Political News

AP FACT CHECK: Trump won presidency but lost popular vote

Posted November 28

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, a voter enters a booth at a polling place in Exeter, N.H. Tweets alone don’t make it true. Donald Trump won the presidency earlier this month even as he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to The Associated Press’s vote-counting operation and election experts. Trump nonetheless tweeted on Nov. 26 that he won the popular vote. and alleged there was “serious voter fraud” in California, New Hampshire and Virginia. There’s no evidence to back up those claims. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

— Donald Trump's tweets can't erase the reality that he lost the popular vote in this month's election, according to The Associated Press' vote-counting operation.

The president-elect tweeted Saturday that he'd have won the popular vote "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." He also alleged "serious voter fraud" in California, New Hampshire and Virginia and complained that the media aren't covering it.

Not only did he present no evidence to back up those claims — there apparently isn't any. Asked to provide supporting evidence on Monday, Trump's transition team pointed only to past charges of irregularities in voter registration. There has been no evidence of widespread tampering or hacking that would change the results of the presidential contest, and for good reason, experts said.

For one, it would be highly impractical. The nation's election system is decentralized, a patchwork of state laws whose differences would be nearly impossible to target on a large scale, said Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice.

"You would need to have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people conspiring with insiders and with one another," Weiser said. "To keep a conspiracy of that magnitude secret is just unthinkable."

"The process is not rigged anywhere in America," said R. Doug Lewis, who headed the nonprofit Election Center for more than two decades. Interest groups, bloggers and others across the political spectrum keep anecdotal lists of instances of election fraud, he said, but "when each side is forced to come up with factual examples where that has happened, where they have to name names ... almost always the allegations go away."

On Twitter, Trump has returned to two well-worn techniques: denying he's lost anything and playing on public distrust.

The AP's vote-counting operations in California, Virginia and New Hampshire used locally hired workers to gather vote totals from local jurisdictions. In some states, the news agency also collected votes from secretaries of state or state election boards.

The AP, which called Democrat Hillary Clinton the winner in all three states, said its vote count operation found no significant differences between the county-by-county vote totals and those released statewide on election night in California and Virginia. In New Hampshire, the AP's vote totals were reported directly to the news agency by town clerks and were verified by AP in most towns before the count was completed. The totals also were certified by New Hampshire's secretary of state.

Trump's charge that he actually won the popular vote if the "millions of people who voted illegally" had not been counted mimics one posted on Infowars.com, a conservative website that traffics in conspiracy theories.

Trump's win in Michigan, certified by state election officials on Monday, gave the Republican an additional 16 electoral votes, bringing his total to 306, to Clinton's 232.

There is recount drama resulting from the 2016 election, but it's not being initiated by Trump loyalists.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein had raised $6.3 million by Monday for the recount she's seeking in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — places that Clinton, a Democrat, had thought were safely in her column. Instead, Trump won all three and with them the electoral votes needed to win the White House. Clinton's campaign is supporting the Wisconsin recount.

Stein, too, hasn't provided evidence of voting irregularities. She says "cyber hacking" affected the vote outcomes in those states. The Wisconsin Elections Commission voted Monday to proceed with a recount and will bill Stein and other interested campaigns for the cost, estimated to be around $1 million.

In Michigan, Stein's lawyer notified election officials Monday that she will file a recount petition on Wednesday. Trump would have seven days to file objections to her request.

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Follow Kellman on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APLaurieKellman

9 Comments

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  • Sean Chen Nov 29, 5:14 a.m.
    user avatar

    The rules of the contest were to win electoral votes, hence the "battleground states" campaigning and why California and Wyoming got fewer visits by them than Ohio, North Carolina. Clinton competed and played by the same rules, but lost so is now sour grapes-ing the loss with the "popular vote" BS.

    Given President Obama credit for stating that the American people have spoken and that PE Trump is their choice.

    If the race for president was a popularity contest, Morgan Freeman or Kieffer Sutherland would be president. (though via being the designated survivor… or do it within 48 hours)

  • Jerry Powell Nov 28, 11:16 p.m.
    user avatar

    Mr Mu electors are actually ller, Are you for real? You just revealed your ignorance. It does not give a sparsely (or smaller) state greater voting power than larger ones. The number of electors are apportioned by the number of Representatives for each state, plus two for each state. In a very slight way, the 25 less populated states have a very slight "advantage", but not anywhere close to the advantage that you would imply.

  • Chuck Robinson Nov 28, 11:14 p.m.
    user avatar

    If the Democrats ever win the electoral college and not the popular vote, there will be none of this whining. As Steve Smith said, Trump carried 84% of the counties. The electoral college in place so that a few, large metropolitan areas cannot dictate the election. Unfortunately, some Democrats have a tough time accepting that simply because they were not the victors.

  • Nikki Kessinger Nov 28, 9:34 p.m.
    user avatar

    He won. Get over it and move on.

  • John Townsend Nov 28, 9:30 p.m.
    user avatar

    Fact check: The national popular vote is completely irrelevant in presidential elections. If it were, campaign strategy would be completely different.

    Another fact: The ACC regular season basketball champion is based on wins, points scored is irrelevant. If all that matters were points scored, game strategy would be completely different.

  • Mike Luddy Nov 28, 8:09 p.m.
    user avatar

    Democracy is two lions and a lamb voting on what's for dinner. Think about it - issues with "mob rule" are why we are a republic, not a democracy. In a republic there are protections for the minorities, despite what the mob chooses.

  • Steve Smith Nov 28, 6:48 p.m.
    user avatar

    The electoral college did it's job it prevented over representation by one group or area. In this case the urban centers of the US. Look it up President Trump carried 84% of all counties in America. Of course the implosion by the media and the left is getting hysterical. AP Fact Check, is that the world's greatest oxymoron or what? LOL!

  • Russ Bullock Nov 28, 6:03 p.m.
    user avatar

    But definitely the first president to be living in his own reality when it comes to simple facts that can be verified. That is worrisome.

  • Jeff Freuler Nov 28, 5:19 p.m.
    user avatar

    Not the first president to win by the electoral college. There is a reason why that system is in place.