FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Ballots Cast For Trump Discarded In Oklahoma?

Bradley Devlin | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

A viral Instagram post purportedly shows ballots cast for President Donald Trump torn up and thrown in the trash in Oklahoma.

Verdict: False

The video shows spoiled ballots upon which voters had mistakenly marked two candidates for the same race, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board. The spoiled ballots were disposed with the voter’s consent prior to being issued a new ballot.

Fact Check:

The Instagram post claims it shows “proof of trashed ballots” and says it is the “moral obligation” of “Christian’s (sic) and Americans to share!” The video features two men going through a bag full of ballots allegedly discarded at St. Anne Church, identified by them as a polling place in Oklahoma for the Nov. 3 presidential election. The men in the video claim they stumbled upon the ballots when they were taking out the trash after attending a wedding at the church.

However, the Oklahoma State Election Board debunked the video in a Twitter thread, identifying them as spoiled ballots “where the voter mistakenly marked more than one option in a race.” The pictured ballots are not evidence of election fraud.


The second tweet in the Oklahoma State Election Board’s thread features four images that provide evidence the ballots had been spoiled, including photos with circles indicating where they were incorrectly marked. It also shows a redacted Spoiled Ballot Affidavit signed by voters acknowledging that their ballots were spoiled and destroyed in their presence before receiving a new one.

The Oklahoma State Election Board also provided a link to the relevant state statute dictating how election officials handle spoiled ballots. The statute states:  “Should a voter spoil any ballot in an effort to vote the same, the voter shall fold the ballot and return it to the clerk. The clerk shall destroy the ballot in the presence of the voter and shall issue the voter another ballot in the same manner that the first one was provided. The voter must execute an affidavit prescribed by the Secretary of the State Election Board in which the voter swears or affirms that he or she spoiled the original ballot, returned the ballot to the clerk, that the clerk destroyed the ballot in the voter’s presence and that the voter was issued a new ballot.”

In a separate thread, the Oklahoma State Election Board tweeted, “OK has checks and balances in place to detect & prevent voter fraud. OK election officials take allegations of fraud seriously & report credible allegations to the appropriate authorities for investigation. That video is NOT fraud.” (RELATED: There Have Been A  Lot Of Allegations Of Election Fraud, We Looked Into Them)

The Associated Press called the presidential race in Oklahoma for Trump on Nov. 3.

Bradley Devlin

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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