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How will TV networks handle bogus Trump claims on election night?
03:22 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

President Donald Trump has spent months making false claims in a baseless attempt to raise questions over the integrity of the presidential election.

With Election Day just a day away, it’s worth explaining again why the President’s anecdotes and assertions are inaccurate. Here’s a quick fact check breakdown of 16 of his election-related statements.

Democrats and cheating

Trump has claimed that he can only lose the election if Democrats commit “massive fraud.” This is simply not true. Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in a free and fair 2018 midterm election, and Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has consistently led in national polls of the 2020 race – plus many polls of key battleground states.

Mail-in voting and fraud

Trump has broadly declared that mail-in voting is rife with fraud. That’s just false, too. While fraud cases do occur, they are very rare.

“Unsolicited” ballots

Trump has specifically claimed that “unsolicited” mail-in ballots – the ones sent out by states that automatically provide a ballot to all eligible registered voters – are especially fraud-prone, calling these ballots a “scam” and a “hoax.” Again, this is just false. There has been no widespread fraud in the states that sent out “unsolicited” ballots in previous elections – including Republican-run Utah.

Non-citizens voting

Trump has claimed that California this year sent mail-in ballots to every state resident, including undocumented immigrants. That is false. Ballots were sent to all eligible registered voters, who must be United States citizens.

Counting votes after Election Day

Trump has suggested that it might be a violation of the law for states to (potentially) count ballots for two weeks after Election Day; he has demanded a “final total” on Tuesday. In fact, votes are always counted after Election Day.

It’s media outlets, not the government, that sometimes – but not always – unofficially project a winner on election night. The outlets do so by making projections based on the incomplete available data, not because they possess certified final totals.

Ballots being accepted after Election Day

Trump has suggested mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day but received afterward are illegitimate. There is nothing illegitimate about such votes; while some states do no accept ballots that arrive after Election Day, many states do – including Republican-run states like Mississippi and West Virginia. Ballots cast by overseas members of the military are among those that some states accept after Election Day.

Rejected ballots

Trump has used the fact that some mail-in ballots are rejected – 1% were rejected in 2016, according to federal data – as evidence that something nefarious is occurring. Not so. Ballots are commonly rejected for non-fraud reasons, such as voters forgetting to include their signature or missing the submission deadline.

Foreign interference

Trump has claimed that foreign countries can easily produce counterfeit mail-in ballots – even predicting on Twitter in June that foreign countries will print “millions” of them. But experts have explained that ballot security measures would make it extremely difficult for any country to succeed with a counterfeit ballot scheme.

Ballots and a river

Trump has claimed that 50,000 ballots were found in a river. This did not happen. (Trump and his team have never named the supposed river.)

An error in Virginia

Trump has also claimed that there was an incident involving 500,000 ballots in Virginia.

The incident was actually related to a non-profit group that mistakenly sent some 500,000 voters absentee ballot application packages – not ballots themselves – that included incorrect information, such as return envelopes addressed to the wrong elections office. This was a significant error, but it was not fraud, and Virginia authorities said they would make sure that the correct office received any applications initially sent to an incorrect office.

A Democratic primary in New York

Trump has cited a Democratic congressional primary in New York, won by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, as a supposed example of fraud with mail-in ballots. While there were various issues in this 12th District race – a significant number of ballots were rejected for non-fraud reasons; the ballot-counting was slow because of administrative problems – even Maloney’s defeated opponent has said there is no sign of fraud.

Ballots in a Pennsylvania trash can

Trump has invoked an incident in which nine military ballots were found in a trash can in a county election office in Pennsylvania, and he has claimed that all nine of these ballots were cast for him. There is, to date, no evidence of deliberate wrongdoing in this incident; local officials have said an error was made by an inexperienced contract worker. And while an initial Justice Department news release said all nine ballots were cast for Trump, the department then revised the release to say seven votes had been cast for Trump and two were unknown.

Democratic governors in Pennsylvania and Nevada

Trump has attempted to pre-emptively cast doubt on the election results in Pennsylvania and Nevada by claiming that their Democratic governors are in charge of the ballots there. That’s false in both cases: the ballots are sent out and tabulated by local county officials, not the governors. And it’s worth noting that Nevada’s top elections official, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, is a Republican.

Nevada and signatures

Trump has claimed that Nevada is not verifying mail-in voters’ signatures. That’s just wrong; signatures are being checked in the state.

Philadelphia in 2012

Trump has suggested that there was mass fraud in Philadelphia in the 2012 election, saying it is suspicious that Republican candidate Mitt Romney got “almost zero votes” in the entire city. In reality, there is no evidence of mass fraud, and Romney got 96,467 Philadelphia votes, about 14% of the city total. Romney did get zero votes in 50 of the city’s 1,687 voting “divisions,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but these districts were overwhelmingly populated by Black residents, and Romney was running against President Barack Obama. Even Republican leaders in the city have said there is no basis to claim the results in these divisions are evidence of fraud.

A California settlement

Trump has claimed that California authorities admitted to having found one million fraudulent votes in the state. That never happened. The legal settlement Trump was referring to, involving the conservative group Judicial Watch, did not include any admission of any fraud or wrongdoing; the settlement was about removing inactive registrations – such as people who died or moved away – from the voter rolls.