An image circulating on social media on Tuesday, November 3, caused voters plenty of concern over whether or not votes for President Donald Trump were being counted in Erie County, Pennsylvania. The image, which appeared to be a screenshot from an Instagram user named Sebastian Machado, made the rounds on social media amidst the tension gripping the nation as the 2020 presidential election continued.
"Been working at a poll station in Erie county, PA all morning. A lot of people have already voted today :) I've thrown out over a hundred ballots for trump already!! Pennsylvania gonna turn blue 2020!!" the image read.
As Machado's account is private, it's not currently possible to verify whether or not the image — which appears to be a screenshot from an Instagram story — is genuine. The picture was shared on social media and has been the subject of news stories on conservative fringe sites. It caused such an uproar that Erie County Board of Elections Chair Carl J. Anderson III was forced to address the story.
"Erie County has checked into the unfortunate claim being shared across social media by someone saying they are working as part of the Erie County Board of Elections and throwing out ballots. The person making the statements does not work in any way with Erie County or have any part of Erie County's election process. In fact, the individual is not a registered voter and is not believed to be a resident of Erie County, Pa. Erie County Board of Elections takes the integrity of the election process very seriously, and we are proud that the people working on behalf of the voters in Erie County do so in a nonpartisan, fair and unified fashion for the betterment of our community," Anderson said in a statement.
Anderson continued, saying local officials take the integrity of their election process "very seriously" and that they're proud that their polling staff helps voters during the elections in a "nonpartisan, fair and unified fashion. He went on to explain that he's asked Erie County Sheriff John Loomis to verify whether or not Machado is indeed a resident.
As the matter has become an investigation into potential criminal charges, Anderson said Erie County officials would make no further statement.
Trump appeared in Erie to hold a campaign rally on October 20, two days before the final presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. It is widely believed that Trump — who defeated Hillary Clinton to take Pennsylvania by 0.7 percent in 2016 — will need the state's 20 electoral college votes to emerge victorious on Tuesday.