Did election officials warn voters to "stay home and stay safe"? No, state officials in Nebraska and other states say robocalls with that message are fraudulent attempt to suppress voting.
The deception was spotlighted in a tweet (archived here) published by the Nebraska secretary of state on November 3, 2020, which opened:
The Secretary of State Office has received reports of anonymous phone calls to voters telling voters to 'stay home and stay safe.' Our polling places across the state are open. Our voters and our poll workers will be kept safe. Elections matter and your vote counts.
This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:
(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Nov 3 19:54:52 2020 UTC)
According to Cindi Allen, Nebraska assistant secretary of state, the automated robocall speaker says, "Now is the time to stay home. Stay safe and stay home."
Similar calls have been received in Iowa, Michigan and Virginia, Allen told Lead Stories in a telephone interview.
The FBI is reported to be investigating.
Storyful on November 3, 2020, sent a verified recording of one of the bogus calls on Twitter:
Just got a robocall telling my to "stay safe and stay home" on election day.-- Hashim Warren 🧑🏾🚀 (@hashim_warren) November 3, 2020
Who do I report this to? pic.twitter.com/NS7t5KJTrW
The deceptive calls don't give a specific reason to stay home, but are being placed in the context of rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in some states.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel posted a warning Tuesday morning on Twitter:
Getting reports of multiple robocalls going to Flint residents that, due to long lines, they should vote tomorrow.-- Dana Nessel (@dananessel) November 3, 2020
Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote. No long lines and today is the last day to vote. Don't believe the lies! Have your voice heard! RT PLS.
The Washington Post reported on November 3, 2020, that the calls, which started in October, "now appear to have affected nearly every ZIP code in the United States."
Officials in Nebraska have determined that the calls represent voter interference, Allen said. State officials are investigating the matter, which is also being looked into at the federal level, she said.
Allen said she could not determine if the calls have affected turnout but voting was "very smooth, no kinks."
Nebraska officials have countered the calls with posts on Facebook and Twitter, she said, as well as with news releases for online newspapers and TV newscasts.
"There are a large number of voters turning out at the polls," she told Lead Stories. "There is an average 25-minute wait. There are long lines."
The weather has cooperated, she said. "The weather is beautiful," Allen said. "That's why there's a large number of voters. It's almost 80 degrees."
The Washington Post reported there also were text messages sent out to interfere with voting. Said the newspaper:
On Tuesday morning, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned local voters about a suspicious text message making the rounds that sought to sow confusion about the voting process. The text said a 'typographical error' meant that people who are 'intending on voting for Joe Biden' instead had to select President Trump, and vice versa. The text, which Nessel's office shared with The Washington Post, attributed the information to the "Federal Berue [sic] of Investigation.'