Philadelphia Voting Misinformation Trump Biden 2020 Election

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Philadelphia is already a hotbed of Trump supporters’ misleading voting claims

Philadelphia officials are trying combat some claims online.

Nov 3, 2020, 4:47 pm*

Tech

 

Libby Cohen

Dozens of tweets from the right have sounded the “rigged election” alarm this morning, with many accounts focusing on Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office is debunking some misinformation online.

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Supporters of President Donald Trump on Twitter have tweeted about ballot harvesting, denial of Republican poll watchers, illegal literature, and more at voting locations around Philadelphia. No reports from election officials back these claims.

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Pennsylvania is a swing state that is expected to have a major impact on the outcome of the election.

Tweets from several right-wing accounts seem to suggest that nefarious things are happening with the election being run in the city. Other accounts are encouraging citizens to "do something" if they see anything they find suspicious.

One common theme is the alleged denial of access to Republican poll watchers.

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The Pennsylvania Department of State posted a list of rules for polling places on Election Day. This includes the regulations for poll watchers who it describes as "registered voters in the county who have been appointed by a party or candidate to observe at the precinct."

Only one poll watcher per party and per candidate can go inside the voting location at a time, otherwise they must stand at least six feet away.

That could explain why some poll watchers are being turned away from inside voting locations.

Meanwhile, Mike Roman, Trump's director of election day operations, tweeted that "bad things are happening in Philly," with a photo of a sign near a polling place encouraging people to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats.

Roman has posted repeatedly about voting in Philadelphia, alleging there are rules violations.

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In Pennsylvania, political literature—like a campaign sign—must be at least 10 feet away from the "the entrance to the room where voting occurs," according to the state's polling place rules.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's office quote-tweeted Roman's "bad things happening in Philly" post, claiming that it was "deliberately deceptive."

"Members of our Election Task Force have investigated this allegation. This polling place is located in an interior room and the sign in question is further than 10 feet from it. This tweet is deliberately deceptive. #PhillyVotes #Election2020," the account tweeted.

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A non-verified Philadelphia GOP Twitter account is also claiming a rigged election. The account has shot off dozens of tweets early this morning, including ones about campaign literature near polling places like Roman did.

"SPOTTED: Biden-Harris literature posted on either side of the entrance to the polling place located at 630-48 North 66th Street. That’s certainly not 10 feet away!" the account added.

It is unclear where voting begins in the image posted by @PhillyGOP.

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This was not the only instance of the right calling out political literature in Philadelphia.

"THE STEAL IS ON IN PHILLY: Man Caught Handing Out Democrat Literature to Voters IN LINE TO VOTE via @gatewaypundit," far-right pundit Jim Hoft tweeted.

The tweet accuses an individual of passing out "Democrat Literature" to voters in line. But, this action is legal in Pennsylvania, according to the Philadelphia Magazine. Citizens unassociated with the voting booth are permitted to pass out campaign literature as long as they do not specifically claim that the opposition is not welcome at the location.

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Like many cities and counties, the Philadelphia district attorney’s office has an Election Task Force for voters who do come across voter intimidation or other problems like voter fraud. It can be reached at 215-686-9641.

Update 4:44pm CT: Twitter is currently working to fact-check the misinformation seen surrounding Philadelphia voting. Political organization Freedom Works attacked mail-in ballots specifically in the city, which Twitter marked as “disputed or misleading” election information.

“Democrats told us that mail-in voting is safe and voter fraud isn't real. Philadelphia is proving that mail-in voting is destroying America's faith in our elections,” Freedom Works tweeted

The social media platform also blocked several tweets from Philly GOP. The account inaccurately updated followers on voting in Philadelphia. This tweet was also flagged as “disputed or misleading.”

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Lastly, a tweet where Philly GOP alleges that people in Pennsylvania are voting more than once was also blocked. 

“We’ve gotten several reports of people submitting multiple mail-in ballots across the state. Wondering what that looks like? Check out this video, taken yesterday,” the account tweeted.

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*First Published: Nov 3, 2020, 11:57 am