Compiled By A.S. Elabbas
Sensationalist claims have circulated this entire season about the extent of voter fraud. Because electoral integrity is one of the elements necessary to making American democracy function, claims like this garner media attention, and frighten and concern voters. But putting rhetoric aside to look at the facts makes clear that fraud by voters at the polls is vanishingly rare, and does not happen on a scale even close to that necessary to “rig” an election. I will delve into the specific accusations of voter-fraud over the 2020 presidential election later in the document, but on the frequency of voter-fraud in general:
1. Widespread calls to conduct the 2020 elections by mail, to protect voters from COVID-19 exposure, are being met with charges that the system inevitably would lead to massive voter fraud. This is simply not true. Vote fraud in the United States is exceedingly rare, with mailed ballots and otherwise. Over the past 20 years, about 250 million votes have been cast by a mail ballot nationally. The Right-Wing Heritage foundation document 204 claims involved the fraudulent use of absentee ballots; 143 resulted in criminal convictions.
Let’s put that data in perspective.
One hundred forty-three cases of fraud using mailed ballots over the course of 20 years comes out to seven to eight cases per year, nationally. It also means that across the 50 states, there has been an average of three cases per state over the 20-year span. That is just one case per state every six or seven years. We are talking about an occurrence that translates to about 0.00006 percent of total votes cast.
Oregon is the state that started mailing ballots to all voters in 2000 and has worked diligently to put in place stringent security measures, as well as strict punishments for those who would tamper with a mailed ballot. For that state, the following numbers apply: With well over 50 million ballots cast, there have been only two fraud cases verifiable enough to result in convictions for mail-ballot fraud in 20 years. That is 0.000004 percent — about five times less likely than getting hit by lightning in the United States.
2. The Brennan Center’s seminal report on this issue, The Truth About Voter Fraud, found that most reported incidents of voter fraud are actually traceable to other sources, such as clerical errors (this will become especially relevant later in the document) or bad data matching practices. The report reviewed elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud, and found incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent. Given this tiny incident rate for voter impersonation fraud, it is more likely, the report noted, that an American “will be struck by lightning than that he will impersonate another voter at the polls.”
3. Two studies done at Arizona State University, one in 2012 and another in 2016, found similarly negligible rates of impersonation fraud. The project found 10 cases of voter impersonation fraud nationwide from 2000-2012.
4. A review of the 2016 election found four documented cases of voter fraud.
5. While writing a 2012 book, a researcher went back 30 years to try to find an example of voter impersonation fraud determining the outcome of an election, but was unable to find even one.
6. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach argued before state lawmakers that his office needed special power to prosecute voter fraud, because he knew of 100 such cases in his state. After being granted these powers, he has brought six such cases, of which only four have been successful. The secretary has also testified about his review of 84 million votes cast in 22 states, which yielded 14 instances of fraud referred for prosecution, which amounts to a 0.00000017 percent fraud rate.
7. A specialized United States Department of Justice unit formed with the goal of finding instances of federal election fraud examined the 2002 and 2004 federal elections, and were able to prove that 0.00000013 percent of ballots cast were fraudulent. There was no evidence that any of these incidents involved in-person impersonation fraud. Over a five year period, they found “no concerted effort to tilt the election.”
Now, before I examine the claims of fraud regarding this election in particular, I want to note that if Democrats were trying to commit fraud, it would not have made much sense for them to allow a Republican majority in the Senate or allow Democrats to lose seats in the House and state legislatures. I know if I were going to commit election fraud, I’d definitely make sure McConnell lost his seat. That aside, let’s begin.
General Voter Fraud Claims in the 2020 Election
1. There are people who say they’re applying Benford’s Law to Joe Biden’s vote and find it deviates so far from where they should be that there must be election fraud. I spent a while looking at these graphs and then realized: Benford’s Law and elections must not be a new marriage. I figured if this were simple, it’d be used everywhere to suss out fraud! So, I looked it up, and Georgetown University and Cambridge University have papers on why Benford’s Law can’t be applied to elections.
Benford’s Law only applies when the data set spans many orders of magnitude. Districts and wards tend to be set up to have similar population sizes, so the data is usually clustered inside of one order of magnitude. If most of the precinct tallies fall within the 100-999 range, you’re not going to see a Benford’s Law distribution with the first digits. This data actually implies more of a normal distribution curve which prove’s the tallies really are naturally random and not fabricated. If you’re uninterested in reading the studies, here’s a video that explains it in more detailed.
2. The rejection rate of this year’s Paterson election is being brought up frequently. As a Paterson resident, this is a bit of a fever dream. We never got a great explanation for why the ballots were soiled at about a 19% rate, but both sides agreed to have a new election. We did eventually find out that a couple elected officials committed election fraud, but the system in place caught them rather easily — and it’s not at all clear that they were responsible for so many bad ballots.
- In fact, quite a few election experts point to Paterson as proof of how much integrity our system has and how hard it is to pull of election fraud. If this election were similar to Paterson, it would be plain as day. The fact that it isn’t is the point.
3. It appears there’s a new voting fraud theory that has taken off: the #WatchTheWater theory. This is a QAnon adjacent theory alleging ballots are watermarked by the Dept of Homeland Security with “non-radioactive isotope watermarks”. As the theory goes, Dems printed “extra ballots” without knowing about these watermarks and now the QAnon folks can spot “fake ballots” that don’t have the radioactive isotope watermarks on them.
- Needless to say, this is entirely bunk. The Dept of Homeland Security does not create or print ballots. State and local governments do. Sometimes, they contract that printing out to the private sector.
4. Some are claiming that we had “universal” voting and elections are ripe for fraud when “everyone” is sent ballots. Complete and total lie. Varied by state, but most voters had to apply for a ballot — many were rejected. See here:
5. One of the things that’s really tough about tracking these claims is that people claiming fraud have, so far, often done it without providing evidence. How do you explain or examine claims with nothing to analyze? That’s what is at play in the latest major fraud claim, which is comically absurd.
