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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman November 5, 2021

Items found in trash outside a New Jersey elections office were not discarded or shredded ballots

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  • Papers seen in trash bins in a viral video shot outside the Gloucester County, N.J., Board of Elections office have no viable election use, the county’s clerk office said. The papers included outdated envelopes and instructional inserts.

Shortly after the tight New Jersey governor’s race was called for incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy on Nov. 3, election fraud claims started to appear and multiply online.

One viral Facebook post shared several videos showing a nighttime scene, which the camera operator says is outside of the Gloucester County Board of Elections office. The man shows multiple trash bins outside the building and claims they contained discarded and shredded ballots. 

"Breaking News out of West Deptford NJ:," the post’s caption says. "Trash bins discovered outside the Gloucester County Board Of Elections containing blank ballots as well as bags of shredded ballots from Tuesday’s election!"

In one clip showing shredded papers, the man said "so based on the yellow color, the green color, the white color, this is clearly mail in ballots that are shredded."

The man is mistaken. The papers were not viable ballots and were disposed of appropriately and according to law.  

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.)

In a statement about the videos, the Gloucester County Clerk’s Office said that the prosecutor's office investigated reports that individuals were seen in videos rummaging through recycling containers outside the election office and said that their claims of fraud are false.

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"The materials in the recycling containers were not viable for any electoral use," the office said. 

On Nov. 3, the office said staff members put the following items into sealed boxes and placed them in the recycling containers:

• One box of outdated yellow business reply mail envelopes (specific to the 2021 primary election);

• Three boxes of outdated instructional inserts illustrating how to complete and return a mail ballot (specific to the 2021 general election); and

• One bag of shredded green certificate envelopes from some undeliverable 2021 general election ballots that were returned by the U.S. Postal Service and spoiled ballots that were brought in by constituents for replacement due to ballots being torn, damaged or incorrectly marked.

"These items have no viable election use and were discarded in accordance with the law," the office concluded.

We rate this post False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Nov. 3, 2021

Gloucester County Clerk’s Office statement, Nov. 5, 2021

Email interview, Paul Colangelo, special deputy attorney general/acting deputy first assistant prosecutor at the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Nov. 5, 2021

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Items found in trash outside a New Jersey elections office were not discarded or shredded ballots

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