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Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke November 13, 2020
Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman November 13, 2020

No evidence Dominion Voting Systems caused widespread tabulation errors that flipped votes for Biden

If Your Time is short

  • There is no credible evidence that the voting system affected any vote tallies.

  • Dominion Voting Systems was only used in a few counties that experienced minor problems that were quickly resolved, and were either the result of human error or temporary malfunctions.

  • These claims are a misunderstanding of how election administration works, experts said. The process involves several protocols and rigorous testing that would make it exceedingly difficult for mass fraud to happen at this level undetected.

Dominion Voting Systems, which makes software and hardware for election officials to use around the country, is at the center of baseless claims that say "glitches" from its machines caused mistakes in vote tallies to favor Joe Biden in several states.

Posts going around social media are spreading the claim alongside maps of the United States that appeared on the conservative news network NewsMax. 

Anna Paulina Luna, a Republican who lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th congressional district race, shared the graphics on her social media accounts and said:

"Whistleblowers who worked for Dominion software have come forward. The 2020 election is compromised due to this software/ the coding or ‘glitch’ to FLIP votes to Biden. We MUST fix this for future elections!"

The first map highlights the states that used Dominion machines — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The second map shows that, consequently, these are the same states where President Donald Trump is filing lawsuits that allege election fraud.

President Donald Trump tweeted a more wide-ranging claim related to the system, saying, in part, that it "deleted" 2.7 million votes for his re-election nationwide. We rated that Pants on Fire.

 
But the technology is utilized in at least 28 states, not just the six where Trump has brought legal challenges. It was used in a few counties in Michigan and Georgia that experienced problems, but those cases didn’t affect the vote counts. The problems were minor and quickly resolved, and were either the result of human error or temporary malfunctions.

The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The issues in Georgia and Michigan

It all started in Antrim County, Mich., when a clerk’s error led to an incorrect early tally that made it appear as if Joe Biden was winning it by about 3,000 votes. The error was never an official result and was corrected within two days, putting Trump ahead in the county by about 2,500 votes.

The Michigan secretary of state’s office said it came down to human error by the Antrim County clerk, not a failure in Dominion’s system.

"Because the clerk did not update software, even though the tabulators counted all the ballots correctly, those accurate results were not combined properly when the clerk reported unofficial results," the Nov. 6 statement said.

The mistake was limited to that one county. It is one of 65 counties in Michigan that use the company’s equipment.

In Georgia, early morning voting halted temporarily in Morgan and Spalding counties when individual Dominion machines malfunctioned. 

The issue there had to do with a breakdown between the digital list of voters provided by one company, and the voting machines provided by Dominion. Technicians resolved the problem, and a judge allowed the affected polls to stay open until 11 p.m. to make up for lost time.

Georgia uses the same system statewide, and the glitch took place only in these two counties. There is no report that votes were miscounted. Trump easily carried both places, winning by a 40-point margin in Morgan County and by 20 points in Spalding.

"No credible reports or evidence of any software issues exist," Dominion says on its website. "While no election is without isolated issues, Dominion Voting Systems are reliably and accurately counting ballots. State and local election authorities have publicly confirmed the integrity of the process."

RELATED: Trump supporters falsely tie Nancy Pelosi to broader election misfire scheme

Featured Fact-check

Claims that Dominion deleted, switched votes are baseless

There is no credible evidence that any voting system was used to switch or delete votes, as online posts, President Trump and some right-wing media organizations are claiming. 

The "whistleblower" referenced in Luna's Facebook post seems to have originated from Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, who claimed that he was in contact with whistleblowers from Dominion, though he did not provide any evidence.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security, released a joint statement with national, state and private election officials that said there is "no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised." 

The report Trump cited in his tweet aired Nov. 12 on One America News Network, a pro-Trump television network. The network cited an "unaudited analysis of data obtained by Edison Research." We reached out to OANN for a copy of that analysis but haven’t heard back. 

Edison Research is a company that contracts with the National Election Pool, a consortium of American news organizations, to provide exit polling data during election cycles. Edison Research also partners with several TV networks to provide vote tabulation data.

The company said it has not found data that back up OANN’s report or Trump’s tweet.

"Edison Research has produced no such report and we have no evidence of any voter fraud," said Larry Rosin, president of Edison Research.

RELATED: Dominion Voting Systems "deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide." 

Election technology experts called the claims baseless, and said the numbers (like Trump’s 2.7 million "deleted" votes) are almost impossible to prove without a digital forensic investigation and a nationwide audit. 

Edward Perez, election-technology expert at the OSET Institute, a nonprofit that studies voting infrastructure, said these claims show a misunderstanding of how election administration works.

The process involves numerous protocols that include rigorous system tests that take place publicly, and before the technology is used in elections, Perez said.

"In the U.S., the way that elections are actually run, technology does not exist in a vacuum. It’s only one of multiple critical things that would make it exceedingly difficult for mass fraud to happen at this level undetected," he said.

Nearly all election jurisdictions engage in testing of their systems and ballots before every election. In order for an election jurisdiction to flip votes fraudulently, bad actors would need to figure out how to simulate the appearance of that public testing.

"Statutes sometimes require this kind of ‘logic and accuracy testing,’ and even when they do not, it is a common process conducted by local election officials," the National Conference of State Legislatures says on its website. "Logic and accuracy testing is generally conducted in public and serves dual purposes. First, it demonstrates that the voting system is able to accurately and completely tabulate the ballot and report results. Second, the public nature of it increases voter confidence."

And in many places, the test doesn’t only occur on the front end. A similar process is done, again, before officials start tabulating ballots.

Without any credible evidence that the voting system is resulting in mass tabulation errors, Perez said, the posts and stories appear to border on outright disinformation.

"The claims have reached a scale that is so wild and outlandish that it is perfectly reasonable for people to wonder if the intent of such messages is to specifically inflame passions and to confuse people and undermine public confidence in the legitimacy of the election."

Our ruling

Viral social media posts claim that the 2020 presidential election is compromised because Dominion Voting Systems flipped votes to favor Joe Biden.

This is wrong. There is no credible evidence that the system affected any vote counts. Minor problems, including human error and temporary machine malfunctions, took place in a few jurisdictions and did not impact vote tabulations.

We rate this Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Facebook post, Nov. 11, 2020 

Instagram post, Nov. 11, 2020 

Tweet from Donald Trump, Nov. 12, 2020

PolitiFact, Trump supporters falsely tie Nancy Pelosi to broader election misfire scheme, Nov. 9, 2020

New York Times, No, Dominion voting machines did not cause widespread voting problems, Nov. 11, 2020 

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, JOINT STATEMENT FROM ELECTIONS INFRASTRUCTURE GOVERNMENT COORDINATING COUNCIL & THE ELECTION INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR COORDINATING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES, Nov. 12, 2020 

Edison Research, "The survey of record for U.S. elections," Accessed Nov. 12, 2020

National Conference of State Legislatures, Election Security: State Policies, Accessed Nov. 12, 2020 

Associated Press, Posts falsify ties between election tech firm and Democrats, Nov. 10, 2020

DominionVoting.com, ELECTION 2020: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT, Nov. 11, 2020 

Email from Larry Rosin, president of Edison Research, Nov. 12, 2020

Phone/Email interview, Edward Perez election-technology expert at the OSET Institute, Nov. 12, 2020

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No evidence Dominion Voting Systems caused widespread tabulation errors that flipped votes for Biden

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