- Matt Schlapp is alleging that a Biden/Harris van, clearly marked, pulled into a polling station in broad daylight, opened ballots, changed the votes, put them back in envelopes and left. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I must be exaggerating or misrepresenting this claim. I’m not. Here is Schlapp’s direct quote:
- I don’t know what to do with this because the “whistleblower” is totally MIA and there is zero evidence to back it up. So on the one hand, I can’t examine the claim. On the other hand, do I really have to?
6. The delay of the results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia among other states has prompted comparisons to Florida and Ohio, which had near 99% results several hours of polls closed. “Mail-in ballots can’t be used as an excuse! Florida and Ohio got their results on time and efficiently! Why didn’t these other states that Biden won in do so!” Simple, the states have different laws. Florida and Ohio were counting their mail-in ballots far in advance.
- Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin do not have these advantages. In fact, Republicans refused to allow it after Democrats pushed for it. Seems odd Democrats would push for something that makes them LESS susceptible to fraud.
7. The president just RT’d this from the network OAN:
- First, just to be clear, a software like this would never get through without being noticed, which is exactly how it was caught in the one county in MI where it happened. Canvassers saw the discrepancy and corrected the record.
- Second, it wasn’t actually a glitch in the software. Which is why it only happened in one county. It was that the Antrim County clerk failed to update the system before election day. My generation calls that “user error.” I delve further into the details of the Antrim county incident in the Michigan section.
8. EVERYONE is asking about the “Hammer and Scorecard” theory going around. This one is… a little bit over the top! No joke, this is how the theory goes…
- Apparently, Trump is only losing the election because of a supercomputer (Hammer) and a computer program (Scorecard) that are changing the ballot count. Steve Bannon, former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik, and Newsmax WH correspondent Emerald Robinson have shared it.
- According to this theory, Dennis Montgomery, a former intelligence contractor is blowing the whistle, claiming he is the one who created this supercomputer and the program. Apparently, he changed his mind after upending the election. (lol…) Now, he’s Team Trump!
- Anyway, if you report on politics, you know about Montgomery. His conspiracies and hoaxes once nearly led to the Bush administration shooting planes out of the sky. It’s an infamous hoax gone wrong in U.S. history. This claim is not new. In fact, hilariously, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio used “HAMMER” cited it as proof of a 2015 plot to take him down. Anyway, that case went to court and you can probably guess what happened.
- Fast forward to now, Montgomery is back, with the same story in a new flavor. The theory is impossible to prove because Montgomery has literally not produced any evidence for it.
- What we do have, though, is a Georgia Republican actually going on record to address the claim. He called it “flat out a hoax and nonsense.”
- Also, the head of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has called the claim about supercomputer election fraud “nonsense.” I don’t know what to say if you believe a giant supercomputer is changing thousands of county election results from D.C.
9. So the Associated Press just ran this headline on Barr authorizing the DOJ to investigate the election. https://twitter.com/JonLemire/status/1325946854530555914 The memo itself makes this seem a lot less frightening :
10. Later in this document, I delved into claims coming from Project Veritas on voter fraud in Pennsylvania. However, in a recent development, they are offering cash rewards for election evidence, which does not convince me they have any substantive evidence of voter fraud.
11. Key quote from a Tucker Carlon clip: “At this stage, the fraud that we can confirm does not seem to be enough to alter the election results. We should be honest and tell you that.”
When someone like Tucker Carlson is conceding the evidence his writers and producers have found on social media is not enough to change the outcome of this race, the evidence Trump’s lawyers would attempt to bring to court certainly isn’t going to do it.
12. Very important update here. The Trump admin invited the Organization of American States (a 28-member delegation from overseas) to monitor the polls for election fraud. They are out with their preliminary report, reporting “no evidence of systematic fraud.”
This is a group that the Trump administration itself invited to monitor our elections and give credence to claims of fraud. Now the group is criticizing Trump for making “baseless allegations”. You can’t make this stuff up.
13. The most obvious — and least talked about — way to “debunk” the absurd voter fraud claims is to note that Joe Biden continues to outpace Trump in PA, GA, AZ, NV, etc. all at the same rates he did during alleged fraud. With every GOP eye on him. Because the votes are real.
14. Quite a few people have been talking about this tweet and video. It’s alarming that people think CNN’s vote totals are somehow official when on screen, but I’ll address it anyway.
- It’s pretty clear to me that CNN’s producers are looking at vote totals as they come in, and updating the count live on screen. Clearly, they added the wrong total to Trump here instead of Biden. Most news stations are gathering vote totals from places like Edison Research. When a county has a new set of votes, they update their site. News stations and outlets are scraping these cites and punching them into their own graphics. The idea that CNN changing an initial vote count would work in reverse and change a state/county count is very silly.
- Anyway, we’ve seen counties upload data with a digit error or accidentally adding a 0 and then removing it, etc. That stuff is unfortunate. But this looks even less serious. CNN does not control vote tabulations.
15. The latest from POTUS.
Some responses to this are obvious, and I already talk about Dominion later in this thread, but I’d like to offer anyway:
- Voting software can’t “delete” votes. Votes are cast on ballots and read by software in computers. If there were millions of votes missing, we would know immediately via canvassing and recounts (where ballots are checked against machine returns). That has not happened.
- So far, Dominion has been under scrutiny in just two counties in GA and MI. In all of the cases where there were issues raised about the vote counting, it had nothing to do with the software — but with human error implementing it. This happens in every election, and you’ll see it in my section on Georgia and Michigan.
- We saw this unfold in 2018 in Georgia. These were the same machines being used by voters there when they caused serious headaches for election officials. This is not the first rodeo with these things.
- The only county where votes were actually “switched” was Antrim. And it was caught almost immediately. Why? Because election workers thought the results looked odd, investigated, and found they had counted the ballots correctly but reported them incorrectly. The president is currently spreading these allegations in direct contradiction to even his most staunch supporters overseeing these elections.
16. The New York Times called elections officials in every state. Not a single one (from either party) said there was evidence of widespread fraud that changed the election’s outcome.
