Election 2020: What to do if you get a threatening email

National security agencies raised an alarm Wednesday linking Iran to threatening emails sent to Democratic voters in multiple battleground states. But local elections officials say the fake emails designed to intimidate voters into casting a ballot for certain candidate should be ignored.

There’s no way to tie a name to a vote, said Adam Lawson, the cybersecurity liaison at the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

“No group or entity is going to be able to tell who you do, or do not, vote for,” he said. “It’s really important for voter confidence that they can vote however they wish. Any threats or anything like that is just all smoke and mirrors.”

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Jan Kelly, Montgomery County’s elections director, said she has no reports of voters receiving the threatening, fake emails. But the county is continually subjected to phishing attempts, and staff has been trained to avoid clicking on suspicious emails, she said. Ohio Secretary of State said the state had not been impacted.

John Ratcliffe, national intelligence director, and F.B.I. Director Chris Wray said Wednesday that emails attempting to intimidate voters into voting for President Donald Trump are linked to Iran.

The emails falsely purported to be from the far-right group Proud Boys and warned that “we will come after you” if the recipients didn’t vote for Trump.

Wray said the tactic won’t work and the integrity of the election remains sound.

“You should be confident that your vote counts,” Wray said. “Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”

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Lawson said if a Montgomery County voter does receive one of the spoof emails, they should contact the Board of Elections office at 937-225-5656. Voters should go to their county’s board of elections website or the Ohio Secretary of State’s website to get accurate voter information, he said.

“Anything that’s on social media, anything that somebody sends you an email, anything that somebody tells you, it’s best just assume maybe this is skewed, maybe it’s false, maybe it’s old,” Lawson said. “Misinformation is the single biggest problem that we’re facing with this election.”

Kelly said about a third of Montgomery County’s 372,164 registered voters have either already voted in person or by mail.

With 12 days until Election Day, early voting in Ohio continues through Nov. 2.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


When you can vote early in person

Early in-person voting hours are uniform across Ohio’s counties.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 19-Oct. 23, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 26-Oct. 30, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 31, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 1, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 2, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Where to vote early in person

Butler County Board of Elections

1802 Princeton Road, Suite 600, Hamilton, OH 45011 Telephone: (513) 887-3700 Fax: (513) 887-5535 E-mail: butler@OhioSoS.gov Website: elections.bcohio.gov

Champaign County Board of Elections

1512 S. U.S. 68, Suite L100, Urbana, OH 43078 Telephone: (937) 484-1575 Fax: (937) 484-1578 E-mail: champaig@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/champaign/

Clark County Board of Elections

CHANGE: Turner Studio Theatre at the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Avenue. Mailing Address: PO Box 1766 Springfield, OH 45501-1766 Telephone: (937) 521-2120 Fax: (937) 328-2603 E-mail: elections@clark.boe.ohio.gov Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/clark/

Greene County Board of Elections

551 Ledbetter Road, Xenia, OH 45385 Telephone: (937) 562-6170 Fax: (937) 562-6171 E-mail: greene@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.greene.boe.ohio.gov

Miami County Board of Elections

215 W. Main St., Troy, OH 45373 Telephone: (937) 440-3900 Fax: (937) 440-3901 E-mail: miami@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/miami/

Montgomery County Board of Elections

451 W. Third St. Dayton, OH 45422 Telephone: (937) 225-5656 Fax: (937) 496-7798 E-mail: montgome@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.montgomery.boe.ohio.gov

Warren County Board of Elections

520 Justice Dr., Lebanon, OH 45036 Telephone: (513) 695-1358 Fax: (513) 695-2953 E-mail: wcboe@warrencountyohio.gov Website: vote.warrencountyohio.gov

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