People wait in line to vote in Sierra Vista, Arizona on November 3, 2020 (AFP / Ariana Drehsler)

Photo does not show Trump supporter blocking polling site on Election Day

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

As Americans vote on Election Day, a photo purporting to show a supporter of President Donald Trump blocking access to a polling place is circulating online. This is misleading; police said the man in the picture, taken on November 1, 2020, did not stop people voting, but rather briefly took a photo with a Trump flag.

“Please retweet. Trump supporters are blocking access to polling sites at Clifton City Hall, New Jersey...this is a Class A Felony,” a November 3, 2020 tweet said.

The accompanying photo shows a man holding a Trump 2020 flag standing outside a building and what appears to be a ballot drop box.

A screenshot of a tweet taken on November 3, 2020

The same claim was made in a November 3 Facebook post by pro-Joe Biden page “The Other 98%,” which has more than six million followers. The page subsequently updated the post to correct it. 

AFP ran a keyword search for “Clifton City Hall” on Facebook and traced the photo circulating online to a post from November 1, two days before the final voting day of the 2020 election.

“Did anyone see this??? Totally inappropriate,” the caption reads.

A screenshot of a Facebook post taken on November 3, 2020

Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for Clifton Police Department said officers were called to city hall in the community north of Newark on November 1, but denied claims that the man in the picture stopped people from voting.

“It looks like the person came, voted, took a picture with the flag and left,” public information officer Robert Bracken said. “There’s no allegation in the police report of any voter intimidation, harassment or blocking of the polls.”

He said the incident happened in “under a minute” and that the man had left by the time police arrived.

Clifton Police Department also published a statement on voting day, describing the reports as “entirely false.”

A screeshot of a Facebook post taken on November 3, 2020

AFP contacted a woman on Facebook who claimed it was her friend who called the police, but had not received a reply by the time of publication.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here for more.

EDIT: The headline of this article was updated on November 3, 2020.
US Elections 2020