US Election voting booth hoax spreads on Facebook

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured

Facebook users are mistakenly sharing a warning with each other about how to behave in voting booths during today's elections for the American presidency.

Here's a typical message:

Voting hoax

Another version reads:

"PLEASE PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS!!! In the event that you are planning to vote democrat on Nov. 6, when you go into the voting booths, DO NOT SELECT THE BUTTON "all democrats" first, because Barack Obama will be excluded from the vote. However, if we choose "Barack Obama" first, and then "all democrats", he will earn our votes. People are not being told this information, because they are trying to use every trick in the book. TELL EVERYBODY YOU KNOW THIS! PLEASE FORWARD to as many people as possible even!!"

According to reports, the warning is not only confusing and alarmist - but could lead to some voters getting muddled and not voting for their preferred candidate.

ObamaI don't have any first hand experience as I'm not an American citizen, but I'm told that in some states choosing the party first on a voting machine, can lead to all of the candidates of your preferred political party being chosen - including the presidential candiate.

That could mean if you get confused and subsequently make a presidential selection for a second time, you could uncheck your vote for the president.

My advice? Review your choices closely before you press the final button in the voting booth.

Things were so much easier with a paper ballot..

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13 Responses to US Election voting booth hoax spreads on Facebook

  1. enfranchiseme2 · 625 days ago

    "Things were so much easier with a paper ballot"

    Yes, for those who want to make it easier for the voter rather than any particular interest group. Just how secure are these electronic voting machines and how are their workings auditted?

  2. geekette · 625 days ago

    Many areas have paper ballots, thankfully. In our area, straight party ticket does not vote for president (must be voted separately), but it's not only clearly marked on the ballot, the poll workers verbally tell you, they hand you a slip of paper with this info on it, and it's on each polling station.

  3. Walt · 625 days ago

    In many States, such as here in North Carolina, if you vote straight party (that is, either all Democrat or all Republican), the Presidential vote will not be counted. You have to vote for President separately.

  4. Julie · 625 days ago

    You are correct about the voting machines. If a mechanical machine is used, choosing the lever for the party first does, in fact, register a vote for every candidate of that party. Attempting to vote for any other candidate after that invalidates the entire vote for ALL offices, not just the president. In the county where I live, we still use paper ballots, so it is not a problem, but when I first began voting, I lived in an area that used the mechanical machines, so learned this lesson very quickly. American citizens, if you see this on Election Day, vote how YOU want, and do not let anyone sway you by this or other means.

  5. Preacher58 · 625 days ago

    WHY DO PEOPLE PRINT SUCH LIES!!! THERE ONE GOING AROUND FOR REPUBLICANS ALSO.
    THIS IS BOGUS...... I DOES NOT HAVE THIS ON THE VOTING MACHINES ......ESPECIALLY HERE IN LOUISIANA......AT LEAST THE ONE I VOTED ON DIDN'T HAVE IT!!!!

  6. Liz · 625 days ago

    Glad my place of voting had paper ballots -- only two electronic machines and a LONG line of people waiting to use them! These are the same kind of people that have problems using an ATM machine.

    Voted on a paper ballot and was out of there in no time.

  7. Charles · 625 days ago

    Optical scan paper ballots can be audited. There's a paper trail for each vote. Pure electronic voting machines are not to be trusted. I've spent 20+ years in IT support and I firmly believe "electronic voting" should be abolished. Our quest for convenience and speed should not overrule our need for a trustworthy election process.

  8. Susan · 625 days ago

    I am wondering why someone who clearly states "I don't have any first hand experience as I'm not an American citizen" is giving voting advice. My advice is to educate yourselves about the voting laws in your own states. And vote.

    • M.H. · 625 days ago

      So you read a UK news website and expect a person in a different country to educate themselves about their STATES voting laws. You are the type of person who is so out of touch with whats around her that he/she should not vote! You are the problem with America. Btw: I am an American.

      • CDB · 624 days ago

        I believe when she refers to "yourselves" and voting laws in "your own States", she is referring to the "American citizen[s]" to whom the false Facebook message and this article are addressing.

        Also, there are laws surrounding the voting process which do vary by State, here in the United States of America, so her point about needing education there is valid, too.

        Put together, those two items lead me to feel she is quite in touch with things around her.

        Please let us foster a spirit of unity in regard to such sensitive matters, especially at this high-tension time.

  9. MikeP_UK · 625 days ago

    Many countries do not use any form of machinery, either electrical electronic or mechanical, to record peoples' votes. Those that do appear to have more complaints about how it works. Few countries use a 'collegiate' system either but I gather the US does (from a daughter living in flooded NJ).
    I prefer the paper ballot system that retains a record of the votes cast for each candidate and can be verified. New is not always best.

  10. Robert Gracie · 624 days ago

    this is easy its some republicans setting up a hoax to get votes away from Democrats and to them thats how easy it was and I bet you that it was set up by Fox News...BIG supporter of the Republican Party

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.