This isn’t going to work.
17. New statement on election security from DHS: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. … There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.” CISA (which is part of DHS), says, “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
The Dr. Shiva Video Debunked
So I’ve finally gotten around to addressing the viral Dr. Shiva video that is circulating the internet. Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai posted a video claiming that some simple analytics revealed election fraud in Michigan. It received several hundred thousand views, and claims that Joe Biden stole more than 60,000 votes in Michigan. The main thrust of his analysis is a mathematical parlor trick. Yes, I had to make this into its own section, because the amount of work that had to go into rebutting this required me to initially compile a response in a separate file. With this section, I got help from an actual data scientist, Naim Kabir, who deserves the highest praises.
Before I delve into the data, I want to address a key falsehood expressed in the video.
The video also starts with the claim that there isn’t voter authentication in Michigan, which is false.
By law, every Michigan voter must present picture identification at the polls, or sign an affidavit attesting that he or she is not in possession of picture identification. The additional signature of an election official is required as well, as seen below.
Even states with non-documentary ID requirements have enough protections in place to make totally unnoticeable mass abuse impossible. This could be enough to dismiss the video outright given the claims made hinge on the acceptance of this premise, but that would be boring, so let’s dive into this.
The dataset Ayyadurai works with contains:
- Precinct-level % of Republican voters among straight-ticket voters.
- Precinct-level % of Trump votes among split-ticket voters. These are what he calls “Individual Candidate Voters”, people who did not select a party’s “straight-ticket” option on their ballot.
The main quantity Ayyadurai is concerned with is: the % of Trump votes among split-ticket voters MINUS the % of Republicans among straight-ticket votes in a precinct. He shows that, the higher the percentage of Republican voters in a precinct, the more negative this difference is. He speciously says that this is an indicator of how much more popular Trump is among split-ticket voters than Republican candidates, and that it’s strange for it to be more negative in more Republican precincts.
Example plot: negative linear correlation between % of Republican voters in a precinct vs. the (% Trump votes from split-ticket voters – % straight-ticket Republican voters).
According to the good doctor, the pattern you’d expect is this flat line:
You… actually wouldn’t expect this at all
To Dr. Shiva, this discrepancy is evidence of algorithmic foul play. To him, the negatively sloped line is a clear sign that the state of Michigan used the “weighted-race allocation” voting feature of Dominion vote-tallying machines to steal votes from Trump and grant them to President-Elect Biden. The thing is, you’d always expect a negatively sloping line, by mathematical definition. The guy’s misleading us into thinking that we should expect a flat line because he thinks we’re idiots. Let’s dig into why the above flat line could not occur given his set-up.
Let’s say that the population in each precinct has two main types of people: Republicans who vote with a straight-ticket ballot and Non-Republicans who do a split-ticket vote. We’re dropping out other voters because Ayyadurai doesn’t address them in his analysis at all. Let’s also say that each type of person has their own likelihood for voting for a Republican President. Some assumptions we’ll make:
- As Ayyadurai assumes: all Republicans who vote straight-ticket will vote for Trump.
- Non-Republican split-ticket voters, on the other hand, only have some small, non-zero chance of voting for Trump.
We can now simulate the voting outcomes of several precincts, with the fraction of Republican vs. Non-Republican voters randomly generated to get a good spread. And now we plot the difference between straight-ticket Republican voters and votes for Trump among split-ticket voters, just as Dr. Ayyadurai does:
Great now let’s simulate a bunch of precincts with different fractions of R vs. NR voters. We’ll assume that all R-voters voted Trump.
In : import numpy as np r_percentages = np.random.rand(1000) # modeling the fraction of R voters in a precint, randomly
Now let’s simulate some per-precinct votes and collect % of Trump votes from non-Republican split-ticket voters.
In : trump_votes_among_non_republicans = 
choices = [‘R’, ‘non-R’]
for percentage in r_percentages:
# Assume all precincts are the same size
N = 100 #
Simulate the dice-roller: NR voters
num_nr = int((1-percentage)*N)
# Do some dicerolls to see what non-Republican voters do in each precinct.
nr_president_votes = np.random.choice(choices, num_nr, p=[p_NR, 1-p_NR])
# Collect the percentages of votes
get_r_percentage = lambda votes: np.sum(votes == ‘R’)*1.0 / N
percentage_president_r = get_r_percentage(nr_president_votes) trump_votes_among_non_republicans.append(percentage_president_r)
trump_votes_among_non_republicans = np.array(trump_votes_among_non_republicans)
And now we plot the difference between straight-ticket Republican voters and votes for Trump among split-ticket voters, just as Dr. Ayyadurai does:
In : import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import seaborn as sns
diffs = trump_votes_among_non_republicans – r_percentages plt.scatter(r_percentages*100, diffs*100)
plt.xlabel(‘% republican straight-ticket votes’)
plt.ylabel(‘% individual trump votes – % straight ticket votes’) plt.savefig(‘fig1.png’)
Bam. It’s a line with a negative slope. Just like we actually observe in real life, in counties where we have a nice spread of precincts with different fractions of Republican voters.
What’s going on? Think about what we’re doing here. We’re plotting the line where the Y variable is: (% split-ticket Trump votes MINUS % straight-ticket Republican votes). This is plotted against the X variable, the % of straight-ticket Republican votes. We can decompose this into two lines:
One line we have is the % of split-ticket Trump votes on the Y axis, vs. the % of straight-ticket Republican votes on the X-axis. If split-ticket voters have a fixed probability of voting Trump that is independent of their precinct’s % of Republicans, this line should be flat.
Artifacts on the right end occur because we sometimes get huge blow-up of values when there is a low number of split-ticket voters in majority-Republican precincts.
On the other hand, the other line we have is the % of straight-ticket Republican votes vs. % straight-ticket Republican votes. Otherwise known as the line of unity: a perfectly correlated line, since we’re plotting the same thing on both axes.
