Political News

Fact-checking Trump's claims of voting machine errors in Michigan

Posted December 16, 2020 3:09 p.m. EST

— The Electoral College officially confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's win Monday, yet President Donald Trump has continued to insist the results are fraudulent.

Shortly after Biden crossed the electoral vote threshold necessary to secure his win, Trump took to Twitter to tout a recently released report from Allied Security Operations Group, an organization that was involved with the Trump campaign lawsuits in battleground states. According to Trump, the report claims that analysis of the election results in Antrim County, Michigan, "shows massive fraud" on a level that could change the results of the election. The report has received pushback from state officials.

Excluding retweets, Trump seemingly referenced the report in five of his nine tweets on Tuesday, all of which Twitter flagged as containing disputed claims about the election. Echoing the report, Trump tweeted that voting machines from the election technology company Dominion Voting Systems had "changed the results" of a landslide election and that Michigan's voting machines in particular had a "68% error rate."

Facts First: Trump's characterizations of the report are false and misleading. The report, which was released to the public Monday, claimed Antrim County, not the state's voting machines as a whole, had an error rate of approximately 68%. Both Trump and the report are unclear as to what this supposed error rate actually encompasses but Michigan officials and elections experts, including federal employees in the Trump administration, have found no evidence supporting the report's claims.

The author of the report has a history of spreading misinformation about the election in Michigan. In an affidavit for a separate court case, he mistook voting precincts in Minnesota for ones in Michigan and provided inaccurate totals of Michigan voter turnouts, which contributed to the false "more votes than people" theory of fraud previously touted by the President and his allies.

Here are the facts around some of the report's key allegations that the President has perpetuated.

Voting systems

While there were a few isolated issues reported with Dominion technology on Election Day and election night, there have been no credible reports that any problems with the company's machines affected vote counts.

Members of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which oversees US election security, stated: "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."

In mid-November, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the Bureau of Elections was conducting a statewide audit, which should determine the accuracy of Michigan's voting machines. In addition to the statewide risk-limiting audit and several local procedural audits, the audit of all ballots in Antrim County specifically will be conducted on Thursday, December 17. According to a statement from Michigan's attorney general and the secretary of state, this audit "is expected to confirm that votes cast for president were machine-tabulated correctly. "

Antrim County

One of the report's conclusions centers on an incident in traditionally Republican Antrim County where the unofficial election results showed Biden ahead, when in fact Trump had won the county. The mistake was quickly corrected and did not impact the state's official results. State and local officials claimed the initial results were inaccurate due to human error. However, the report disagrees and maintains that "the vote flip occurred because of machine error built into the voting software designed to create error."

While the report suggests what happened in Antrim County is indicative of widespread fraud throughout the state, the Michigan secretary of state's office has refuted that theory.

"This was an isolated error, there is no evidence this user error occurred elsewhere in the state, and if it did it would be caught during county canvasses, which are conducted by bipartisan boards of county canvassers," the secretary of state's office said in a statement in early November.

The general election results have since been certified by these bipartisan boards of county canvassers in all of Michigan's 83 counties, 66 of which, including Antrim County, use Dominion voting machines.

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