Social media users have been sharing a long post online that contains various claims about the 2020 election. The list contains a mixture of opinion and mostly false information this article seeks to address.
Examples can be seen here and here .
The posts start with a paragraph saying that after “Trump led in all the battleground states by large margins,” Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Nevada all “for some unexplainable reason” took a pause for three hours, leading to voter fraud.
The post claims that Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Nevada all have Democrat governors. This is true. Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina and Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada are all Democrats. ( here )
STATES STOPPED COUNTING
The posts start with the claim that these five states took a three-hour shutdown in which they “found enough votes for Biden to catch Trump.” There is no evidence to show that any of these states took a three-hour break from counting votes.
Wisconsin did not stop counting on election night. In an elections update video posted on YouTube by PBS NewsHour ( here ), Meagan Wolfe, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, can be heard saying at the 1:18 minute mark: “Our municipal and county clerks have worked tirelessly throughout the night to make sure that every valid ballot has been counted and reported accurately.”
Michigan did not stop counting ballots. Politifact reported that Tracy Wimmer, director of media relations for the Michigan Secretary of State, said: "At no point has the counting process stopped since it began at 7 a.m. yesterday morning (Nov. 3), which was when, per Michigan election law, it could begin.” ( here )
Misunderstandings over tally updates stopping temporarily on election night in Philadelphia are explained in a Reuters Fact Check ( here ) .
North Carolina did stop counting votes on election night, but it was not due to voter fraud. Local television station WSOC-TV reported that Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the state elections board, said: “North Carolina stopped counting votes on election night because there were no more votes to count that night” and added: “With very few exceptions, North Carolina’s election results will not change until November 12 or 13, when all mail-in ballots are received and counted by each county.” ( here )
The Nevada Secretary of State released a statement explaining that the state did not stop counting ballots and that the “counting of ballots is ongoing and will continue until every cast ballot is counted.” ( here )
BIDEN CAUGHT UP
The posts question how it is possible that Biden would catch up overnight. They say: “At midnight in Michigan, Trump was ahead by 5% (400 thousand votes) with 80% of the votes already counted. When the next 10% of votes of about 400,000 were counted from Wayne County (Detroit), then suddenly Biden caught Trump with 90% of the votes in. Biden made up 5% with 10% of the total vote. That means that all the votes (close to 100%) from Wayne went to Biden. That also means that practically all registered voters voted in Wayne County.”
Reuters could not confirm the claim that Trump led Michigan by 400,000 votes on election night (though Decision Desk HQ showed a close 359,797 difference at 11 p.m. ET, here ). CNBC reported that in-person votes, which leaned Republican, were counted first and mail-in votes, which leaned Democrat, were counted next in Michigan ( here ). This helps explain the shift from Trump to Biden as mail-in votes were tallied.
It is not true that all Wayne County Voters went to Biden. The unofficial results are available on the Wayne County website ( here ) , and the “unofficial results summary report” shows there were 867,409 ballots cast and 1,406,355 registered voters. About 67.99% of the total votes were for Biden in Wayne County.
USA Today reported in a fact check that Trump had a lead of more than 100,000 votes in Wisconsin and this changed after Milwaukee’s central count finished counting mail in votes at around 3:30 a.m. ( here ) Biden took the lead after mail-in votes were counted.
Reuters fact-checked claims that vote spikes for Biden in Michigan and Wisconsin were evidence of voter fraud: ( here ) .
WISCONSIN HAD MORE VOTES CAST THAN VOTERS REGISTERED
Reuters Fact Check debunked this claim here .
Wisconsin had a record turnout in the 2020 election, but the number of votes was not higher than the number of registered voters. The numbers used in the claim are outdated and false.
The total number of registered voters in the state on Nov. 1, 2020 at 7 a.m. was 3,684,726 ( archive.vn/PXAD8 ).
The post says: “FOX called AZ only 30 minutes after the polls closed with less than 50% of the votes. Arizona had a million outstanding votes in Republican Maricopa County with Biden ahead in the state by only 100,000 when AZ was called for Biden.”
Polls closed at 9:00 p.m. ET for Arizona on election day ( here ).
FOX News projected at 11:20 p.m. ET on election night that Biden would win Arizona with around 80% of the votes counted, not 50%, and almost two and a half hours after polls closed, not 30 minutes ( here ). The Associated Press backed Fox’s call on Arizona three hours later ( here ).
As of this article’s publication, Reuters had not yet called a winner for Arizona as votes continued to be counted on Nov. 9.
The posts say: “Covid became the reason for the unsolicited mail out of ballots by Democrat governors. Covid was used to scare voters and to distract them from Trump accomplishments.” COVID-19 did lead to an increase in more states proactively sending mail-in ballots this year, but this is not the first time other states used voting by mail as their primary method ( here ).
Further reading explaining the safety of mail-in voting, a system that has been tried and tested, can be seen here , here and here .
Partly false. Lengthy Facebook posts contains inaccuracies over what happened during election night, mixed with opinion.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.