Don’t be fooled: 5 types of misinformation we expect this election season

Spread the love

Don’t be fooled: 5 types of misinformation we expect this election season:- Add a third thing to the list of things that will always happen: death, taxes, and false charges of election fraud.

With the Super Tuesday primaries, the real countdown to November’s presidential election starts. In the coming months, social media feeds will be full of promises that everyone knows are true. If you’ve heard these before, please stop…

Don’t be fooled: 5 types of misinformation we expect this election season

  • The election was stolen due to voter fraud
  • Votes were added/subtracted due to “hacking”
  • Changing vote totals are proof of cheating
  • Partisan election officials are skewing vote tallies
  • There were more votes than registered voters

All of these claims have been made many times in the last few election cycles, but the online uproar was caused by people who don’t know how the voting system works or how to read election data.

USA TODAY has exposed dozens of false election-related claims that are based on these themes, which stand out because they are common, last a long time, and are important.

Claim No. 1: Voter fraud

Experts say that accusations of widespread voter fraud are way too strong.

“By and large, fraud is largely a made-up problem,” said Paul Smith, senior vice president of the Campaign Legal Centre, a group that keeps an eye on the government.

Reviews of those races at the state level show that there were no signs of widespread voter fraud in either the 2020 election or the midterms two years later. Still, former President Donald Trump and his Republican Party friends kept making false claims about it.

To handle these worries, many states pushed through changes to the way elections work. Some places now ask voters to show a picture ID. Others set up units at the state level to look for problems that might happen.

Lawrence Norden, senior director of elections and government at the Brennan Centre for Justice, said that the situation at the southern U.S. border is at the root of the next wave of fraud claims. For example, Trump said in January that Democrats are urging people to come to the U.S. illegally so that they can register to vote, which was not true.

Voting in federal or state elections is against the law for people who are not citizens. Anyone caught lying about their national status when they sign up to vote could be fined, jailed, or sent back to their home country. States need to check their voting rolls and get rid of anyone who isn’t allowed to vote. This includes people who are in the country illegally.

In an interview with Fox News on February 20, Trump made the false claim that “if you have mail-in voting, you automatically have fraud.” This caused more questions about voting by mail.

Not true: There are extra security steps in place for mail-in voting to stop this from happening. Previous USA TODAY reporting says that these range from making sure that only registered voters can ask for votes to a system that connects every ballot to a valid voter.

First, check the facts about voting fraud:

  • 2022 claim: Democrats used 47 million mail-in ballots to steal every U.S. midterm election (False)
  • 2022 claim: The 2020 election was declared ‘illegal’ (False)
  • 2020 claim: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the 2020 election was rigged (False)

Claim No. 2: The election is ‘hacked’

Federal, state, and local election officials have protections in place before, during, and after Election Day to stop hackers. This is according to the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Norden said, “There are many levels of security there that we are always checking.”

CISA says that states regularly test and approve their voting machines and do checks to make sure that ballots are counted correctly before the final election results are made public. And paper votes are used by the vast majority of people who vote. That leaves a trail of documents that can be checked to make sure they are correct.

Norden said, “We check those paper votes after the election to make sure they match what the machine says about the number of votes.”

Also, many states don’t let vote machines connect to the Internet or even have modems, which makes it even less likely that hackers will mess with the elections.

Because of worries about hacking, right commentators spread false claims that voting machines took away Trump’s votes and gave them to Biden instead. Voting technology businesses like Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News for defamation because of this. The case was settled for $787.5 million anyway.

Before checking the facts about hacking claims:

  • 2022 claim: ‘Corrupt electronic voting machines’ gave Tammy Duckworth a vote spike, helping her win reelection (False)
  • 2023 claim: Malware, remote access caused printer problems; 200,000 ‘ejected’ ballots in Arizona (False)
  • 2022 claim: Results of Arizona gubernatorial race aired ahead of Election Day show attempt to steal election (False)

Don't be fooled: 5 types of misinformation we expect this election season

Also Read:-Brit Turner of the country rock band Blackberry Smoke dies at 57 after brain tumor diagnosis

Claim No. 3: Rapidly changing vote totals

A sudden rise in a candidate’s vote count as the votes are counted on Election Day does not mean that fraud occurred. Folks say it’s important to remember that not every vote is counted at the same time.

