Election officials: No reports in Wisconsin of Iran-linked emails but speaks to bigger issue

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– Democratic voters in key battleground states received threatening emails demanding they vote for President Donald Trump. U.S. intelligence officials said during a Wednesday night briefing that Iran sent the emails meant to intimidate voters and incite social unrest while damaging the president.

Wisconsin election officials said they have not had any reports of residents receiving these emails, but it speaks to a bigger issue.

Wisconsin Elections Commission’s Administrator Meagan Wolfe said during a press briefing Thursday that there is no evidence that Wisconsin’s or any other states’ systems have been accessed or compromised in any way. Wolfe said any data used to send these emails is publically available.

In a statement to News 8 Now, a Google spokesperson said the tech giant and others have seen evidence that an operation linked to Iran sent inauthentic emails to Americans over the past 24 hours.

“For Gmail users, our automated spam filters stopped 90% of the approximately 25,000 emails sent. Additionally, this morning we removed one video file on Drive and one video on YouTube with fewer than 30 views and terminated the associated Google accounts. We referred the matter to the FBI and will continue to work with law enforcement and others in the industry to identify and remove any related content,” the Google spokesperson said.

Election security is not a new issue to Wisconsin officials. Wolfe said they have been preparing, assessing, adjusting and protecting voting technology to keep pace, especially over the last four years.

For voters, this serves as a reminder to all of us heading into the election to seek out trusted sources of voting information. If you see something suspicious or it doesn’t make sense about voting or candidates, you have the responsibility to check it out.

“There are groups that are trying to confuse and mislead voters to sow doubt about the process. And we all have a duty to check our facts and stop the spread of mis[information] and disinformation,” Wolfe said.

She said election officials get contacted daily by voters about misinformation and disinformation, meaning people intentionally giving wrong information.

The best way to learn about election security and what is done to make sure your vote counts is to go to elections.wi.gov/2020.