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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 11, 2022

Shapiro had more than a million votes in PA with 36% reporting, despite viral image

If Your Time is short

  • These figures are wrong. According to The Associated Press, when 36% of precincts were reporting, Josh Shapiro had more than a million votes and 56.6% of the total vote.

A picture of a TV election night graphic shows numbers that don’t add up. It’s being shared on social media as if it signals election tampering when in fact it was one conservative news network’s error. 

In the image, it looks as if Democrat Josh Shapiro, now Pennsylvania’s governor-elect, had 370,706 votes and 56.6% of the total vote with 36% of precincts reporting. Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, meanwhile, had 844,669 votes but only 41.6% of the total vote, according to the image. 

"Someone… anyone explain this?" one post sharing the image said. 

"Anyone care to explain this from last night?" said another

"Totalitarianism," someone replied. "Fraudulent voting." 

"STOLEN RIGGED AGAIN!!!" someone else said. "WOW."

It’s easy to see the math doesn’t add up. What’s more, the numbers in this graphic don’t reflect the race’s true results. 

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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 Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The logo for conservative network RSBN appears in the image’s corner. After we reached out to ask about the post, we received a press release dated Nov. 11 about an "error during election broadcast leading to incorrect data being displayed on screen."

The statement says that RSBN’s "third-party service provider, which was feeding our system with election data, had an issue with their servers. As a result, this caused us to need to manually input election numbers for the first five hours of our broadcast. Due to this issue, We incorrectly reported numbers in our broadcast. The issue included incorrect vote counts and incorrect percentages."

What the viral image of these numbers that’s spreading on social media doesn’t make clear: RSBN’s anchors "caught the error and corrected it on air," the statement says. 

We asked The Associated Press, which tracks elections across the country, what vote totals it showed for the candidates with 36% of precincts reporting. An AP spokesperson told us the news agency had 844,669 votes for Mastriano, as the image in the Instagram post shows. But Shapiro had 1,151,046 votes, or 56.5% of the total vote.

The Associated Press called the race for Shapiro just after midnight on Nov. 9 with 80% of the votes counted, according to Spotlight PA, a Pennsylvania news outlet. Spotlight PA noted that the AP declares winners "when it has determined that there is no mathematical path for trailing candidates to win from the ballots left to count." 

According to unofficial results on the Pennsylvania State Department’s website, Shapiro won with 2,946,236 votes, or about 56% of the vote. Mastriano, who has yet to concede the contest, took 2,214,582 votes, or about 42% of all votes in the race. Three other candidates split the remaining votes.

There is no merit to the claim that when 36% of the vote was reported, Shapiro trailed Mastriano while netting a larger percentage of the vote count. We rate that claim False.


Our Sources

Instagram post, Nov. 9, 2022

Drazabot 2022, Candidate number of votes at displayed time, Pennsylvania governor race, visited Nov. 10, 2022 

Spotlight PA, Republican Doug Mastriano yet to concede Pa. governor’s race nearly 2 days after Democrat Josh Shapiro declared winner, Nov. 10, 2022

Pennsylvania Department of State, Election results, visited Nov. 10, 2022

The Associated Press, Democrat Josh Shapiro wins Pennsylvania governor’s race, Nov. 9, 2022

Press release from RSBN, Nov. 11, 2022

Email interview with Lauren Easton, vice president of corporate communications, The Associated Press, Nov. 10, 2022


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Shapiro had more than a million votes in PA with 36% reporting, despite viral image

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