NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:

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Posts mislead on signatures, ‘large bags’ at Detroit ballot counting site

CLAIM: At the Huntington Place ballot counting site in Detroit after the Aug. 2 election, at least 50% of ballots lacked evidence of signature verification, and large bags and coolers under tables caused a security issue.

THE FACTS: All the ballots counted at the facility had gone through the signature review process and the bags and coolers contained food and belongings for election workers who were not able to leave while ballots were counted. A Detroit convention center that doubled as a ballot counting site became the hub of in November 2020, and following Michigan’s Aug. 2 this week, similar online claims returned in force. Social media posts and articles on conservative blogs misrepresented what , or volunteers allowed to observe the counting process, supposedly witnessed at the Huntington Place ballot counting site, formerly known as the TCF Center. The posts reported that Republican poll watchers observing the counting process “questioned why at least 50% of the ballots were lacking certification that they had been checked for signature verification." The posts also implied that “duffel bags, coolers, and a variety of large bags” visible underneath tables at the facility could be a security risk since they were next to trays holding absentee ballots. These claims are misleading, according to Daniel Baxter, election administrator for the city of Detroit, and Chris Thomas, a former state elections chief who currently assists with managing Detroit’s absentee counting board. The posts claimed that if absentee ballots had been signature verified, they would have been marked