Mis- and Disinformation
Mis- and disinformation are widespread in elections, especially during federal election cycles. Misinformation may consist of false rumors and misconceptions about elections, while disinformation could be targeted messages spread to purposely mislead voters.
Voters should look to trusted sources of information about elections, including the State Board of Elections and county boards of elections. The State Board works diligently to combat misinformation through social media, press releases, a newsletter, mailings and this webpage. With this webpage, we strive to:
- Highlight State Board efforts to combat mis- and disinformation
- Debunk common myths and falsehoods about elections
- Explain how voters can help fight against and reduce misinformation
Actions Taken Against Misinformation
In North Carolina, state and county election officials work hard every day to improve processes and increase election security to promote voter confidence. We endeavor to educate the public about election processes and security by providing trusted and vetted information.
Misinformation can lead to confusion and erode the public’s trust in elections. We aim to educate and serve as a trusted source of election information through our social media posts. Here is an example from our “Mythbuster Monday” series:
Reality: NC registrants weren't required to provide their date of birth until the 90s. As a result, election officials would issue a temporary placeholder when the birth date was unknown (1/1/1900 or 1/1/1901.)
— NCSBE (@NCSBE) February 8, 2021
To stay in the loop on recent press releases, election news, upcoming election dates, and deadlines, subscribe to our e-newsletter, Election Connection. Sign up by submitting your email in the form at the bottom of this page, after Contact.
How We Ensure Your Vote Counts
Learn the facts on how elections are secured. For more, go to the Election Security page.
|Investigations Division||Learn about the State Board’s Investigations Division, including what our investigators do and the types of cases they oversee and refer for prosecution.|
|Read about the post-election processes of the State Board and county boards of elections, including canvass, audits and election certification.|
|Cybersecurity||Find important details about how the State Board and county boards of elections secure elections through partnerships with state and federal agencies.|
|10 Facts About Election Security||See 10 ways elections are secured in North Carolina, from audits to testing and certification of voting systems.|
We communicate the truth as promptly as possible whenever we learn of widespread misconceptions or misinformation.
|Date||Reality Confirmed||Press Release|
|Nov. 11, 2020||Vote counting is lawfully conducted and results are audited.||4 Facts About the Vote-Counting Process in NC|
|Nov. 5, 2020||Voter history takes time to upload after every election.||How to Know Your Vote Counted in North Carolina|
|Oct. 15, 2020||Election workers do not invalidate ballots when they write on them.||In North Carolina, Election Workers Must Write on Your Ballot|
|Oct. 2, 2020||Photographing your ballot is illegal in North Carolina.||State Board Reminds Voters Not to Photograph Their Ballots|
|Sept. 17, 2020||The statewide election management system does not allow a voter to vote twice in an election.||Statement on Mecklenburg County Ballot Issue|
|Sept. 3, 2020||It is illegal to vote twice in an election.||A Message from Karen Brinson Bell to NC Voters|
What You Can Do
Think Before You Link
When sharing posts, use trusted sources such as the State Board of Elections or your county board of elections. Bad actors and foreign adversaries create fake websites and social media posts that look legitimate. Before sharing, research the source and confirm the accuracy of the information.
Learn how to spot inauthentic content, which is a common technique that disinformation actors use to spread misinformation and malinformation. Download Tools of Disinformation: Inauthentic Content (PDF), a fact sheet from the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Stop the Spread of Misinformation
When seeking out election news, you can help slow the spread of misinformation. When reading, listening, or watching:
- Research the source or outlet (Search online for “media bias chart” to gather general information on political leanings of news sources.)
- Use nationally reputable sources
- Think critically about the information
- Seek balance in the viewpoints you’re consuming
- View the opinion section on sites as just that — opinion
Know Your News Sources
During election cycles, many outlets — both reputable and non-reputable — share elections-related information. Take the following steps to ensure you’re receiving news from a trusted source:
- Research the author to ensure they’re a real person
- Check the date to ensure it is recent
- Make sure the content matches the headline
- Consider whether arguments are supported by facts and research
- Check to see if any other news sources are reporting the information
- Check the author’s sources
- Check the site’s sponsors
For more information, download CISA’s fact sheet: Question the Source (PDF).
Report Misinformation on Social Media
If the information you encounter on social media is false, offensive or harmful, report it.
|Platform||Where to Report|
|Mark a Facebook Post as False News or How to Report Things|
|Reducing the Spread of False Information on Instagram|
|Recognize and Report Spam, Inappropriate, and Abusive Content|
|Report a Tweet, List, or Direct Message|
Report Misinformation to the State Board
See something about elections that’s confusing, sensationalistic or decreases your confidence in elections? It might be mis- or disinformation. The State Board of Elections would like to hear about it. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will research the claims or posts and respond accordingly.
If the misinformation is about election processes or administration, the State Board may report it to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for further action. If it's on a social media platform, the State Board may report it to that platform.