Fact Check: Person Who Claimed He Threw Away 100 Pro-Trump Ballots In Erie, Pennsylvania, Was NOT A Poll Worker

Fact Check

  • by: Arthur Brice
Fact Check: Person Who Claimed He Threw Away 100 Pro-Trump Ballots In Erie, Pennsylvania, Was NOT A Poll Worker No Such Worker

Did a poll worker in Erie, Pennsylvania, throw away more than 100 pro-Trump ballots on Election Day? No, that's not true: Erie County Board of Elections Chair Carl J. Anderson III says the "poll worker" who purportedly admitted the alleged deed does not work for the county and may not even live there.

The claim originated in an article published by 100percentfedup.com on November 3, 2020 titled "BREAKING: Poll Worker In Erie, PA Admits To Throwing Away 'Over A Hundred' Pro-Trump Ballots On Instagram [VIDEO]" (archived here), which opened:

A poll worker in Erie, Pennsylvania has admitted to purposely throwing away Pro-Trump ballots. Sebastian Machado, a poll worker in Erie, PA, has admitted on Instagram to purposely throwing away Pro-Trump ballots at the polling location he is working at. Courtney Holland screen recorded Machdo's Instagram story. BREAKING: Poll worker in Erie, PA named Sebastian [...]

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

BREAKING: Poll Worker In Erie, PA Admits To Throwing Away 'Over A Hundred' Pro-Trump Ballots On Instagram [VIDEO]

A poll worker in Erie, Pennsylvania has admitted to purposely throwing away Pro-Trump ballots. Sebastian Machado, a poll worker in Erie, PA, has admitted on Instagram to purposely throwing away Pro-Trump ballots at the polling location he is working at. Courtney Holland screen recorded Machdo's Instagram story. BREAKING: Poll worker in Erie, PA named Sebastian [...]

The supposed Erie County poll worker, identified by the 100percentfedup.com website and other social media as Sebastian Machado, could not have thrown the Trump ballots away because he was not a poll worker, Erie County Board of Elections Chair Carl J. Anderson III said in a news release.

From the release:

The person making the statements does not work in any way with Erie County or have any part of Erie County's election process. In fact, the individual is not a registered voter and is not believed to be a resident of Erie County, Pa.

Erie County Board of Elections takes the integrity of the election process very seriously, and we are proud that the people working on behalf of the voters in Erie County do so in a nonpartisan, fair and unified fashion for the betterment of our community.

I have spoken with Sheriff Loomis to verify if this person is a resident. Because this is now part of an ongoing investigation to pursue potential criminal charges, no further statement will be made on this matter.

New York Times reporter Davey Alba had posted a Tweet earlier in the day saying that an Erie County election official denied the claim:

He is not one of our poll workers and there is no one with that name registered to vote in Erie PA, Amy Dalessandro, election coordinator at Erie County Courthouse, said by email of the original Instagram user.

Facebook was among social media that investigated posts highlighting the false information and flagged it as not true.

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NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes 100percentfedup.com as:

A conservative news and commentary site that has misstated facts and mixes news and opinion.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

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  Arthur Brice

Arthur Brice is a fact checker at Lead Stories. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years, nearly 30 of them in newspapers. Brice was a national desk editor and reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly 20 years. Previously, he was political editor at The Tampa Tribune and also worked for three other Florida newspapers. He spent 11 Years as an executive editor and executive producer at CNN. 

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