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Partisan sign outside high school polling place in Philadelphia was legal

November 4, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: A sign endorsing Democratic candidates outside a high school polling site in northeast Philadelphia is a “violation” of election law.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Pennsylvania law allows campaign workers, signs and other electioneering materials near polling places as long as they are “at least 10 feet away from the entrance to the room where the voting occurs.” At the high school voting site in northeast Philadelphia, the sign was posted on the exterior of the high school building. Voting occurred in a room inside the building, more than 10 feet away.

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THE FACTS: Pennsylvania was a hotspot for voting-related misinformation on Election Day, with thousands of social media users claiming signs posted outside polling places in Philadelphia constituted illegal voter interference. 

One viral tweet included a photo of a sign endorsing Democratic candidates that was hung on the exterior wall of Benjamin Rush High School in northeast Philadelphia.

“This is our polling place in NE Philadelphia,” the tweet read. “Already a violation in sight.”

The tweet was shared more than 11,000 times, including by Donald Trump Jr. and Mike Roman, Election Day Operations director for the Trump campaign.

“Bad things are happening in Philly,” Roman tweeted with the photo.

However, the sign was legal, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Pennsylvania Department of State, whose guidance states that campaign workers, people who aren’t actively voting, signs and other electioneering materials must “be located at least 10 feet away from the entrance to the room where the voting occurs.”

Additionally, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said it investigated the polling site.

“This polling place is located in an interior room and the sign in question is further than 10 feet from it,” the District Attorney’s Office tweeted. 

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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