run-up to election as tensions have increased between far-right extremists and anti-racial protesters during nationwide demonstrations that followed the police killing of African American George Floyd.

Democratic leaders have accused Trump of taking political advantage by promoting hate and violence.


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