To recover the original line Ayyadurai is plotting, we can subtract that second line from the first line. This gets us back a Y-axis that is (% split-ticket Trump votes MINUS % straight-ticket Republican votes), and an X-axis that is just % straight-ticket Republican votes. If we subtract the line of unity from the flat line of split-ticket Trump votes, we will obviously get a negatively sloping line. The operation we are performing will produce a downward sloping line by definition!
If this is truly what Dr. Ayyadurai meant to do, then it’s essentially just a mathematical trick. A lot of build-up and sleight-of hand for an inevitable and mundane result. People are very quick to trust something just because it’s got some numbers on it, but numbers don’t make an analysis bulletproof. Not inspecting even the quant-iest of presentations can leave you vulnerable.That goes double for me, too. Inspect our argument carefully. If you see trouble, send me a rebuttal via email. I’ll frontline some objections right now:
What about Wayne county? It doesn’t display this negative linear trend.
The issue with Wayne is that there isn’t an even spread of precincts with a wide variety of %-Republican voters. This makes the scatterplot just resemble a blob. We dig into that case in this Git Gist.
Simulation when we randomly generate precincts from a normal distribution, where the mean % of Republican voters is low. Looks more like a blob than a line. If you modify the code to also inject noise into precinct sizes, and zoom in on the X-axis, it looks more and more like the Wayne example.
A way to inspect this more deeply is to see if this pattern holds only in counties with a high concentration of just-Democrats or just-Republicans, or if some other feature is the cause of it.
How do you explain the fact that Ayyadurai’s regression has two line-segments? That doesn’t agree with your thesis that there should be one negatively sloping line.
Dr. Ayyadurai plots this trend-line over his data:
But we could just as easily draw this line:
The choices are arbitrary. The only way to rigorously tell which fit is better is to run the regressions on the data ourselves and see which model minimized the error more. An important point: in model selection, the aim is always to follow Occam’s Razor and go with the most parsimonious model you can. If you just try and minimize error without controlling the complexity of your model, your “best” model will be a line wildly flitting from exact point to exact point. We call this overfitting.
Oftentimes you’ll compare competing models with something like the Akaike Information Criterion, which punishes models that are more complicated than they need to be (models that have more parameters). Without looking at the raw data itself, I’d say a single regression line would certainly be simpler model fit than trying to place two linear regressions in a piecewise model like he draws. Again though, all of this is kind of moot. He’s defining a negatively sloping line by construction. It’s going to slope this way as a pure function of how he framed the problem.
Hold on, why do you assume a flat probability of split-ticket voters voting for Trump? What if the probability of split-ticket voters voting for Trump is correlated with how many straight-ticket Republican voters there are in their precinct?
Let’s indulge this. Let’s say that straight-ticket voters are the majority of a precinct, and so “Republicanism” or “Democraticness” leaks out into the split-ticket voting population and influences them. In that case, we’re no longer subtracting a 1:1, 45 degree line from a constant line.
However, we are subtracting the 1:1 line of unity from some other line. In this Gist, Nabir and I use a modest correlation factor of 0.6. Here’s the component where he just plots % split-ticket Trump votes in the case where it’s correlated with how Republican a precinct is:
And again, plotting the line of unity is the same:
And when you subtract the second from the first, you again get a negatively-sloping line!
The only way you’d get the flat line — which Ayyadurai asserts is “expected” — is if the correlation between split-ticket Trump votes and straight-ticket Republican votes is exactly 1:1. I find that incredibly unlikely.
Michigan Voter Fraud Claims Debunked
1. By far the most viral of these claims is the video of officials in Detroit papering up/boarding up the windows inside their polling center in Michigan. This, admittedly, was a bizarre sight, but was the right thing to do, as officials rightly blocked the windows when crowds came inside and began trying to film ballots. Poll watchers exceeded the limit inside. This is not legal. You can’t barge in and film who people voted for. Of course, there were 134 Republican poll watchers inside the room. There were also 134 Democrats, 134 independents. That’s because every election/polling place has a balanced and assigned number of watchers present at polling locations. Here’s the local story explaining it.
2. Similarly, there have been a lot of stories about “Republican poll watchers” not being allowed into polling places. This is all silly, and worth remembering this Detroit story. Being a poll watcher does not mean you can just walk into any polling station. There’s a process to ensure an even number of partisan watchers are signed up (similar to in Detroit) and inside polling places. Election officials don’t (and shouldn’t) allow any old swarm of watchers into their polling place. That would ruin the balance of the watchers. It appears some certified Trump-supporting poll watchers filmed themselves trying to enter polling places, and when denied, made a scene. That’s how the system is supposed to work. Any election official can explain this.
3. One of the most popular of the fraud claims is a video purporting to show a 118-year-old named William Bradley who voted despite dying in 1984. I’m going to share video of a viral tweet so you can see it, then explain what’s happening:
- Michigan’s secretary of state already responded to this claim, pointing out that ballots of voters who have died are rejected outright, so this bizarre scene (even if it were real!) would never count in an election. SoS statement is here:
- In Michigan, this is even true if someone dies between the time they sent in their ballot and Election Day. The idea someone who died in 1984 would have their ballot counted is absurd. Alternatively, it’s also possible William Bradley is real and his birthday is simply wrong on the Michigan voter website. Instead of 1902, he could be born in 1992 — a one-digit typo. This happens all the time. A clerk will be checking the ballot and registration records. Most states run voter rolls against death records. Regardless, if this person is actually dead, their vote won’t count. If the birthday is entered wrong, it will be resolved by a local clerk when the vote is audited. Below, a tweeter says “14+ thousand dead people voted”, then circles a dataset for one single dead voter receiving a ballot. How do you suppose they vote?
- Also, turns out that 118-year-old dead Michigan voter was, as I expected, a clerical error. Logically, which tracks voter misinformation, found the actual voter. They are relatives.
- NYT lights this stuff on fire really well in this article:
4. The other popular one is the “130k votes in Michigan” that Biden got all at once. This was a data uploading error on ElectionDeskHQ. The conservative who originally posted this conspiracy apologized and deleted his tweet, but it took off before he could stop it.
