Isaac Saul did a deep dive into most (if not all) of the conspiracies, videos, and lawsuits claiming that the 2020 election was ripe with fraud and rigged by the Democrat party.
Here is a breakdown from his Twitter thread of the first 30-something claims that he has debunked. For the full thread (which is still being added to), find his Twitter here, and check out his newsletter, too.
01. Detroit Boarded Up Windows to Hide Ballots
By far the most viral of these claims is the video of officials in Detroit papering up/boarding up the windows inside their polling center in Michigan. This, admittedly, was a bizarre sight. But was 100% explainable and was the right thing to do.
Officials rightly blocked the windows when crowds came inside and began trying to film ballots. Poll watchers EXCEEDED THE LIMIT INSIDE. This is not legal – you can’t barge in and film who ppl voted for. OF COURSE, there were *134 REPUBLICAN POLL WATCHERS* inside the room.
There were also 134 Democrats, 134 independents. That’s bc every election/polling place has a balanced and assigned number of watchers present at polling locations. Here’s the local story explaining it.
02. Republican Poll Watchers Were Blocked From Seeing Ballots
Similarly, there have been LOTS of stories of “Republican poll watchers” not being allowed into polling places. This is all silly, and worth remembering this Detroit story. Being a poll watcher DOES NOT MEAN you can just walk into any polling station…
There’s a process to ensure an even number of partisan watchers are signed up (like in Detroit) and inside polling places. Election officials don’t (and shouldn’t) allow any old swarm of watchers into their polling place. That would ruin the balance of the watchers.7/ It appears some certified* Trump-supporting poll watchers filmed themselves trying to enter polling places and when denied made a scene. That’s how the system is supposed to work. Any election official can explain this.
*Assuming they’re certified, still stupid.
03. Dead People Are Voting For Joe Biden
One of the most popular of these claims is a video purporting to show a 118-year-old named William Bradley who voted despite dying in 1984. I’m going to share video of a viral tweet so you can see it, then explain what’s happening: (Link)
Michigan’s secretary of state already responded to this claim, pointing out that ballots of voters who have died are rejected outright, so this bizarre scene (even if it were real!) would NEVER COUNT IN A MICHIGAN ELECTION. SoS statement is here.
In Michigan, this is even true if someone dies *between the time they sent in their ballot and Election Day* How much does that suck? The idea someone who died in 1984 would have their ballot counted is absurd.
Alternatively, it’s also possible William Bradley is real and his birthday is simply wrong on the Michigan voter website. Instead of 1902, he could be born in 1992 — a one-digit typo. This happens all the time. A clerk will be checking the ballot and registration records.
It’s ALSO true, as election expert @electproject pointed out, that some states use “1900” or “1/1/1” as codes when they moved from paper to electronic records to signify a birthdate wasn’t available. Something like that could be at play here.
Regardless, if this person is actually dead, their vote won’t count. If the bday is entered wrong, it will be resolved by a local clerk when the vote is audited. The video is real, the voter fraud claim is fake. Trump is losing Michigan by 150k votes.
04. Dems Added 130,000 Votes for Joe Biden in Michigan
The other popular one is the “130k votes in Michigan” that Biden got all at once. This was a data uploading error on ElectionDeskHQ. The conservative who originally posted this conspiracy apologized and deleted his tweet, but it took off before he could stop it.
Ya know the whole “lie makes it around the world twice before truth gets its pants on” — yeah, that happened here. Even tho the original guy to tweet it retracted, story has blown up. Local paper wrote it up here.
05. There Are More Votes in Wisconsin Than Actual Voters
Some people alleged that “Wisconsin had more votes than registered voters,” PROOF OF ELECTION FRAUD! This was, amazingly, idiots unaware that Wisconsin has same-day voter registration. Incredible voter fraud fail. But it went viral. Story here.
06. Dems “Found” 100,000 Absentee Ballots for Joe Biden in Wisconsin
Many on the right were thrown off when they went to bed at 2am with Trump well-positioned in the midwest and woke up at 6am with Trump headed for defeat in Wisconsin. Quickly, allegations spread of Dems “finding” 100k absentee ballots. Nonsense.
The jump occurred after the City of Milwaukee, heavily Democratic, reported its first wave of absentee ballot results (xtra Democratic). When they came in, Biden’s numbers spiked by more than 100,000. The votes were reported together bc Milwaukee has a central count location.
