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This video by Donald Trump (still) doesn’t show an example of electoral fraud

US President Donald Trump shared this video on November 11 that claims to show uncounted ballots in California. But what does this video really show?
US President Donald Trump shared this video on November 11 that claims to show uncounted ballots in California. But what does this video really show?
Text by: Alexandre Capron
4 min

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United States President Trump, who lost the US presidential election on November 3, tweeted a video on November 11 that he suggested showed ballots recently found in California - which, as such, had not been counted. It turns out, however, the video shows normal procedure for collecting ballots. 

On November 11, Donald Trump tweeted a video that garnered seven million views in half a day and was shared more than 113,000 times. The video shows a woman filming two men collecting mail-in ballots from a designated dropbox. 

The woman who is filming addresses the men picking up ballots directly:

Woman (filming): "Ballots?"

Man: “Yeah."

Woman: "I thought they had collected them all. I just wanted to document."

Man: "No, we’re still collecting."

Woman:  "But wait, how come they already called the state?”

Man: “Because these are mail-in ballots.”

Woman: “Are there a ton in there?”

Man: “Yeah.”

Woman: “Are you guys official election guys?” (The man shows her his badge) “Where do you guys take them?”

Man: “The election center.”

Woman: “Is that in the government building?”

Man: “LA county.”

Donald Trump posted this video with the caption, “You are looking at BALLOTS! Is this what our Country has come to?”, implying that these ballots had yet to be counted at the time of the post, on November 11. 

What does this video actually show?

This video isn’t new. It was already circulating online on November 4 by people surprised to see ballots being collected from a mailbox the day after the election. It was filmed in Reseda, in California, a traditionally Democratic state. Media outlets reported that the state had gone for Joe Biden on the evening of November 3. 

Fact-checking site Politifact explained that this video didn’t show anything out of the ordinary, citing the LA county Twitter account, which explained that these ballot boxes were closed at 8pm on Election Day and that the ballots are picked up the next day. 

“These are valid ballots that will be processed and counted during the post-election canvass -- like all outstanding vote by mail ballots,” explains the tweet.

The procedure shown in this video is standard practice. On November 12, with roughly 96 percent of votes in California counted, Joe Biden led by 64.2 percent, or 10.3 million votes, compared with 33.7 percent for Donald Trump, or 5.4 million votes.

Cases of electoral fraud is the United States are extremely rare in part because of the stringent security checks that are part of normal procedure, explained the two experts we interviewed for the article below.

>> Read on the Observers: 'Voter Fraud Alert!' - US voters post photos of their unsolicited mail-in ballots online

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