Several Voter Fraud Allegations Turn out to Be Not What They Seem

Several Voter Fraud Allegations Turn out to Be Not What They Seem
A Detroit Police officer stands guard as Detroit election workers work on counting absentee ballots for the 2020 general election at TCF Center in Detroit, Mich., on Nov. 4, 2020. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)
Petr Svab
In light of the tight results of the presidential race in some states, many social media users have alleged that voter fraud has skewed the tallies. But some of the examples circulated online have turned out to tell a different story than what they initially appeared to be.

Biden Gets 130,000 Votes, Trump Zero in Michigan

Around 5 a.m. on Nov. 4, data firm Decision Desk HQ updated the vote count for Michigan, adding 138,339 votes to former Vice President Joe Biden, but zero to President Donald Trump. The statistical impossibility of such a scenario prompted people to speculate that votes were illegally injected into the tally.
Within 40 minutes, however, Decision Desk HQ posted another update which subtracted 110,796 votes from Biden’s total and added 16,638 to Trump’s. It later said a clerical error in Shiawassee County caused the distribution of incorrect data and has since been fixed.

At 5:54 a.m. and 6:05 a.m., the firm posted two more updates for the Michigan race that didn’t appear to show anything unusual.

Then, at 6:18 a.m., the firm posted another update, which added 158,902 votes to the Biden tally and 29,295 votes to Trump’s. Those votes split roughly 85 percent for Biden.

That is still an exceptionally high ratio.

One explanation could be that those votes came from a deep-blue county and only included absentee ballots, which were expected to heavily favor Democrats. The problem is, even absentee ballots in Washtenaw County, which went for Biden by the largest margin, split in his favor by less than 82 percent. And the candidate only picked up 125,927 absentee votes there, so many would have had to come from another, less pro-Biden county.
A spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State didn’t respond to questions about these particular votes.

Dead People Voting in Detroit

One Twitter account claimed that more than 14,000 dead people voted in Wayne County, Michigan, which includes Detroit. But there were several issues with the claim.

The source provided in the tweet is a list of what appears to be 14,550 registered voters in Wayne County with birth dates between 1901 and 1920.

The number indicates the county’s voter rolls aren’t up to date by a long shot since the whole state only had just over 1,700 centenarians in the 2010 census.

It appears that only a fraction of the people on the list actually voted, however. The Epoch Times cross-referenced about 30 randomly chosen entries from the list with the state’s publicly accessible voter index data and found only three of them requested, sent, and returned their absentee ballots this year. All three were born after 1918 and none of them was listed as deceased in the Social Security Death Index, through online search on GenealogyBank.

Michigan’s messy voter rolls are nothing new.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) found earlier this year more than 34,000 deceased people listed as “active” in the Michigan voter registry. Among those, 201 appeared to have voted after death in the 2016 and 2018 elections, according to the right-leaning election watchdog.

“The data to credibly determine how much of a problem there was in 2020 isn’t available yet,” PILF spokesman Logan Churchwell told The Epoch Times via email.

Tracy Wimmer, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State, indicated that even if somebody tried to vote on behalf of a deceased person, the vote would be rejected.

“Ballots of voters who have died are rejected in Michigan, even if the voter cast an absentee ballot and then died before Election Day,” she told The Epoch Times via email.

“On rare occasions, a ballot received for a living voter may be recorded in a way that makes it appear as if the voter is dead. This can be because of voters with similar names, where the ballot is accidentally recorded as voted by John Smith Sr when it was actually voted by John Smith Jr; or because of inaccurately recorded birth dates in the qualified voter file; for example, someone born in 1990 accidentally recorded as born in 1890. In such scenarios, no one ineligible has actually voted, and there is no impact on the outcome of the election. Local clerks can correct the issue when it is brought to their attention.”

She said the data isn’t yet available for how many votes were rejected this election for the reason that the listed voters have passed away.

“We don’t have statewide data yet on rejections, but will be sharing it when we do,” she said. “Because we have a decentralized election system, it usually takes several days and sometimes a week or so to get input from the individual counties for the full statewide list.”

Dead People Voting in Pennsylvania

One Twitter user claimed, based on absentee ballot data and the voters’ dates of birth, that many dead people have voted in Pennsylvania. The linked database showed over 1,500 voters aged 100 or more. About 100 of them appeared to be faulty records, such as showing the date of birth as Jan. 1, 1800. The rest appeared as plausibly legitimate votes, given there were about 2,500 centenarians in Pennsylvania, based on the 2010 census.

Poll Workers Filling Out Ballots in Pennsylvania

Several videos that were widely circulated online showed poll workers in Pennsylvania’s Delaware County filling out empty ballots.

County officials commented on one of the videos, saying a worker was copying damaged ballots so they could be processed by automatic ballot scanners. They said poll watchers from both major parties were observing the process.

“The circulated video is zoomed in to crop out the surrounding area, including the bipartisan observers who were not more than six feet away,” the county’s Nov. 6 statement said.

The statement said that some ballots were damaged by machines that automatically open them.

“According to the [ballot] scanner manufacturer, Hart, the best practice to deal with damaged ballots that cannot be scanned is to transcribe the votes on each ballot to a clean ballot and scan the clean ballot,” it said.

“In accordance with that guidance, the Chief Clerk of the Delaware County Bureau of Elections instructed elections staff to manually transcribe the damaged ballots. As ballots were being transcribed, the original damaged ballots were directly beside the new ballots and bipartisan observers witnessed the process at close range. Damaged ballots have been preserved.”

The Epoch Times reviewed the videos and couldn’t identify any obviously damaged ballots. Delaware County didn’t respond to emailed questions about the videos, including a request for a video or photos that would show the damaged ballots.

Contested Results

The Trump campaign said it has collected evidence of thousands of improperly cast votes, including some Trump supporters’ votes, not being counted. It has also complained that its poll watchers were prevented from meaningfully observing vote counting in some states. The campaign has filed lawsuits in multiple states to address the issues.

In addition, Georgia and Wisconsin, where Biden leads by tight margins, are headed for recounts.

Update: The article was edited to remove a reference to statistical clustering in regards to the Michigan vote count updates. The article was also updated with further information about the poll workers filling out ballots in Pennsylvania.
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.
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