That means they don’t get reported from the polling place. I watched live on CNN as election officials were escorted from the polling place to the count location to drop off ballots. Then watched the numbers come in. It was pretty cool. Story here.
Similarly, posts went viral about a “pause” and “dump” in Milwaukee where ballots were “found.” This is a lie. Counting never stopped. The count was done and the pause was the time it took to get them from the polling place to the central counting location.
07. In Nevada, Someone Took Ballots Out of Mail Boxes & Voted For People Without Them Knowing
Team Trump has also been at work. In Nevada, they dragged out an elderly blind woman who said her ballot was taken in the mail and she couldn’t vote. This seemed like an isolated incident. Here is a vid they shared.
BUT HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS. Funny thing about her: election officials looked into her case, and she had actually submitted two ballots – with matching signatures. Seems like she actually voted twice, which is… illegal. Sweet! Local story here.
08. A USPS Employee Saw His Boss Backdating Ballots
As you might expect, Project Veritas is at it too. They are claiming to have a USPS whistleblower who says late mail-in ballots were being postmarked inaccurately and sent so they’d make the deadline for Election Day. This case is interesting and open for debate.
The allegations themselves are very small scale (from one location in MI), and the whistleblower is totally anonymous, even his voice. PV is known for partisan shenanigans and claims a “special agent with the office of inspector general at USPS” is investigating the claims.
If that’s true, we’ll know for sure soon what happened. My guess is we don’t hear much more about this case of fraud, because I’m not at all convinced USPS is actually investigating it. But hey — PV hits the mark sometimes, so we’ll see!
(The USPS employee later took back his allegation.)
09. Milwaukee Voter Turnout is Too High to Be Real
Here’s another good one around “turnout” in Milwaukee. Tim Alberta fact-checking the GOP spokesperson in real time. Incredible.
10. 23,000 Votes Came In At Once for Biden in Pennsylvania, Must Be Fraud
Seeing so many ppl freak out about this FiveThirtyEight update showing 23k votes for Biden and zero for Trump in Philly. Admittedly, this looks suspicious — and I don’t blame the skeptics!
Unlike many others, though, this one is straightforward: it appears Biden probably just got every vote in that batch. Sounds ridiculous? Consider this… in 2012, Mitt Romney got ZERO votes across 59 voting divisions vs. Obama. 19,605 to 0. (Source)
Philly Inquirer didn’t believe the number too. So they went to the voting districts and LITERALLY TRIED FINDING SOMEONE WHO VOTED FOR ROMNEY. And guess what? They couldn’t. These areas populated by almost all Black residents just didn’t like him.
They found Republicans — a couple — and none had voted for Romney. Now imagine for a moment it’s 2020, and instead of 19k votes its 23k votes, and instead of Romney it’s Trump, and you add in the absentee ballot dynamic (where Ds are outpacing Rs 3 to 1 across PA)
Given those dynamics, it’s not hard to believe that a single batch could come in from similar-looking Philly neighborhood at 23k to 0. If a regular election can pull 19k to 0, sorting by absentee first certainly makes this possible.
Update: The Dispatch’s data journalist says it looks like the FiveThirtyEight dump in Philly was just back-to-back data drops. Had not seen them respond to this, and offers a second plausible explanation for why the data looked the way it did.
11. PA Blurred Republican Names On A Sign To Stop People From Voting For Them
This is a good one I called out yesterday, from my home county in Bucks. Unlikely many people claimed I don’t actually think this is a photoshopped image (even though the names look comically blurred). Just look at the top: “Democratic official sample ballot.”
This is common in elections. I’m not a fan, but I’d bet good money that there was a Republican sample ballot (with Dems name blurred out) right next door, and both were probably the legal distance from the polling place entry. When I pointed this out, I got blocked.
Given that, plus the number of ppl replying to the original tweet saying they were from Bucks and saw these signs for Dems and Republicans all over… I’m gonna go ahead and call complete B.S.
12. Biden’s Vote Count Can’t Be Real Because Democrats Lost Senate Races
This one was written up in Zero Hedge, the conspiracy website, and originated with this tweet from some rando. It’s an allegation of “vote stuffing” where Biden keeps outperforming Dem Senate candidates. (Link)
The tweeter and ZeroHedge are alleging that because Biden got more votes than Democrats in the Senate races, it’s clear Dems are stuffing ballots (or something?). Kinda too dumb to follow, but the answer is obvious: lots of people are voting split ticket. Don’t believe me?