5. Dominion voting systems are the latest voter fraud craze, with the accusation being that 1000s of ballots went to Biden on account of the dangerously unsafe system.
- This headline, which is supposed to sound really scary, is actually very reassuring. Proof that even an insidious technical issue cannot upend an election without being noticed and fixed. They are being manually recounted, and this will occur in other counties where this issue is discovered as well.
- But a note that this would be a case of a technical error, not fraud as noted below:
6. Apparently there was another issue with voting machines in Antrim county. This flipped the district from red to blue! Must be rigged, right?
- What accusers will miss is that this error was, once again, caught and rectified, which is why we’re seeing it reported. Per the above story: “All ballots were properly tabulated. However, the clerk accidentally did not update the software used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.”
- “Antrim County on Thursday posted updated and revised numbers for the presidential and U.S. Senate races after discovering major errors in the numbers the county initially sent to the Secretary of State’s Office.” Our safeguards are in place, and working. This story should be reassuring.
7. There have been mentions of Detroit’s turnout being far too high to make any sort of sense, but it was less than 50%. Lower than 2008 or 2012.
8. The latest from the RNC spokesperson is her misquoting a poll watcher’s sworn affidavit as if nobody will read it:
- Read the 12th line right below the highlighted quote. The Detroit poll watcher said they heard “at least five or six times that all five ballots were for Joe Biden.” 5 times 5 is 25. 5 times 6 is 30. The idea that a stack of 25-30 mail-in ballots in Detroit, an urban area that consistently votes for Democrats, is laughable.
- The witness says they “heard” from other poll watchers that “some” of the cars delivering the ballots had license plates from outside Michigan. Vague heresy, and even if it wasn’t, it’s hardly evidence of fraud, given how often people move and still have license plates from states they lived in years ago.
- Also, please note the context here: This person is saying that someone got on a loudspeaker and announced absentee ballots were arriving to a room full of Republican and Democrat poll watchers. That is how Democrats are going to steal the election? Are you kidding me?
Wisconsin Voter Fraud Debunked
1. Some people alleged that “Wisconsin had more votes than registered voters,” PROOF OF ELECTION FRAUD! This was, amazingly, idiots unaware that Wisconsin has same-day voter registration.
- Relatedly, many conservative commentators have mixed up “eligible voters” (total number of people who can vote), and “registered voters” (registrations). This caused serious confusion.
2. Many on the right were thrown off when they went to bed at 1AM with Trump well-positioned in the midwest, and woke up at 6AM with Trump headed for defeat in Wisconsin. Quickly, allegations spread of Dems “finding” 100,000 absentee ballots. The jump occurred after the City of Milwaukee, heavily Democratic, reported its first wave of absentee ballot results (even more heavily Democratic). When they came in, Biden’s numbers spiked by more than 100,000.
- The votes were reported together because Milwaukee has a central count location. That means they don’t get reported from the polling place. I watched live as election officials were escorted from the polling place to the count location to drop off ballots. Then watched the numbers come in. It was pretty cool. Story here:
3. There has been a ton of hand-wringing over the “turnout” in Milwaukee being needlessly high, when in actuality it takes less than a minute of googling to find it isn’t much of a jump relative to past years.
- There’s also been ridiculous assertions that Wisconsin’s participation rate was 90%, but simple math tells us otherwise.
- The state has a population of 4,347,488 per the above 2020 census data. 3289474 voted according to the latest data. 3289474/4,347,488 = 75.66%, a slight bump from 2004’s 72.9%
4. There are still new conspiracies coming in by the minute. Here is the latest, from an alleged group of “anonymous data scientists” from an anonymous Twitter account, which should throw your red flags up immediately.
- This person shows their cards here, claiming WI was “supposed to stop accepting ballots”, which is totally untrue and ignores the fact they weren’t “accepting new ballots” but moving ballots from the polling station to the counting center.
- Remember, Wisconsin is somewhat unique (as all states are) in how it runs its elections. In Milwaukee, votes are not reported at the polling station. There is a central counting center. This has been explained a million times.
Nevada Voter Fraud Debunked
1. Team Trump has also been at work. In Nevada, they dragged out an elderly blind woman who said her ballot was taken in the mail and she couldn’t vote. Here is a video they shared.
- Funny thing about her: election officials looked into her case, and she had actually submitted two ballots – with matching signatures. Seems like she actually voted twice, which is illegal. She was then offered the opportunity to file an appeal and make a statement which she declined.
Pennsylvania Voter Fraud Debunked
1. Some conspiracies are being spread by mainstream outlets. NY Post alleged that Pittsburgh election staff “took the day off” with 35k votes to go. This is totally misleading. The counting was paused (in Allegheny) because they cannot legally count remaining ballots there without the convening of a special committee that comes together tomorrow. This occurred in a Georgia county, as well.
2. There is incredulity toward the idea that Joe Biden’s turnout is higher than Obama’s, but so was Trump’s so this is a bit of a non-issue. There have been mentions of Philly’s turnout being 90+%. This is false.
- It is 62.88%. Up since 2016, but below the 63.6% of 2008.
3. As you might expect, Project Veritas is at it too. They are claiming to have a USPS whistleblower who says late mail-in ballots were being postmarked inaccurately and sent so they’d make the deadline for Election Day. The allegations themselves are very small scale (from one location in MI), and the whistleblower was totally anonymous, even his voice. PV is known for partisan shenanigans and claims a “special agent with the office of inspector general at USPS” is investigating the claims. Now, the whistleblower has gone public. Here is their big reveal. https://twitter.com/JamesOKeefeIII/status/1324845160358940673
- The allegation is Hopkins witnessed his supervisor “backdating” a single ballot to make it Nov. 3rd. When asked by O’Keefe, Hopkins says “I did not witness him backdating it, I witnessed him talking about backdating it.” It sounds like they’re discussing one ballot. Then there is a cut, and in the next clip Hopkins is saying he heard his superiors talking about how they had “post-dated all but one of the ballots that were picked up, but had one that they made a mistake and postmarked it the 4th.” But the entire interview is bizarre. O’Keefe is asking questions from a computer in his office, and then the clips of Hopkins answering are him walking around house to house – being filmed by someone not O’Keefe. There are numerous cuts in the video where the audio changes. And at times it feels like they are having two separate conversations, which really gets my suspicions going. Regardless, Hopkins says in the vid that there is an inspector general investigating and he was getting heat for some kind of past transgressions. He was outed.
