Did Eric Trump discover a ballot fraud scheme in California? Or was the president’s son fooled by a simple TikTok prank? Either way, he claimed on Twitter that his father’s campaign would get law enforcement involved.
In a video that made the rounds on TikTok on Monday night, user @westxon records himself filling out seven ballots, marking in Joe Biden on all seven. “Thanks for the 7 extra ballots California!!” a caption on the video reads.
With President Donald Trump repeatedly claiming that mail-in ballots could lead to fraud, the video garnered some attention on Twitter, with the president’s son, Eric, taking notice. “Absolutely infuriating,” Eric Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “This is California. The Campaign will be notifying Law Enforcement and will be taking immediate legal action…”
However, the user later claimed that he filled in sample ballots, sent to voters to help them prepare for the actual election. While identical in every other respect, these sample ballots lack the bar codes used to scan real ballots.
In an earlier video, the user filled out a ballot from Florida, not California, suggesting that he may have simply downloaded sample ballots for his stunt. In fact, Eric Trump deleted his tweet later on Tuesday, perhaps after realizing he’d been duped. The user himself later deleted his video too.
If the ballots were real, @westxon would have recorded and posted proof of himself committing a crime that can carry a penalty of up to $10,000 or five years in prison.
With just three weeks to go until November’s election, reports of ballot fraud and malpractice have surfaced all across the US. In Ohio last week, nearly 50,000 voters received “inaccurate” absentee ballots in the mail. When the board of elections responsible announced it was mailing out replacement ballots, President Trump declared that a “rigged election” was underway. The elections board insisted that “every vote will be counted” fairly.
Late last month, 100,000 New Yorkers received defective ballots. As in Ohio, Trump called the situation a “big fraud,” but the board of elections blamed their graphics company for printing the wrong addresses on the ballots.
Accusations of fraud haven’t just been levelled at Democrats. In California last week, local media noticed several unofficial “ballot drop-off boxes” placed throughout Orange and Fresno counties, evidently by local Republican groups. The boxes weren’t listed as official ballot return locations, and the state GOP seemingly hinted at their involvement, suggesting that with ballot harvesting legal in the state, whoever placed the boxes was well within their rights to snap up ballots.
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