Just hours before the start of Election Day 2020, Twitter and Facebook each put a fact check on posts by Donald Trump in which he advanced baseless claims that mail-in voting in Pennsylvania is plagued by “cheating” and contributes to “violence.”
Trump’s statements concerned a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that will allow Pennsylvania to count mailed absentee ballots that arrive up to Nov. 6, so long as it can’t be proved they were mailed after Nov. 3.
In a tweet and Facebook post, Trump made the unfounded claim that the court’s decision will “allow rampant and unchecked cheating” and “undermine” American law. Trump also said that the decision will “induce violence in the streets.”
In response, Facebook added a fact-checking label assuring users that both in-person and mail-in voting “have a long history of trustworthiness,” and cautioning that “voter fraud is extremely rare across voting methods.” The label, when clicked, also directs users to Facebook’s voting information center. Facebook users are still allowed to comment, react and share the post.
Twitter’s label warned users that “some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process” along with a link to “learn how voting by mail is safe and secure.” And in keeping with Twitter’s previously announced policies regarding the election, replies, likes and direct retweets were disabled on Trump’s tweet, but users are still able to quote retweet — albeit with the fact-checking note.
The Supreme Court’s decision, issued on Wednesday, rejected a case brought by Pennsylvania Republicans who want absentee ballots received after Election Day to be excluded, giving the state the go-ahead to accept absentee ballots up until Nov. 6, so long as there isn’t proof that the ballot was mailed after Nov. 3. Still, Justice Samuel Alito — writing on behalf of himself, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch — noted that the court may return to the issue after Election Day, leaving it uncertain whether or not absentee ballots received post-Election Day will ultimately be counted.
As a precaution, Pennsylvania election officials have ordered counties to segregate ballots received after 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. For now, those ballots will still be valid and counted.