STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Did 8.1 million people vote in Michigan in the general election when there were only 7.8 million registered voters? No, that's not true: 5,579,317 people voted in Michigan out of the 8,061,525 registered voters there were as of October 2020.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published on November 21, 2020 with the caption, "Has anyone heard ANY Democrats explain this? Yeah....there are allegations we don't have proof of YET, but also things they can and should be addressing, right? This is simple math...so even Democrats should be able to follow along." Accompanying this caption was a screenshot of a tweet that read:
8.1 Million "people" voted in Michigan. Here's the problem...there are only 7.8 Million registered voters. This isn't hard.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Nov 27 15:57:16 2020 UTC)
For starters, only 5,579,317 people voted in the general election, according to data from the Secretary of State's office. The claim that 7.8 million people were registered to vote is also inaccurate: There were 8,061,525 registered voters as of October. The 7.8 figure could be emerging from the number of registered voters in Michigan in July, which was 7,748,541, according to a separate data set from the Secretary of State's office.
Michigan certified its election results on November 23, 2020.
Nonetheless, false claims about voter registration and voter turnout numbers have persisted on social media.
The tweet (archived here) that was screenshotted and included in the Facebook post came from @MajorPatriot, an account with 208,200 followers:
8.1 Million "people" voted in Michigan.-- Major Patriot (@MajorPatriot) November 19, 2020
Here's the problem...there are only 7.8 Million registered voters.
This isn't hard.
Just revealed on @newsmax: 7.8 million registered voters in Michigan, but 8.1 million people voted. In Wayne County MI, 71 percent of precincts vote records did not balance. This is fraud plain and simple.-- Brave Heart (@throughthygrace) November 20, 2020
Social media users started citing Newsmax as their source on these false numbers presumably after Steve Bannon's guest on his Newsmax segment echoed the false claim that 8.1 million people voted in Michigan, a state with only 7.8 million registered voters. The interview clip appears in the following tweet (archived here):
👀👇🏼-- TRUMP WON🇺🇸 DONNA WARREN ⭐️🌟⭐️ (@DonnaWR8) November 21, 2020
'Michigan is in PLAY. I know everybody's writing off Michigan because they say it's 146,123 vote gap on it. ...
We're currently seeing that 8.1 MILLION people voted in Michigan. The PROBLEM with that is only 7.8 MILLION are actually ELIGIBLE to vote in state of Michigan.' pic.twitter.com/CPItkiHi2Y
Diamond and Silk, two hosts of a different Newsmax segment, posted on Parler (archived here) using the same claim and numbers without mentioning the state of Michigan:
Why is it so hard for people to understand that if a state has 7.8 million registered voters, but 8.1 million voted, there could be potential fraud? How can 8.1 Million people vote in a state with only 7.8 registered voters? It doesn't add up, nor does it make sense!-- Diamond And Silk DiamondAndSilk Thursday, November 26, 2020
Lead Stories reached out to the Michigan Secretary of State's office about the final voter registration numbers following election day and will update this report, as appropriate, when they respond.
2020-11-28T00:03:23Z 2020-11-28T00:03:23ZUpdated to clarify the claim published by Diamond and Silk.