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Explaining the Conspiracy Theories About ‘Computers’ Stealing the Election for Joe Biden
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Explaining the Conspiracy Theories About ‘Computers’ Stealing the Election for Joe Biden

Rounding up our fact checks from the last week.

Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the 2020 election, but Donald Trump has not conceded and his campaign is contesting the election results in the battleground states that he would need to flip to change the outcome.

Throughout Election Day and in the days that followed, The Dispatch Fact tracked and reported on a variety of false claims regarding the election: voters falsely claiming that poll workers gave them Sharpies to fill out their ballots in order to scuttle their votes; people asserting that Michigan “magically” found more than 138,000 votes that were all for Biden; others claiming that video depicted poll workers filling out empty ballots. 

The most prevalent claims now, though, are centered around technology and the idea that Democrats are using computers and software to change Trump votes to Biden votes, or just eliminate Trump votes.

Members of the campaign legal team, high-profile Trump supporters, and even the president himself have elevated these claims, which are better described as conspiracy theories.

We’ve collected all of our fact checks on such claims here in one place.

Dominion Voting Systems is a company that provides vote-tabulating software to many counties and states. When a handful of states encountered delays or temporary tabulation errors on Election Night, claims started swirling that Dominion had “suspicious” ties to Democrats and that Democrats were using the software to steal the election for Joe Biden. Alec Dent breaks down a handful of claims and demonstrates why they are false.

Social media users shared two maps from a Newsmax broadcast that purported to show that Dominion Voting Systems was used only in the battleground states that President Trump’s campaign is contesting. These maps are misleading because Dominion is used in 28 states and Puerto Rico, including in 10 states that Trump won. 

And yet more false claims involving Dominion. In this one, the One America News Network ran a blatantly false report saying that Edison Research, which handles exit polling and vote reporting (but not tabulating) to media outlets, issued an “unaudited data analysis” showing that Dominion switched hundreds of thousands of Trump votes to Biden and deleted millions of Trump votes.

This one’s a doozy. The theory goes that in 2012 the Obama administration commandeered a supercomputer and software system developed by the CIA and used it to steal that election. With Biden running, he used again. The rumor is being spread by Sidney Powell, a member of Trump’s legal team, as well as retired Air Force Lt. General Thomas McInerney and many people on social media. No, it’s not true. This conspiracy theory comes from a man named Dennis Montgomery, who claims to have designed and built the computer and developed the software. Not only does such a computer not exist, Montgomery has a colorful history of fraudulent claims.

In a segment on his Fox News show Thursday night, Sean Hannity raised questions about Dominion Voting Systems and vote-counting issues in Georgia and Michigan. Problem is, he referred to an article about one of the company’s machines that is not in use in either of those states. And the vulnerability present in that machine “does not align with what Hannity or others have alleged happened in the 2020 election.” 

Photograph by Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images.