Proud Boys Threaten Democrats in Florida
Emails from the group are warning violence against people who vote against Trump
Democratic voters in important swing states like Florida, Arizona, and Alaska have begun receiving threatening emails about voting for Joe Biden. The emails claim to be from the noted white supremacist hate group known as the Proud Boys.
The emails, which are coming from Info@officialproudboys.com, start with a subject line saying "Vote for Trump or else!" They then go on to state "We are in possession of all your information (email, address, telephone… everything)," "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."
While officialproudboys.com is currently offline, archived versions of the site show that it was once a pro-Proud Boys news site that sold the group’s merchandise. Records show that the site went offline on Monday as the domain was being transferred. The last update on the Wayback Machine was October 11th, 2020. It is unclear if this was done intentionally or if their hosting company removed the site.
Voters in Alachua County, Florida appear to have received the most emails. Alachua is home to the University of Florida, making it a Democratic blip in an otherwise Republican part of the state. Included in the email were personal details about the recipient including home addresses and phone numbers. In many states, this is public information that is included in the voter file, but it was definitely alarming to the people receiving the email.
“These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters’ confidence in our elections,” said Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
TJ Pyche, a spokesman for the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections, told NPR that hundreds if not thousands of voters in the county received the email. According to the Alaska Democratic Party, the FBI has now gotten involved in the investigation.
While the Proud Boys have been around since 2016, they recently got massive media attention when Trump refused to denounce the group during the first Debate. Instead, he told the group to “Stand Back and Standby” which they took as a sign that he was telling them to be prepared for possible violence following the election. Enrique Tarrio, the group’s leader, wrote on Parler: “Standing by sir.”