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The blog post’s assertions rest on the testimony of a conservative poll-watching organization called True the Vote. The group told Wisconsin Assembly members that they weren’t alleging that the votes were illegal, but that the process was abused.
Gateway Pundit assumed that all of the mail-in ballots that True the Vote raised questions about are illegal and should be thrown out, and that all of them were for Biden.
Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, and allegations of a rigged election have been refuted by audits, judges, and officials in Trump’s administration.
Trump lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden, and allegations of a rigged election have been refuted by audits, judges, and officials in Trump’s administration.
A headline in the Gateway Pundit on April 24 said: "A STOLEN ELECTION: State Totals Minus Illegal Ballot Trafficking Numbers Give President Trump Decisive Victories in AZ, GA, MI, PA, and WI."
The post claims: "President Trump won in a blowout. Now we have the proof."
This post was 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 article is written by editor Jim Hoft, who uses testimony from True the Vote, a national conservative poll-watching organization founded in 2010 that has spread misinformation in the past, to make his case.
According to Hoft, the group testified to members of the Wisconsin Assembly that 7% of ballots left in ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin were "likely fraudulent." However, True the Vote told Wisconsin lawmakers that they aren’t alleging that the ballots were illegal, but that the process was abused.
Hoft takes True the Vote’s disputed claims of an abused process and goes further, saying that 7% of the ballots shouldn’t be counted.
Hoft subtracts 7% of each state’s total number of mail-in and early returned ballots from Biden’s total votes to come to the conclusion that Trump won.
In two hours of testimony in front of the Wisconsin Assembly’s Committee on Campaigns and Elections on March 24, True the Vote explained why they think that 7% of mail-in ballots were "trafficked" in Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, or collected by paid operatives and placed in drop boxes. They also allege that there were inaccurate voter rolls and other problems.
The group came to this conclusion by looking at location data from cell phone users who made repeat visits to drop boxes and to the headquarters of nongovernmental organizations that were engaged in get-out-the-vote efforts, as well as video surveillance. When asked by lawmakers, the group refused to identify the nongovernmental organizations.
But the Wisconsin Elections Commission said that cell phone data showing that people are repeatedly near a ballot drop box, alone, is not evidence of a crime.
Kenneth Mayer, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Hoft’s conclusions are "fundamentally dishonest." Mayer said that "ballot harvesting" is a pejorative term and implies fraudulent activity where none has been found.
"From beginning to end, it’s a dishonest foundation," Mayer said. "There’s no truth to any of it."
Ballot collection or "ballot harvesting," involves the gathering of absentee ballots from voters, sometimes by paid operatives, and delivering them to drop boxes or voting locations. The practice was permitted in Wisconsin in the 2020 election, though whether it can continue is the subject of a court case expected to be decided in June.
Wisconsin’s vote totals have been affirmed in multiple investigations.
The Associated Press investigated every potential case of voter fraud in six battleground states, including Wisconsin, and found that the disputed ballots represented just .15% of Biden’s margin of victory in those states. The article published in December found that the disputed ballots did not indicate any intent to rig the election, and that in "virtually every" case, individuals were acting alone to cast additional ballots.
Hoft did not respond to a message sent through his website.
A Gateway Pundit headline claims "A STOLEN ELECTION: State totals minus illegal ballot trafficking numbers give President Trump decisive victories in AZ, GA, MI, PA, and WI."
The blog post’s assertions rest on the testimony of True the Vote, a conservative poll-watching organization. The group told Wisconsin Assembly members that they weren’t alleging that the votes were illegal, but that the process was abused.
Gateway Pundit assumed that all of the mail-in ballots True the Vote cast doubt on are illegal and should be thrown out, and that all of them were for Biden.
This claim is not accurate. We rate this False.
Gateway Pundit, "A STOLEN ELECTION: State Totals Minus Illegal Ballot Trafficking Numbers Give President Trump Decisive Victories in AZ, GA, MI, PA, and WI," April 24, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.
PolitiFact, "True the Vote says Eric Holder supports NAACP request for United Nations' involvement in U.S. elections," Jan. 27, 2012. Accessed April 26, 2022.
Reuters, "Pro-Trump news site targets election workers, inspiring wave of menace," Dec. 3, 2021. Accessed April 26, 2022.
PolitiFact, "Gateway Pundit conflates voter outreach with voter fraud in bogus claim," Oct. 19, 2021. Accessed April 26, 2022.
Associated Press, "Far too little vote fraud to tip election to Trump, AP finds," Dec. 14, 2021. Accessed April 27, 2022.
True the Vote, "ELECTION INTEGRITY TESTIMONY IN WISCONSIN ON THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2022," March 25, 2022. Accessed April 27, 2022.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Wisconsin Elections Commission approves sending 2.7 million absentee ballot request forms to voters," June 17, 2020. Accessed April 27, 2022.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Conservative group finds no signs of widespread voter fraud in Wisconsin but urges changes to election processes," Dec. 7, 2021. Accessed April 28, 2022.
PolitiFact, "The facts of a fair US election have only gotten stronger since Capitol attack," Jan. 6, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022.
PolitiFact, "Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson jumps gun on calling ballot drop boxes illegal," Feb. 11, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022.
Madison.com/Wisconsin State Journal, "Conservative group claims 'ballot trafficking' in 2020 Wisconsin election, but won't share evidence," March 25, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022.
Phone interview, Kenneth Mayer, professor of political science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, April 28, 2022.
Washington Post "‘Ballot trafficking’ is the next front in the unending fight over 2020," April 6, 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "Wisconsin Supreme Court considers whether to allow absentee ballot drop boxes this fall," April 13, 2022. Accessed April 29, 2022
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