TALLINN – Voters in Florida and Alaska reported receiving menacing and deceptive e-mails on Tuesday that used false claims about public voting information to threaten voters: "Vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you," Postimees reported, citing The New York Times.
One of the e-mails, obtained by The New York Times, came from an address that suggested an affiliation with the Proud Boys, a far-right group. But metadata from the e-mail shows that it did not come from the displayed e-mail address -- email@example.com -- but instead originated from an Estonian e-mail server.
The e-mail obtained by The New York Times had been sent to a voter in Gainesville, Florida, and was nearly identical to dozens of others that had been reported in the city. Voters in Brevard County, Florida, and Anchorage, Alaska, also reported receiving similar e-mails.
Mayor Lauren Poe of Gainesville said in an interview that the e-mails were "a very brutish way of trying to intimidate people from going to the polls," but that none of the voters he had talked to seemed to have been fooled.
In the e-mail that The New York Times reviewed, metadata shows that the original e-mail came from firstname.lastname@example.org, an Estonian mail server hosted on ElkData.ee, one of the country's domain hosting services.
It remains unclear how many voters in Florida, Alaska or other states received similar or identical e-mails.
Federal and local law enforcement authorities in Florida are investigating the e-mails, and have put out alerts on social media to warn voters.
Christopher C. Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, said on Twitter that the agency was "aware of threatening e-mails with misleading info about the secrecy of your vote."
"Ballot secrecy is guaranteed by law in all states," Mr. Krebs added. "These e-mails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters' confidence in our elections."
T.J. Pyche, a spokesman for the Alachua County elections supervisor, said the county had begun receiving reports around 10 a.m. on Tuesday that people were receiving the e-mails. He estimated that hundreds of people in the county had received them.
The county contacted local law enforcement officials, the FBI. and the Department of Homeland Security. At the University of Florida, e-mails were removed from the inboxes of about 200 people.