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Latest Source of Voter ID Misinformation: Urban Outfitters

We’ve now seen several instances of false information about voting requirements spreading on social media and elsewhere. The latest example doesn’t come from political tricksters or alt-right Twitter trolls, but rather Urban Outfitters, the millenial-oriented retailer known for graphic tees and vintage-inspired accessories.

Yesterday afternoon, the company tweeted an Election Day “handy guide for your reference” to its 1 million Twitter followers, offering a free “I Voted” button at stores while supplies last.

The guide is full of false information. Under a subhead titled “Requirements,” the guide says that Americans going to the polls need a “voter’s registration card” as well as an ID.

That’s not true.

In fact, no states require a voter registration card to vote. Some, but not all, states now require ID to vote. (Some states accept voter registration cards as a form of ID.)

Here is an actually correct guide to voting requirements and information in your state.

When we contacted Urban Outfitters this morning, they said in a statement that it will be correcting its voter guide “immediately.”

Urban Outfitters is no stranger to political controversy. Here's a rundown from the Washington Post.

Update, 8:30 a.m. ET: Urban Outfitters has deleted its tweet from yesterday and updated its guide.

Update, 11 a.m. ET: Urban Outfitters sent along this statement: “This blog post was written by a member of our content team who made a mistake in researching the voting requirements. When this error was brought to our attention, we immediately updated the post to not only correct the information but also included an additional link for state-by-state voter ID requirements for readers to reference. We are deeply sorry for any confusion this error may have caused. In the future, we will be installing more stringent fact-checking procedures to ensure these types of error do not happen.”

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Portrait of Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a ProPublica reporter covering politics and government accountability. To securely send Justin documents or other files online, visit our SecureDrop page.

About Electionland

ProPublica’s Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. Our coalition of newsrooms around the country are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more.

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