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The Republican party claimed that election fraud was rampant in Michigan. Will investigating these allegations change the state's results?

Were Michigan’s election results corrupted? Inside the allegations

November is usually a crazy month. There’s three weeks between Halloween & Thanksgiving, the decision to put Christmas decorations up before or after Thanksgiving, and the stress of Black Friday shopping. Add in a global pandemic and the U.S. election, and it becomes chaotic. 

Usually, election coverage is over by the weekend, but President Donald Trump & the Republican party are drawing it out with voter fraud claims in multiple states. Trump & his supporters are calling fraud in Michigan where, according to The Associated Press’s projections, Trump lost the state by 146,121 votes. There are multiple fraud claims in Michigan, but here are a few made by Trump & his supporters. 

100,000 votes all for Joe Biden 

Texas Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak tweeted photos of Michigan’s election map the day after Election Day. The map showed Joe Biden had gone up by over 100,000 votes overnight. The tweet went viral with 20,000 retweets. Many, including Trump, were shocked by the revelation, and conspiracy theories started popping up. 

The uptick was due to a typo from Shiawassee County, Michigan. The votes were part of an unofficial count from the county, and according to elections clerk Abigail Brown, “all it was is there was an extra zero that got typed in.” Shiawassee County submitted Joe Biden’s vote tally as 153,710 — it should’ve read 15,371. The simple clerical error was the result of all the confusion. The error was caught within thirty minutes and quickly fixed. 

Mackowiak tried to correct his error by deleting the original tweet and posting a new one, but it was too late. Many continued to cite his original tweet as evidence of fraud in Michigan. Mackowiak explained to The New York Times, “I certainly wasn’t intending to make a typo appear fraudulent. It didn’t occur to me that it could be a typo, but of course, we’re all going on very little sleep.”

Dead people voted

In a viral video, Austin Fletcher claimed he discovered proof of dead people voting in Michigan. Fletcher pointed to a State of Michigan website showing the voter roll and if voters submitted a ballot. He claimed four people with birthdays from 1900 to 1902 submitted absentee ballots for the 2020 election. 

According to The New York Times, in one case, a seventy-four-year-old woman in Hamilton Township voted absentee for the first time. Since the electronic voter role didn’t have her birthday on file, it assigned a default birthday of Jan. 1st, 1901. 

The town has a population of 3,400, and luckily, town clerk Catherine Lewis knew the woman. Lewis told The New York Times she drove to her house to get a copy of her driver’s license so her date of birth was on file. Lewis said she didn’t have time to get it into the system before Election Day but added, “She is a legal voter.”

In another case, William Bradley received an absentee ballot for himself & his 118-year-old deceased father. Bradley threw out his father’s ballot and turned in his, but an error accidentally recorded it from his father. Michigan’s State Department responded to the conspiracy, explaining, “Ballots of voters who have died are rejected in Michigan, even if the voter cast an absentee ballot and then died before Election Day.”

Software Error 

A Michigan county clerk announced they caught a software error in Antrim County. The error counted Donald Trump votes for Joe Biden. According to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Antrim had ballot changes to two county races, so the tabulators’ media drivers needed to be updated. Benson further explained officials missed some of the necessary changes, and the error only affected the unofficial totals. 

For the tabulators to communicate with the county’s election management system, they use media drivers to send the totals. If a change is made, every driver needs to be updated. County officials only updated the drivers for the county ballots, resulting in an error between the tabulators & the election management system. The paper tape from the tabulators showed they recorded every vote correctly. 

According to Benson, officials quickly corrected the error. “After discovering the error in reporting the unofficial results, the clerk worked diligently to report correct unofficial results by reviewing the printed totals tape on each tabulator and hand-entering the results for each race, for each precinct in the county.” 

Benson added: “There is no evidence this user error occurred elsewhere” and “is not the result of any intentional misconduct by an election official.”

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