In Michigan, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman used robocalls targeting people telling them that mail-in ballot information could be "used by police departments to track down old warrants" and "used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts."
The recorded message also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would use information on ballots to identify individuals for mandatory vaccinations.
The calls were made in August 2020 to 12,000 residents with the area code 313, specifically targeting urban areas in the Detroit area.
"This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election. We're all well aware of the frustrations caused by the millions of nuisance robocalls flooding our cell phones and landlines each day, but this particular message poses grave consequences for our democracy and the principles upon which it was built, Michigan voters are entitled to a full, free and fair election in November and my office will not hesitate to pursue those who jeopardize that," according to the prosecutor.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed multiple charges against the two men; one count of election law - intimidating voters (a 5-year felony), one count of conspiracy to commit an election law violation (a 5-year felony), one count of using a computer to commit the crime of election law - intimidating voters (a 7-year felony), and using a computer to commit the crime of conspiracy (a 7-year felony).
Washington Examiner, "Michigan charges right-wing conspiracy theorists with multiple felonies in robocall voter suppression scheme", article by Anthony Leonardi
Looks like the prosecutor is throwing lots of charges at them to try to force them into a plea bargain. Get them to plea guilty. Because these defendants have a case that what they did was not actually illegal.
It seems to me what they said in the message was technically not necessarily completely untrue, although it is a big stretch and extremely far-fetched.
Sounds more like the stuff of conspiracy theories.
But these two men were arrested for the message, which the prosecutor deems to be be false, and "voter intimidation", and "illegal".
I think we could agree it was kind of misleading, and designed to play on ignorant people's fears.
But should it be illegal?
It seems like a huge stretch to try to interpret the law for this to be illegal.
It goes to show how a court can take a law and interpret it in such a way as to make something else illegal in a way that was not obvious.