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Double Check: Fact Checking the 2020 Presidential Election

Double Check: Fact Checking the 2020 Presidential Election
As votes in some states are still being counted, we took a look at some of the disputed claims from the presidential election. Here are our collected fact checks from the last few days. New checks are being added as they come in.

Voters in Arizona were forced to vote using Sharpie pens that aren’t read by voting machines.

FALSE 

A Sharpie is a common brand of permanent marker pen manufactured by a U.S. based company. 

A social media post claimed that a voter witnessed election workers at her polling place forcing some voters to use Sharpie markers to mark their ballots, and that as a result the voting machines were not reading those ballots. A video released by the Maricopa County Elections Department on YouTube states that one can use a black or blue pen or Sharpie to fill out your ballot in Maricopa County. Voting centers use fine-tip Sharpies because they have the fastest-drying ink and work best on the tabulation equipment.

Read the full fact check here.

Robocalls made to people in Michigan urging them to stay home on Election Day.

TRUE 

Michigan officials warned voters of robocalls on Election Day urging voters to stay home because of long queues and vote the next day. Both Michigan’s Attorney General and Secretary of State expressed concern about the calls, and an FBI investigation is now underway into their source.

Read the full fact check here.

Republicans were prevented from observing vote counting.

FALSE

Republican voters reportedly hoped to storm a counting center in Detroit on election day as rumors of election fraud erupted once both Decision Desk HQ and the Associated Press called Michigan for Joe Biden. Republican voters were demanding the counting be stopped unless some of them were allowed “meaningful access” to observe the process. Both Republican and Democratic voters were stopped from entering because the venue had reached its maximum capacity due COVID-19 restrictions. Both Republicans and Democrats are allowed 134 “challengers” to observe the vote-counting in Michigan. Reports suggest this capacity had already been surpassed.

Read the full fact check here.

Fraudulent votes were cast in Michigan using the identities of dead people.

FALSE

A Twitter user called Essential Fleccas claims that three people who are already dead voted for Joe Biden in Michigan. According to the video published by the handle, June Aiken (120 years old), Donna Brydges (119 years old) and William Bradley (118 years old) voted for Biden via absentee ballots. All three voters highlighted in these claims are alive and most likely relatives of people born in the early 1900s who inherited their relatives' names.

Read the full fact check here.

Trump: They are working hard to make [our] 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear - ASAP.

FALSE

U.S. President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Twitter that his vote advantage in some states had "started to magically disappear." He followed this with "they are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear - ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!"

Both tweets were flagged by Twitter as misleading information. As votes are being counted in states like Pennsylvania, the vote count and numbers are continuously changing in those states. Trump was initially leading in Pennsylvania by a margin of 500,000 votes, but as of Nov. 5, the difference between the votes favoring him and that of Democratic candidate Joe Biden is less than 200,000 votes. This is because vote-by-mail ballots are being counted in several states including Pennsylvania and are reported to favor Democrats.

Read the full fact check here.

Photos from the Michigan voter database show numerous voters with the birth year January 1, 1900. This amounts to voter fraud.

FALSE

A Twitter user named Mike Coudrey falsely claimed that "photos from the Michigan voter database show numerous ‘voters’ who have the birth year of 1/1/1900. That means they are all 120 years old! This is completely fraudulent and should be grounds for a lawsuit!"

1/1/1900 is the standard date of birth used when a voter enters an unreadable date of birth. When this happens, the computer registers the date  as '1/1/1900'. These votes were—and still are—legitimate.

Read the full fact check here.

Voter Fraud in Michigan – Massive Dump of Over 200,000 Ballots for Biden Appear Overnight.

FALSE

A data input error very briefly showed a surge in votes for Joe Biden in Michigan. Baseless claims of voter fraud in Michigan quickly circulated on social media and The Gateway Pundit, a website that has a history of spreading misinformation according to FactCheck.org, ran the headline “Voter Fraud in Michigan – Massive Dump of Over 200,000 Ballots for Biden All the Sudden Appear Overnight.” 

However, the data input error was clerical—it happened when an elections clerk typed in an extra zero. Twenty minutes later, a state elections official noticed the error and the number was corrected within around 30 minutes.

Read the full fact check here.

Trump: Pennsylvania Democrats have gone to the state Supreme Court to try and ban our election observers. They don’t want anybody in there. They don’t want anybody watching them while they are counting the ballots.

FALSE

During a press conference at the White House on November 5, President Trump questioned the legitimacy of the U.S. elections. He claimed that "Pennsylvania Democrats have gone to the state Supreme Court to try and ban our election observers. They don’t want anybody in there. They don’t want anybody watching them while they are counting the ballots.”

This is false. Democrats did not go to the state Supreme Court to stop Republicans from observing the count. They were allowed to observe the vote, and did not have to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Read the full fact check here.

Biden has received the most votes in the history of America.

PARTY TRUE

Joe Biden has now won more votes than any presidential candidate in American history. In 2008, former president Barack Obama earned a record breaking 69,498,516 votes in the presidential election. As of November 6, 2020, Biden has amassed 73,736,399 votes. President Trump has also exceeded Obama's vote count securing 69,655,365 votes. The vote count for both is expected to increase as counting is still underway.

However, it is important to note that the population of the country has grown from 304 million to more than 330 million from 2008 to 2020. Also, the voter turnout this year is expected to reach record levels.

Read the full fact check here.

Trump: More Republican women were elected to Congress than ever before this year.

TRUE

During his address at the White House on November 5, President Trump claimed that more Republican women have been elected to Congress than ever before. As of November 5, 31 Republican women have been voted in the House and the Senate —higher than in any other election cycle. Vote counting is still underway.

Read the full fact check here.

A pipe burst in Georgia, away from the location where votes were being tabulated and they stopped counting for 4 hours. Election apparatus in Georgia is run by Democrats.

FALSE

The pipe burst happened where Fulton County's absentee ballots are being processed. At a press conference held in the White House on November 5, Trump said, "In Georgia, a pipe burst at a far-away location, totally unrelated to the location of what was happening, and they stopped counting for four hours, and a lot of things happened." 

Trump’s claim was false. The pipe had burst at the ballot processing site itself. Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that no damages were caused to the ballot and that the pipe was repaired within two hours. Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is a Republican.

Read the full fact check here.

There’s no requirement to verify signatures, identities or even determine whether a person is eligible or ineligible to vote.

FALSE

Every state has its own process of verifying signatures. Many states will compare the signature on the absentee ballot envelope to the signature on a voter’s file. Another type of technology is automated signature-verification applications, in which a camera captures the voter’s signature from the ballot return envelope as it is being sorted. The image is then compared with the reference image from the voter registration database.

Read the full fact check here.

States with over 100% eligible voter registration are likely to be committing fraud.

FALSE

In October 2020, Judicial Watch—a partisan conservative organization—published a study in which they claimed they had found 1.8 million “ghost voters”. They said that, in 29 states, there were more registered voters than eligible voting-age citizens. 

States with over 100% eligible voter registration is not unusual as many do not regularly update their voter rolls. This does not constitute voter fraud. Updating voter rolls is a complicated process that takes time. 

The Brennan Center, alongside academics and journalists, investigated claims of voter-impersonation fraud, where an ineligible voter pretends to be an eligible voter at the polls. They found that it almost never happens, saying that Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter-impersonation fraud.

Read the full fact check here.

 

For more fact checks and access to our live fact checking service throughout the big events of the election cycle, download the Logically app.

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