(1) Posts from President Trump consistently generate the most public engagement on Facebook. The top Facebook political post on Nov. 9 was from Trump, quoting Newt Gingrich: “This was a stolen election. Best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this clearly was a stolen election, that it’s impossible to imagine that Biden outran Obama in some of these states. Where it mattered, they stole what they had to steal.” The post had more than 1 million interactions in 24 hours, according to NewsWhip.
The “best pollster in Britain” whom Gingrich referenced was Patrick Basham, a columnist for the Sunday Express, who before the election had predicted that Trump would win in a landslide. Post-election Basham argued that his prediction of a landslide was “off” because of “voter fraud.”
On Nov. 10, the top post on Facebook by engagement was President Trump’s post that he had won Georgia. Trump is currently behind Biden in Georgia by about 14,000 votes, although Georgia is planning a hand recount.
(2) Other top posts by engagement include headlines from Breitbart and The Daily Wire about voting irregularities. A Breitbart piece with the headline “Investigators Dispatched After Fulton County Discovers ‘Issue’ with Ballot Reporting” had the second most social media engagement for Nov. 9 among political stories, according to NewsWhip. That article claimed the “issue,” which turned out to be 342 ballots that needed to be rescanned, might “significantly affect the current Biden lead in Georgia.”
Another top story from Nov. 9, by social media engagements, was from The Daily Wire: “Wisconsin Election Commission Might Have Violated State Law By Allowing Clerks To ‘Fix’ Ballots, Report Says.” Wisconsin’s rules on absentee ballots are stricter than in other states. It requires a witness signature on absentee ballots, for example. The report cited in the Daily Wire story consisted of a quote from retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, saying that the Wisconsin Election Commission had violated state law with its guidance for clerks handling ballots missing witness addresses.
But the state election commission, consisting of Republicans and Democrats, had unanimously decided on guidance before the 2016 election: Clerks could fill in witness address information from a voter database if necessary. The clerks must fill in the address in red ink in case there are any questions about particular votes. Biden currently leads Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes.
(3) Most Facebook activity happens in private groups, which often link to YouTube videos which can spread misinformation more easily without being flagged by social media platforms. One of the top YouTube political videos by engagement recently claimed RealClearPolitics had rescinded its prediction of a Biden win of Pennsylvania. This is false, as RealClearPolitics had never called Pennsylvania. Biden currently leads the vote in that state by about 47,000 votes.
(4) On Nov. 10, three of the Top 10 stories by engagement on social media were Barr’s authorization of immediate federal probes into voting irregularities. In previous elections, the Department of Justice has waited to begin such investigations until after states certify their election results. After Barr announced the new policy, the head of the DOJ division that prosecutes election crimes resigned.
(5) Top QAnon social media influencers, as well as outlets like the One America News Network, focused on Dominion Voting Systems, which provides election equipment to many states. The social media influencers say Dominion’s systems were “glitching” in favor of Biden. RoseUncharted and Praying Medic, two top QAnon influencers on social media, both have posted repeatedly about Dominion. They claim that Dominion is partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative. Dominion did commit in 2014 to donating voting machines for overseas election efforts through the Delian Project, a Canadian group. The Clinton Global Initiative announced that project on its website, but Delian shows no ongoing partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative.
Dominion provided the voting equipment in Antrim County, Mich., which initially showed Biden as winning, then flipped to Trump after canvassers reviewed the numbers. Michigan officials said that was human error from the county clerk uploading Antrim’s results. The Dominion machines correctly tabulated the votes, but a Michigan company called ElectionSource provided the election software, which the secretary of state said the clerk should have updated before uploading results.
“Election clerks work extremely hard and do their work with integrity,” wrote Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a statement about the voting errors. “They are human beings, and sometimes make mistakes. However, there are many checks and balances that ensure mistakes can be caught and corrected.”
(6) A Nov. 7 Newsmax video was one of the top posts on Facebook (with 15 million views) and included claims about dead people voting, another theme among popular posts. A Twitter user, @Fleccas, also spread many of these claims in viral tweets. He highlighted a William Bradley, born in 1902 and died in 1984, who voted by absentee ballot in Michigan. That turned out to be Bradley’s son, also named William Bradley, who lives at the same address as his deceased father.
Dead people did vote in the election, legitimately and illegitimately. Some states allow votes from people who died before Election Day but were alive when they submitted mail-in ballots or early votes in person. Some states also put the year 1900 or the date 01/01/01 as a placeholder for registered voters whose age is unknown, which has raised suspicions in certain cases.
Fraudulent votes from dead people were cast, for both Trump and Biden voters, but so far there is no evidence of it in large numbers. Pennsylvania authorities charged one man, a registered Republican, with attempting to vote via mail-in ballot for his deceased mother. The county said it was the first voter fraud arrest in 30 years. New York authorities charged a registered Democrat for doing the same. Nevada officials discovered at least two ballots in Clark County that came from deceased voters.
The Department of Homeland Security has a long explanation of how local election officials regularly purge voter rolls based on death records.
“While there can be some lag time between a person’s death and their removal from the voter registration list, which can lead to some mail-in ballots being delivered to addresses of deceased individuals, death records provide a strong audit trail to identify any illegal attempts to cast ballots on behalf of deceased individuals,” DHS wrote.