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Officials Address Beaucoup Ballot Social Media Post

By Leah Williams

An election volunteer from Washington County came under fire when she posted a comment on social media suggesting that she would toss out ballots.

Officials have been investigating a social media post created on Election Day stating that ballots cast for President Donald Trump will be removed from the Beaucoup election box, Washington County Sheriff Len Campbell said.

Campbell posted on Facebook that his office was made aware of the post and began an investigation. He contacted County Clerk Nancy Heseman, who confirmed that the person who posted the snap was a volunteer at the Beaucoup polling place.

The original post featured a photo of the ballot box with the caption: “Not me having all the ballots from Beaucoup. 1 ss [One screenshot] and I’ll throw out every trump vote.”

As ballots were being transported from a polling place to the Washington County Clerk’s Office after the close of polls on November 3, an election judge posted an image to social media containing an inappropriate message that, while intended to be humorous, has justifiably  provoked alarm among some voters.

The Washington County Clerk’s Office said in a press release that it wished to assure voters that the “security of the ballots themselves was never in question and all statutory protocols were followed in their delivery from the polling place to the County Clerk’s Office.”

“There is nothing that election authorities take more seriously than the security and integrity of the voting system, “ said Washington County Clerk Nancy Heseman.

The Illinois Election Code contains precise requirements for the transportation  of ballots after polls close from the polling place to the office of the election authority.

After the polls closed, judges reportedly opened the ballot box and placed the  counted ballots in a sealed box. Heseman said the judges then  made sure the number agreed with the number of voters voting according to both the scanning equipment and by applications for ballots.

An “ in-precinct totals report” must be generated and a bipartisan team of two judges immediately returns the paper ballots and all other election materials to the election authority in a sealed container.

The county clerk office said that all of the proper steps were followed in the delivery of ballots on Tuesday.

Campbell said the original SnapChat post had been shared by individuals on other social media platforms, which caused “much concern.” Heseman told the sheriff that the votes were delivered to the office in a sealed box and the votes were not tampered with. Campbell posted photos on Facebook to show evidence to “help alleviate fears that the votes were tampered with.”

“We have talked with the person responsible for the post,” Campbell said. “This person was apologetic and said the post was placed on SnapChat as a joke.”

Sheriff Campbell also said that there have been other efforts to retrieve the posts from social media to eliminate further concern over the ballots.

“If any further relevant information is received or action taken, we will advise,” he said.

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