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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Fact-checking ‘2000 mules’, film alleging ballot fraud

A film debuting in more than 270 theaters across the United States this week uses flawed analysis of cellphone location data and ballot drop box surveillance footage to debunk the results of the 2020 presidential election nearly 18 months after cast doubts .

Praised by former President Donald Trump as exposing the “great election fraud”, the film, dubbed “2000 Mules”, paints an ominous picture that suggests Democrat-aligned ballot “mules” Payments were believed to have been made for illegally collecting and discarding ballots in Arizona, Georgia. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

But it is based on faulty assumptions, anonymous accounts and improper analysis of cellphone location data, which is not enough to confirm that someone has submitted a ballot to a drop box, according to experts.

The film was produced by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza and uses research from Texas-based non-profit True the Vote, which has spent months lobbying states to use its findings to change voting laws . Neither responded to a request for comment.

Here’s a closer look at the facts.

The claim: At least 2,000 “mulles” were paid to illegally collect ballots and deliver them to drop boxes in major swing states ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

facts: True the vote didn’t prove it. According to experts, the finding is based on misconceptions about the accuracy of cellphone tracking data and the reasons why an individual may skip multiple ballots.

“Ballot Harvesting” is a pejorative term for leaving completed ballots for people other than you. The practice is legal in many states, but largely illegal in states focused on the True Vote, with a few exceptions for family, household members, and people with disabilities.

True the Vote said it found some 2,000 ballot harvesters in various swing counties in five states by purchasing $2 million worth of anonymized cellphone geolocation data — “pings” that track a person’s location based on app activity. Then, by drawing a virtual border around a county’s ballot drop box and various unnamed nonprofits, it identified cellphones that were repeatedly possessed by both prior to the 2020 election.

If a cellphone went near the drop box more than 10 times and a nonprofit went more than five times from October 1 until Election Day, True The Vote assumed its owner was a “mule”—its The name stands for someone involved in an illegal ballot collection scheme. In cahoots with a nonprofit.

The group’s claims of a paid ballot harvesting scheme are only supported in the film by an unnamed whistleblower, said to be from San Luis, Arizona, who said he “assumed” people to pay for ballot collection. Had taken. The film has no evidence of such payments in other states in 2020.

In addition, experts say cellphone location data, even at the most advanced, can reliably track smartphones within just a few meters – not enough to know if someone has actually Ballot left or bus gone or passed.

Aaron Striegel, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre, said, “You can use cellular evidence to say that this person was in that area, but to say they were at the ballot box, you exaggerate it.” are.” Dame. “There’s always a pretty healthy amount of uncertainty that comes with it.”

In addition, ballot drop boxes are often intentionally placed in busy areas, such as college campuses, libraries, government buildings and apartment complexes — raising the possibility that innocent citizens may fall into the group’s trap, Striegel said.

Likewise, there are many valid reasons why someone might visit both a nonprofit’s office and one of those busy areas. Delivery drivers, postal workers, cab drivers, polling workers and elected officials all have valid reasons to cross paths with multiple drop boxes or nonprofits in a day.

True the Vote says it has filtered out those whose “patterns of life” before the election season repeatedly included nonprofit and drop box locations. But that strategy won’t filter out election workers, cab drivers whose daily paths don’t follow a pattern, or people whose routines have changed recently, who spend more time in the drop box during the election season.

In some states, in an effort to bolster its claims, True the Vote also highlighted drop box surveillance footage showing voters piling multiple ballots into boxes. However, there was no way to tell whether those voters were the same people whose cellphones were tracked anonymously.

Video of a voter dropping a stack of ballots on a drop box is not in itself evidence of any wrongdoing, as most states have legal exceptions that allow people to drop ballots on behalf of family members and household members. .

For example, Larry Campbell, a voter in Michigan who was not featured in the film, told The Associated Press that he legally dropped six ballots at a local drop box in 2020—one for himself, his wife and For your four adult children. And in Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office examined a surveillance video broadcast by True the Vote and said it found the man was leaving ballots for himself and his family.

