2 Men Fined $1.25 Million for Robocall Scheme to Suppress Black Vote

Two right-wing political operatives who used a robocall campaign to try to discourage Black New Yorkers from voting in the 2020 election will pay up to $1.25 million for their actions, the New York State attorney general’s office announced on Tuesday.

During the summer of 2020, around 5,500 New Yorkers received robocalls falsely claiming that if they voted by mail, their personal information would be sent to law enforcement agencies, debt collectors and the government. The calls were made at a time when many states were encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

One New Yorker was so disturbed by one of the calls that he experienced “severe anxiety and distress and ultimately withdrew his voter registration,” according to the attorney general’s office.

The office said the calls came from a “sham” organization called Project 1599, which was created by the operatives, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman.

The attorney general, Letitia James, called Mr. Wohl and Mr. Burkman’s robocall campaign “depraved and disinformation-ridden” and said her office would “always defend the right to vote.”

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, and it belongs to everyone,” Ms. James said in the statement.

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