On Election Day, a video showing a man wearing a mask going through a stack of election ballots was shared repeatedly on social media, with people claiming he was “cheating in front of the cameras on mainstream media.”
One tweet, that has since been taken down from Twitter but archived here, included the hashtags #Philadelphia and #pennsylvaniafraud. The video with the tweet, before it was removed from Twitter, had more than 100,00 views.
The video was also shared on Telegram, Facebook and Truth Social.
Does this video show a man cheating in Philadelphia during the midterm election, like viral posts claim?
No, the video doesn’t show a man cheating, and it wasn’t taken in Philadelphia. It shows a poll worker in Dane County, Wisconsin, who is marking the ballots per county rules.
WHAT WE FOUND
The clip being shared on social media was taken from a segment from “The Faulkner Focus,” a Fox News program that aired on Election Day. An archive of the original segment that was aired can be found here.
Harris Faulkner opens the show by showing people voting on Nov. 8 at 28 seconds into the archived clip.
“We begin with this Fox News alert. Game on. Election Day in America,” Faulkner says. On the screen to her left are scenes from various polling places, starting with New York City.
At 43 seconds into the clip, the location seen to Faulkner’s left changes to the exterior of Philadelphia’s East Passyunk Community Center. At 48 seconds into the video, the location changes again to inside a polling place in Madison, Wisconsin.
For a second, the location marker that said “Philadelphia” was still above the man seen in the video, before the tag switched to Madison, which may have led people to assume it was filmed in Philadelphia.
VERIFY reached out to Fox News for comment on the video, but had not heard back at the time of publishing.
Philadelphia City Commissioner Seth Bluestein addressed the rumor himself on Twitter by confirming the video was not from the Philadelphia voting center.
“I personally visited the East Passyunk Community Center polling place today. The interior shot is not of a Philadelphia polling location, as you can see in these photos I just took tonight. This is another example of dangerous misinformation,” Bluestein wrote.
Dane County, Wisconsin, Clerk Scott McDonell told VERIFY the video was taken from Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. The same room can be seen in images posted to the website for the location.
The man in the video wasn’t cheating, either. He was following procedures that all poll workers in Wisconsin have to follow. McDonell sent VERIFY a picture of the ballot and said as part of election procedure, the poll worker has to circle the ward location and initial the ballot.
In Wisconsin, the municipalities run the election. Then, the results are sent to the county for posting and certification, McDonell said.
“He is marking that same spot on one side of each ballot - quite clearly not filling out a ballot from top to bottom …That video clip shows a poll worker initialing and indicating the ward number on the back of the ballot. A second poll worker will add their initials to each ballot just before handing the ballot to a voter,” McDonell said.
“This process is required by law and is a routine part of the check and balance process. It is done in a public setting and the ballot would then need to be signed by a different poll worker before being handed to the voter. This is how you can verify the ballot was issued by the city,” McDonell said.
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