CISA says that processing times can be changed by a number of things. Among these are changes to state or local government policies and procedures put in place during the pandemic. The agency said that all of the numbers from election night are not yet official because they have not been reviewed and double-checked by all the different groups.

The rate at which votes for both parties come in also changes based on when each state can start counting its mail-in ballots.

In 2020, false reports of “ballot dumps” spread after late-day counts of mail-in votes in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, which were all close races. But there are a few states that don’t let workers open mail-in votes before Election Day.

“It was a natural phenomenon of different categories of votes showing up at different times, in a world in which mail voting … was skewed very (Democratic) because the Republicans had been told not to do it,” said Smith.

Officials say that mistakes do happen when votes are recorded, but they are usually just human error and not due to fraud. There are systems in place to find and fix these mistakes. That does happen sometimes on Election Day. Sometimes mistakes aren’t found until the canvass that is part of the process of getting certified. Most of the time, those happen in the days or weeks after an election.

And the way those votes are counted is also important.

Based on some studies, hand numbers are not as accurate and are more likely to be wrong. They are also slower. But even so, some Republicans have pushed states to stop using computer tabulators and go back to counting votes by hand, which the Brennan Centre is against.

Before the vote counts were announced:

  • 2022 claim: The U.S. ‘could easily count every vote in every state on election night until a few years ago’ (False)
  • 2022 claim: Biden announced ‘they are going to cheat by dumping ballots’ (False)
  • 2022 claim: Ballots found in Pennsylvania drop boxes show cheating in the election (False)
  • 2020 claim: 100K votes in Michigan were ‘magically’ added to Biden’s vote tally during the night (False)

Claim No. 4: Partisan election officials

There are a lot of different ways that elections are set up within a state, and not just in different areas. But experts say that election officials can’t be biassed because there are already set checks and balances in place.

In most states, the top election official is chosen by the people. In most states, that’s the secretary of state. But in some, it’s the deputy governor or someone chosen by the governor, lawmakers, or the state’s elections board.

There is a board or committee in charge of elections in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. The National Conference of State Legislatures says that those are set up so that politics don’t get in the way and both parties are represented.

Northen said, “Election administration is run in a bipartisan way, even if there is a top official.” “And once more, there are a lot of checks to make sure that no one person can do anything that will mess up the system.”

In many states, political balance is built into different parts of the process. In Arizona, for example, each absentee vote that the tabulator can’t read has to be looked over by a pair of Democrats and Republicans to decide how it should be counted.

Checking facts about election officials ahead of time:

  • 2023 claim: A software company’s contract allows officials to override election results (False)
  • 2023 claim: Maricopa County, Arizona, officials admitted to breaking the law, improperly certifying machines that failed during election (False)
  • 2020 claim: Video of election workers filling out blank ballots in Delaware County is voter fraud (False)

Claim No. 5: More votes than voters

Since 2020, this claim has been made in different ways. None of them are based on facts, and the numbers they use are often incomplete or just plain wrong.

“To suggest that there’s more votes cast than registrations is absurd, and it has never happened,” said Smith.

For example, Trump’s false claim that there were more than 200,000 more votes than voters in Pennsylvania in 2020 was based on a voter registration database that was missing the state’s two largest counties, Philadelphia and Allegheny. This was reported by The New York Times in 2021.

Some of these claims don’t take into account states that let people register to vote the same day, which means they’re using old voter rolls to compare vote totals. There are times when a claim is both wrong and based on too little information.

A PolitiFact check found that an Ohio U.S. Senate candidate lied when they said that there were 5 million more votes cast than voters in 2020. They based their claim on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, there were 155 million votes out of 168 million registered voters, which is a difference of about 13 million.

That being said, there is a better place to get election-related numbers than the Census Bureau: The U.S. Election Commission gets information from the states directly. That year, there were more than 209 million active registered voters, but only 161 million votes were cast.

Background checks on voter counts:

  • 2022 claim: A New Hampshire Senate candidate won 1,100 votes from a town with fewer than 700 people (False)
  • 2022 claim: Washington state had 590,000 ‘excess votes’ in the 2020 election (False)
  • 2020 claim: Pennsylvania recorded more mail-in votes than ballots requested (False)
  • 2020 claim: Wisconsin shows more counted votes than registered voters (False)

Leave a Comment