Bombastic Republican claims of widespread fraud in the recent presidential election have consistently proven totally baseless. Republicans circulated a list of over 14,000 dead people who’d allegedly had ballots cast in their names in the swing state of Michigan — and a cursory CNN analysis of the names failed to uncover a single instance of a ballot actually cast in a deceased voter’s name. The outlet examined 50 names from the list, including the first 25 entries and 25 random entries spread across the list. A full 37 of the listed individuals were, in fact, deceased, but state records didn’t indicate that ballots had been cast in any of their names. The other 13 listed people are still alive; five of them voted, and eight did not.
CNN, of course, did not examine every name on the GOP’s list of over 14,000 deceased individuals who’d allegedly had ballots cast in their names in the state of Michigan, but the outlet noted that the “trend was clear.” There’s no immediate indication that the Republican claims of ballots cast in dead people’s names in Michigan are true.
The outlet reported a number of possible explanations for listings in government computer databases that appear to show ballots cast in the names of deceased voters. First off: it’s important to note that a computer database entry that seems to indicate that a ballot was cast in a deceased voter’s name is not confirmation that an actual, tangible ballot actually was cast in that deceased voter’s name. Thus, awry computer entries are not, in themselves, evidence for the kind of election fraud that the Republican Party has consistently seemed so desperate to uncover.
Going on, issues like clerical errors can explain computer database entries that seem to indicate ballots cast in deceased voters’ names. In one prominent example that was retweeted by Donald Trump Jr. himself, a Republican internet commentator claimed to uncover that a long-deceased Michigan resident named William Bradley had a ballot cast in his name in Michigan during the recent presidential election. This claim is false — the listing that seemed to show a ballot cast in the dead voter’s name was the result of a clerical error. Bradley’s son’s name is also William Bradley, and authorities had mistakenly attributed his ballot to his father in the computer database.
In other supposed examples of ballots cast in the names of deceased voters that have been shared among right-wingers, voter records include birthdates that seem to be impossibly far in the past — but Detroit’s Director of Elections, George Azzouz, explained to CNN that “the date of January 1, 1900 is often used in the electronic poll book as a temporary placeholder for absentee ballots arriving just before Election Day,” because there must be some information listed for the electronic poll book to accept a ballot. Thus, placeholders are useful. Claims that the birthdates from around 1900 are evidence of election fraud is just total ignorance.
Ignorance hasn’t only marked election fraud claims out of Michigan. The Trump campaign has also trotted out claims from a so-called whistleblower in Nevada that are truly bananas. Matt Schlapp claims that this “whistleblower” saw a van that was clearly marked with Biden/ Harris signage in which people were opening ballots and refilling envelopes with ballots that were, presumably, more favorable to the Democrats. It’s 2020 — if this allegation is true, why is there no video? Why would someone committing fraud do so in a Biden/ Harris van in plain sight? How stupid does the Trump campaign think that we are?