A spokeswoman for the Michigan attorney general’s office said officials were still trying to track down the sender. The office sent out an urgent alert on Facebook and Twitter to make sure voters in Dearborn did not fall for the scam.
In Virginia, Kristen Clarke, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said robocalls went out warning voters that they might get sick if they went out to vote. “Stay home and stay safe,” the calls said.
The robocalls were similar to those reported in Michigan, Texas, California, Florida, Kansas, Ohio, Washington, Georgia, New York, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Zignal Labs, a media analytics firm, tracked more than 14,248 mentions of robocalls on social media on Tuesday, the vast majority of them in Michigan, Kansas and Florida.
The “stay home and stay safe” robocalls had started during the campaign and were continuing during voting, Ms. Clarke said. Voting rights groups said voters in several other states had gotten similar calls directing them to vote on Wednesday, Ms. Clarke said.
All told, more than three million calls were made to some 800,000 people across the country on Tuesday, instructing them to “stay safe and stay home,” according to data provided by the firm TelTech.
A senior homeland security official said such robocalls were common during elections and intelligence officials said there did not seem to be any early indications that the calls were originating from a foreign government. But Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the director of the National Security Agency, said that his agency would “take a very close look” at the calls, and said that he was confident the F.B.I. was “on top of it right now.”
Homeland security intelligence warned last month that extremists could look to target “physical election infrastructure” like polling sites. Federal officials and local police officials on Tuesday continued to prepare for possible unrest going into election night, with the Homeland Security Department deploying tactical agents from Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, throughout the United States to protect federal property. A new fence had been erected in front of Lafayette Square, near the White House.