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Sec. of State Benson Warns Voters Of New Racially Charged Robocall Going Around

CBS Detroit - There's a Robocall going around, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is warning Detroit voters that it is "racially charged" and false. As reported by The Detroit News, the robocall seeks to discredit Detroit voters from mailing in their votes. That doing so would place them in a database the government and private companies would use to track them down for warrants or debt, she said in a recent Twitter post.

The robocall recording goes on to claim that mailing in your vote would be used by the CDC to track people down for a mandatory vaccine. "Don't be (inaudible) into giving your private information to the man. Stay safe, and beware of vote by mail," concluded the recording. According to the Detroit News, the recording claims to be on behalf of Project 1599. Which was started by two conservatives. Jacob Wohl, a conservative social media commentator, who was charged with a felony in California in August of 2019 for trying to sell unqualified securities, and lobbyist Jack Burkman. Which the Washington Post reported that Burkman tried to discredit Senator Ted Cruz's election by claiming that Cruz's father was somehow involved in President Kennedy's Assassination.

While it is unclear who the source is for the robocall, Benson and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, (Wohl and Burkman have a) "known reputation for spreading misinformation in an effort to gain notoriety,". When questioned by The Detroit News, Wohl said he was "puzzled" by the call, while admitting he and Burkman were not fans of mail-in voting. According to Wohl, as part of Project 1599, they have never done robocalls. Wohl suggested this robocall recording some sort of internet prankster. While Burkman and Wohl have been looking into the matter, they have not been contacted by Nessel or Benson.

According to Sec. of State Benson, the recording plays on people's fear and mistrust of the criminal justice system. Twisting that into a "fabricated threat" to discourage people from voting. Benson reiterated, voting by mail is secure, safe and "does not expose personal information any more than simply registering to vote."

In the wake of this robocall, Benson and Nessel are pledging to correct any falsehoods and to "seek justice on behalf of every voter who was targeted & harmed by this vicious attempt at voter suppression," said Benson. Attorney General Dana Nessel said the robocall was a scare tactic to intimidate Black voters.

Robocalling is against the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which recently, a Michigan telemarketing firm lost a $925 million dollar class-action lawsuit case for making robocalls. Which was recently upheld by a federal judge. In that case, the two-million calls selling weightloss products, and dietary drinks were fined at $500 each.

© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Information from The Detroit News, Washington Post, and azcentral,  contributed to this report.

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