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Fact Check

The Medill Fact Check

The Fulcrum has partnered with the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications to co-publish students' fact-checks on public statements about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on civic engagement. The Fulcrum will also publish related stories, podcasts and videos in partnership with the journalism school, a part of Northwestern University.

The Covid-19 Analyzer includes an interactive database that allows users to research stories, public statements and social media reports for accuracy, listing them as true, mixed or false, accompanied by an explanation and links to further information.

The 13-member Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs Reporting Project team is also producing an updated national scorecard on voting practices called the 2020 Election Tracker, with an interactive map of the 50 states' regulations for in-person and mail-in balloting, as well as candidate filing and voting deadlines.

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An election observer watches ballots being counted in North Las Vegas, Nevada, on Thursday.

Claim: Election observers have not been allowed to do their jobs. Fact check: False

In the early morning hours on Friday, President Trump tweeted, "The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES." The president did so as the vote margin in Pennsylvania and Georgia continued to close and even put former Vice President Joe Biden ahead in both states.

State rules vary on who is permitted to monitor the polls. However, across the board most states permit partisan monitors as long as they follow guidelines. On Wednesday, the Trump campaign filed lawsuits in Nevada, Michigan and Pennsylvania to give observers greater access to viewing the ballot counting process. With no evidence of wrongdoing in Michigan and the ballot counting process largely finished, a lower court dismissed the lawsuit there.

Lawsuits in Nevada and Pennsylvania were settled on Thursday. In Nevada, the settlement permitted additional observers to look over the ballot counting process in a facility in Las Vegas, granted that they follow social distancing rules. In Pennsylvania, the complaint stemmed mostly from a facility in Philadelphia where the suit claimed poll watchers were not close enough to properly oversee the process. A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court decided to allow poll watchers to get closer as long as they followed Covid-19 protocols. The Philadelphia city commissioners also have a livestream of the processing facility on their website that has been running since Tuesday.

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California's safeguards against voter fraud include signature matching.

Claim: California sent 440,000 ballots to people who died or moved. Fact check: Mixed

California election officials sent ballots to all active registered voters for the November election. But in a press release distributed Monday, Election Integrity Project California, a self-described nonpartisan watchdog organization, criticized 440,000 "questionable" mailed ballots.

The organization sent a letter to the California secretary of state, writing that 416,633 Californians who were registered to vote on or before Nov. 4, 2008, have not voted or updated their registrations since that date. Because of this, EIPCa wrote, those voters "likely moved or died." Voters in California are marked as "inactive" if they move within the state and do not re-register to vote. However, there is no law in the state that eliminates voters from the active list because they have not voted.

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Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert ties the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to water issues in a misleading campaign video.

Fact check: Colorado Democrats are going to 'steal' electoral votes. Fact check: False

On Monday Lauren Boebert, a Republican running for Congress in Colorado's 3rd district, tweeted a campaign video and introduced it by saying, "Stop Democrats from stealing our votes for President and putting Colorado's water at risk." President Trump retweeted it on the same day. She was referring to a bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis in 2019 that added Colorado to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would give a state's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, but only goes into effect if enough states join to guarantee at least 270 electoral votes would be awarded.

The compact is aimed at avoiding the scenario in which the winner of the national popular vote does not also win the Electoral College vote, which most recently happened in 2000 and 2016. However, this legislation won't go into effect this election because only 16 states with a collective 196 electoral votes have signed on. There is also a ballot measure to repeal the law on the November ballot. In the video, Boebert said the law was "giving Colorado's votes to California," insinuating that because of California's size it would hold more influence in the election. However, the Electoral College system already incentivizes campaigns to prioritize certain states, like Florida and Pennsylvania, that have larger populations and swing voters. In the 2020 general election campaign events featuring the candidates have not been held in 37 states, Colorado included.

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Water rights and supply are recognized as big issues in Colorado. Boebert references a quote from an opinion piece by a former executive director of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources, Greg Walcher: "The threat to Colorado water is obvious." In his piece Walcher claims that the popular vote compact would take power away from Colorado and that national politicians would not focus attention on issues like water in the state if California were more electorally powerful. However, there does not seem to be direct evidence that this would be the case.