Facts Matter: Votes not changed by machine
Natural disasters and mass shootings are often followed by fake news. Much like those events, Election Day brought a new collection of false reports.
A fake video showing votes being switched by a machine at an Ohio polling place made the rounds on Election Day, according to CNN Business.
The video, posted by a Twitter user not using a real name, shows a person pressing a button to cast a vote for the Republican candidate for governor but the paper ballot recording a vote for the Democrat, CNN said. Text with the post said, "More voter fraud in Ohio. Why is it that all the errors are always the Democrats??"
Polling place officials confirmed the footage was fake, pointing to timestamps on the receipts in the video.
"The voter that made the video checked in at 10:05 a.m.," Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Aaron Sellers told CNN. "If you look on the video she's voting for (Republican) DeWine and the paper tape is showing (a vote for Democrat) Cordray. That vote occurred at 9:39 a.m."
'Smooth sailing' for Atlanta's elections
A false headline posted online Tuesday claimed Atlanta was under siege on Election Day, <URL destination="https://www.politifact.com/facebook-fact-checks/statements/2018/nov/06/blog-posting/pants-fire-claim-armed-black-panthers-atlanta-stre/">according to PolitiFact.com.
</URL>"Black Panthers Just Took Over City -- All Out War On Election Day," was posted on the website Right Wing News, PolitiFact said.
But there were no Election Day issues.
"There is nothing happening at any of our polling places today that requires a police response," Atlanta Police Department public affairs director Carlos Campos told PolitiFact. "We are not responding to the New Black Panthers or anyone. It's smooth sailing."
The posted story referred to New Black Panther Party social media posts on Nov. 3 showing several members bearing semi-automatic style weapons, posing with Stacey Abrams signs and calling for an "armed rally against voter suppression," PolitiFact said. Under Georgia law, it is legal to carry long guns, including semi-automatic rifles, in public, PolitiFact said.
Obama not only president to criticize successor
A meme from last year reemerged on social media stating former President Barack Obama was the "the first ex-president to publicly speak against a successor."
That claim is false, according to Snopes.com.
During a September rally at the University of Illinois, Obama said President Donald Trump was a "symptom, not a cause" of an effort by powerful elites to engender fear and division in the face of progress, Snopes said.
But Obama was far from the only former president to criticize his successor, according to Snopes.
• Bill Clinton criticized the way George W. Bush was handling the Iraq War in 2007.
• George H.W. Bush in 1994 accused Clinton of blaming Republicans "for his demise or things that weren't going right."
• Jimmy Carter in 1982 said his successor Ronald Reagan refused to "accept his responsibilities as president."
• Gerald Ford in 1980 said Carter's economic policies were a disaster.
Obama didn't criticize Trump during the first year and a half he was out of office, Snopes said, but spoke out in advance of Tuesday's midterm elections.
Florida election 'not rigged'
An error by MSNBC caused some social media users to claim the Florida election was fixed.
A Facebook post Tuesday morning, hours before the polls closed, read, "FLORIDA POLLS VOTE RIGGED?!!!," according to PolitiFact. A screenshot accompanying the post shows Florida's gubernatorial race with Democrat Andres Gillum, at 49.4 percent, leading his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis, with 48.8 percent of the vote.
The image did air Monday night, PolitiFact said, but MSNBC said it was a mistake.
"Quick clarification here," host Chris Hayes said. "Earlier this hour we showed a graphic of the Florida gubernatorial race -- may have caught your eye because our system had inadvertently populated some test numbers. Obviously, we do not yet have any vote totals here the night before the election. That was a misfire."
Florida Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell told PolitiFact no election fraud complaints had been filed with her office.
"Florida's elections are not rigged," Revell said.
• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at email@example.com.