The claim: In Philadelphia alone, True the Vote identified 1,155 “mulles” who illegally collected and discarded ballots for money.

facts: No, it didn’t happen. The group has provided no evidence of any type of paid ballot harvesting scheme in Philadelphia. And True the Vote didn’t find surveillance footage of Drop Box in Philadelphia, so the group based this claim solely on cellphone location data, its researcher Greg Phillips said in March in testimony to Pennsylvania state senators.

Sharif Street, Pennsylvania State Sen. Sharif Street, who was there for the group’s testimony in March, told the Associated Press that he believed they counted as one of the group’s 1,155 unidentified “mulles,” even though they deposited some in the drop box. Didn’t at that time period.

Street said it based its assessment on the fact that it owns a cellphone, a watch with a cellular connection, a tablet with a cellular connection and a mobile hotspot — four devices whose locations can be tracked by private companies. could. He also said that he usually travels with a staff, who carries two devices, bringing his person total to six.

During the 2020 election season, Street said, he brought those devices on trips to nonprofit offices and drop box rallies. He used to drive from a drop box seven or eight times a day while traveling between his two political offices.

“I didn’t fill out any ballots, but over time, I’ve been responsible for literally hundreds and hundreds of their unique trips, even though I’m the only actor in the same vehicle going back and forth in the normal course of my business. ,” said the road.

Nick Custodio, a spokesman for the city’s election commission, said the allegations matched others that were dismissed or disproved after the 2020 election.

“The Trump campaign and others filed an unprecedented litany of cases challenging the election of Philadelphia with suspicious and unfounded allegations of fraud, all of which were quickly and swiftly dismissed by both state and federal courts,” Custodio said. Went.”

CLAIM: Some of the “Mules” True the Vote identified in Georgia were also geolocated in the violent Antifa riots in Atlanta in the summer of 2020, indicating they were violent far-right actors.

facts: Barring the fact that the film does not prove that these individuals were collecting ballots at all, it also cannot prove their political affiliation.

Anonymous data tracked True the Vote doesn’t explain why anyone might be present in a protest demanding justice for black deaths at the hands of police officers. Those who were tracked there may have been violent rioters, but they could also be peaceful protesters, police or firefighters responding to protests, or business owners in the area.

Claim: The alleged ballot harvesters were captured on surveillance video wearing gloves as they did not want to leave their fingerprints on the ballots.

facts: This is pure speculation. It ignores the more likely reasons for wearing gloves in the fall and winter of 2020 – cold weather or COVID-19.

Researchers at True the Vote claimed in the film that voters in Georgia began wearing gloves to prevent their fingerprints from touching the ballot envelope when two women in Yuma, Arizona, allegedly cast ballots in that state’s primary election. Was charged on December 23, 2020 for harvesting. But the Arizona indictment didn’t mention anything about fingerprints.

Georgia went to the polls on January 5, 2021, a Senate runoff election during some of the coldest weeks of the year in the state, and when COVID-19 was on the rise.

In fact, the Associated Press documented several instances of COVID-vigilant voters wearing latex gloves and other personal protective equipment to vote in 2020.

In a similarly speculative allegation, the film claims that its alleged “mulles” took pictures of them before dropping ballots into drop boxes to get paid. But across America, voters often take pictures of them before submitting their ballots.

Claim: If it were not for this ballot collection plan, former President Donald Trump would have had enough votes to win the 2020 election.

facts: This alleged plan has not been proven, nor do these researchers have any way of knowing whether any of the ballots collected contained votes for Trump or Biden.

According to Derek Mueller, a law professor at the University of Iowa, there is no evidence that a mass ballot harvesting scheme put a large amount of votes in drop boxes for a candidate, and if there were, it Will be caught soon.

“Once you get just a few people involved, people start disclosing the plan because it settles down very quickly,” he said.

Absentee ballots are also verified by signature and closely tracked, often giving voters the option of seeing where their ballot is at any given time. According to Barry Burden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor and director of the Elections Research Project, the process protects against anyone who tries to illegally cast extra ballots.

“It seems impossible for a nefarious actor in that system to dump lots of ballots that were never requested by voters and never issued by election officials,” Burden said.

It is part of the Associated Press’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, which includes working with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to the misleading material that circulates online. Learn more about fact-checking on Associated Press.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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