How US election misinformation has led to real-world tensions | #TheCube

Supporters of Joe Biden and Donald Trump argue outside the central counting board in Detroit, Michigan on Thursday.
Supporters of Joe Biden and Donald Trump argue outside the central counting board in Detroit, Michigan on Thursday. Copyright AP Photo/David Goldman
Copyright AP Photo/David Goldman
By The Cube
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False claims online surrounding the US presidential election have led protestors to the streets and harassment of polling station officials.


Swathes of online misinformation have festered as vote counting continues in the 2020 United States Presidential election.

Unfounded claims have alleged that electoral fraud and that Joe Biden and the Democrats are attempting to "steal" the election. There has been no substantial evidence to support this.

Crucially though, the rumours have not only circulated online but also transcended onto the streets, in demonstrations casting doubt on US democracy and the election process.

In the key swing state of Pennsylvania, residents have been sent text messages that "radical liberals and Democrats" are behind attempts to steal the election result.

These messages urged people to congregate on the streets of Philadelphia to rally, all on the pretext of misinformation.

"We are seeing a lot of different calls to action in public," said Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.

"Some of these groups are mobilising based on misinformation, specifically claims of voter fraud which we don't have any serious evidence for."

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Michigan also denounced the harassment of polling station workers, after unfounded rumours about the use of Sharpie pens on ballots.

"Please stop making harassing and threatening calls to my staff," tweeted Dana Nessel on Thursday.

"They are kind, hardworking public servants just doing their job."

"Asking them to shove sharpies in uncomfortable places is never appropriate and is a sad commentary on the state of our nation."

Elsewhere in Detroit, misleading claims were shared by Donald Trump about the windows in polling stations being boarded up.

"Where is the transparency?" added Charlie Kirk, Chair of Students for Trump, calling for more Trump supporters to "swarm" Michigan.

But in a statement to Euronews, Detroit authorities stated that some windows were covered at the request of poll workers at the TCF Center.

"Some - but not all - windows were covered, because poll workers seated just inside those windows expressed concerns about people outside the center photographing and filming them and their work," said Lawrence Garcia, City of Detroit Corporation Counsel.

"Only the media is allowed to take pictures inside the counting place, and people outside the center were not listening to requests to stop filming poll workers and their paperwork."

Click on the player above to watch the latest election coverage in The Cube, Euronews' dedicated fact-checking social media newsdesk.

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