Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Someone Got Two Mail-In Ballots in California

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Someone Got Two Mail-In Ballots in California Not California

Does a photo show someone received two mail-in ballots in California? No, that's not true: This photo shows two ballots for the upcoming Republican primary election in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not California.

The photo appeared in a post (archived here) where it was first published on Facebook on May 12, 2020. The post reads:

[Two mail in ballots in CA sent to the same person with their names on both a week and a half apart. FB keeps deleting this.]

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

While it isn't impossible that the same person was sent two ballots in California, that is not what this photo shows.

The first thing that raised the curiosity of our fact-checkers was at the bottom right of the ballot, where the words 'Allegheny County Board of Elections' appear to be written:

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 2.26.17 PM.png

Next is the pink piece of paper on the bottom left. It also appears to say "Allegheny County," and while there are five counties whose names are pronounced that way (all on the East Coast) only one is spelled that way - Allegheny County, PA. Below that line also appears to be a phone number:


The phone number shown appears to start with a 412 area code, which is also in Pittsburgh, PA. The phone number for the Allegheny County Election division in Pittsburgh, PA is 412-350-4500

The next clue is at the top of the ballot, and a bit further down on the right where the phrase "INDIANA DIST 1" appears to be written:
Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 2.37.11 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 2.37.23 PM.png
The good people of the Allegheny County Election Division make sample ballots available to their consitutents at this website: https://apps.alleghenycounty.us/website/ElectPollPlace.aspx

A visit to that website will ask you to enter your municipality and your district number. If you happen to enter 'Indiana' for your municipality, and '1' for your district, you get a sample ballot for the upcoming election that looks awfully familiar:
Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 2.47.21 PM.png
A comparison of the top left of that sample ballot to the ballot that appears in the photo looks quite similar. Below are a section of the photo from the meme, and a section of the sample ballot we downloaded:
Top Candidates.png
And, if that's not convincing, the signatures on the bottom right of the ballot match perfectly. On the left is a section of the photo from the meme, and on the right is from the sample ballot we downloaded:

This photo of a ballot from Pennsylvania doesn't show anything about California. But it does prove that, when sharing information on social media, it pays to be vigilant - don't just mail it in.

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About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
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