- PV has a second video up about a USPS worker in Pennsylvania, too. In this one, the worker alleges a nearly identical thing. There were apparently given some kind of order to sort out the ballots that came after November 3rd, but this worker says he was “of the belief they would be backdated.” Interestingly, O’Keefe calls the guy’s boss and gets him on the phone. But in the video, O’Keefe completely cuts out the boss’s answer. So we don’t actually get any response to the questions — just O’Keefe making very leading and probing accusations in the form of questions. Again, that’s at the end of this video:
- If O’Keefe really had someone, the videos would not be cut up to the rate they are here. My skepticism is EXTREMELY high. Both O’Keefe and Hopkins are claiming some kind of investigation is going on.
- Update on this story as of 11/10: After an investigation, it turns out O’Keefe wasn’t lying about the USPS inspector general, but his source was lying about his claims.
- How many times does James O’Keefe have to totally blow with his misinformation ops before conservative media stops treating him like a legitimate journalist? Give this man the Jacob Wohl treatment already.
- Another Update: I listened to the entire “unedited” interview between USPS worker Richard Hopkins and the inspector generals. There was some insistence that he was coerced into recanting his claim by these inspectors. I can now say that this guy is not a reliable narrator and this video does not look good for Project Veritas. Important timestamped link:
- I honestly feel bad for Hopkins. The story here appears to be that PV lawyers wrote up an affidavit he signed without understanding he was making a legally binding accusation of what happened to him. He seems genuinely shocked when investigators tell him that.
- Far from being “coerced” or “bullied” the IGs here are actually quite soft with Hopkins, frequently reminding him that he can stop talking at any time and checking in to ask if he’s okay because he looks overwhelmed. They do this dozens of times throughout. It’s so cordial that at the end Hopkins actually tells them he’s secretly recording the conversation, at which point they inform him they could take the recording but don’t (because they clearly understand they didn’t do anything wrong during the conversation).
- This story is exactly as I expected. Hopkins heard something that sounded fishy, and he told this exaggerated tale to Project Veritas. Project Veritas then blew it up, created a legal document, had Hopkins sign it, and the moment he realized his story was going to court, he recanted. Sorry, but if he’s willing to make these allegations on YouTube but not in a federal court, they are not real allegations and aren’t with our time. They are certainly not evidence of fraud. You can find the relevant convo in the middle of the video here:
4. Many people freaked out about this FiveThirtyEight update showing 23k votes for Biden and zero for Trump in Philly. Admittedly, this looks suspicious — and I don’t blame the skeptics!
- Consider this… in 2012, Mitt Romney got ZERO votes across 59 voting Philly divisions vs. Obama. 19,605 to 0.
- The Philly Inquirer didn’t believe the number, either. So they went to the voting districts and tried finding someone who voted for Romney. They failed. They even found Republicans, and none had voted for Romney. Now imagine for a moment it’s 2020, and instead of 19,000 votes it’s 23,000 votes, and instead of Romney it’s Trump, and you add in the absentee ballot dynamic (where Democrats are outpacing Republicans 3 to 1 across Pennsylvania).
Also, and probably more significantly:
- FiveThirtyEight offers the actual explanation in light of new information. The votes from the locations didn’t even come all at once, indicating that there were people who voted Trump.
5. Trump supporters and Trump family members continue to claim that their poll watchers are not being allowed into Philadelphia polling places. A Fox News reporter just to investigate. Guess what he found: Nothing.
This video, in particular, was getting a lot of attention:
- The man in the video is Gary Feldman, a Republican committeeman who was visiting polls throughout the day. He has been speaking to the press, and shared this video to tell everyone it was a misunderstanding and he had no trouble getting into polling places except 1. The explanation is given here:
- Also, Philly’s bipartisan election committee released a statement confirming that they had poll observers there:
6. This one alone has 240,000 views on Twitter. Remarkable how fast the junk spreads. Video appears to show a woman just filling out people’s ballots and putting them in a pile. Clear cut election fraud! Except… look a little closer.
- The person across from her is reading ballots to her, and she is filling out what he is reading off. This is likely because the ballot was soiled somehow, or the machine was having trouble reading — so they are doing it by hand. Not complicated. Via Bloomberg article on the vote counting process: “In the fifth step, workers ‘remake’ ballots that have readability problems or that voters made a mistake on and tried to correct—as long as the intention of the voter can be understood—so that the ballots can be read by tabulation machines. The original ballot is attached to the remade ballot for auditing purposes. Remaking is performed by a two-person team”.
- Also, I want to point out two things about this video. Firstly, there is a police officer and a poll watcher clearly monitoring these two as they do this. Secondly, it’s being live streamed. We have video inside the polling places. The transparency is wild.
7. Apparently this one is going viral on Twitter and in some WhatsApp chats. Pretty perfect looking shadiness when you see the guy looking around before writing on a ballot:
- However, there is an obvious point here. You simply can’t change a by crossing a vote out and filling in a different bubble. That would soil the ballot (as anyone who has voted knows). In fact, this is a lot like all the other instances of people writing on ballots here. You can see when the camera pans there is another woman sitting across from him. This is more of the tandem work already covered in this thread document: workers fixing ballots that machines couldn’t read.
- Of course, once again, we are watching a live stream inside some polling station with poll watchers humming around all over the place. So you once again have to believe this guy is committing a federal crime on camera. This would clearly be news if it were actual fraud. That’s another thing that’s so odd about the disconnect in all these videos. We’re supposed to believe that someone is committing a federal crime on camera, in front of poll watchers, across from another poll worker, and that GOP election workers are just… letting it go?
