CLAIM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency scheduled a massive earthquake preparedness drill on the same day as the California primary. See Example( s )

EXAMPLES

Read that governor of CA (strong Hillary supporter) is having earthquake drill on the day of the Democratic Primary to disrupt voting. True or False _2__Amber_Lynnai_-_Why_in_the_ever_loving_HELL_would_you_schedule_a___  
MOSTLY FALSE

RATING

MOSTLY FALSE

WHAT'S TRUE

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) scheduled earthquake drills for Cascadia Rising 2016 between 7 and 10 June 2016 in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington; the start date of the drills was the same date the California primary was scheduled.

WHAT'S FALSE

Although parts of northern California were in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, no activity involved that state.

ORIGIN

The 7 June 2016 primary election in California is by all accounts a pivotal point in the Democratic nominating process, and as voters went to the polls there, rumors circulated on social media about a Federal Emergency Management Agency drill purposely scheduled to disrupt access.

The FEMA drill rumor was set against an earlier-than-expected Associated Press call of the national race and controversy over a Clinton campaign e-mail graphic. Around 6 June, many users posted links or comments about purported FEMA activity inhibiting the vote.  On Twitter, users linked to a page announcing “Cascadia Rising 2016”:

The linked page explained the region and purpose of the earthquake drill:

June 7-10, 2016 Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers (EOC/ECCs) at all levels of government and the private sector will activate to conduct a simulated field response operation within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA, and major military commands.

Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations – as well as non-government organizations and the private sector. One of the primary goals of Cascadia Rising is to train and test this whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team.

 

Not all conspiracy-minded social media activity focused on Cascadia Rising 2016’s potential primary election impact.  Some users simply asserted that the drill (planned months in advance) was evidence the end was nigh. But most speculation on social media involved the drill’s potential effects on California primary voters:

_11__Free_Radical_Media

FEMA compiled an extensive social media component to maximize citizen exposure to the efforts, including a 2 June 2016 news release inviting social media users to “join the conversation.” Included in that release was an official list of partners, mostly emergency response agencies in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington:

Join_the_Cascadia_Rising_2016_exercise_TweetChat_June_6_with__CascadiaEQ___FEMA_gov

 

FEMA Region 10 is a primary coordinator of the drill, and does not cover or include any parts of California:

FEMA_Region_10___FEMARegion10____Twitter

Media coverage of the drill reported activity in bordering states, but not California:

Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers (EOC) at all levels of government and the private sector in Washington, Oregon and Idaho will activate to conduct a simulated field response operation within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA, and major military commands in response to a simulated 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami along the Washington and Oregon coast.

A representative from FEMA confirmed to us that no exercises have been planned for California for the duration of Cascadia Rising, and noted that planning for the event began two years beforehand.

Sources:

Weisberg, Brent.   “‘Big One’ drills preparing state for quake.”
    KOIN6.   7 June 2016.

“Cascadia Rising 2016.”
  FEMA.  18 April 2016.

“Cascadia Rising 2016 Public Messaging And Social Media Shareables.”
    FEMA. 6 June 2016.

“Exercise Partners.”
   FEMA.   6 June 2016.

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