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Duval Elections Supervisor: Viral Social Media Post Is ‘Purposeful Misinformation'

=In this November 2018 file photo, Duval County Supervisor of Elections staff are pictured doing a manual recount.
In this November 2018 file photo, Duval County Supervisor of Elections staff are pictured doing a manual recount.

A Facebook post has been spreading across the country and the First Coast, which Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan called “all poppycock!” in an email to WJCT News.

The post implies that some poll workers might write on ballots and asserts that would cause them to be rejected.

Hogan said the implication that poll workers would write on someone's ballot is "another example of purposeful misinformation." The viral post reads:

My friend just posted this, and I am passing it along is the info she posted ....
"Just finished Poll Manager training! I passed all the classes. I want you all to know something...if you are checking in at the polls and they happen to write anything on your ballot before they give it to you to put in the voting machine...a letter, a checkmark, a star, an R or a D any writing of any kind...please request a new ballot. Your ballot could be disqualified if it is written on. Please be on the lookout for this type of behavior." .....

Hogan pointed out a couple of telling signs the post was not written by someone who went through a local training, telling WJCT News Wednesday:

  • There is only one training class for managers in Duval County. The post claims, “I passed all classes.”
  • All Duval County poll workers are instructed not to put any marks on the ballot.

However, Hogan acknowledges ballots can be rejected if they have writing on them. He said voters sometimes inadvertently make errant marks on their ballots. If the mark is in an area where the tabulator sees it, that tabulator will reject the ballot, and the voter will get another ballot, Hogan said.
St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes told WJCT News that poll workers in her county “NEVER mark ANYTHING on a voter’s ballot – EVER!” She also pointed out that St. Johns County doesn’t have poll managers but instead has "clerks."

Fact checking website Snopes has also deemed the post “false,” writing, “This claim, in general, is unfounded. Poll workers have practically no reason to mark ballots, and in the rare instance where they might, this would not invalidate a person’s vote."

Early voting in many Florida counties, including Duval and St. Johns, starts Monday, Oct. 19.

Check the WJCT 2020 Elections page for a county-by-county listing of early voting locations, along with sample ballots, candidate information and political news from across the state and the nation.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.