Officials Blame Human Error for Michigan County’s ‘Skewed’ Election Results

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at
November 9, 2020Updated: November 9, 2020

Michigan officials are claiming human error is responsible for skewed results that initially saw Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden win a county that has traditionally gone to Republicans.

The updated results showed President Donald Trump winning the county.

Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy initially said what happened appeared to be a combination of a software glitch and human error.

Officials are now saying it’s solely because of human error.

“The error in reporting unofficial results in Antrim County Michigan was the result of a user error that was quickly identified and corrected,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said in a statement over the weekend.

Antrim County initially programmed its election software in October. Officials identified two local races where the ballot count had to be updated. Election Source, the company that provides the election software, sent updated programming.

jocelyn benson
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson speaks in Detroit, Mich., on Aug. 18, 2020. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

“When the software was reprogrammed, the county also had to update the software on all of the media drives that are placed in tabulators to ensure tabulators communicate properly with the election management system. The county did update the media drives that went into the tabulators with the corrected local races, but did not update the media drives on the tabulators for the rest of the county. Because the clerk correctly updated the media drives for the tabulators with changes to races, and because the other tabulators did not have changes to races, all tabulators counted ballots correctly,” Benson said.

“However, because the county did not update the media drives for the tabulators that did not have changes to races, those tabulators did not communicate properly with the county’s central election management system software when the county combined and reported unofficial results. Every tabulator recorded ballots correctly but the unofficial reports were erroneous.”

The finding was based on a preliminary review from the Bureau of Elections, an office inside Benson’s agency.

Benson referred to what happened as an “honest mistake.”

In a press release, Guy said: “The clerk’s office has traced the cause of the original errors on the posted unofficial election results. Late in the election preparation process, a minor correction was made to a ballot that caused additional compounding changes to how the software totals and presented the data. The skewed unofficial results were a result of procedural misunderstanding that the clerk’s office had never before experienced.”

A spokeswoman for Guy’s office told The Epoch Times on Monday that they had nothing further to add.

Epoch Times Photo
Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox speaks during a press conference in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., on Nov. 6, 2020. (Elaine Cromie/Getty Images)

Election Source and the Antrim County clerks are working to set new policy and procedures so the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Antrim County uses Dominion Voting Systems voting machines, as well as its election management system. Dominion has not responded to requests for comment. The company said in a statement to news outlets that “there are no credible reports or evidence of any system software errors in Georgia or Michigan, including erroneous reporting of unofficial results from Antrim County, Michigan.”

Michigan GOP Chairwoman Laura Cox told reporters last week that what happened was a software glitch, citing Guy’s initial explanation, before saying the same software appeared to have been used in 47 counties in the state.

“These counties that use this software need to closely examine their results for similar discrepancies,” she said.

The Michigan Republican Party later said it was expanding its probe into what happened.

The state Board of Canvassers said it will investigate what happened in Antrim County.

“We will look at that after the election,” Julie Matuzak, a board member, told a local broadcaster. “We will audit all of the results and if people point out problems we’ll try to figure out what those problems were.”