US media is reporting on a warning by the Department of Homeland Security that Russian influence actors are attempting to promote claims by President Trump that mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud. According to the ABC News report:
September 3, 2020 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 “by spreading disinformation” 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the integrity of expanded and universal vote-by-mail, claiming ineligible voters could receive ballots due to out-of-date voter rolls, leaving a vast amount of ballots unaccounted for and vulnerable to tampering,” the bulletin notes.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.”
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The GIOR reported earlier this week that the IRA was attempting to use social media accounts to boost the role of conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon.
The Internet Research Agency (IRA) is a Russian company based in St. Peterburg which is engaged in online influence operations on behalf of Russian business and political interests. It is sometimes described as a “troll farm” and is linked to Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In February 2018, a United States grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian entities, including the Internet Research Agency and Prigozhin, on charges of violating criminal laws with the intent to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes in support of the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. The indictment said that the IRA sought to wage “information warfare” against the United States and to “sow discord” in the American political system by using fictitious American personas and social media platforms and other Internet-based media.