It’s just this guy being selective about which swing state he’s looking at. Take Arizona. In that race, Biden got FEWER votes than the Democratic Senate candidate — because Trump voters split their ticket between McSally/write-ins and Mark Kelly. See?
AZ is a crucial swing state. Would be very weird for Dems not to try “ballot stuffing” there, too. The reality is hundreds of millions of dollars poured into GA and MI Senate races, and Trump is not well-liked, so people split their tickets. He’s losing the race. Simple.
13. Atlanta Poll Workers Threw Out Trump Ballots
Eric Trump shared this and so it blew up. This is the original tweet, which (I think?) is supposed to be proof of poll workers throwing votes out. Video is interesting.
Here’s the thing, though. This video is literally from a USA Today livestream from inside the polling place. Do you understand that? We are talking about an election where poll workers are LITERALLY BEING FILMED ON A LIVE STREAM, and people think they are committing fraud.
I don’t really know how else to explain how silly that is. You actually have to believe that this poll worker, clearly frustrated and exhausted by some kind of soiled ballot, is *committing election fraud on camera* in front of the entire country. Really? That’s what they have?
Ballots get thrown out all the time. That is, after all, what many of these same people want: ballots being tossed that aren’t filled out properly. To me, this looks like a poll worker who is pissed off because Americans are dumb. Election fraud it is not.
14. Arizona Gave Republican Voters a Sharpie So Their Votes Wouldn’t Count #SharpieGate
15. Video Shows Joe Biden Admitting to Creating a Program for Voter Fraud
I’ve just been made aware of very viral video of Joe Biden allegedly saying they put together a “voter fraud” operation. Naturally, it was shared by @mtgreenee, the newest member of Congress who fell for QAnon.
Anyway, this one got some mainstream attention — as The Washington Post pointed out, Biden is discussing putting together a commission to FIGHT voter fraud. The edit in the video, if you watch it, is hilariously bad.
16. Another Video Shows Vote Counters Throwing Out Ballots
This one is interesting. I can’t seem to find the source, but I can point out something rather obvious that nobody else is saying — if this is in fact from the last 72 hours in the U.S. (which it appears it is).
It looks as if this person is throwing stuff out in the trash, but they aren’t. They’re just sorting the ballots. That’s a sorting bin. That’s what happens in these polling places. This is what people are doing all across the U.S. right now. Totally normal.
And, again, THERE ARE TV’s RUNNING LIVE STREAMS INSIDE THE POLLING PLACES. This is, literally, the most transparent election of all-time. And yet these people think mass voter fraud is being committed with the cameras rolling?
17. Two Days After the Election, GOP Poll Workers Are Still Kept Out of Pennsylvania Election Centers
Trump supporters and Trump family members continue to claim that their poll watchers are not being allowed into Philadelphia polling places. A Fox News reporter just to investigate. Guess what he found!
18. Biden’s Campaign Had Trucks Collecting Mail-In Ballots in Arizona
This photo is going viral on Facebook. It purports to show a truck with a Biden bumper sticker carrying USPS mail (presumably full of ballots) around northwest Phoenix.
Funny story… the person who submitted it to me then found the exact same photo being shared claiming the same thing, at the exact same intersection… but in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Got a funny feeling neither is true.
19. Video Shows Men Bringing Suspicious Packages in Late At Night in Detroit
This story got some buzz — claims that people were bringing in suspicious packages in the middle of the night in Detroit. There’s no actual allegation here, just ppl saying “suspicious activity.” Still, it’s worth crushing…
Anyway this one was shot down pretty quick. It was a local news cameraman. Again, actually more evidence of how transparent these elections are. People filming everything.
20. Benford’s Law Proves There’s Election Fraud
This was BY FAR the hardest one for me yet. It took some digging, because I wasn’t very familiar with Benford’s law and this person is not good at Twitter, so the thread is jumbled. But this is going very viral on FB and Twitter: (Link)
Basically, this anonymous person with a fresh new Twitter account claims to be applying Benford’s Law to Joe Biden’s vote and says they deviate so far from where they should be it’s clear there is election fraud. I spent a while looking at these graphs and then realized:
Benford’s Law and elections must not be a new marriage. If this were simple, it’d be used everywhere to suss out fraud! So, I looked it up. And guess what: Georgetown University has a whole white paper on why Benford’s Law can’t be applied to elections. The author came to this conclusion in no uncertain terms.
Some people pointed out that the paper was written by an undergraduate student, and thus couldn’t be taken seriously… So I kept digging. And I found another study, coming to the same conclusion, with three authors. They are from Cambridge University.
