Voters across Brevard County Tuesday afternoon received threatening emails purporting to come from the Proud Boys, a far-right group that espouses militant authoritarian ideology, telling them to vote for President Trump, or else.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office was made aware by the Supervisor of Elections of an email that was distributed to citizens who appear to be registered with the Democratic Party.
The email message appears to be an attempt to influence the recipients into changing their party affiliation and voting Republican. Upon learning of the message, the Sheriff’s Office along with our local and federal law enforcement partners immediately initiated an investigation in an effort to determine the origin of the emails and those responsible for its content.
Sheriff Wayne Ivey stated, “While the investigation is active and currently ongoing, as your Sheriff I want to personally assure everyone that the Sheriff’s Office, our federal and local law enforcement partners are doing everything possible to identify those responsible. In America, every registered voter is afforded the right to participate in the electoral process and deserves to do so without intimidation or influence."
Please know that everyone in our community it is safe to go to the polls throughout the election process and while these emails appear concerning, the investigation to date has determined the emails originated from outside the continental United States and are not considered a valid threat, but were sent with a morally corrupt agenda!”
“Please do not allow this or any other action by anyone to intimidate or dissuade you from your right as an American to cast your ballot for the candidate(s) of your choosing during early voting or on Election Day!!”
If you have received the below email, citizens are urged to contact their local law enforcement agency or the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office via the Communications Center at (321)633-7162.
Below is a sample of the text of the email:
(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 email address these emails are distributed from is: “Proud Boys <firstname.lastname@example.org>”
"We are responding to voters and letting them know we appreciate them contacting us regarding the voter intimidation email they received. (Lori Scott, Supervisior of Elections for Brevard County has contacted local, state, and federal partners for investigation into this very serious matter," she wrote in an email.
Stacey Patel, chair of the Brevard Democrats, said she received at least 5 such emails from voters Tuesday afternoon and had notified the elections supervisor's office. "We've not seen this kind of voter intimidation in the past and it's obviously really troubling," she said. In a follow up text she said she advises recipients of the email to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI and the Florida Democratic Party Voter Protection team at 1-833-VOTE-FLA.
So far emails only appear to target registered Democrats.
Calls to local FBI offices and an inquiry to the FBI's national press office went unanswered Tuesday evening.