Fact check: A 37-vote change in Georgia was the result of human error, not vote-flipping

A Georgia election official called on President Trump to condemn and “stop inspiring” recent threats of violence over the election.

USA TODAY

Editor’s note: This file has been updated to add comment from the author of the claim in question.

The claim: Dominion Voting Systems machines flipped votes from Trump to Biden in Ware County, Georgia

Since Election Day, baseless allegations[1] that vote counting software from Dominion Voting Systems deleted votes for President Donald Trump or switched them to Joe Biden have proliferated on the internet. 

On Dec. 3, Voter GA[2] put out a press release claiming that it had confirmed that the firm’s machines flipped votes in Ware County, Georgia.

“VoterGA announced today it has confirmed the Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5 system used throughout Georgia flipped dozens of votes cast in at least one county for President Donald Trump to former Vice President Joe Biden during the November 3rd 2020 election,” the press release read.

“In Georgia, Ware County Elections Director confirmed that the recently completed hand count audit totals showed the total electronic vote count shorted Donald Trump 37 votes and added those 37 votes to totals for Joe Biden,” it continued. 

Accounts like The Hip Hop Patriot also posted the press release to Facebook[3], and Georgia Rep. Jody Hice appeared to cite the release on Twitter[4] on Dec. 4.

“Yesterday we learned a forensics examination of a Ware County, GA #DominionVotingSystems machine found votes were switched from @realDonaldTrump to @JoeBiden,” he wrote. “This is one machine in one county in one state. Did this happen elsewhere? We need to know!”

The Hip Hop Patriot and Hice have not responded to requests from USA TODAY for comment.

After publication, Garland Favorito with VoterGA shared with USA TODAY an affidavit that he says is evidence of voter fraud and includes “confirmation from the county elections director.” He described elections officials as “inexperienced” and “under pressure to claim actual facts we presented are ‘baseless.’”

Fact check: Trump lost the 2020 presidential election[5]

State and local elections officials have debunked claims of vote-flipping

Multiple state and local elections officials have debunked the claim that Dominion Voting Systems machines flipped votes from Trump to Biden.

It is true that the state’s full hand recount of paper ballots resulted in 37 more votes for Trump in Ware County. But the change was not due to an issue with Dominion.

Ware County Election Supervisor Carlos Nelson told the Associated Press[6] that an election worker made a small tabulation error that involved the 37 votes.

Election officials discovered the mistake during an internal audit and corrected the figure in the full hand recount of paper ballots, he said. There was never an issue with the technology from Dominion.

“There was no vote flipping,” Nelson said. “The system worked like it should.”

The 37 votes also made no difference in the election result in Ware County, where Trump won by about 70%.

Walter Jones — a spokesperson for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office — said in a press release[7] that the small vote change is only evidence that humans are less precise than machines at counting.

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USA TODAY

“No voting machines have been seized,” he said. “No one has unearthed evidence of ‘vote flipping’ because it didn’t happen. And no one has discovered some secret algorithm for altering the election outcome because that’s nonsense.”

Gabriel Sterling — the voting implementation manager for the Secretary of State’s Office — also debunked the claim with a reply to Hice on Twitter[8].

“With all due respect Congressman, this is flat out disinformation and it is irresponsible for you to share it,” he wrote. “Ware County has accounted for all of their equipment. There are no vote flipping machines.”

Sterling also referenced the results[9] of a recent forensic audit of voting machines by a U.S. Election Assistance Commission-certified Voting System Test Laboratory that found “no evidence of the machines being tampered.”

At the federal level, a coalition of top election security officials concluded on Nov. 12 that “there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” per USA TODAY[10].

Dominion Voting Systems has also repeatedly denied claims that its machines deleted or switched votes. A statement[11] on its website notes that “all baseless claims have been debunked by election officials, subject matter experts and third-party fact-checkers.”

Fact check: Image from 2017 White House event altered to make claim about votes for Biden[12]

Our rating: False

Based on our research, the claim that Dominion Voting Systems machines flipped votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden in Ware County, Georgia, is FALSE. State and local elections officials have denied the claim and explained that a 37-vote difference was the result of a human tabulation error, not the fault of Dominion.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here[20].

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here[21], for more.

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References

  1. ^ baseless allegations (www.usatoday.com)
  2. ^ Voter GA (voterga.files.wordpress.com)
  3. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  4. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  5. ^ Trump lost the 2020 presidential election (www.usatoday.com)
  6. ^ Associated Press (apnews.com)
  7. ^ press release (sos.ga.gov)
  8. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  9. ^ results (sos.ga.gov)
  10. ^ USA TODAY (www.usatoday.com)
  11. ^ statement (www.dominionvoting.com)
  12. ^ Image from 2017 White House event altered to make claim about votes for Biden (www.usatoday.com)
  13. ^ Fact check: Dominion voting machines didn’t delete votes from Trump, switch them to Biden (www.usatoday.com)
  14. ^ Dominion machines didn’t ‘flip’ votes in Ware County, Georgia (apnews.com)
  15. ^ Secretary of State’s Office Debunks Ware County Voting Machine Story (sos.ga.gov)
  16. ^ tweet (twitter.com)
  17. ^ Secretary Raffensperger Announces Completion of Voting Machine Audit Using Forensic Techniques: No Sign of Foul Play (sos.ga.gov)
  18. ^ Election security officials: ‘No evidence voting systems compromised’ (www.usatoday.com)
  19. ^ Setting the Record Straight: Facts and Rumors (www.dominionvoting.com)
  20. ^ subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here (cm.usatoday.com)
  21. ^ Click here (www.poynter.org)
  22. ^ (www.usatoday.com)
  23. ^ (www.usatoday.com)

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