With votes still being counted in the presidential election — and Joe Biden clinging to a small Electoral College lead over President Donald Trump — many false claims of voter fraud being circulated by the president and his allies on social media. Here’s a guide to some of these claims.
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“Joe Biden Said On Video That Democrats Built the Biggest ‘Voter Fraud’ Operation in History. We’re seeing it on full display right now!”
— Newly elected Rep. Majorie Taylor Green, R.-Ga.
Green is circulated a bit of manipulated video that originally started with a tweet from Republican National Committee official more than a week ago and then was quickly spread by Eric Trump, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and others. It was blocked on Facebook and Twitter also quickly labeled Green’s tweet as misleading.
Here’s what happened. Biden on Oct. 24 was responding to a question posed by Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama administration official, on Pod Save America, concerning what Biden would say to people who had not voted yet. The video isolates only one part of a three-part answer, leaving off the fact that he started the sentence with “Secondly.”
Here’s part of Biden’s response, with the sentence in the clip beginning after secondly:
Republicans are doing everything they can to make it harder for people to vote – particularly people of color – to vote. So go to IWILLVOTE.com. Secondly, we’re in a situation where we have put together, and you guys did it for our administration – President Obama’s administration before this – we have put together I think the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics. What the president is trying to do is discourage people from voting by implying that their vote won’t be counted, it can’t be counted, we’re going to challenge it and all these things. If enough people vote, it’s going to overwhelm the system. You see what’s happening now, you guys know it as well as I do, you see the long, long lines and early voting. You see the millions of people who have already cast a ballot. And so, don’t be intimidated.
In other words, Biden was talking about an effort to combat voter fraud, not an actual organization to commit voter fraud. Later in his answer, he even referred specifically to the campaign organization: “We have over a thousand lawyers, over a thousand of them, they’ll answer the phone, if you think there’s any challenge to your voting.”
This type of video editing — typical of the Trump operation — is an example of isolation under The Fact Checker’s Guide to Manipulated Video: “Sharing a brief clip from a longer video that creates a false narrative that does not reflect the event as it occurred.”
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“They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!”
— President Trump, in a tweet
“They are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!”
— Trump, in a tweet
“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!”
— Trump, in a tweet
False, false, false. Trump was not leading solidly. He never led in the Electoral College count. There were no surprise ballot dumps. Votes were counted — and are still being counted.
In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, in fact, mail ballots could not begin to be counted until the day of the election because the GOP-controlled legislatures refused to authorize it, even though many states (such as Florida, which Trump won) permit it. So the delay in counting is the direct result of restrictions placed on election officials by Trump’s Republican allies.
At one point, Trump even retweeted a claim by a pro-Trump tweeter that an update in Michigan gave Biden 100% of the new votes in Michigan. As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump reported, a map from DecisionDeskHQ was automatically updated with data that was faulty. The error was quickly fixed. But at least the Republican operative who tweeted the initial claim deleted it and admitted his error. We’re not holding our breath that the president will do so too.
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“BREAKING: Wisconsin has more votes than people who are registered to vote. Total number of registered voters: 3,129,000. Total number of votes cast: 3,239,920. This is direct evidence of fraud.”
— Michael Coudrey, GOP-leaning activist
Coudrey earned tens of thousands of tweets and retweets with this claim, part of a series of tweets claiming “a high-tech coup d’état on our country.”
But his facts are wrong. The Wisconsin Elections Commission says there were 3,684,726 active registered voters on Nov. 1. Moreover, the state allows people to register and vote on Election Day.
So far, just under 3.3 million votes have been counted. So, no evidence of fraud.
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