The 2018 U.S. midterm elections were noteworthy not only for their unprecedented campaign spending and voter turnout, but for the concerted attempts by President Trump and his supporters to delegitimize their results before the vote counts could even be completed.
While the votes were still being tallied, Trump tweeted baseless accusations of election “stealing” in Florida and Georgia as well as “electoral corruption” in Arizona. When the extremely narrow margins separating the results in Florida’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races triggered a machine recount under state law, Trump demanded a halt to the recount, claiming that the ballots were “massively infected” and the Republican candidates should be declared the winners.
Although no major problems or irregularities were reported in Maryland (whose early voting period ran from 25 October to 1 November), Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones promoted the claim that Democrats were voting twice at the polls there. In a widely-shared video of a 5 November call-in session posted by Jones on his website, Infowars, a caller claimed he overheard poll workers encouraging people who had already voted to vote a second time:
JONES: Kevin in West Virginia, you’re on the air, go ahead.
CALLER: Hey, Alex. I hope you’re having a great and wonderful day. I actually moved to Maryland and I had to vote in Maryland for the early election, or for early voting, and one thing that I witnessed — people had already voted and they’re letting them vote again. And this was in Hagerstown, Maryland. And I don’t quite understand how they can do that.
JONES: What were you seeing?
CALLER: Well, I’m blind so I didn’t see it. I could hear them saying, ‘Um, you know, oh, you voted yesterday but you can go ahead and recast your vote again today.’ I mean, it’s insane, and I wish I could have pulled my phone out or recorder at the time and got this on audio or something, because I usually carry a recorder …
JONES: Sure, I believe you, because they busted Democrats, it’s funny, this year in Maryland and in Texas and all over doing the exact same type of crap. And it’s always Democrats, because they have no morals. And what do you do when you’re dealing with a group of criminals like this?
Despite what was claimed in Infowars’ headline (“Election Fraud: Democrats Are Voting Twice in Maryland”), the caller made no such assertion. “Kevin in West Virginia” (who actually said he lives in Maryland) claimed he overheard poll workers tell voters (whose party affiliation he did not specify) that they could “recast” their votes. It was Jones who added, without citing evidence: “And it’s always Democrats, because they have no morals.”
Like Jones, the caller offered no evidence to substantiate his claims. Nor did we find reports or complaints of double voting or other election irregularities in local news coverage of the election. On 12 November, six days after the polls closed, Washington County Board of Elections Director Kaye Robucci told us she was unaware of election workers encouraging voters to vote twice in Hagerstown.
Given all of the above, we rule Alex Jones’ anecdotal report of Democrats voting twice in Maryland false.