Editor, Daily Press:

There has been much written about voting by mail and some, including the president - wh votes by mail - claim it is ripe for massive voter fraud.

That notion was perpetuated in the TDP by Byron York, who writes for the Washington Examiner. He is a frequent apologist for Mr. Trump and carries water for him often. In this case, he enumerates the dangers of voting by mail, and cites specific cases that raise the specter of fraud. He does not clarify that these are isolated incidents, but goes on to say a recent poll finds the public has "great doubts" about voting by mail.

Unfortunately, those doubts are planted by ads on social media, specifically Facebook, that Propublica has evaluated and found "nearly half of all top-performing posts that mentioned voting by mail were false or misleading." Most of the posts suggest nefarious characters, including former President Obama, are out to rig the election and destroy votes, burning them in his fireplace.

Facebook's own internal monitoring system, CrowdTangle, found: "The false claims, including conspiracy theories about stolen elections or outright misrepresentations about voting by mail by Trump and prominent conservative outlets, are often among the most popular posts about voting on Facebook, according to a review of engagement data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool." Further, a review by the Washington Post "analyzed three states with all-mail elections - Colorado, Oregon and Washington - and found just 372 potential irregularities among 14.6 million votes, or .0025 percent." That is a different picture than the one painted by Mr. York.

Also, what he doesn't report is that when the questions are asked differently, about "absentee ballots" instead of "voting by mail," the concerns he cites nearly disappear, though they are essentially the same thing. The irony is the Trumps and the Pences vote by mail and the Pences used an old address to vote, also known as "fraud"! So they say one thing and do another, leading me to the old saw, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

I'm not saying there's no cause for concern; I'm saying what Mr. York presented was not the whole story. As Paul Harvey used to say, "Now you know the rest of the story," or at least part of it. I would encourage all those who use Facebook to read these ads, dig deeper, read all the information you can find, use Snopes and other fact-checking media. Facebook doesn't follow its own standards and is not to be trusted to provide unbiased information. If you want the facts, you may have to do some digging.

Robert Lee


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