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Fact check: Claim that turnout numbers prove U.S. election fraud uses wrong figures

A Gateway Pundit article falsely saying that “simple math” shows Biden fraudulently claimed 13 million illegitimate votes confuses the number of registered voters for the Voting Eligible Population to reach unsupported conclusions.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The article can be seen here and cites a tweet (here) by former National Security Agency (NSA) official Bill Binney who wrote, in part: “With 212Million registered voters and 66.2% voting,140.344 M voted. Now if Trump got 74 M, that leaves only 66.344 M for Biden. These numbers don’t add up to what we are being told. Lies and more Lies!” The article says Binney’s tweet is proof that “more people voted in the 2020 election nation-wide than were eligible to vote.”

Binney’s figure for the number of votes cast for Trump is broadly correct (74,222,958 votes, here). He also posted links to the website World Population Review’s tally of registered voters (here) and a Washington Post article (here), which appear to be the source of the 212 million and 66.2% figures respectively.

The Gateway Pundit attempted to retrace Binney’s steps and made similar conclusions.

The Gateway Pundit found that there were 213.8 million registered voters and calculated: “If we have 213.8 million registered voters in the US and 66.2% of all voters voted in the 2020 election, that equals 141.5 [million] voters who voted in the 2020 election (Binney shows 140 million which is materially the same). If President Trump won 74 million votes, then that leaves only 67.5 million votes remaining for Biden. This means 13 million duplicate or made up ballots were created and counted for Biden!”

However, both Binney and The Gateway Pundit confused registered voters for eligible voters. The Washington Post never reported that 66.2% of registered voters had voted in the 2020 presidential election. Rather they reported that 66.2% of the total Voting Eligible Population — which also includes resident adult citizens who were not registered — had voted (here).

The Washington Post’s story links to the Frequently Asked Questions webpage of The United States Election Project, which describes the Voting Eligible Population as the number of voting-age citizens adjusted for mentally incapacitated persons, persons in the military, civilians living overseas and, depending on state law, felons (here).

The website further clarifies that the Voting Eligible Population is different to the number of registered voter and explains its use of the term, saying: “The way by which eligible persons can register to vote varies across states. North Dakota does not have voter registration. Other states have a policy known as ‘Election Day Registration.’" (here)

The United States Election project gives the figure for the Voting Eligible Population as more than 239 million (www.electproject.org/2020g) — a figure more than 25 million higher than that given by the Gateway Pundit.

If we apply the 66.2% turnout rate to this figure, as the Washington Post clearly intended, about 158.6 million votes should have been cast, which is more than the combined number of votes cast for Biden and Trump. Other votes may have been cast for third-party candidates or spoiled.

The Washington Post’s story appears to have been updated and now says 66.3% of the Voting Eligible Population had voted. The Gateway Pundit’s article is incorrect in either case.

VERDICT

False. The Washington Post has said that 66.2% of the total Voting Eligible Population had cast a vote in the 2020 presidential election, not registered voters. Bill Binney and The Gateway Pundit applied the number of registered voters to this unrelated turnout percentage figure reported by the Washington Post. They then claimed that this misuse of the figures was incorrectly proof of election fraud.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here here .

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