FACT CHECK: Did Election Workers In Philadelphia Stop Counting Mail-in Ballots On Election Night?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims election officials in Philadelphia stopped counting mail-in ballots on Election Night.

Verdict: False

While there was a pause in reporting results, Philadelphia election officials did not stop counting ballots on Election Night. The city commissioner has said election officials will not stop counting votes until they have counted all of them.

Fact Check:

In recent days, social media platforms have become replete with misinformation regarding Election Day. This particular Facebook post claims election officials in Philadelphia stopped counting mail-in ballots Tuesday night, allegedly because they were “tired.” (RELATED: Do These Photos Show Bricks Laid Out For Riots In Detroit?)

The Office of the Philadelphia City Commissioners began sharing a livestream on Nov. 3 showing workers counting ballots. The video is still live and has been sharing footage of ballot counters for at least the past 12 hours. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 4 that the feed showed “workers making their way through yellow bins full of ballots.”

Local outlet CBS 3 reported on Nov. 4 that Philadelphia officials said they counted roughly 186,000 mail-in ballots overnight and that voting counting had “continued through the night.” Over 150 election workers are working in eight-hour shifts 24-7 until every vote is counted,” according to the outlet.

City Commissioner Al Schmidt tweeted at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 4 that Philadelphia “will NOT stop counting ALL legitimate votes cast by eligible voters” and at about 5 a.m. that they had “updated our results page to include more than 65,000 mail-in votes cast by Philadelphia voters, with many more to count.”

The claim may have originated from misunderstanding a since-deleted tweet from Max Marin, an independent reporter in Philadelphia. Marin tweeted in the evening on Nov. 3 saying, “no more mail ballot results tonight.” Counties also may update the state system less often than they do their own websites, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, further adding to the confusion. Marin later clarified in a tweet that “Philadelphia City Commissioners say there will be no additional update on mail ballot votes tonight.”

“Philadelphia City Commissioners say there will be no additional update on mail ballot votes tonight,” Marin tweeted. “Ballot counting has NOT stopped. It goes on 24-7. ‘It’s just a reporting issue, it’s not a counting issue.'”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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