Fact Check: 2022 Election Disinformation and Conspiracy Theories

Fact Check: 2022 Election Disinformation and Conspiracy Theories

Fact Check: 2022 Election Disinformation and Conspiracy Theories


False claims and conspiracy theories about voting and the election process swirled on social media as Americans voted on Tuesday.

The disinformation was started by the Republicans. Former President Donald Trump and other prominent right-wing figures seized on technical problems in some key states to suggest, without foundation, that there was deliberate malfeasance. Trump also made a baseless claim of massive voter fraud.

Here’s a look at some of the early false and misleading claims. This article will be updated as CNN investigates additional claims.

Trump, who has several times and fake claimed there was massive voter fraud in the 2020 election, suggested on social media Tuesday that such fraud could occur in the 2022 midterms.

“Same thing happening with voter fraud as happened in 2020???” former president wrote Tuesday afternoon on his Truth Social platform.

Was there is no evidence widespread voter fraud or electoral fraud that alters the outcome of the 2020 election, and there were no signs on Tuesday of any significant voter fraud in the 2022 midterm elections. Voter fraud typically represents a small portion of the ballots in US elections.

Trump made his claim Tuesday amid a series of social media posts in which he complained about a variety of things technical difficulties in some states. There was no evidence that any of these problems involved intentional malfeasance, let alone “voter fraud.”

–Daniel Dale

Maricopa County, the most populous county in Arizona, has tweeted exposing a prominent Republican figure’s false claim on Election Day about wait times to vote.

Charlie Kirk, founder and president of the right-wing group Turning Point USA, tweeted Tuesday to his 1.8 million followers: “Minimum 2 hour wait at most polling places in Maricopa. The Democrats running the election here knew this would happen. Traffic congestion by design. DON’T LET 2020 GO. WAIT IN LINE AND VOTE.”

The tweet was completely false.

Maricopa County elections are not run by Democrats: its chief elections officer, Recorded by Stephen Richerand its Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Bill Gates, both are Republicans. And online wait times in the district tracker showed that at dozens of polling stations the wait was less than five minutes, including many without a wait. District voters are allowed to vote whichever location you choose.

Maricopa County experienced Election Day technical problems with tabulation devices at about 20% of their polling places, according to county officials Tuesday morning. The problem forced officials to ask affected voters to place their ballot in a secure counting box, wait for problems with the tabulator to be resolved, or go to another location in the district to vote. (Richer issued an afternoon statement saying the Board of Supervisors had identified the problem and had “begun to repair the affected polling locations.” He promised that “every legal vote will be tabulated.”)

But there was no indication of deliberate malfeasance.

Maricopa County he said in his tweet in response to Kirk’s tweet: “No part of the tweet below is true. In the vast majority of polling centers, the waiting time is less than 30 minutes, and whether it is a tab or a secure ballot box, all voters are served.”

–Daniel Dale

Conspiracy theorists are warning voters to “check for WiFi” network names and connections inside and outside their polling stations, a new iteration of the debunked conspiracy that voting machines are connected to the internet and can change votes remotely.

“Check Wifi connections, both inside and outside polling stations. Voting machines should not be connected to the Internet. Take a screenshot to report irregularities for investigation,” read one tweet.

Calls on social media such as Telegram and Twitter echo previously debunked conspiracy theories that voting machines are connected to the Internet, allowing tampering by third-party saboteurs or election officials to switch votes from one candidate to another.

In reality, the “voting machines” that actually mark the ballots are usually not directly connected to the Internet, despite the cries of election conspiracy theorists. Larger voting systems can be connected to the Internet, often to use the election management software used to program the machines and test them, but this should happen before voting.

Polling places in many states use WiFi to access electronic poll books to verify voter eligibility.

On Tuesday there were isolated incidents of those electronic survey books — laptops used by election workers to make sure voters are registered — are down at polling places in Detroit, Michigan, because of computer problems, but that didn’t stop voters from casting their ballots.

The “voting machines” that actually mark the ballots are usually not directly connected to the Internet. But the supporting parts that make up the voting process can be – like election management software used to pre-program voting machines.

– In Steck and Olivia Alafriz

Trump called on followers to “protest,” and the GOP nominee for Michigan secretary of state falsely claimed that “fraud” was to blame for what officials called a “harmless data error” in Detroit.

By the time Trump weighed in, the Michigan State Department had already looked back at what happened at select polling places in Detroit and said a solution had been identified. That repair was sent to the police by 11 o’clock

Even while the situation was still under review, “voters could always vote,” Michigan State Department spokesman Jake Rollow told reporters Tuesday. “At no time was there, was there any impossibility to process the voter who showed up,” he said.

Rollow said there have been “a couple of reports” of isolated problems with e-poll books at some Detroit stations. The e-poll books are portable computers that have a static download of voter rolls, Rollow said. When voters arrive at their polling station, election workers check them in the e-survey book to make sure they are registered, at the right polling station and have not already voted in absentia. Polling places have paper backups to verify voters, Rollow said.

The city of Detroit’s Department of Elections explained in a statement that some e-poll books displayed an incorrect message that read, “Ballot # has already been issued as an absentee ballot,” due to a “harmless data error,” but it was not does not mean that someone tried to vote twice.

Regardless, Kristina Karamo, GOP candidate for Michigan Secretary of State, fake tweeted that there was “fraud” and “crime”.

And Trump falsely said on his Truth Social account, “The absentee voting situation in Detroit is REALLY BAD. People show up at the Vote only to be told, ‘sorry, you’ve already voted.’ It happens in large numbers, and elsewhere. Protest, protest, protest!”

Rollow explained that sometimes the same numbers are used for in-person voting and absentee voting because they are separate sets of ballots, and the technology is supposed to ignore that.

If pollsters ran into a problem, they were instructed to mark the ballot with an ‘X’ to make it clear the ballot was cast in person, he said.

Some voters who were affected earlier in the morning received a provisional ballot, Rollow said. Those provisional ballots will be counted as if they were standard ballots and voters need not take any additional action, he said.

“Protections have already been in place and have always been in place to protect anyone from voting twice,” Rollow said later in the afternoon, adding that it “couldn’t happen in this situation.”

–Annie Grayer and Nicki Brown

A Wisconsin election official has dismissed claims made on social media suggesting the pollster shown in the news footage improperly filled out ballots.

The man appeared in a video of a polling station broadcast on Fox News, sitting at a table with a stack of ballots in front of him, looking from side to side as he flipped through pages and jotted down documents with a pen.

People took to social media to call out the man’s actions, wondering if he was doing something illegal.

But the county clerk in Dane County, Wisconsin, told CNN that he investigated the incident and determined that the man pictured in the video was a poll worker who initialed and marked the ward number on the back of the ballots in preparation for the ballots to be cast. be distributed to voters.

“This process is required by law and is part of the checks and balances process,” Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said in an email.

Some social media posts about the video also wrongly suspected the incident took place at a polling center in Philadelphia, but a Philadelphia County spokesman confirmed to CNN that it did not happen at a polling place in the city.

– Blake Ellis

#Fact #Check #Election #Disinformation #Conspiracy #Theories

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