Trust Index: Fact-checking claims about absentee voting made during Trump-Biden debate

Absentee voting claims made during first presidential debate

The issue of absentee voting has become the hot button issue in the weeks leading up to the election.

The President has been repeatedly critical of the process, despite voting absentee himself in Florida, and has worked to sew distrust with the processes of certain states, including Michigan.

The President had more to test when it came to claims about absentee voting during Tuesday night’s first presidential debate, but we’ll start with this from Vice President Joe Biden.

“His own homeland security director as well as FBI director says there’s no evidence at all the mail and ballots are a source of the manipulation and cheating,” Biden said.

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Biden is referencing testimony given by FBI Director Christopher Wray last week where he told Michigan Sen. Gary Peters there was no evidence so far of widespread fraud in the election or past elections. Biden does appear to confuse the director of homeland security with DHS’s cyber security director who said last month election integrity may actually improve with more absentee ballots.

Here’s the first 2016 invalid ballots claim from the President:

“At least 1 percent of the ballots to 2016 were invalidated take, they take them 'we don’t like ‘em, we don’t like ‘em,’” the President said mimicking poll workers.

We’re saying to be careful with this claim because of the President’s characterization. According to the findings of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 1 percent of the absentee votes were deemed invalid. But the reasons weren’t as flippant as the president describes. The EAC said the top three reasons for rejecting a mail-in ballot were unsigned ballots, non-matching signatures or the ballots arriving late.

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Finally, this claim from the President during a particularly tense portion of the debate:

“They found balance in a wastepaper basket, three days ago, and they all had the name Military Balance there were military, they all had the name Trump on them,” Trump said.

We’re advising you to be careful with this claim, too.

The President is referring to nine ballots discovered in Pennsylvania. After some investigation, the ballots were found to be incorrectly discarded but there wasn’t any evidence of something sinister. The ballots were also votes for Trump but the clerk’s office in Pennsylvania said there was no way of knowing those votes until the voters were contacted.

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