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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 10, 2022

No, these photos aren’t evidence of voter fraud in Detroit

If Your Time is short

  • The deadline for voters to deliver absentee ballots to one of 20 drop boxes in Detroit was 8 p.m. on Election Day. 
  • It is standard for election workers to drive around the city collecting the ballots from the drop boxes. The workers bring the collected ballots to the elections department to get a time stamp, then deliver the ballots to the convention center to be counted. 
  • In the 2022 midterm, this required process took all night.
 

A recent headline on The Gateway Pundit blog declared victory in the fight to substantiate claims of voter fraud. 

"We caught them again: TGP catches late-night operatives moving van-loads of suspicious ballots way after legal deadline in Detroit, Michigan," the Nov. 9 headline said. The post includes a photo of people unloading boxes from a van with a time stamp that suggests it was taken at 1:22 a.m.

It might look like a big "gotcha" moment, but not after digging a little deeper.

An Instagram post sharing a screenshot of the headline was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The blog post where the claim originated accurately said that Michigan polls closed at 8 p.m. on Election Day. But then it starts to overreach. 

"The City of Detroit in Michigan was collecting thousands of ballots significantly after the legal deadline," it said. "This video is from the Detroit Department of Elections at 2978 West Grand. Ballots are processed there, entering and exiting through the garage in the alley behind the building. We can exclusively report that the City of Detroit was handling and beginning to process a significant number of ballots at 11:30 p.m. on election night." 

The post falsely claims that "they stole the vote in 2020 from you, and it appears they may have stolen the vote from you again in 2022." It also asks several questions: "Where did these ballots come from?" "Why are they arriving at the Detroit Bureau of Election so suspiciously late on election night?" "What could possibly account for so many ballots arriving so late?"

Let’s answer them. 

The polls closed at 8 p.m. on Election Day, and that was also the deadline for when voters needed to deliver their absentee ballots to a drop box. 

Matt Friedman, a Detroit Department of Elections representative, told us that this year there were 20 drop boxes across the city, which is about 139 square miles. After the polls closed, election workers were dispatched to collect the absentee ballots from the drop boxes. It’s "a time-consuming process because of the size of the city," Friedman said.

The ballots are then brought to the elections department, at the address cited in the blog post. There, the ballots are time-stamped. Next, workers bring them to the Huntington Place convention center in downtown Detroit, which is the central counting location for absentee ballots, Friedman said. There, the ballots are processed and counted. 

Friedman said that if the photos on the blog indeed capture what the Gateway Pundit says they show — workers delivering ballots to the elections department — it’s not suspicious. It’s a required stop in the vote-counting process. 

Friedman said the time stamps on the photos in the blog post match the time the absentee ballots arrived at the elections department for time-stamping, he said. Again: that’s not suspicious. It was expected and a required part of vote counting.

Friedman, meanwhile, said he was at the convention center on election night and he saw ballots arriving in the middle of the night to be processed and counted. Election workers were counting and verifying ballots there until 6 a.m., Friedman said. 

"It was late," he said, "because to follow the law and make sure all the votes are counted, that’s what needs to happen." 

Claims that election workers in Detroit were caught illegally moving ballots rate False.

 

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No, these photos aren’t evidence of voter fraud in Detroit

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