US Election: Pennsylvania is emerging on battleground as a hub for election day disinformation

US Election: Pennsylvania is emerging on battleground as a hub for election day disinformation

TORONTO – Pennsylvania, key coastal state for both US President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, emerged as a hotspot for disinformation on Election Day.

Allegations of voter intimidation, viral hoaxes claiming to get rid of Trump’s vote, and allegations that election officials are blocking monitoring of absentee ballot processing are among some of the topics circulating online as Americans continue to vote.

Polling stations in Philadelphia were of particular interest.

The series of tweets sent by Newsmax columnist Benjamin Mannes gained a lot of momentum after he claimed that signals in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden found outside several polling stations around the city were in violation of election rules due to their proximity to polling sites. His original tweet has been shared more than 10,000 times.

However, the Philadelphia County District Attorney’s office described Manz ‘tweets as “intentionally disingenuous”.

“Our election staff members have investigated this claim. This polling place is in an inner room and the sign in question is more than 10 feet away from it. This tweet is intentionally deceptive,” DA wrote on Twitter.

The Twitter account identifying itself as the Republican Party in Philadelphia, PhillyGOP, was also claiming voter fraud, claiming that unaccredited polling observers were entering voting rooms and “interfering” with votes.

These allegations remain unfounded. However, Twitter has rated the posts as “disputed” and possibly misleading.

Was a ballot thrown for Trump?

Officials in Erie County, Pennsylvania, debunked a viral Instagram post alleging that a poll worker threw more than 100 ballot papers for President Donald Trump.

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The rumors arose with an Instagram user who claimed to be a poll worker who reportedly wrote, “I’ve already thrown over a hundred Trump ballots!” In an Instagram story. This Instagram story was then captured and shared on Twitter by Mike Coudrey, a self-described activist and entrepreneur.

However, the viral post has been widely debunked as a hoax by fact-checking initiatives, including PolitiFacts.

Erie County election officials asserted that the person who made the original claims is neither a poll worker nor a registered voter.

“Erie County has verified an unfortunate claim shared on social media by someone who says they work as part of the Erie County Board of Elections and reject ballot papers,” Carl J. Anderson, Chairman of the Erie County Election Board, said in a statement. .

“The person making the statements does not work in any way with Erie County or has any part of the Erie County election process,” Anderson wrote, “In fact, an individual is not a registered voter and is not believed to be a resident of Erie County.”

Allegations regarding the absentee card processing

Another rumor circulating on social media alleges that election officials in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, were blocking the processing of absentee votes.

One tweet, shared more than 1,500 times, claimed that an official at one site “boasted that the system was designed to prevent poll monitoring.” The tweet also claimed that “observers” expressed their concerns about the fairness of the vote.

This claim was quickly dismissed by Allegheny County officials, who wrote on Twitter, “Nobody is forbidden from anything and nobody has reported anything or raised any concerns on the site.”

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According to Snopes’s fact-checking website, the unverified rumor “has sparked baseless speculation that officials could outrageously alter voting because they no longer notice while counting absentee votes.”

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