Social media user who claimed he threw out Pennsylvania ballots wasn’t poll worker
CLAIM: Sebastian Machado, a poll worker in Erie County, Pennsylvania, admitted he tossed out ballots that were filled out for President Donald Trump.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The Erie County Board of Elections confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Machado is not a poll worker in the county and does not have any connection to the county’s election process.
THE FACTS: On Election Day, social media users shared a screenshot of Machado’s Instagram post where he falsely claimed he was a poll worker tampering with voters’ ballots. Before he deleted the post, the AP confirmed that Machado did actually publish the post onto his Instagram account.
“Been working at a poll station in Erie County, PA all morning. A lot of people have already voted today,” Machado wrote. “I’ve thrown out over a hundred ballots for Trump already!! Pennsylvania is gonna turn blue 2020!!”
Multiple social media users shared a screenshot of Machado’s false post. “BREAKING: Poll worker in Erie, PA named Sebastian Machado admitted on Instagram that he has thrown out over 100 pro-Trump ballots so far this morning,” one Twitter user wrote in a now-deleted post.
“There is a poll worker in Erie, PA named Sebastian Machado who has admitted on Instagram that he is purposing throwing away pro-Trump ballots. This is illegal!” a Facebook user posted. The post had over 600 shares.
“This guy Sebastian Machado omg_seabass admitted to voting fraud on his Instagram story,” another Twitter user wrote.
Erie County Board of Elections told The Associated Press that Machado is not a poll worker. “The person making the statements does not work in any way with Erie County or have any part of Erie County’s election process,” Erie County Board of Elections Chair Carl J. Anderson said in a statement. “In fact, the individual is not a registered voter and is not believed to be a resident of Erie County, Pa.”
In the statement, Anderson said the incident is being investigated and they may pursue criminal charges.
The Associated Press reached out to Machado for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536