21. Ted Cruz Says Poll Watchers Weren’t Allowed in Philadelphia on November 5
This one from Ted Cruz, on Sean Hannity, claiming poll watchers were not allowed to observe counts in Philly today. This would be super bizarre, given that the Trump campaign ADMITTED IN COURT THAT THEY HAD OBSERVERS THERE.
Also, Philly’s bipartisan election committee released a statement confirming that they had poll observers there.
Not just that, but Fox News actually sent a reporter there. And guess what? The reporter literally talked to Trump-supporting poll watchers who were overseeing the count. You literally can’t make this stuff up.
22. Video Shows a Woman Filling Out People’s Ballots
This one alone has 240,000 views on Twitter. Remarkable how fast the junk spreads. Video appears to show a woman just filling out people’s ballots and putting them in a pile. Clear cut election fraud! Except… look a little closer. The person across from her is reading ballots to her, and she is filling out what he is reading off. This is likely because the ballot was soiled somehow, or the machine was having trouble reading — so they are doing it by hand. Not complicated.
Also, I want to point out two things about this video:
1) There is a POLICE OFFICER and a poll watcher clearly monitoring these two as they do this.
2) IT’S BEING LIVESTREAMED. WE HAVE VIDEO INSIDE THE POLLING PLACES.
23. A USPS Employee Refused to Deliver 800 Mail-in Ballots
This DOJ article is going viral in right-wing Twitter world — it has a very scary headline! And yes, it is in fact real!
Headline: Postal Worker Arrested And Charged With Failing To Deliver Over 800 Pieces Of Mail Which Included Three Absentee Ballots
Click inside, though, and you’ll find a pretty big nothing burger. A USPS worker in Buffalo, NY (not an especially important swing state!) was caught at the border with… three absentee ballots. And he said he intended to deliver them but “forgot.” Who knows.
24. The Election Apparatus in Georgia is Ran By Democrats
25. Democrats at the Dept. of Homeland Security Printed Extra Ballots
We’re back in business, and it appears there’s a new voting fraud theory that has taken off: the #WatchTheWater theory. This is a QAnon adjacent theory alleging ballots are watermarked by the Dept. of Homeland Security with “non-radioactive isotope watermarks”
As the theory goes, Dems printed “extra ballots” without knowing about these watermarks and now the QAnon folks can spot “fake ballots” that don’t have the radioactive isotope watermarks on them. Needless to say, this is entirely bunk.
The Dept. of Homeland Security does not create or print ballots. State and local governments do. Oftentimes, they contract that printing out to the private sector. This one is farcical in how absurd it is.
26. Fox: Fraud is Guaranteed in a “Universal” Election
Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy is claiming that we had “universal” voting and elections are ripe for fraud when “everyone” is sent ballots. Complete and total lie. Varied by state, but most voters had to apply for a ballot — many were rejected.
27. A USPS Employee Says His Boss Backdated Ballots
Unlike many in the press, I am not inherently dismissive of Project Veritas. They are obviously partisan actors and political operatives (funded by Republicans) but that does not mean every hit piece they do on Democrats is simply false…
What I will say about these claims so far: I do not see PV alleging that Democrats are committing election fraud. I see them alleging that USPS workers are backdating ballots to ensure they’re counted on election day. Those are two very different things.
And, of course, depending on where those ballots are being counted, how many there are, etc. they may or may not have any bearing on any races that matter. Details matter, right now they are vague. Voter fraud does happen. I’m looking for election fraud…
All that is to say I’m keeping my eye on it. Yesterday they were claiming a USPS IG was investigating what they uncovered. Now they claim to have a worker going public. I want to see if either of those pans out before analyzing. Their videos are tough to trust.
(The worker admitted he lied.)
28. A Machine in Michigan Switched Trump Votes to Biden
A tabulation error or technical glitch is not a proof of election fraud. This stuff happens in every election.
I’m very glad they caught this. Given how our voting systems work, they should be able to audit the election and ensure the county is accurate. The Michigan race is not close, so this would have to be a historic screw up to change anything.
29. 20% of Mail-In Ballots in Patterson, NJ Were Fraudulent
This is a bit of a fever dream. We never got a great explanation for why the ballots were soiled at about a 19% rate, but both sides agreed to have a new election (link).
What election officials have not yet disclosed is exactly why each person’s vote was not counted in the results of the six ward council races.
