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

Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman September 28, 2020

Ballots in California dumpster were actually old, empty envelopes from 2018 election

If Your Time is short

  • The images show old, empty envelopes — not ballots — that were legally disposed of from the November 2018 election.

As the Nov. 3 general election nears, posts intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of mail-in voting are increasing on social media. 

Now a post on Facebook claims that a series of photos show over 1,000 mail-in ballots dumped in a California landfill. It says this is why Americans can’t trust voting by mail.

"1,000+ mail in ballots found in a dumpster in California," text above the images says. "They were allegedly discovered in a Republic Services of Sonoma County central landfill. Do you trust mail in voting?"

"This is why we can’t Trust a Mail In Election!" the post’s caption reads.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat potential false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

This is inaccurate. The photos in the post are real, but the pictured materials aren’t ballots, and they aren’t from 2020.

Featured Fact-check

The County of Sonoma took to Twitter to debunk the false information, and said the images actually depict empty envelopes from the November 2018 election that were disposed of legally. 

The county asked people to share their notice to stop the spread of false news.

"Someone posted pictures on the web showing empty Vote-by-Mail envelopes from Sonoma County in recycling bins," the post reads. "The pictures are of old empty envelopes from the November 2018 election that were disposed of as allowed by law.

 

We rate this False.

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Samantha Putterman

Ballots in California dumpster were actually old, empty envelopes from 2018 election

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