8. Another case of dead voter theory, this time in Phily:
Same rules apply for previous “dead voter” theories: clerical errors happen on birthdays, some birthdays are entered as 1/1/1 or 1/1/1900 because of record transfers from paper to electronic, etc. But this is also more insidious. If you go to the link GOP tweeted out, you find this: “The reason some birth dates will display as 1/1/1800 is due to confidentiality reasons of the registered votes. Usually this is for victims of domestic violence.”
Is @PhillyGOP actually tweeting out lists of domestic violence survivors? Certainly seems so! Very normal. Anyway, Biden is winning PA by 45,400 votes. So even if you added up all these votes, assumed they were all legitimately fraud, AND assumed they all voted for Biden…he’d be winning by 44,476 votes. Okay?
9. This one is from the president himself, who I must say I have avoided quoting here because I do not want to simply turn off Trump supporters. “Pennsylvania prevented us from watching much of the Ballot count,” he said. Funny thing about that…
- Trump actually took this claim to court. Here is an actual exchange from that case in court. Judge: “I’m asking you as a member of the bar of this court: Are people representing Donald J Trump for president, representing the plaintiffs, in that room?” Trump lawyer: “Yes.”
- This is, like many other moments during election week, a good reminder of what happens when conspiracy theories on Twitter are litigated in front of a judge, under oath, with the penalty of perjury at hand.
10. Rudy claims RCP rescinded it’s call in Pennsylvania on 11/10. That is false. RCP never actually called PA. Archived version of the site from 11/9 here:
11. The Federalist just published this op-ed claiming “I Was In Philadelphia Watching Fraud Happen. Here’s How It Went Down.”
- The author literally leads with the argument that he can prove Trump won Pennsylvania. Consider me intrigued! Funny thing about the story, though, which you can go read — is that he does not level a single allegation of voter fraud. Instead, it’s more gripes over observing, which I’ve already addressed.
- This guy leads with an argument that he’s about to prove Trump won PA, and his big closer is a link to a viral video on social media and the fact observers got to move closer to the count. How the hell does this get published? I’ve never seen a headline so divorced from the body of a story before in my life.
Georgia Voter Fraud Debunked
1. Eric Trump shared this and so it blew up. This is the original tweet, which (I think?) is supposed to be proof of poll workers throwing votes out. Video is interesting:
- Here’s the problem: this video is from a USA Today live stream from inside the polling place. Do you understand that? We are talking about an election where poll workers are being filmed live and people think they are committing fraud. I don’t really know how else to explain how silly that is. You actually have to believe that this poll worker, clearly frustrated and exhausted by some kind of soiled ballot, is committing election fraud on camera in front of the entire country. Really? That’s what they have? Ballots get thrown out all the time. That is, after all, what many of these same people want: ballots being tossed that aren’t filled out properly.
2. This one is interesting. I can’t seem to find the source, but I can point out something rather obvious that nobody else is saying — if this is in fact from the last 72 hours in the U.S. (which it appears it is).
- It looks as if this person is throwing stuff out in the trash, but they aren’t. They’re just sorting the ballots. That’s a sorting bin. That’s what happens in these polling places. It’s completely normal, and, again, there are TVs running live-streams of these place. This is the most transparent election of all-time.
4. Kyle Becker is a former Fox News writer. Notice the language of the tweet. “Red flag,” “highly unlikely,” “game changer.” He’s essentially alleging 130,000 votes are going to be thrown out.
- You might imagine a claim like this would be associated with some source evidence or proof. It is a massive claim: that 10% of the vote in GA’s biggest county will get tossed. So, his source? Another “data expert” on Twitter. Kyle’s claim comes from “people’s pundit,” an account who sent out two declarative tweets like this last night. Firstly, it is declaring 10,000 dead people’s ballots were returned in Michigan with no evidence.
- The second is this tweet, which is what Kyle translates into fact, declares is a massive red flag, and announced could potentially change the race. Not kidding.
- Anyway, translating “change of address flags” to “change of address RED FLAGS” that are “highly likely ineligible to vote and have moved per source” is irresponsible at best and outright propagandistic nonsense at worse. It’s just more of the same fever dream. The Georgia Secretary of State is overseeing this election. He is a Republican ally who Trump celebrated when he was chosen. Don’t you suppose if there are 130,000 potentially ineligible votes in a race decided by 10,000 votes he might… be saying something? Raffensperger is in Fulton County overseeing a recount/checking the process of the work there as we speak. He’s been there for 2 days. He has not said a word about anything like this.
5. You may have heard that two Georgia senators who just failed to secure their re-election are now calling for the Republican Secretary of State to resign. In their statement, they did not provide a single example of what he did wrong:
- Raffensperger was loved by Trump until GA voted against the president. And he responded by refusing to resign while saying something I’ve said here already: “My office is investigating all of it. Does it rise to the numbers or margin necessary to change the outcome to where President Trump is given Georgia’s electoral votes? That is unlikely.”
- At the beginning of this document, I demonstrated quite clearly that the rates of voter fraud are so ridiculously low that they would not have an impact on an election even if they happened at 20 times the frequency they already do. The rate isn’t zero, but there is no proof that any election fraud happened in the 2020 presidential race that would change the outcome.
- Local Atlanta paper is now reporting that POTUS pressured Georgia senators to attack the SoS, claiming voter fraud, otherwise he’d undermine their re-election chances.
Other States Voter Fraud Debunked
1. Here is a really good one. This DOJ article is going viral in right-wing Twitter world — it has a very scary headline! And yes, it is in fact real!
- Click inside, though, and you’ll find a pretty big nothingburger. A USPS worker in Buffalo, NY (not an especially important swing state) was caught at the border with… three absentee ballots. And he said he intended to deliver them but “forgot.” Who knows.
2. This is a new voter fraud video I’m just seeing for the first time now. Like many before it, it purports to show an election official “filling out ballots” — apparently implying this is nefarious, illegal or fraud.
