ABC NewsBY: JOSH MARGOLIN and LUCIEN BRUGGEMAN, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Russia has sought to “amplify” concerns over the integrity of U.S. elections by promoting allegations that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by ABC News, again echoing a frequent and unfounded complaint raised by President Donald Trump.
Analysts with the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence branch issued the warning on Thursday to federal and state law enforcement partners after finding with “high confidence” that “Russian malign influence actors” have targeted the absentee voting process since at least March.
“Russian state media and proxy websites in mid-August 2020 criticized the integrity of expanded and universal vote-by-mail, claiming ineligible voters could receive ballots due to out-of-date voter rolls, leaving a vast amount of ballots unaccounted for and vulnerable to tampering,” the bulletin notes.
“These websites also alleged that vote-by-mail processes would overburden the U.S. Postal Service and local boards of election,” it continues, “delaying vote tabulation and creating more opportunities for fraud and error.”
President Trump has long sought to undermine public confidence in the upcoming election with baseless warnings that mail-in-voting could lead to widespread voter fraud.
The latest intelligence bulletin represents the latest example of Russian actors sharing the same message as President Trump and his reelection campaign.
On Wednesday, ABC News first reported that senior DHS officials withheld a July bulletin from distribution that found that Russia would continue raising questions about the mental health of Biden to impact the 2020 election.
The July bulletin, titled “Russia Likely to Denigrate Health of US Candidates to Influence 2020 Election,” also mentioned Iranian and Chinese schemes to criticize President Donald Trump.
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