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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman November 5, 2020

No, thousands of military ballots were not found in the trash in Wisconsin

If Your Time is short

  • We found no reports that “thousands” of mostly pro-Trump military ballots were found in the trash in Wisconsin.

  • Election officials in the state called the claim inaccurate, and said they’ve seen no evidence of this.

Baseless claims of surprise ballots, burned ballots and fraudulent ballots have been flooding the internet as election workers continue to count votes in several swing states.

We came across another ballot-related fraud claim, this time shared in a newly-created group called "Stop the Steal," whose members claim that Democrats are scheming to disenfranchise and nullify Republican votes. 

The post reads: "I just heard there were thousands of military ballots found in the trash in WI. Most pro Trump. True?"

Not true. 

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) As we were fact-checking the claim, Facebook removed the group on the grounds that it was delegitimizing the election process and in some cases calling for violence.

Outside of this Facebook post, we have seen no reports of "thousands" of military ballots being found dumped in the trash in Wisconsin.

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Julietta Henry, director for elections for Milwaukee County, the largest in the state, refuted the claim.

"This is just not true," Henry said. "The municipalities have not sent this to us. There’s no evidence of this whatsoever."

In late September, an investigation was opened in Pennsylvania regarding nine military ballots, seven of which were cast for Trump, that had been improperly opened and discarded. 

We fact-checked another false claim related to Wisconsin ballots, which said the state "found 112,000 votes" overnight. State election officials previously told us that the City of Milwaukee was still counting absentee ballots around 3 a.m. after Election Day, but that didn’t mean those ballots were found or appeared at that time.

There’s no evidence that thousands of military ballots were found in the trash in Wisconsin and election officials refuted the claim.

We rate it False.

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No, thousands of military ballots were not found in the trash in Wisconsin

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