An inaccurate early vote count in a Michigan county was human error, not a software failure
Musician Ted Nugent has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and recently implored followers of his Facebook page to help ‘stop the theft’, alluding to baseless claims that Democrats stole Trump’s election. Joe Biden.
In the post, Michigan native Nugent called on residents to demand an audit of the state’s election results, saying the votes were “potentially fraudulent”:
“Our MI Secretary of State is set to certify our votes in just a few days (by the 17th)! Once votes are certified, they CANNOT be audited for fraud!!! 47 additional counties have used the same software that caused a ‘glitch’ in County Antrim (which shifted 6,000 votes from Trump to Biden in that county).”
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Nugent mixed up some facts. Sixty-five Michigan counties, not 47, use Dominion Voting Systems software, including County Antrim. And while County Antrim uncovered an incorrect tally that made it look like Biden won there by around 3,000 votes, it was the only county to experience such an incident.
Also, the “glitch” had nothing to do with technology – it was a mistake made by the clerk.
The day after the Nov. 3 election, with the votes still being tallied, County Antrim appeared to have swung to Joe Biden by around 3,000 votes. On Nov. 5, county officials changed that to show Trump was winning by about 2,500 votes. We contacted Nugent and received no response. But the difference between those two numbers — 5,500 votes — may be the source of the “6,000” figure he used to describe the votes he says were transferred to Biden.
J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan professor and voting systems expert, dug into the issue and told our partners at the Detroit Free Press that county election officials left behind an old version of a key file. on certain machines of their digital voting system. As a result, these machines failed to correctly match votes to candidates when counts in certain precincts were added to the county total.
The inaccurate count was never an official result and the Michigan Secretary of State’s office also said it was human error on the part of the County Antrim clerk, not failure of Dominion’s system.
“Because the clerk did not update the software, even though the tabulators correctly counted all the ballots, these precise results were not properly combined when the clerk reported unofficial results,” says press release dated November 6.
Dominion Voting Systems has become the subject of online misinformation that seeks to tie it to Democrats or blame it for clerical errors in the ballot counting process.
RELATED: No evidence that Dominion Voting Systems caused widespread tabulation errors that reversed votes for Biden
“There are no credible reports or evidence of software problems,” Dominion states on its website. “While no election is without isolated problems, Dominion Voting Systems reliably and accurately counts ballots. State and local election officials have publicly confirmed the integrity of the process.”
Michigan resident Ted Nugent said in a Facebook post that “47 additional counties used the same voting software that caused a ‘problem’ in County Antrim” and said votes in the State were “potentially fraudulent”.
Nugent’s message contains an element of truth – Dominion Voting Systems was used in several Michigan counties and in Antrim, which saw an incorrect early count in Biden’s favor – but it ignores the critical fact that the “glitch” was a human error limited to that county and that the technology itself did not simply change the votes. There is no indication of fraud.
We rate it mostly wrong.
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