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Inside An Election Denial Facebook Group On Primary Day

On Tuesday, as voters in New Hampshire cast their ballots in the state’s primary, WIRED followed the activity of one online group of election-deniers who spent the day spreading wild conspiracies and outrage.

In the New Hampshire Voter Integrity Facebook group, members were convinced of election fraud within minutes of the polls opening on Tuesday morning.

“Corruption already starting,” one member wrote under a post about someone hearing that voting machines in Newton were not working. ”Always cheating,” another added.

Throughout the day, in dozens of posts and hundreds of comments, the group’s members posted messages of support for each other’s efforts, reaffirming each other’s beliefs in the conspiracies despite no actual evidence of fraud.

There are over 6,500 members in the group, and they were all encouraged by the group’s founder to complete seven tasks throughout the day to ensure election security, including demanding information from poll workers, logging any discrepancies they come across, and monitoring whether everyone was being asked to provide ID when checking in to polling sites.

With the 2024 election on the horizon and former president Donald Trump once again on the ballot, the group is preparing for battle—and Tuesday was just a glimpse into what to expect in groups like these across the country come November, when the election takes place.

Founded in February 2021 by Marylyn Todd, the New Hampshire Voter Integrity group quickly gained traction as Trump and many within the Republican party were pushing false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Over the last few years, Todd and the administrators of the group have continued to push baseless conspiracies and wild allegations about voter fraud during the 2020 election—despite multiple government agencies confirming it was the safest and most secure election in US history. Todd has shared her views on numerous right-wing shows including Mike Lindell’s Frank TV.

Though the group claims to be an election integrity group and not candidate specific, the vast majority of those posting and commenting during the primary were celebrating Trump’s victory over former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and had, in the hours before the results were announced, flagged concerns about what they saw as potential efforts to undermine Trump’s campaign.

The first major controversy to crop up on Tuesday was the realization that not all the ballots across the state were the same and that Trump’s name was not listed in the same place on every one.

There was a lot of confusion about why this happened, but the reason, as the Secretary of State’s office lays out on their website, is that each county picks a number out of a hat to decide which candidate is listed first, and the rest of the candidates follow in alphabetical order after that.

Despite several group members explaining this to people in the comments, many others quickly jumped to the conclusion that this was some form of “corruption”—again without any evidence.

As voting continued during the day, members of the group posted pictures and screenshots that they believed showed some form of cheating in the election process—including one member who posted a screenshot of the Wi-Fi networks at her polling place without comment to possibly suggest that the voting machines were connected to the internet, a long-held conspiracy among election deniers.