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FALSE: US federal gov't watermarked ballots for 2020 election

At a glance:
  • Claim: The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) created a watermark for the official ballots used in the 2020 US Election.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The Department of Homeland Security and the CISA do not design, print, or audit ballots. These are managed by state and local election officials.
  • Why we fact-checked this: Rappler's fact check team spotted this claim posted by a Facebook page named "Filipino Future." The post acquired 1,500 reactions, 291 comments, and 1,100 shares as of writing.
Complete details:

A post by Facebook page Filipino Future claimed that the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) created a watermark for the official ballots used in the 2020 US Election.

"Naka watermark pala ang mga tunay na balota, naka connect sa Blockchain Technology ang patented watermark na ginawa ng Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) na siya ring ginagamit na technology sa mga Bitcoin, Etherium (sic) and Cryptocurrency transactions online. Hawak ni Trump ang lahat ng ebidensiya ng pandaraya," the post said.

(The real ballots have apparently been watermarked, the patented watermark created by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is connected to blockchain technology which is the same technology of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency transactions online. Trump holds all the evidence of fraud.)

FALSE US federal gov't watermarks ballots

The post also attached photos that purportedly support the claim. One photo is an alleged press release by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It claimed to confirm a planned federal government sting operation for the 2020 US election. The CISA is a component of DHS.

Rappler's fact check team spotted this claim on Facebook. The post has acquired 1,500 reactions, 291 comments, and 1,100 shares as of writing.

This claim is false. According to CISA, the DHS and CISA do not design, print, or audit ballots. These are managed by state and local election officials.

On its #Protect2020 "Rumor vs. Reality" webpage, the CISA labeled as a rumor the claim that the DHS or CISA printed paper ballots with security measures and is auditing results to respond against ballot counterfeiting.

"Local election offices have security and detection measures in place that make it highly difficult to commit fraud through counterfeit ballots. While the specific measures vary, in accordance with state and local election laws and practices, ballot security measures can include signature matching, information checks, barcodes, watermarks, and precise paper weights," the agency said.

Another photo in the post was that of a memorandum from the office of California's secretary of state, entitled, "General Election: Ballot Tint and Watermark Assignment." These ballots were used only in California elections.

This claim was also debunked by Reuters, Snopes, and Politifact.

Earlier, Rappler debunked US President Donald Trump's claim that the Democrats are trying to steal the election. There is no evidence of election fraud as of writing. The page Filipino Future also has a record of posting at least one other false claim. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.