No, Viral Video Does Not Show Mail-In Ballots Fraud in California

A video of mail-in ballots being collected is being falsely shared as alleged voter fraud, without the full context.

Published
WebQoof
4 min read
Fact-Check on US Elections 2020: A viral video of mail-in ballots being collected is being falsely shared as alleged voter fraud, without the full context.
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A viral video of two election officials collecting mail-in ballots in a street in Reseda, California is doing rounds on social media as an instance of alleged voter fraud in the 2020 US Elections.

Users have questioned how the mail-in ballots are being collected a day after the election day on 3 November, when California has already been called as a ‘win’ for Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The LA County election officials took to Twitter to explain that the drop boxes for mail-in ballots were sealed on election day and were collected on the subsequent day as scheduled. The calls are made by media agencies based on statistics and projections, not official results.

CLAIM

Several users shared the video as ‘voter fraud’ in Reseda, California.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/zSor7">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/gu16V">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/EXdHX">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)
You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/5kt3E">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

The video was also shared by serial misinformation spreader, Canadian journalist Tarek Fatah, as a ‘compromise’ of “people’s trust in the electoral system.”

Madhu Purnima Kishwar also shared the video stating that they should have used India’s Election Commission instead.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/ADBCA">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

A keyword search on Twitter led us to the video posted by user Casey Phillips, who had posted the video on 4 November, identifying the location as Reseda California and amassing over 1.36 millions views.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/zrw7Z">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

The person recording the video questions where the election workers were taking the ballots, to which they reply “LA county.”

Another user Aram Gambourian (@ArmGamb) shared the video, asking why the ballots were still being collected and if they were left uncollected by the LA county.

The official twitter handle of LA County’s Registrar and Recorder/County Clerk, who conduct the elections, responded that there was “no missed collection. The Drop Boxes are closed and locked at 8PM on Election Night and then collected the following day. These are valid ballots that will be processed and counted.”

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/Qet5L">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

Further, they also tweeted clarifying that their office does not call or predict election outcomes. The calls are made by media based on statistics and trends.

News agency AP had called Biden’s win in California. However, in an article explaining presidential race calls, the news agency clarifies that California is yet to release any official results from Tuesday’s presidential contest.

The news agency bases its results on VoteCast, a “wide-ranging survey of the American electorate,” which captures voters’ choices and an analysis of early voting statistics. They also relied on the “state’s longstanding political trend in favour of Democratic presidential candidates.”

Historically, California has been a Democratic stronghold with the last Republican presidential candidate to carry the state being George H.W. Bush in 1988.

In a report by NBC, a spokesperson for the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office also confirmed that “the individuals shown in the video collecting ballots are members of their staff.”

The election results in California will be finalised no later than 11 December.

Evidently, a viral video of mail-in ballots being collected is being falsely shared as alleged voter fraud, without the full context.

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