By Stella Cooper and
Many of the misleading or false claims about voting on Tuesday have focused on swing states like Pennsylvania, just as they did in the weeks before the election.
Early Tuesday, a Trump campaign official posted an unfounded suggestion on Twitter that Democrats were illegally campaigning at a voting site in Philadelphia. Twitter labeled the tweet “misleading” and later “manipulated,” but it was still shared on the platform nearly 30,000 times, including by the national spokeswoman for the Republican Party and Representative Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona.
The official, Mike Roman, the Trump campaign’s director of Election Day operations, said in the tweet that poll workers were handing out illegal information in support of Joseph R. Biden Jr. But the two photos that he included in the tweet and implied were evidence do not support his claim, according to an analysis of the images by The New York Times’s Visual Investigations unit.
The first photo, which was previously posted by the Philadelphia Republican Party’s Twitter account, shows a man in a blue sweater handing a piece of paper to a man seemingly standing in line inside a polling station. The second photo is a flier from a Democratic group that lists the party’s candidates on the Pennsylvania ballot. By placing the photos side by side, Mr. Roman implies that Democratic flier is being handed out.
But the two photos do not appear to show the same piece of paper. As shown below, the paper in the polling station is smaller, squarer, and black and white. The flyer appears to be more rectangular, with red and blue text.
The tweet was one of several posted by Mr. Roman about Philadelphia that Twitter attached advisory labels to on Tuesday. One of the tweets was investigated by the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, which said the post was “deliberately deceptive.”
A Twitter spokeswoman said by email, “Our teams have taken enforcement action on tweets from @MikeRoman (examples here, here, here, and here) in line with our Civic Integrity Policy.”
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office told The Times that it had not received any complaints of illegal campaigning and that “online misinformation is fueling more calls to our hotline than actual incidents.”