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Fact Check: Addressing Claims That Joe Biden’s Vote Total Is Suspicious
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Fact Check: Addressing Claims That Joe Biden’s Vote Total Is Suspicious

Trump supporters have suggested it's unlikely or impossible that the Democratic nominee got 80 million votes.

A widely shared Instagram post is circulating a tweet from Eric Trump that questions the validity of President-elect Joe Biden’s vote total.

Biden received more than 80 million votes in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing Barack Obama’s 2008 popular vote record of 69,498,516 votes. In 2012, Obama received 62,611, 250 votes

There are several explanations as to why Biden could have gotten more votes than Obama in 2012, including high turnout, voter enthusiasm, and population growth. 

Voter turnout in the 2020 election was the highest in more than 100 years. According to the Washington Post, more than 65 percent of the eligible voting population voted in the 2020 presidential election. By contrast, 58.6 percent of the eligible voters population participated in the 2012 presidential election, which was down from the 2008 presidential election, where 61.6 percent of the voting population cast votes. Early voting measures and absentee ballots made it easier for some voters who might not otherwise have voted to cast a ballot, explains the Washington Post

Also, voters believed this election was especially important. According to polling data from the Pew Research Center, 83 percent of registered voters—the highest number in the last 20 years—believed that the outcome of the presidential election “really matters.” By contrast, in 2012, Pew Research Center reported that only 63 percent of voters said that it “really matters who wins” the presidential election. 

Furthermore, population growth can help explain why Biden received more votes than Obama. In 2012, the U.S. population was pegged at about 312 million. The population is now close to 330 million, which means that the number of eligible voters has increased.

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Photograph by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images.

Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for The Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.