13:37 GMT26 November 2020
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    While Americans were heading to the polls and voting by mail over the past few weeks, dozens of Australians were reportedly receiving robocalls Down Under that encouraged them to stay home and not cast their so-called ballots in the US presidential election.

    "I've had four or five of these calls, which I initially assumed was something to do with a COVID-19 message," Perth resident Ben told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "Coming up as a local mobile number, I wasn't expecting something linked to the US election. I just blocked the number and moved on."

    The call reportedly told unsuspecting Australians that they should stay home on November 3, rather than head to the polls to cast their votes for either US President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden.

    The issue is now being looked into, according to a Department of Homeland Security official who spoke with ABC.

    According to RoboKiller, an app that boasts a “global database of 1.4 Billion analyzed calls” to fight against telemarketers and robocalls, the call in question has been issued millions of times within the past year.

    "There's a little bit of confusion about this one across the industry [but] this robocall is being sent at a very high volume," Giulia Porter, vice president of RoboKiller, noted.

    She also revealed that by Tuesday, the robocall had risen to fifth place on the company’s list of top spam calls.

    David, from Brisbane, was particularly perplexed after receiving a similar robocall from an unrecognizable Australian number.

    "The US elections have got nothing to do with me," he said in reference to the call, which went straight to voicemail. "I can't see why they're targeting Australians who have nothing to do with the US voting system."

    News of these robocalls in Australia comes amid a flurry of similar reports in the US state of Michigan, which prompted the opening of a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    “Getting reports of multiple robocalls going to Flint residents that, due to long lines, they should vote tomorrow,” tweeted Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday. “Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote. No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don’t believe the lies! Have your voice heard! RT PLS.”

    Also, GOP fraudsters Jack Burkman, 54, and Jacob Wohl, 22, were arraigned in early October on charges of voter intimidation, conspiracy to commit an election law violation and using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy and election law. They allegedly sent out a robocall seeking to dissuade voters from casting their ballots.

    Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman press conference collage
    Evan Craighead
    Jack Burkman, 54, and Jacob Wohl, 22.

    “Mail-in voting sounds great, but did you know that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts?” the call erroneously claimed.

    Nessel claims the duo called around 12,000 Detroit and suburban residents in August.

    “This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election,” Nessel pointed out in her office’s October 1 release on the matter. Black Detroiters make up 78.6% of the city’s population.

    The pair is still awaiting judgment on their array of felony charges, but they have since been ordered to call and apologize to residents in a "curative" message that addresses the misinformation.

    Wohl and Burkman are also facing eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery after they were indicted by Ohio’s Cuyahoga County for issuing similar robocalls to residents in Cleveland. Black residents make up 49.6% of Cleveland’s population.

    The two are facing up to 18 years behind bars in Cleveland.

    Related:

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    ‘Is That a Code?’: Keith Olbermann Riles Up Twitter by Dubbing Trump ‘Whiny Little Kunta Kinte’
    GOP Fraudsters Face Charges Over Robocalls Aiming to Suppress Mail-In Ballots By Minorities
    Tags:
    voice calls, anonymous calls, phone calls, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), FBI
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