The lead attorney of Henrico County, Va., told me about two recent instances that made voters fearful. There was a batch of mail stolen from mailboxes in the Richmond area, and a utility outage at some state offices meant people couldn’t register to vote online right before the deadline. Each instance made some people believe that there was a plot to stop people from voting, although there was no evidence of this.
There’s also a lot of nonsense out there. Election officials in Philadelphia said that some people believed the voting machines are owned by the liberal financier George Soros, and others believed they’re owned by the Koch family, the conservative financiers. Neither is true, but when people feel like the “other side” is out to get them, these things can get out of hand.
Americans are voting in a highly unusual election, during a highly polarized time, and mistrust in authority figures is in overdrive. Misleading information about election tampering and voter suppression is now everywhere.
I spoke about the prevalence of election-related rumors and confusion with my colleagues Kellen Browning and Davey Alba, who wrote on Thursday about the local election officials who are trying to counter bad information.
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