Donald Trump Jr. wrongly stokes fear over dead people voting in Michigan, fact check finds

August 19, 2020, 10:19 AM

Donald Trump Jr. made a big stink about nothing when he elevated a misleading Breitbart piece about dead people voting in Michigan, a Freep and PolitiFact fact-check finds (though not in quite those words).

In a Saturday tweet laced with a string of siren emojis, Trump Jr. said "8 percent of the votes cast" in last week's Michigan primary were from dead people. The Freep finds his math is not only wrong — but that the suggestion the deaths mean the system is susceptible to fraud is misleading. 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson ... said 10,694 ballots were rejected in Michigan’s Aug. 4 primary. Nearly 60% of them were rejected because they arrived late.

Of the rejected ballots, 846 had to be tossed because the voters were deceased. These were not instances of someone completing and mailing an absentee ballot by stealing the identity of a deceased voter. Rather, as Benson’s Aug. 14 release notes, they were cast by eligible Michigan voters who died after casting their ballots but before Election Day.

These ballots accounted for just under 8% of the rejected absentee ballots. But ... based on the total of counted and uncounted votes, the number of ballots from deceased voters accounted for about 0.03% of votes cast, meaning Trump overstated it by a factor of more than 200. And none of them were counted toward the final results.

It is typical to see a number of absentee votes deemed ineligible in an election because voters die after casting their ballot. In the November 2016 election, Michigan had to reject more than 1,780 absentee ballots because the voters died after they cast their votes.

Rather than indicating instances of fraud, the rejected ballots show the state’s ability to detect and discount ineligible ballots.

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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