‘Stay inside’: Disturbing phone calls try to scare off voters

·2-min read

Millions of automated calls and texts have been received by Americans urging them to stay inside in what’s speculated to be a rogue attempt to keep people away from the voting polls.

An estimated 10 million spam calls have reportedly been distributed in recent months, encouraging people in 280 of the country’s 317 area codes to “stay safe and stay home”, Washington Post reported.

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The robocalls all featured the same female computerised voice stating twice that the following alert was a “test call”, according to the publication.

Woman celebrating after voting in the US election.
Voters in Michigan where disturbing robocalls urged residents to stay home. Source: Getty Images

Some recipients reportedly believed the calls, which did not explicitly mention the 2020 election, were a brazen attempt to stop them leaving their homes to vote.

They apparently began at some point during the American summer (June to September), and intensified throughout October.

Government officials across the country scrambled on Tuesday (local time) to assure residents it was safe to vote, and the calls were a work of “misinformation”.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said her office would “work quickly to stamp out misinformation”.

Federal officials are reportedly investigating the matter.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tweeted that she was aware of that an “unknown party is purposefully spreading misinformation via robocalls in Flint in an attempt to confuse voters there”.

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“I want to ensure everyone who plans to vote in person understands you *must be in line to do so by 8pm today*,” one of her tweets on Tuesday (local time) read.

She said queues across Michigan were “minimal” and voters should “feel confident that we are standing vigilant against any attacks on their voting rights & attempts at voter suppression”.

“We will to stamp out any misinformation aimed at preventing people from voting,” she wrote.

“Please remember: only believe information from trusted sources.”

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