Facts are under assault in 2020.

We can't fight back misinformation about the election and COVID-19 without you. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 11, 2020

Video shows spoiled ballots that were legally destroyed and discarded

If Your Time is short

  • A video of two men discovering ballots for President Donald Trump in the trash can at a former polling location leaves the impression that valid ballots were dumped, but these ballots were “spoiled,” meaning a voter accidentally marked two people in one race and needed a new ballot.
 

A video that’s being shared widely on social media seems to support the unfounded claim that President Donald Trump’s re-election hopes were dashed by election fraud, but the facts don’t bear that out. 

The video shows two men, one of whom describes himself as "a huge Trump supporter," who say they discovered ballots for Trump while taking the trash out at a wedding held at what was formerly a polling place for the 2020 election.

Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza is among the people who have shared the clip, which was posted on Rumble

"A wedding was hosted in the same building where voting had taken place the week prior," D’Souza tweeted. "The wedding party just found a very interesting discovery in the garbage."

Facebook posts sharing the video were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The Oklahoma State Election Board responded to someone sharing the video on Twitter. The clip was taken from a precinct in Tuals County, but it doesn’t show valid ballots that were trashed. 

"FACT CHECK," the board wrote from its verified account. "This video is from pct 469 / subpct 457 in Tulsa County. These are clearly ‘spoiled ballots’ where the voter mistakenly marked more than one option in a race. Spoiled ballots are returned to the precinct clerk and destroyed, then the voter is issued a new ballot."

Featured Fact-check

The board tweeted screenshots from the video that "clearly show the ballots have been spoiled." 

The board also shared a Spoiled Ballot Affidavit voters signed acknowledging that their ballot was spoiled. 

Oklahoma law says that if a voter spoils a ballot, they must fold it and return it to the clerk. The clerk then must destroy the ballot in the presence of the voter and issue them a new ballot. 

The ballots in the video are ripped up.

Oklahoma "has checks and balances in place to detect & prevent voter fraud," the board later tweeted. "Election officials take allegations of fraud seriously & report credible allegations of fraud to the appropriate authorities for investigation. That video is NOT fraud."

We rate this claim False.

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

 

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

Video shows spoiled ballots that were legally destroyed and discarded

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up