Conservative operatives Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl have been charged with felony voter suppression charges for allegedly trying to stifle turnout during the presidential election in Detroit.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a range of charges against the men, accusing them of concocting a robocall scheme that discouraged voting in urban areas, including the motor city.

The calls falsely warned that voting by mail would funnel voters’ personal information into a special database to be used by law enforcement and credit card companies to track old warrants and outstanding debts.

“Don’t be BS’ed into giving your private information to the man,” the call said, in part. “Stay safe and beware of vote-by-mail.”

The pre-recorded messages also lied in stating that the information would be used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track people for mandatory coronavirus vaccines.

“Any effort to interfere with, intimidate or intentionally mislead Michigan voters will be met with swift and severe consequences,” Nessel said in a statement.

The calls were made in late August and to nearly 12,000 residents with phone numbers from Detroit’s 313 area code, with many more possibly placed elsewhere across the country, according to Nessel’s office.

“This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election,” Nessel went on. “We’re all well aware of the frustrations caused by the millions of nuisance robocalls flooding our cell phones and landlines each day, but this particular message poses grave consequences for our democracy and the principles upon which it was built.”

Burkman, 54, and Wohl, 22, face charges including conspiracy to commit an election law violation and using a computer to commit the crime of election law, among others that could bring a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison.

Nessel’s office stressed that there is “very little, if any, evidence” that voting by mail could lead to fraud since states have successfully carried out the process for years. Voting by mail has been a part of Michigan elections for 60 years.

Her office said it’s been in contact with attorneys general in states with high minority populations that have reported similar calls, including New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois.

Roughly 85,000 calls are believed to have been made across the country, according to Nessel’s office.

Wohl, based out of Los Angeles, and Burkman, of Arlington, Virginia, gained mainstream attention as far-right conspiracy theorists in 2018 when they were caught trying to spread fake sexual misconduct accusations against special counsel Robert Mueller.

Wohl was suspended from Twitter last year for running fake accounts after previously speaking openly of planning to create bogus left-wing accounts to promote what he perceived to be the weakest Democratic candidates.



Source link