Do Viral Videos Show Poll Workers Filling Out Empty Ballots?

Workers are transcribing votes from damaged ballots onto clean ones, and they are being watched by bipartisan poll workers.

Viral social media posts claim to show two videos of a poll worker in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, filling out empty ballots. Various postings of the videos have received more than 10 million views on Facebook since they were first shared on Thursday.

A.R. Sand @TeaLeavesBook
Happen right NOW! Camera 7.
delcopa.gov/vote/stream.ht… @Peoples_Pundit @fleccas @Barnes_Law @mschlapp @kimguilfoyle @RepVernonJones @EricTrump @RudyGiuliani @Project_Veritas @Sociopathlete @Cernovich @CottoGottfried @NoahCRothman @redsteeze @NoLongerBennett @benshapiro @guypbenson

Both videos were captured via Delaware County’s livestream of the ballot counting process. A statement given to The Dispatch Fact Check by Delaware County’s press team said that the first video “is zoomed in to crop out the surrounding area, including the bipartisan observers who were not more than six feet away and does not give the full picture of the process.” They provided an archival photograph that shows the full scene to provide context:

The statement explains that, “Some ballots were damaged by the extractor during this process in such a way that the ballots could not be scanned successfully. According to the scanner manufacturer, Hart, the best practice to deal with damaged ballots that cannot be scanned is to transcribe the votes on each ballot to a clean ballot and scan the clean ballot. In accordance with that guidance, the Chief Clerk of the Delaware County Bureau of Elections instructed elections staff to manually transcribe the damaged ballots. As ballots were being transcribed, the original damaged ballots were directly beside the new ballots and bipartisan observers witnessed the process at close range. Damaged ballots have been preserved.”

In an interview with The Dispatch Fact Check, Adrienne Marofsky, the public relations director for Delaware County, explained that the second video is of a different poll worker engaging in “the same process” to salvage damaged ballots under the same watchful eyes of bipartisan observers. 

There’s no evidence that the poll workers in the videos committed voter fraud, and the explanation presented by election officials would suggest the exact opposite was taking place as the poll workers were replicating damaged ballots to ensure all votes were counted.

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 U.S. Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here for more.