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Politics Fact check: States don't have more than 100% voter turnout in an election

05:50  09 november  2020
05:50  09 november  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Claim: Several key states had more ballots cast than registered voters

a man wearing glasses: An election worker examine ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta. © Brynn Anderson, AP An election worker examine ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta.

Even as Joe Biden prepares enter the White House as president-elect, the president and the internet are spreading misinformation about the election. A recent meme uses outdated data to argue fraudulent votes have undermined the election's integrity.

“Huh. It just so happened that we are on track to have more votes than registered voters in every single state that could potentially win Trump the election,” claims an image posted to Facebook on Nov. 4. “You’ve been caught Dems.”

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The meme includes a table with the number of registered voters, projected votes and voter turnout rate from several battleground states. Of the states listed (Nevada, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia) voter turnout is above 100% for all but Georgia. The data is attributed to Real Clear Politics and WorldPopulationReview.com.

Another user shared the same table to Facebook group Latinos for Trump the same day.

While the meme does not explicitly say Democrats manufactured fraudulent votes to prevent a Trump victory, Facebook users read between the lines.

More: Fact check: Trump ballots were not thrown out as claimed by fake poll worker

Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting

  Police, experts monitoring extremist groups to see if poll watchers try to disrupt voting The states with the highest risk for election-related violence by armed extremist groups are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and Oregon.President Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed voter fraud is widespread, has called for an army of poll watchers to ensure the election is fair. Right-wing extremist groups have signaled they plan to heed the call. Left-wing groups have vowed to confront people they believe are engaged in voter suppression.

“This whole thing has me so frustrated,” one Facebook user commented. “The cheating and corrupt deep state, the fake news, they already have Biden winning no matter what. They’re shoving that narrative down our throats.”

“We need to remember even in a good voting yr 60-70 % of voter turn out is a lot! So 100% of voters voting should be suspicious,” commented another.

Neither Facebook user who posted the table responded to USA TODAY's request for comment.

More: Fact check: False claim that deceased Michigan man voted in 2020

Claim based on outdated data

Archived pages from World Population Review show the table in the posts match that site's data as of Nov. 4. But that doesn't mean it reflected the number of registered voters as of Nov. 3. The site updated its voter registration data to reflect this year’s election the next day.

Archived pages of the website show that prior to Nov. 4 the voter registration data on the site had not been updated on the site since at least Aug. 7. The updated website now offers the date each total was counted for context since these numbers change – especially right before a major presidential election.

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State data shows higher registration totals

Each state's website offers data on voter registration and total votes, which confirm those states have not counted more votes than they've registered voters. As of Nov. 6:

  • Nevada reported 1,821,864 registered voters, 1,280,639 ballots cast and 70.29% turnout.
  • Pennsylvania reported 9,091,371 registered voters and 6,685,865 ballots cast. From this data USA TODAY calculated Pennsylvania had about 73.54% voter turnout.
  • Minnesota reported 3,589,785 registered voters and 3,278,548 ballots cast. From this data USA TODAY calculated Minnesota had about 91.32% voter turnout.
  • North Carolina reported 7.36 million registered voters, 5.49 million ballots cast and 74.6% turnout.
  • Wisconsin reported 3,684,726 registered voters and about 3,289,472 ballots cast. USA TODAY found voter turnout to be about 72.3% in a previous fact check.
  • Michigan reported 8,128,430 registered voters and 5,519,348 ballots cast. From this data USA TODAY calculated Michigan had about 67.9% voter turnout.
  • Arizona reported 4,281,152 registered voters, 3,154,794 ballots casts and 73.69% turnout.
  • Georgia reported at least 7,587,625 registered voters and 4,960,605 ballots cast. From this data USA TODAY calculated Michigan had about 65.38% voter turnout or less.

World Population Review’s updated data approximately mirrors each state’s registration totals and is much higher than the registration totals reflected in the meme.

Fact check: False claim that deceased Michigan man voted in 2020

  Fact check: False claim that deceased Michigan man voted in 2020 Viral posts on social media claim a deceased man cast an absentee ballot in Michigan this year. That's false.Early Thursday morning, conservative commentator Fleccas Talks tweeted that an 118-year-old man named William Bradley had cast an absentee ballot in Michigan. The caveat? Bradley died in 1984, Fleccas wrote. Shortly after, “Students for Trump” founder Ryan Fournier posted the same claim on Facebook.

It is unclear from where the table’s creators pulled the projected vote totals, which are higher than several states’ Nov. 6 reports of ballots cast.

More: Fact check: Arizona election departments confirm Sharpies can be used on ballots

Our ruling: False

Updated data and individual state reporting show no state had more than 100% voter turnout for the 2020 election. The implication that Democrats doctored election results to show higher turnout than possible is based off outdated data that has since been updated. We rate the claim that several swing-states received more votes than they had registered voters FALSE.

Our fact-check sources:

  • USA TODAY, Nov. 6, "Waiting for election results: Americans grapple with anxiety, fear and optimism while votes continue to be counted"
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 5, "We fact-checked President Trump's speech about the election. Here's what we found."
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 5, "False claims have been spreading about Election Day. We fact checked viral ones and found false claims.""
  • David Jill Noyes Rodrigues' Nov. 4 Facebook Post
  • Media Bias/Fact Check, "Real Clear Politics"
  • World Population Review, "Number Of Registered Voters by State 2020"
  • Miguel Rodriguez's Nov. 4 Facebook Post
  • Wayback Machine, Nov. 4, WorldPopulationReview.com , "Number Of Registered Voters by State 2020"
  • Wayback Machine, Nov. 5, WorldPopulationReview.com , "Number Of Registered Voters by State 2020"
  • Wayback Machine, Nov. 7, WorldPopulationReview.com , "Number Of Registered Voters by State 2020"
  • Office of Nevada Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske, Nov. 5, "Cumulative General Election Turnout"
  • Pennsylvania Department of State,  Nov. 2, "Voter registration statistics by county"
  • Pennsylvania Department of State, "2020 Presidential Election"
  • Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, "Elections & Voting: Statewide Results for U.S. President & Vice President"
  • North Carolina State Board of Elections , "General Election Data"
  • Wisconsin Elections Nov. 4 Tweet
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 6, "2020 Wisconsin Election Results"
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 5, "Fact check: Wisconsin turnout in line with past elections, didn't jump 22% as claimed"
  • Michigan Voter Information Center, "Voter registration statistics"
  • The Office of Secretary of Stage Jocelyn Benson, "2020 Michigan Election Results"
  • Katie Hobbs Secretary of State, State of Arizona, "2020 General Election"
  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Oct. 6, "GEORGIA EASY VOTER REGISTRATION OPTIONS BREAK NEW RECORDS"
  • Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, "Results"

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: States don't have more than 100% voter turnout in an election

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