Watch CBS News

No, these viral videos do not actually show election fraud

Fact-checking Trump's voter fraud claims
Fact-checking Trump's voter fraud claims 01:59

As ballots were being counted on Election Day and afterward, numerous videos claiming election fraud went viral, fueling President Trump's unsubstantiated claims that Democrats were trying to "steal" the election from him.

A video shared widely on Twitter on Friday claimed to show ballot counters in Delaware County, Pennsylvania "filling out" new ballots. The president's supporters alleged the video proved ballots were being created for Biden, who was projected as the winner of the state's 20 electoral votes Saturday morning. 

In reality, the ballot counter was attempting to ensure that damaged ballots were properly counted, officials said in a statement Friday.

According to Delaware County Council officials, the video shows the counter transcribing ballots that had been damaged and could not be counted by a machine. The worker is seen copying the information onto a blank ballot in order to count the vote properly — while being watched by bipartisan observers standing six feet away, an arrangement that was approved by the Delaware County GOP.

County officials said the viral footage had been zoomed in upon to crop the watchers out of the frame and manipulate people online. 

"The Delaware County Bureau of Elections has been offering a live-streaming of the counting of ballots, which began on Nov. 3. The video allows residents to watch the process in real-time and offers a transparent view of the process," the statement reads. "Unfortunately, some residents have altered the video and are making false accusations, which baselessly and wrongly attacks the integrity of the election staff and the completely transparent process by which votes are being counted in Delaware County." 

In Georgia, an election worker from the State Farm Arena now fears for his life after a viral Twitter video falsely accused him of tossing out a ballot. In fact, the worker was throwing away a list of instructions. 

"The release of the video and its caption led viewers to believe the worker was agitated, which resulted in the worker crumbling and disposing the ballot," Fulton County Elections Supervisor Richard Barron said during a news conference Friday. "However, one thing that you need to know is that those ballots are 8.5 by 19 inches long. At no time did you see him extract anything from the envelope, and that crumbled piece of paper, they were instructions and it was a smaller piece of paper. Voters often include lists of instructions by, like the one discarded in the primary ballot envelope, when submitting their ballots." 

Georgia election official on "shameful" threats against poll worker 04:47

Barron said the county may need to provide protection for the worker, who he said "is in hiding because he's had threats, he's had to shut down all of his social media and all of his personal information was released." 

Another video shared widely by well-known conservatives, including the president's son Eric Trump and YouTuber Steven Crowder, claims to show voter fraud in Detroit. It features a man loading a box from a white van onto a wagon to bring into a polling center.

Countless people speculated the box contained ballots that were being brought to the election center to be counted after the polls were already closed. But in fact, the footage features a local news cameraman from WXYZ 7 Action News loading his equipment into a vehicle for work. 

Yet another viral video, shared by the president's son Donald Trump Jr., claims that postal workers in Traverse City, Michigan, backdated absentee ballots. But according to state election officials, ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day could not be counted — meaning the actions of the postal worker could not affect the election. 

"Michigan's election clerks count valid ballots that they received at their offices or in their official ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Election Day," the state's secretary of state said in a statement. Ballots received thereafter, regardless of the postmark, were not counted. 

Michigan was the target of countless viral attempts to find fraud, including allegations that the state was counting ballots of deceased voters. The state has been quick to fact check and debunk all unsubstantiated claims. 

On the question of deceased voters, the state tweeted, "Ballots of voters who have died are rejected in Michigan, even if the voter cast an absentee ballot and then died before Election Day." 

As misinformation runs rampant, social media platforms are attempting to slow its spread. Twitter has added warning labels to several tweets sent from Mr. Trump's account, and Facebook shut down a prominent "Stop the Steal" group after it incited violence.

YouTube, however, won't take down a video falsely claiming that Mr. Trump won the election. 

On Saturday, Joe Biden was projected to win the electoral votes needed to make him the 46th president of the United States. CBS News projected that Biden would win Pennsylvania, putting him over the top as votes continued to be counted four days after Election Day.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.