Local Politics

Facebook post spreads false information about election workers writing on ballots

Posted October 15, 2020 9:49 a.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2020 10:23 a.m. EDT

Voters cast ballots at the Wake County Commons Building in the North Carolina primary on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Jamie Munden)

— A post circulating on Facebook is spreading false information about election workers writing on ballots, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

The post suggests that if an election worker writes or makes any sort of marking on your ballot when processing it, your vote will not be counted. North Carolina election officials said this is false.

"Election workers write an identifying number on your ballot," according to Patrick Gannon, spokesperson with the North Carolina State Board of Elections. "This is a special number assigned to each ballot and voter as required by law."

Facebook post claiming that poll workers writing on your ballot disqualifies your ballot.

The number that election officials write on ballots is important if a voter dies before Election Day or double votes, officials said.

The ballot ID numbers are used, "to retrieve ballots in the event of a successful election protest," according to Gannon. "Such as if several voters are given the wrong ballot style and the margin for a contest is less than that number of voters."

Some counties may write on a ballot so that absentee ballots and early voting ballots can be sorted properly and sent back to the voter's original precinct. During early voting, you have the chance to vote at any voting spot in your county. Your ballot may need to be sorted using markings to make its way back to its designated precinct, according to Gannon.

One social media post online says that "your ballot could be disqualified if it is written on" by election officials. The post warns others to "please be on the look out for this type of behavior."

The post was circulated on public Facebook groups like North Carolina Conservatives, which has more than 2,000 members. The post has circulated nationwide, for example in states California, Michigan and Texas. The Facebook group called, "LMPD: Realtime Police Scanner Updates and Area Crime," based in Louisville, Kentucky posted the misinformation about the election workers. Their post was shared more than 500 times.

North Carolina election officials say that the post is not true. But, if you have experienced or observed any problem casting your ballot with absentee mail-in voting, early voting, or voting on Election Day, let us know.

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