We did eventually find out that a couple elected officials committed election fraud, but the system in place caught them rather easily — and it’s not at all clear that they were responsible for so many bad ballots (link).
In fact, quite a few election experts point to Paterson as proof of how much integrity our system has and how hard it is to pull off election fraud. If this election had something like Paterson, it would be plain as day. The fact that it doesn’t… is the point.
30. 14,000 Dead People Voted in Detroit, Michigan
I’ve covered dead voters a lot in this thread, and the story is usually the same. But this one in particular is silly. The tweeter says “14+ thousand dead people voted,” then circles a dataset for one single dead voter receiving a ballot. How do you suppose they vote?
All the other stuff applies here: dead people sometimes get sent ballots, dead people sometimes don’t get purged from rolls, dead people very rarely have their votes counted (typically only in cases when they die between sending their ballot and the election).
Also, this person seems to be implying that 14k people are voting and all of those votes are most definitely… going to Democrats? How do they know that?
Anyway – NYT lights this stuff on fire really well in this article, which you can bookmark.
31. Dead People Older Than 170 Voted in Pennsylvania
Here is another one from Raheem. He has been one of the biggest spreaders of election fraud conspiracies in the last five days. He’s gained a big following and continues to mislead people. It’s pretty sad.
Again: all the same themes. There are clerical errors that happen, there are codes that get put in when records go from paper to electronic for birthdays (like 1/1/1 or 1900), etc. But this one is actually more insidious, as @TheRealHoarse noted.
Most obviously, all of these people talk about registered dead voters as if they are just magically voting 100% for Biden when a) they’re talking about ballots being sent out or people being registered, NOT people actually voting and b) many of these dead people were registered Rs.
Anyway, much like Michigan/PA/Wisconsin, etc., this is all recycled garbage. Dead people’s votes don’t count, except in cases when they a) vote by absentee and die before election day b) are in a state that allows that to be legal. Sometimes, states miss these votes that die after sending in absentee ballots — but they can all be challenged by election judges or state officials on the ground. GOP controls the process in PA, and they’re not making challenges despite Raheem’s “investigation”… which should tell you basically all you need to know.
32. Trump Has Proof of Election Fraud
Let’s take a look at how Trump’s legal challenges are going, shall we?
The REALLY big one that was supposed to save the election was Nevada. Remember that? 3,000 alleged ineligible votes, and Trump admin dragged out that poor blind elderly woman whose votes was stolen? Yeah, that got thrown out.
You may have also heard about that REALLY BIG SCOTUS DECISION in Pennsylvania. Yeah, SCOTUS didn’t do anything. In fact, they rejected Trump’s attempt to stop the count, and just reiterated PA should keep doing exactly what it was doing.
Trump admin went to SCOTUS to have them say what Secretary of State had already ordered, which was that ballots postmarked after election day should be separated for counting. They were doing that. AGAIN: GOP controls the process in PA, and there are no challenges.
Let’s go south to Georgia, where the election rules are also controlled by Republicans. Trump went to court claiming they had a poll watcher who saw 53 ballots being mingled with. The judge dismissed the case because the Trump admin had no evidence. Oops.
How about Michigan, another state where the process is mostly controlled by Republicans. Trump campaign filed a lawsuit there, too. Not about dead voters — because that’s too silly of a conspiracy to even try — but on absentees. And… (Headline: Judge throws out Trump lawsuit over counting of Michigan ballots).
The judge noted that ballot counting in Michigan, which shows Biden receiving about 150,000 more votes than Trump, was completed Thursday morning.
Now, at this point, I know what you’re thinking. There has been SO MUCH NOISE. So many lawsuits. So many dead voters. So many late-night ballot dumps. So much video evidence.
They must be winning some court cases, right?!?! And you’re right. They have, so far, won one legal challenge. In one polling place in Philly. Where poll watchers who were already watching the count were allowed to move closer to watch the count.
Absolutely remarkable, devastating victory that will… literally not change a single thing. In a city where many Trump-supporting Republican officials have said the process is above board.
All these Twitter-verified Trump sycophants with no experience actually reporting on elections are living in a bigger bubble than liberals were in during the 2016 election. Reality is setting in. The verified sycophants in my mentions will be the last to let it go, and they’ll move onto to some other weird niche social media grift in a few months or a year but trust me, they will move on. Because none of this stuff is actually real.
The claims listed above only get us halfway through the first week after election day. Isaac’s tracking of election conspiracies and propaganda continues on Twitter.
Photo: Jose M.