October 30, 2020

This week, the Teen Fact-Checking Network covered the 2020 presidential election and coronavirus with four claims.

The internet asked if Democratic senators attended a hearing without masks, if poll worker markings invalidate ballots, if the flu is more lethal than the coronavirus and if Joe Biden could really afford a large house said to be his. Here are the answers. 

Did Democratic senators not wear masks during a hearing? 


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No, these democratic senators did not go maskless to Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing. This photo is from 2018. #FactCheck

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In a since-deleted tweet, Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) noted masks appeared to be missing in a photo posted during the confirmation hearings for recently appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett that showed Democratic Sens. Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse close to one another and talking without face coverings. The claim that the three senators were violating coronavirus protocol is Not Legit. The picture was actually taken in September 2018 during confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

MediaWise rating: Not Legit

Does the flu kill 100,000 yearly, and is it more lethal than the coronavirus?

On Oct. 6, President Donald Trump tweeted that over 100,000 people die of the flu each year, and that COVID-19 is far less lethal than the flu. That claim is Not Legit. Over the last ten years, the highest annual flu death toll was 62,000 deaths in 2017-2018, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, and deaths haven’t passed 100,000 in over 50 years. The coronavirus has killed well over 200,000 Americans since March, and is estimated to be 10 times more deadly than the flu. 

MediaWise rating: Not Legit

Do ballot markings from poll workers disqualify ballots?


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No, markings on ballots from poll workers do not disqualify ballots. #FactCheck #Election2020 #Voting

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On Oct. 13, a heavily-shared Facebook post claimed that if a poll worker writes on your ballot, it could be disqualified. This claim is Not Legit. Election laws are different in every state. In some states, like North Carolina, poll workers must make marks on certain ballots, like absentee ballots and provisional ballots. If a poll worker did make a mark on a ballot where unnecessary, it still wouldn’t invalidate the ballot, but could affect the ballot if it blocks the vote scanner from reading the ballot. Check with your state’s elections authority for updated information on voting. 

MediaWise rating: Not Legit

Is this Joe Biden’s house, and can he afford it as a senator?

On Oct. 17, Eric Trump tweeted a picture of a large house he claimed belonged to former Vice President Joe Biden, suggesting that Biden could not have afforded the house with only the $174,000 salary he received while in the U.S. Senate. This tweet is Mostly Not Legit. Biden did own the home, but he no longer does. He bought it in 1974 for $185,000 when the home was in poor condition, and remodeled the home before selling it in 1996.

MediaWise rating: Mostly Not Legit

Fact check sources

Democratic senators not wearing masks:

Donald Trump Flu deaths:

Markings disqualify ballots:

Eric Trump Biden house: 

These fact checks are available at IFCN’s 2020 U.S. Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here for more.

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