Fact check: 'Joke' post behind viral article on ballot dumping claim

Social media users have shared posts with a screenshot of a headline that says a Detroit-based election worker claimed he had thrown out every Trump ballot he saw. However, the headline in the screenshot was published by the website Gateway Pundit, which later updated its story to say the man behind the claim had come forward to say it was a joke.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The social media posts show a screenshot of the Gateway Pundit’s initial headline, which read: “Self-Described Dem Party Worker, Detroit Resident, Brags on Facebook: “I work for Wayne Co, MI and I threw out every Trump ballot I saw. Tens of thousands of them and so did all of my co-workers”.

The website reports (here) that the statement was made on a Facebook page by a user identifying himself as being from Detroit and employed by the Democrat Party.

After the user’s message started to circulate on Facebook, “two of his three accounts went missing”, the Gateway Pundit reported.

However, the article was amended when the website said it had been contacted by email by the user behind the Facebook post, who told them it had been meant as a joke.

According to the Gateway Pundit, the user wrote: “I am humbly asking you to please update this. It was a joke for my few followers, I never intended to deceive anyone. I’ve never been a ballot counter. I made a big mistake and wish I could undo it.”

The website updated its headline to reflect this new information, but social media users continued to share screenshots of the earlier headline.


False. Screenshots show the headline of an article published by the Gateway Pundit suggesting a Democrat Party worker had bragged on Facebook about throwing out Trump ballots. However, the website later said it had been informed the Facebook post was meant as a joke and updated its article accordingly.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .