False and misleading statements about the election are spreading across social media. For this week's 'Can You Handle The Truth' segment, CapRadio's PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols helped separate fact from fiction.
There are a lot of unfounded claims that say votes for Joe Biden are appearing out of nowhere, especially in some of the contested Midwestern states. What has PolitiFact learned about those?
One prominent example is in Michigan, where early results showed President Trump in the lead on Election Night. The claims on social media ‘showed a screenshot from Decision Desk HQ,’ which is an election data service, -- they showed what appeared to be a sudden influx of about 139 thousand votes all for Biden, and not a single vote for Trump. Many Trump supporters were understandably very skeptical. But when PolitiFact looked into this, they found that Decision Desk HQ acknowledged there was an error in the data that they received from the state of Michigan -- and that the state also noticed the error and produced an updated, corrected count.
Some of the claims on social media said the episode was fraudulent. In the end PolitiFact rated these claims as False.
There was a Facebook post that went viral Wednesday that called into question California’s mail-in voting system. Can you tell us about that?
A conservative commentator Tomi Lahren claimed, without any evidence, that “mysterious mail-in ballots lying around” helped flip key states for Biden. She said this is all the result of California’s mail-in voting system spreading across the country.
I think what’s important to say here is that several of those battleground states where early results favored Trump -- continued counting legally-voted mail-in ballots. That doesn’t mean those ballots were lying around somewhere or were just suddenly discovered.
Instead, they may have actually arrived days or weeks before the election, but states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin were prohibited by law from starting to count them until Tuesday.
That’s why the count took so long. And as far as the suggestion about California, election experts reject the idea that mail-in ballots here or in any other state lead to widespread fraud, because the evidence doesn’t back that up. We rated the claim False.
There’s a lot of claims on social media right now that some voters in Arizona had their ballots invalidated because they were forced to use Sharpie pens when they filled out their ballots at the polls. What has PolitiFact found on this one?
This controversy is being called Sharpie-gate on social media. But it’s really a false controversy. Some voters in Maricopa County, which is home to Phoenix, were handed fine-tip Sharpie markers at the polls -- and some of those voters later claimed without evidence that the tabulation machines would not be able to read their ballots because of this kind of pen. But Maricopa County has repeatedly said that these Sharpies are the standard pens used at their vote centers -- and that they have the fastest-drying ink and work the best on their tabulation equipment.
The county even made a video before the election informing voters about this. PolitiFact rated this claim about Sharpies causing problems as False.
One last note, I asked California election officials about the same issue in our state, because there have been some questions here, and they said that using a Sharpie on a California ballot “will NOT invalidate that ballot.”
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.