Instagram falsely claims that most eligible voters will not vote | Tech Reddy


One week before the midterms, social media users are trying to sway the voters. An Instagram post suggests that 2018 voters are lagging behind and most people eligible to vote won’t.

The Nov. 1 Instagram post included a cartoon picture of a group of people. About one-third of the people (on the left side of the image) are smiling and wearing white T-shirts that say, “I voted.” The rest are on the right, looking heavy and wearing white T-shirts. Underneath it all is an article that says, “two-thirds of eligible voters don’t vote.”

“Vote people. Damn! Voting is down from 2018,” the post captioned.

This post was marked as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false and misleading information on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida, tracks voters before Election Day for his American Election Project. As of noon Nov. 2, more than 29 million people nationwide had voted, either by mail or in person, McDonald found.

McDonald said in 2018, 50% of eligible voters cast ballots, the most since 1914. That contradicts the column’s estimate of 66%. of eligible voters who are not voting.

In 2020, turnout was 66.7% – so two-thirds of eligible voters voted in that election, contrary to what the post said.

Catalist, a firm that provides data to Democratic parties or politicians, told PolitiFact on Nov. 2 that 25.3 million people voted by mail or in person for the November election. That’s more than in 2018, when 23.7 million votes were cast on the same day before Election Day. Catalist’s data contains a lot of information about all from the secretaries of state, but it shows that the vote for the current election is not going down in 2018.

“This is in line with midterm turnout, but if it breaks 2018’s record it will come down to Election Day,” a Catalist spokesperson said. and Aaron Huertas.

Each state sets its own rules about when and if they have early voting, and who gets to vote by mail. This means that voting before Election Day is more serious in some states than in others.

States that changed early or mail-in voting laws after the 2018 election are not very good at looking at 2022 data. In 2018, for example, only Pennsylvania voters and an excuse such as going out of town was allowed to cast an absentee ballot. But in 2019, the General Assembly passed a law allowing voters to vote by mail.

“The two main things that make it difficult to compare apples to apples are changes to election laws and the fact that a state is competitive, especially at the national level,” Huertas said. “And, of course, there’s less change in a midterm than a presidential year.”

We won’t have a full picture of how early voting will compare in 2022 to 2018 until early in-person voting is over and the mail-in ballot deadlines have passed.

For voters who want to keep track of turnout in their precincts, many local and state election offices offer up-to-date census results. For example, Florida counties provide daily reports detailing early congressional elections.

Our decision

An Instagram post said “two-thirds of eligible voters don’t vote.”

It’s not clear if the column relied on 2020 or 2018 presidential election data for the election, but either way, it’s wrong. In 2018, 50% of eligible voters voted. In 2020, two-thirds voted.

We judge this statement to be incorrect.

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