False claims and conspiracy theories about voting and the electoral process swirled on social media as Americans cast their ballots on Tuesday.
The misinformation was led by Republicans. Former President Donald Trump and other prominent right-wing figures seized on technical glitches in some key states to baselessly suggest there had been intentional malfeasance. Trump also made a baseless allegation of mass voter fraud.
Here’s a look at some of the early false and misleading claims. This article will be updated as CNN verifies additional claims.
Trump, who has repeatedly and wrongly alleged that there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election, unsubstantiated on Tuesday suggested on social media that such fraud could happen midway through 2022. .
“The same is happening with voter fraud as it happened in 2020???” the former president wrote Tuesday afternoon on his Truth Social platform.
There was no evidence of widespread voter fraud or altering the results in the 2020 election, and there were no early signs Tuesday of significant voter fraud in the 2022 midterms. a tiny fraction of the votes cast in the US elections.
Trump made his claim on Tuesday amid a series of social media posts in which he complained about various technical difficulties in some states. There was no evidence that any of these issues involved intentional malfeasance, let alone “voter fraud.”
Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, tweeted a debunking of a prominent Republican figure’s false claim on Election Day about wait times to vote.
Charlie Kirk, founder and president of the right-wing group Turning Point USA, tweeted Tuesday to his 1.8 million followers: “2 hour minimum wait at most Maricopa polling stations. Democrats running elections here knew this would happen. Bottling by design. DON’T LET THEM DO IT AGAIN 2020. WAIT IN LINE AND VOTE.
The tweet was completely inaccurate.
Maricopa County’s elections are not led by Democrats: Its election chief, Recorder Stephen Richer, and its Chairman of the Board of Overseers, Bill Gates, are both Republicans. And county online wait time tracking show that dozens of polling places there had waits of less than five minutes, many without any waits. County voters are permitted to vote at wherever they choose.
Maricopa County experienced technical issues on Election Day with tabulation devices at about 20% of its polling places, county officials said Tuesday morning. The problem prompted officials to ask the voters concerned place their ballot in a secure box for counting, wait for tabulation issues to be resolved, or go to vote at another location in the county. (Richer published a afternoon statement claiming that the oversight board had identified the problem and had “begun to repair the affected polling places”. He promised that “every legal vote will be counted.”)
But there was no indication of intentional wrongdoing.
Maricopa County said in his tweet in response to Kirk’s tweet: “No part of the tweet below is accurate. The vast majority of voting centers experience waiting times of less than 30 minutes, and whether by tabulation or secure ballot box, all voters are served.
Conspiracy theorists warn voters to ‘check WiFi network names’ and connections inside and outside their polling places, a new iteration of the debunked conspiracy that voting machines are connected to the internet and can edit votes remotely.
“Check WiFi connections, inside and outside polling places. Election machines must not be connected to the Internet. Take a screenshot to report irregularities for investigation,” read a tweet.
Calls on social media sites such as Telegram and Twitter echo previous debunked conspiracy theories that voting machines are connected to the internet, allowing tampering by third-party saboteurs or election officials to change votes. one candidate to another.
In reality, the “voting machines” that actually mark ballots are usually not directly connected to the internet, despite cries of election conspiracy theorists. Larger voting systems may be connected to the Internet, often to use the election management software used to program the machines and test them, but this is supposed to happen before the vote.
Polling stations in many states use Wi-Fi to access electronic poll records to verify voter eligibility.
On Tuesday, there were isolated incidents of these electronic ballot books — laptop computers used by election workers to ensure voters are registered — not working at polling places in Detroit, Michigan, due to computer problems, but this did not prevent any voters from voting.
The “voting machines” that actually mark the ballots are usually not directly connected to the internet. But the supporting elements that make up the voting process can be – like election management software that is used to program voting machines in advance.
–Em Steck and Olivia Alafriz
Trump urged supporters to ‘protest’ and Michigan’s GOP nominee for secretary of state falsely claimed ‘fraud’ was to blame for what officials called a ‘harmless data error’ in Detroit .
By the time Trump stepped in, the Michigan State Department had already addressed what had happened at some polling places in Detroit and said a resolution had been identified. This patch was sent to the police stations at 11 a.m.
Even when the situation was still under review, “voters were still able to vote,” Michigan State Department spokesman Jake Rollow told reporters on Tuesday. “At no time was there an inability to process a voter who showed up,” he said.
Rollow said there were a few “reports” of isolated issues with electronic voting books in some Detroit precincts. Electronic voting books are portable computers that have a static download of the voter registration list, Rollow said. When voters arrive at their polling station, election officials register them in an electronic register to ensure that they are registered, in the correct constituency and that they have not already voted by mail. Polling places have paper-to-paper backups to register voters, Rollow said.
The City of Detroit Department of Elections explained in a statement that some electronic poll books displayed an incorrect message that read, “Ballot # has already been issued as an absentee voter ballot,” due to of a “harmless data error”, but it did not. This does not mean that someone was trying to vote twice.
Either way, Kristina Karamo, the GOP candidate for Michigan Secretary of State, has falsely tweeted that there had been a “fraud” and that a “crime” had taken place.
And Trump falsely said on his Truth Social account, “The mail-in voting situation in Detroit is REALLY BAD. People show up to vote only to be told “sorry, you’ve already voted”. This is happening in large numbers, elsewhere as well. Protest, protest, protest!”
Rollow explained that sometimes the same numbers are used for in-person and mail-in ballots because they are separate sets of ballots, and the technology is supposed to ignore that.
If poll workers encountered the problem, they were instructed to mark a ballot with an “X” to clearly indicate that the ballot was issued in person, he said.
Some voters who were affected earlier in the morning received a provisional ballot, Rollow said. These provisional ballots will be counted as if they were standard ballots and voters need not take any further action, he said.
“The protections were already and still in place to prevent anyone from voting twice,” Rollow said later that afternoon, adding that it “couldn’t have happened in this situation.”
–Annie Grayer and Nicki Brown
A Wisconsin election official has dismissed claims made on social media suggesting a poll worker shown in a news clip was improperly filling out ballots.
The man appeared in footage of a polling center aired on a Fox News broadcast, sitting at a table with a stack of ballots in front of him, looking side to side as he flipped through the pages and made marks on the documents with his pen.
People on social media denounced the man’s actions, wondering if he was doing something illegal.
But the county clerk in Dane County, Wisconsin, told CNN he reviewed the incident and determined the man pictured in the video was a poll worker who initialed and put the ward number on the back of ballots. ballot, in preparation for the ballot papers to be given to voters.
“This process is required by law and is part of the check and balance process,” Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said in an email.
Some social media posts regarding the music video also incorrectly suspected the incident happened at a Philadelphia election center, but a Philadelphia County spokesperson confirmed to CNN that he had no place in a city polling station.
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