The election is two weeks away and the closer we get, the more misinformation continues to spread — and mostly along partisan lines.
With the backdrop of extreme division and social unrest, rumors and falsehoods about everything from the voting process to planned armed insurgencies are stoking fears over how peaceful a transfer of power would be, and are causing some to question the electoral system in an election where democracy itself could be on the line.
A key actor in spreading this misinformation is the president himself. President Donald Trump has spread rampant misinformation about the voting process, including about mail-in voting, the security of polling stations and more, in an attempt to sow doubt in the electoral process and subsequent election result.
To keep it clear, BK Reader breaks down the top three fictions and facts voters in Brooklyn should be aware of:
- FICTION: Mail-in voting is unreliable and can lead to voter fraud
- President Trump’s unfounded rhetoric on mail-in voting began earlier this year, and it is baseless. He is not the first politician to use the process to sow doubt, but he is undoubtedly doing so with the most conviction in order to throw election results into question. Research and evidence shows mail-in voter fraud is in fact incredibly rare.
- FICTION: Ballot boxes are being blocked to stop people from voting
- Rumors are spreading online that unknown people are intentionally blocking post boxes to stop people returning their mail-in ballots. This is just one of many false claims spreading across social media channels, that companies such as Facebook are trying to monitor and eliminate.
- FICTION: We will know who the next president is on Election Day
- Given the number of Americans voting by absentee ballot, it is highly likely Election Day could become Election Week, as mail-in votes sent on Nov. 3 across the country are counted.
- FACT: If you have voted in the past, you do not need an ID to vote in-person in New York City
- Some states across the country require voters to bring ID to vote. Although that is not the case for returning voters in New York, it is always safest to carry a form of identification.
- FACT: Election officials must notify absentee voters by phone or email within 24 hours if there is an issue with their ballot
- Four to five million New Yorkers are expected to cast mail-in votes this election and the state has fixed election rules to make the mail-in process smoother. One new rule is that officials have to notify voters soon after receiving a ballot if there is an issue with their ballot in order to avoid New York’s traditionally high number of rejected mail-in ballots
- FACT: Your vote counts!
- Although New York is a reliably Democratic state, that does not mean voters from any party should not vote. Voters in New York are actually voting to elect electors to the Electoral College, which goes on to vote for the president. So, if a voter were to vote for a Democratic candidate they would be voting for Democratic electors and vice-versa for Republicans. Every vote cast in the General Election also goes towards the national popular vote count, and New York is one of 16 states where the Electoral College has pledged to grant its votes to the winner of the national popular vote.