Officials in some states across the U.S. are warning voters to ignore suspicious and misleading robocalls that have been reported in multiple swing states across the country.
ProPublica reported on Tuesday that nearly 800,000 phone numbers in six 2020 swing states had received robocalls that gave nondescript and misleading information about casting votes in the general election. The nonprofit news site reported the FBI is investigating the origins and motives behind the calls, as both were unclear as Election Day came to a close on Tuesday night.
"We are aware of reports of robocalls and have no further comment," the FBI said in a statement to PEOPLE. "As a reminder, the FBI encourages the American public to verify any election and voting information they may receive through their local election officials."
Officials in some states gave their own statements on Tuesday, advising voters to ignore what some suspected was a vague attempt at voter suppression.
"We received reports that an unknown party is purposefully spreading misinformation via robocalls in Flint in an attempt to confuse voters there, and I want to ensure everyone who plans to vote in person understands they must do so — or be in line to do so — by 8 p.m. today," Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
The robocalls were suggesting voters cast their ballots on Wednesday to avoid long lines at the polling stations on election day, The New York Times reported.
"Lines in the area and across the state are minimal and moving quickly, and Michigan voters can feel confident that leaders across state and local government are vigilant against these kinds of attacks on their voting rights and attempts at voter suppression, and we will be working quickly all day to stamp out any misinformation aimed at preventing people from exercising their right to vote," Benson, a Democrat, said.
In New York, state Attorney General Letitia James said she's investigating the calls. "Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy," James tweeted. "Attempts to hinder voters from casting ballots by spreading misinformation is illegal and will not be tolerated."
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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also warned the public about the robocalls Tuesday. "Don't fall for it," Nessel said on Twitter.
Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, also told voters to ignore the misinformation. "Voting is easy, secure and SAFE. Just wear a mask when you go!" Ellison tweeted. "Don't let anyone steal your voice or your vote.
Minnesota, like Michigan, is considered a key battleground state for both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Numerous other states including Nebraska, Kansas, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia have also reported robocalls, Scripps National reported.
On Tuesday, Nebraska's Secretary of State Robert Evnen warned its constituents of reports of anonymous phone calls to voters, stating they "stay home and stay safe."
"Our polling places across the state are open," Evnen wrote on Twitter. "Our voters and our poll workers will be kept safe. 'Elections matter and your vote counts.'"
All of this comes after more than 101.1 million Americans cast their votes prior to Election Day, according to the U.S. Elections Project.
That record-breaking number makes the robocalls somewhat irrelevant, ProPublica noted in its report, especially as the calls did not appear to target either Democratic or Republican-leaning voters.
Election officials have been fighting misinformation about the 2020 election all year, specifically from foreign countries like Russia, China, and Iran, according to the Times, as well as false statements from the U.S. president himself.
Trump, 74, has made election officials irate by repeatedly spreading false information about the security of the 2020 election and about the use of mail-in ballots, as national polls showed him trailing Biden, 77, by a significant margin heading into Tuesday's election deadline.
Election interference from individual actors "has become exceedingly rare," Amber McReynolds, one of the nation’s leading election experts and the CEO of the nonprofit Vote at Home, told PEOPLE earlier this year.
"The narrative driven by a few tweets would be the fraud piece—some of the misinformation that’s spread about that has definitely magnified it as a topic," McReynolds added.
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