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Did Undelivered Military Ballots Give Election to Obama?


Q: Did military absentee ballots arrive a day late, swinging the election in favor of President Obama?
A: No. This rumor is based on a satirical post on a blog that specializes in “faux news.”

FULL QUESTION

Is it true that military absentee ballots that were lost in the mail and sent to Afghanistan and arrived one day late could overthrow the election and be in favor of Mitt Romney? Article in The Duffel Blog.

FULL ANSWER

When we saw a Daily Beast report about the post-election “meltdown” tweets from former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, now conservative celebrity, Victoria Jackson, we just knew this one from Jackson would wind up in our in-box:

Military Absentee Ballots Delivered One Day Late, Would Have Swung Election For Romney http://fb.me/1hpkx8JQZ

The link is to a Nov. 7 post on The Duffel Blog that carried the headline, “Military Absentee Ballots Delivered One Day Late, Would Have Swung Election For Romney.” Several FactCheck.org readers wrote us to ask if this was true.

Here’s the beginning of the Duffel Blog story:

WASHINGTON, DC – Sources confirmed today that hundreds of thousands of military absentee ballots were delivered hours after the deadline for them to be counted, with preliminary counts showing that they would have overturned the vote in several states and brought a victory for Governor Mitt Romney.

Officials say the ballots were delivered late due to problems within the military mail system. Tracking invoices show the ballots sat in a warehouse for a month, then they were accidentally labeled as ammunition and shipped to Afghanistan. At Camp Dwyer, Marine Sergeant John Davis signed for them and was surprised at the contents.

“I told Gunny we got a bunch of ballots instead of ammo,” Davis told investigators earlier today. “He told me to file a report of improper delivery and that the chain of command would take care of it. We didn’t hear anything for three weeks. While we were waiting we came under fire so we dumped a bunch of them in the Hescoes. We didn’t dig those ones back out.”

The first clue that this may not have been real news might be the author’s name, simply listed as “Drew.” Past contributions from Drew to the Duffel blog include “Blasting Shrill Whistle Throughout Ship Great For Morale, Navy Study Finds” and “Army Launches ‘Eat Right, Don’t Eat At The Chow Hall’ Campaign.'” The military absentee ballot story is peppered with over-the-top lines that should also have served as red flags, particularly a cavalier kicker at the end about care packages. But comments attached below the story — and emails we received —  suggest there were a number of people who didn’t get the joke.

Just to be clear, here’s how The Duffel Blog describes itself on its “About Us” page:

The Duffel Blog serves the men and women of the US Military with a daily dose of military humor, funny military pictures, and faux news. We take an interesting and funny look at military life. We focus on veterans, military stories, defense, politics (sometimes) and life on base — with a comedic twist. We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Just about everything on this website is satirical in nature.

The folks at Duffel Blog kept the joke going on Twitter, including this tweet:

Obama: “We will not allow these military votes to count. It does not matter, now that I am supreme Ayatollah of America.” #MilitaryForRomney

For the record, we got this official response from the Department of Defense, which as you can imagine takes this stuff awfully seriously.

“The Military Postal Service Agency dispatched to the U.S. Postal Service all military absentee ballots,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Melinda F. Morgan told us via email. “We are not aware of any lost ballots at DoD [Department of Defense] overseas military locations.”

—  Robert Farley

Sources

Drew. “Military Absentee Ballots Delivered One Day Late, Would Have Swung Election For Romney.” The Duffel Blog. 07 Nov 2012.

The Duffel Blog. “About Us” page.

Fernandez, Maria Elena. “The Road to Victoria Jackson’s Election Meltdown on Twitter.” The Daily Beast. 07 Nov 2012.