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- The percentage of votes each gubernatorial candidate had changed even after it looked like 100% of the ballots were counted. But that figure only reflected ballots cast at the polls, not mail-in ballots, provisional ballots, or early voting ballots.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy beat his Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli in a tight race that was punctuated with unfounded accusations of voter fraud.
One image being shared on Facebook shows screenshots of election results posted on the New York Times website.
"At midnight Bergen County (the biggest county) was 100% reported... and red.." the post said. "By 7:30 AM they ‘found’ 40,000 more votes and flipped to blue?!?!"
The screenshot shows Ciattarelli with 52% of the vote at 12:23 a.m. with 100% of votes reported. The total number of votes shown is 219,984.
Another screenshot shows Murphy with 52% of the vote at 7:32 a.m., and 100% of votes reported. The total number of votes shown is 261,528.
A similar set of screenshots from election results posted on NPR’s website that are being shared online highlight the same thing. It looks like the vote is "100% in" in Bergen County, but the candidate with the edge shifts from the Republican to the Democrat.
These 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.)
We reached out to the Bergen County clerk’s office about the posts.
Sabrina Taranto, the elections division supervisor in the Bergen County clerk’s office, told PolitiFact that because of the way the county tallies its votes, 100% means that "70 of the 70 towns in Bergen County’s election day machines were received and counted."
In this case, 100% does not include other types of votes, such as mail-in ballots, provisional ballots, and early voting ballots.
"This is the standard method followed by our office for every election," Taranto said.
Most of the early voting results were tabulated on election night and then integrated with the election day results on the clerk’s website, she said. After early voting results were finalized on Nov. 3, the results on the website were updated again.
The Associated Press has called the race for Murphy, but the county’s election results are still unofficial until the election is certified.
Clearly, some people have been confused by the county’s method for presenting its election results. But it’s not evidence of fraud, and 40,000 weren’t "found" — they were counted.
We rate claims that Bergen County fraudulently gave more votes to Murphy than Ciattarelli after all ballots were counted False.
Facebook post, Nov. 3, 2021
Facebook post, Nov. 3, 2021
The New York Times, New Jersey election results, last updated Nov. 5, 2021
New Jersey 101.5, 100% doesn’t mean 100% — why NJ vote tallies may confuse you, Nov. 3, 2021
Email interview with Sabrina Taranto, elections division supervisor, Bergen County clerk’s office, Nov. 4, 2021
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