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Fake Biden robocall urges New Hampshire voters to skip their primary

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(WASHINGTON) — A robocall appearing to impersonate the voice of President Joe Biden has been circulating and encouraging recipients of the call to “save your vote” for the November general election, rather than participate in New Hampshire’s upcoming primary on Tuesday, according to audio obtained by ABC News.

“Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday,” the robocall message said.

“That call was indeed fake and not recorded by the president. I can confirm that,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday.

“More broadly,” Biden “has been clear that there are risks associated with deep fakes,” she added.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office said it is conducting an “active and ongoing” investigation into these “spoofed” messages, which “appear to be an unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election and to suppress New Hampshire voters.”

Its Election Law Unit “works closely with our local, state, and federal partners,” a spokesperson with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office added.

Though “the voice in the robocall sounds like the voice of President Biden, this message appears to be artificially generated based on initial indications,” the NHAG’s office said.

Who is behind the robocalls is still unclear, as is how many people have received the message, officials said.

The state attorney general spokesperson told ABC that at this time, they do know “approximately a dozen” people took the step of calling to request being removed from future calls, and “approximately half a dozen” people sent a complaint to either the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office or the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office.

The robocall ends with a phone number belonging to Kathy Sullivan, a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair, who now runs a super PAC supporting the effort urging Granite State Democrats to write in Biden’s name this primary.

In an interview with ABC on Monday, Sullivan said she does not know who is responsible for the robocalls, or how many people have been impacted — and doesn’t feel comfortable speculating — but hopes the investigation will yield results.

“Hopefully, who’s been doing this won’t be able to do this in the future,” she said. “You shouldn’t be telling people you shouldn’t go and vote. That’s crazy. That undermines our democracy. It’s just not right. I’ve been calling it an unpardonable sin.”

Sullivan said she hasn’t heard directly from the White House or the re-election campaigns, since, she notes, she’s involved with efforts to get Biden written in on the ballot Tuesday evening.

ABC has previously reported on how authorities are mapping out potential threats to the New Hampshire primary – and strategizing to stop them. The new confidential analysis by the New Hampshire Information and Analysis Center (NHIAC), obtained by ABC, warned of those who “have the ability to disrupt, suppress, or discourage voters from participating” in New Hampshire — including concerns about the use of artificial intelligence to “spread false narratives and influence public perception about candidates or campaigns.”

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