- Like a couple other examples in this thread, that’s not what is happening. The woman sitting across from the man filling out the ballot is reading off a ballot, likely one that wasn’t read in the machine. Also, notice the observers and the cameras rolling. This is not fraud, there is nothing wrong happening here. This is how poll workers ensure everyone’s vote is counted all across the country.
3. Second, here is another one from Raheem. He has been one of the biggest spreaders of election fraud conspiracies in the last 5 days. He’s gained a big following and continues to mislead people. It’s pretty sad.
- Again: all the same themes. There are clerical errors that happen, there are codes that get put in when records go from paper to electronic for birthdays (like 1/1/1 or 1900), etc. But this one is actually more insidious.
More victim protection. Self explanatory.
4. Rumors are circulating of ballots being found in a dumpster in Spalding, Colorado. Turns out, there were no ballots. It was a bunch of empty envelopes.
5. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, one of the biggest Trump boosters in Texas, says he’ll pay up $1 million to encourage and reward those who report voter fraud. If info leads to arrest/ conviction for voter fraud. expect at least $25,000, he says. If you need to offer a cash prize to bring forward election fraud, a week after claiming an election was stolen, you probably don’t have the evidence to back up your claims.
6. Ah, yes. Democrats swooping in to steal ballots in the classic battleground state of… California.
- This is a video of people collecting legal ballots and doing nothing wrong. As Los Angeles County has explained, its drop boxes were locked at 8 PM on election night. Then collectors came the next day and picked up the ballots that were deposited before the deadline. The end.
- I mean, these guys are in California with their badges on in broad daylight. They’re talking to someone with a camera and showing her their IDs.
7. Maricopa County Arizona uses Dominion machines to count ballots. It completed its legally required hand count test on Nov 9 to check whether the machines accurately counted the paper ballots. The check found no errors for any race in any precinct.
The process is overseen by representatives of the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian parties, each of whom select in turn which precincts to count. The counters are also selected in teams of 3 with no more than 2 of the same political party to ensure accuracy.
Trump’s Legal Challenges Related to Voter Fraud
1. The really big one that was supposed to save the election was Nevada. There were apparently 3,000 alleged ineligible votes, and the Trump administration dragged out that poor blind elderly woman whose votes were stolen. Yeah, that got thrown out.
2. You may have also heard about that really big SCOTUS decision in PA. Yeah, SCOTUS didn’t do anything. In fact, they rejected Trump admin’s to stop the count, and just reiterated PA should keep doing exactly what it was doing. The Trump administration went to SCOTUS to have them say what the Secretary of State had already ordered, which was that ballots postmarked after election day should be separated for counting. The GOP controls the process in PA, and there are no challenges.
3. Let’s go south to GA, where the election rules are also controlled by Republicans. Trump went to court claiming they had a poll watcher who saw 53 ballots being mingled with. The judge dismissed the case because the Trump admin had no evidence.
4. How about MI, another state where the process is mostly controlled by Republicans. The Trump campaign filed a lawsuit there, too. Not about dead voters, because that’s too silly of a conspiracy to even try, but on absentees. And…nothing
Here’s what a judge had to say:
5. They have, so far, won a single legal challenge in one polling place in Philly. Where poll watchers who were already watching the count were allowed to move closer to watch the count.
Absolutely remarkable, devastating victory that will… not change a single thing. In a city where many Trump-supporting Republican officials have said the process is above board.
6. In Arizona, there was a lawsuit involving sharpies being used on ballots, and the ballots that used Sharpies having their votes invalidated. Yeah, that got thrown out.
Because to the surprise of no one, votes that used sharpies got accepted, in accordance with Arizona law.
7. In Detroit, Republicans filed a suit on the basis that they were being denied the ability to oversee the process of fixing ballots. It got immediately rejected due to a lack of evidence.
“What we have are claims about votes that maybe or have been submitted that are or may not be legitimate. This court finds that while there are assertions made by the plaintiffs that there is no evidence in support of those assertions,”
8. In another failure of the Trump legal team, a Pennsylvania judge asked a lawyer for Trump point-blank whether he was alleging fraud. Here was the response.
9. Trump’s legal team seems to have given up in Nevada, where they’ve dismissed their own appeal.
10. POTUS announces lawsuit in PA challenging validity of the election on the basis that it had both mail and in-person voting, a dynamic that has existed for 150 years.
It alleges — and I’m not kidding — a grand total of 11 specific instances of votes that need to be corrected. 11. The rest is recycled Twitter innuendo.
Not to mention, 9 military ballots were already discovered, fixed and counted.
I cannot express in words how hard this legal team is going to fail.
11 Donald Trump’s campaign promised “shocking” proof of fraud in Michigan. Instead, they provided a list of small-bore complaints from GOP poll-watchers about the ballot-counting room in Detroit, including:
- Loud noises
- Mean stares
- A big man
12. In light of calls for recounts across Wisconsin and Georgia especially, let’s take a look at the gaps as of the morning of 11/12.
AZ: 12,000 GA: 14,000 WI: 21,000 NV: 37,000 PA: 52,000 MI: 146,000 K He leads Trump nationally by 5.3 million and rising. Biden’s leads in AZ/MI/PA are out of the automatic recount threshold, and the other states don’t have auto-recounts. Historically, recounts tend to only tilt the vote by a few hundred, if even that.
This isn’t close.
13. A Nevada legal challenge relating to illegal voting of some people in the military collapsed. “A GOP-produced list of allegedly illegal voters in the state turned out to be legal voters who were soldiers, sailors and their spouses stationed elsewhere.”
14. As of 11/14, the Trump administration has had an additional 5 additional lawsuits in Philly thrown out. The lawsuits all related to minor information such as dates not being written down.
Some will object to the absence of an address, but bear in mind, this note from the court documents:
The lawsuits simply take issue with the address not being handwritten a second-time, which is silly. Once again, however, it is worth noting that even if all these ballots were thrown out, it would not be enough to overturn Biden’s victory.