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US Fact check: Video shows spilled trash in Australian mall, not ballots from Arizona midterms

18:00  24 november  2022
18:00  24 november  2022 Source:   usatoday.com

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The claim: Video shows Arizona midterm election ballots spilling down an escalator

Social media users continue to claim the midterm elections were stolen, in many cases circulating falsehoods built on errant assumptions or miscaptioned videos.

In one recent example, a video shared on Instagram shows two trash bins tumbling down an escalator, spilling piles of paper.

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"Is this Arizona?" reads the text on the screen. "Is this why my ballot wasn't counted?"

The Nov. 16 post's caption includes several hashtags, including, "#arizonaelection" and "#election2022." The post garnered more than 3,000 likes in six days.

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But this video has no connection to Arizona. The footage was filmed in the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Australia, according to the chief customer officer of one of the surrounding stores. It dates back to at least 2020.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment.

Video is unrelated to Arizona midterms

The video was shared on YouTube on April 28, 2020, and tagged in Maribyrnong, Victoria, which is located in Australia.

"The staff member decided to take 2 bins full of paper up an escalator instead of the lift which was only 100 meters away," reads the video's description. "He lost control of the bins going up the escalator and made a big mess."

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The YouTube video doesn't mention anything about ballots.

Fact check: Photos of trashed mail, ballots are from 2020, not the 2022 midterm elections

The sign for a store named "The Reject Shop" can be seen in the background of the video. The Reject Shop only has locations in Australia, according to its website.

"The Reject Shop does not have any stores in the U.S., and this video was taken at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribyrnong, Victoria just outside of Melbourne in Australia," Andrew Stein, The Reject Shop's chief customer officer, told USA TODAY via email.

The escalators in the Instagram video can also be seen in a 2021 article published by Shopping Centre News.

Matt Roberts, a Maricopa County Elections Department spokesperson, confirmed via email that the video was not filmed in the county.

No election officials or credible media reports have indicated there were any fraudulent or uncounted votes in Arizona. USA TODAY has debunked an array of Arizona election claims amid the midterm elections, including claims that there were fraudulent ballot counts, that the Maricopa County ballot machine glitches were proof of fraud and that the early airing of test data for the gubernatorial race// was an attempt to steal the election.

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Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows Arizona midterm election ballots spilling down an escalator. The video was filmed in the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Australia, and it predates the election by at least two years.

Our fact-check sources:

  • ViralHog (YouTube video), April 28, 2020, Man Makes a Huge Paper Mess Going Up Escalator || ViralHog
  • The Reject Shop, accessed Nov. 23, Stores
  • Shopping Centre News, Feb. 24, 2021, Kmart confirms store opening at Highpoint
  • Matt Roberts, Nov. 23, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • Andrew Stein, Nov. 23, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 17, Fact check: Arizona poll watcher falsely claims there was election fraud in Maricopa County
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 9, Fact check: Printing glitches caused temporary vote-counting halt in Arizona
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 1, Fact check: Posts wrongly link pre-election testing glitch in Arizona to election fraud
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 8, Fact check roundup: False claims about election fraud, candidates swirl amid 2022 midterms

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Anti-abortion groups don’t think they lost the midterms

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Video shows spilled trash in Australian mall, not ballots from Arizona midterms

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