Michigan county vote count problem was not a fraud

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Articles shared thousands of times on social media say a glitch in Michigan’s presidential vote count, which temporarily misattributed Donald Trump’s votes to President-elect Joe Biden, poses a systemic risk to dozens of battleground state counties. It is misleading; Michigan’s Office of the Secretary of State issued an advisory explaining that County Antrim’s reporting error resulted from user error, not software error, and did not affect the results elections or other counties or states.

The articles echo claims by Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox, who told booed crowds on Nov. 6, 2020 that since the error, “we’ve discovered that 47 counties are using the same software in the same capacity,” suggesting that the problem was rampant and that the state’s results were not to be trusted.

Examples of articles that propagate the misleading claim are here, here, and here.

Screenshot of misleading headline, taken November 7, 2020

“Michigan software glitch affected approximately 6,000 Trump votes in one county; Another 32 could be affected,” one headline read. “6,000 Trump votes given to Biden in Michigan County ‘glitch’,” reads another.

AFP calculated the reach of these three articles, which were shared a total of 15,000 times on Facebook and more than 670,000 followers on Twitter, using Facebook’s social media measurement tool Crowdtangle.

Social media posts with the claim are available here, here and here.

Trump has repeatedly accused Democrats of cheating in the Nov. 3 election without providing evidence of illegal activity, and falsely claimed that he, not Biden, won the election after it had already been called.

Screenshot of a tweet taken on November 7, 2020

Michigan turned blue in 2020, adding its 16 electoral votes to Biden’s total, but Trump overwhelmingly won County Antrim, receiving almost twice as many votes as Biden once the issue was resolved.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office released a statement Nov. 7 explaining what was wrong with Antrim and how it was fixed.

“The error in reporting unofficial results in County Antrim, Michigan was the result of user error that was quickly identified and corrected; did not affect how the ballots were actually tabulated; and was reportedly identified in the county poll before official results were released.
reported even though he had not been identified earlier,” the statement read.

The software, Election Source, worked fine and counted the votes correctly, but the county missed a step in the process, the statement said. This resulted in miscommunication between the software and the county’s central election management system which was quickly rectified.

“This was an isolated error, there is no evidence that this user error occurred anywhere else in the state, and if it did, it would be picked up in county polls , which are conducted by bipartisan councils of county canvassers.”

County Antrim Clerk Sheryl Guy is quoted on the county’s Facebook page: “We continue to work hard to ensure the integrity of the election results.

The post adds that the county and Election Source “have taken steps to adjust policies and procedures to ensure a similar situation does not occur in the future.”

Human error in Michigan prompted another voter fraud scare earlier in the week when reports spread that the number of votes for Biden jumped suspiciously by more than 130,000. error – an extra zero entered – was quickly corrected and there was no evidence of widespread fraud.

AFP has debunked more inaccurate claims about the 2020 elections here, here and here.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here for more.

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