A video on Twitter appeared to show ballots being burned. Virginia Beach officials point out those were samples.
VIRGINIA BEACH—Despite what Eric Trump retweeted Tuesday, no one burned official ballots from people supporting his father in Virginia Beach. In the video, which Facebook and Twitter already took down, a man pulls ballots out of a bag. He claims that he’s burning “about 80” ballots from people who voted for President Donald Trump.
The news went viral Wednesday night, after President Trump’s son Eric retweeted it.
Twitter and Facebook both took down the video and suspended the account used to distribute it. Both platforms had flagged it as misinformation. The reason is that if you look close on the video, it’s clear these are not official ballots. Officials in Virginia Beach explained how you can tell in a statement provided to media.
“A concerned citizen shared a video with us that ostensibly shows someone burning ballots,” Virginia Beach officials said in a statement to media. “They are NOT official ballots, they are sample ballots.”
Video Misses a Key Point
In their statement to media, Virginia Beach staff also provided a screenshot. In it, the man in the video picks up a ballot to show the camera. You can visibly see the one thing that separates the ballot in the picture from one given out by the Board of Elections. There’s no bar code.
Think back to when you got your ballot, either in the mail or in person at the polling place. There was a line of dots wrapping around it, one that looked similar to a “cut here” instructional sheet. That’s the bar code. When you submit the ballot, that bar code registers.
If you click on this link, you’ll immediately see the ballots burned in the video don’t have any bar codes.
“Note the absence of the bar code markings that are on all official ballots,” Virginia Beach officials said in their statement. “The ballots in the video were sample ballots.”
In addition to pointing out the fraud, Virginia Beach officials said the video’s creator may face some other charges. Fire investigators, for example, are looking into the illegal burning.
Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. You can reach him at [email protected].