A video posted to Twitter claims to show a Republican voter being turned away at a polling place.
One tweet posted on Election Day, Nov. 8, says “it’s happening … imagine that you can vote if your [sic] a #Democrat but not if your [sic] #Republican” and shows an alleged exchange between an apparent voter and a poll worker.
The exchange seen in the video goes as follows:
Alleged voter (AV): “You said the Republican side is not what?”
Poll worker (PW): “I don’t have staff so we are closed right now.”
AV: “So for the Democrat, I can vote Democrat?”
PW: “You can vote Democrat.”
AV: “But not Republican.”
PW: “Not Republican. I’m sorry”
Another tweet with the video says, “You can Vote Democrat but not Republican because he doesn’t have the staff! I guess if he had more staff they throw out the Republican votes!” That video had more than 70,000 views.
Does this video show a voter being turned away from the polls during the midterm election?
No, the video is not from the November midterm election. It was actually taken during the March primary in Harris County, Texas, where staffing shortages at a polling place temporarily prevented Republican voters from casting their votes.
WHAT WE FOUND
The original video was taken in March 2022, at the Hardy Senior Center, which serves as a polling location in Harris County, Texas. Unlike a joint primary where political parties share election workers, the March 1 election in Texas was a split primary, requiring each political party to staff their own machines and operations, VERIFY partner station KHOU reported.
In Harris County there were widespread staffing shortages during the primary that resulted in some polling places not being staffed by each party.
Leah Shah, spokesperson for the Harris County election administrator’s office, said at this polling location, the Hardy Senior Center in Houston, the Republican side was not staffed but the Democrat side was, so voters could only vote Democrat at that time.
“If they were hoping to vote Republican, they could not vote at that location because the Republican side was closed,” Shah told VERIFY.
Shah said at a “handful” of locations there weren’t enough judges – or election workers – to run each party side and the judges that were there had to educate the voters on the rules around the split primaries. It’s not evidence of any kind of voter fraud, Shah said, and voters who could not vote at that polling location could find another staffed location to cast their ballot.
“It’s very misleading what is going around,” Shah said.
Using InVid, a video forensics tool, VERIFY was able to conduct a reverse image search from a single frame from this tweet that showed the video without the captions. VERIFY can trace the video to at least March 1, further proving the video was not taken during the November election season.
The primary election in Texas was held on March 1.