OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An OU student received a threatening email demanding she “Vote for Trump or else.” She’s one of several people who received such an email, mostly in Florida and Alaska. The sender claims to officially represent the Proud Boys.
“It was horrifying,” said the OU student as she described her reaction to reading the email Tuesday morning. “It included my full name, and then it was just bodily threats.”
KFOR is keeping her identity secret, but she forwarded the email, which reads, “…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.”
The sender is listed as firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said “rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists.”
“The first time I’d ever heard of them was during the presidential debate,” the student said. said.
The right-wing extremist group gained attention after President Trump signaled to them during the debate, saying, “Stand back and stand by.”
The group later added those words to their logo, but the leader of the group denies responsibility for the emails. CNN reported that the emails appear to have come from a server in Saudi Arabia.
Registered democrats in Florida and Alaska received most of them.
The OU student, who formerly lived in Alaska, said she reported the email to the FBI.
“What this would just show is there is maybe a concerted effort by a group or organization that’s attempting to share this across the United States,” said Oklahoma FBI Supervisory Special Agent Casey Cox.
He said he oversees election crimes, but that the FBI can’t comment on an investigation, or even on whether one exists.
“No one has the right to tell a person how to vote through threat, fraud, intimidation,” he said, “and when someone does do that, that’s a crime, and the FBI will respond and investigate that aggressively.”
Oklahoma State Election Board officials said that while voter registration information is available publicly, finding out who a person voted for is impossible.
“How you vote is private and that will never be revealed,” said Misha Mohr, Election Board spokesperson. “In fact, we have no way to actually track that information.”
The student said while the email is alarming, she won’t be intimidated.
“It makes me want to vote more, honestly.”