Fact check: Facebook post botches North Carolina's voter registration, turnout numbers

Posted November 19, 2020 12:15 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2020 4:22 p.m. EST

The 2020 election, with no declared winner as of the morning of Nov. 5 and votes still being tallied, is generating plenty of misinformation about the number of votes cast, and by whom. One claim about North Carolina and Wisconsin is that the number of votes in each of those states was higher than the number of registered voters.

One Facebook post says, "How is this possible?" with a chart showing that in North Carolina, 5,160,000 people are registered to vote and 5,387,496 people cast votes there, for a turnout rate of 104.41%; and in Wisconsin, 3,129,000 people are registered to vote and 3,240,275 people cast ballots there, for a turnout rate of 103.56%.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.

The post asks "How is this possible?" and the answer is simple: It’s not.

The incorrect numbers of registered voters included in the claim appear to come from outdated 2018 voter registration statistics.

At the time this fact check was published, North Carolina had 7.36 million registered voters and 5.49 million votes cast, for 74.6% voter turnout, according to the state’s Board of Elections. Wisconsin had 3,684,726 registered voters on Nov. 1, the state’s Elections Commission reported, and 3.2 million people voted, for at least 71% voter turnout, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission tweeted via its verified account that the state allows election-day registration, so the voter registration numbers that some counties include in unofficials results are "not a true indicator of registration."

PolitiFact previously checked the claim about Wisconsin having more votes cast than registered voters and rated it Pants on Fire.

This claim suffers the same fate. We rate it Pants on Fire.

PolitiFact: Pants on Fire

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