Trust Index: Fact-checking claims regarding Michigan’s 2020 election

Several untrue claims from Trump campaign, supporters circulating internet

As the fight to certify the 2020 General Election continues, a lot of untrue and misleading claims have been made about Michigan’s election.

DETROIT – There are a lot of claims being made surrounding the U.S. presidential election, and many of them are in the more than 230 affidavits signed onto the latest lawsuit from the president’s campaign.

There are simply too many claims without evidence to fact check in the lawsuit, so we’ll take a look at a few of the things the head of the GOP and Michigan native Ronna McDaniel said about the suit on Fox News Tuesday night.

"The laws that were being passed in the name of COVID to create a porous election (were) rigged in the sense that they kicked Republicans out of poll watching and observing, McDaniel claimed. “When you see these people in Detroit saying we saw batches of votes that were invalidated, they had the wrong name, they didn’t live there, they weren’t a resident -- they were deceived.”

We’ll address each of McDaniel’s claims one at a time below.

Were poll watchers kicked out of counting rooms?

No. This is not true. Poll watchers being kicked out of counting rooms is not true.

According to Detroit’s election commissioner, there were more than the legal limit of watchers inside the TCF Center from both Democratic and Republican parties. When that was discovered, those who left the room were not allowed back in, and others who entered were asked to leave until the legal limit was reached. (More details on this from SOS here)

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

What is the Trust Index?

Was there rampant voter fraud?

We’re calling this claim “Be Careful.”

While claims have been made in signed affidavits made under oath, they were not presented with any other evidence to back them up. Claims made in a similar way were dismissed as hearsay by a state judge in a lawsuit last week.

Be Careful

After reviewing this topic, we've found some issues - Be Careful.

What is the Trust Index?

There are also claims about poll workers behaving badly like the ones made in an 11-minute video circulating online and being promoted by state Republicans.

The video has not been verified by Local 4 News or ClickOnDetroit and contains stitched together pieces of what is allegedly an audio recording of a poll worker training session on how to illegally destroy or change votes for President Trump. The video is clearly edited and has been deemed misinformation by the state Attorney General Dana Nessel, who sent the publisher a cease and desist order.

Was there a widespread problem with election software?

This is not true.

The claim stems from a results error in Antrim County which initially incorrectly awarded 4,000 to 5,000 Trump votes for Biden.

According to an investigation by the Secretary of State and quotes from the Antrim County clerk, the error was not in the software but was the result of human error. The incident did not affect any other counties in Michigan.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

What is the Trust Index?

READ: What we know about GOP challenge to Michigan’s election results

Republicans locally and around the country claimed early this week that they have hundreds of sworn statements alleging irregularities and illegal activity at Detroit’s TCF Center.

Among those making the claims was Republican National Committee chair and Michigan native Ronna McDaniel who detailed the unfounded claims in a press conference Monday alongside White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Click here to read more.

READ: Hundreds provide testimonies -- but no real evidence -- in Trump campaign lawsuit to stop certification of Michigan election results

Hoping to halt a statewide certification of Michigan election results, the latest lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign submitted hundreds of claims asserting GOP poll watchers were excluded from counting rooms or saw illegal activity in the count in the state.

The Trump campaign is suing Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson along with the Wayne County and the Michigan Board of Canvassers, which are in charge of reviewing elections. While the case is filed in the state’s Western District, which does not encompass Wayne County, the campaign is more likely to find a sympathetic judge there as opposed to the Eastern District.

Click here to read more.

About the Authors:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.