Fact Check: Wisconsin County Did NOT Transfer Votes From Trump To Biden, An AP Data Feed Made An Error

Fact Check

  • by: Victoria Eavis
Fact Check: Wisconsin County Did NOT Transfer Votes From Trump To Biden, An AP Data Feed Made An Error No Swap

Did a glitch in the Rock County, Wisconsin, vote-counting system swap Donald Trump's votes for Joe Biden's, giving Biden the lead and ultimately the win in that county? No, that's not true: The Associated Press erred in collection and transmission of Rock County tallies. The error made it temporarily seem like Trump had gotten Biden's 46,649 votes and Biden had gotten Trump's 37,133 votes, which got displayed by media companies using the AP election data feed. But at Rock County, the tally never changed in that way: The 46,649 votes were always Biden's, and he won the county to Trump's 37,133.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by thegatewaypundit.com by Joseph Hoft, on November 10, 2020, under the title "BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: System 'Glitch' Also Uncovered In Wisconsin - Reversal of Swapped Votes Removes Lead from Joe Biden." It opened:

We've reported on numerous events identified in the 2020 election already which are being referred to as 'glitches' by the Democrats. Tonight we just uncovered another 'glitch' in Wisconsin.

When this one is confirmed it will result in a 19,500 vote gain for Trump making the Wisconsin race a total toss-up.

Patrick Maks, a media relations manager for the AP, sent the following statement to Lead Stories confirming the AP's mistake and debunking thegatewaypundit.com's claim:

There was a brief technical error in AP's collection of the vote count in Rock County, Wisconsin, that was quickly corrected. AP has myriad checks and redundancies in place to ensure the integrity of the vote count reporting. We are confident in what we have delivered to customers.

Lead Stories has requested more information about the nature of the glitch and had received no reply from the AP by the time of this writing.

Rock County officials backed up Maks' comment. Lisa Tollefson, Rock County clerk, told Lead Stories, "We had our board of canvassers meeting yesterday [November 9] to review our results and the only changes we had were provisional ballots and a few write-ins." The votes added following the meeting accounted for fewer than 20 votes and no errors were found during the meeting, Tollefson said.

Eric Trump helped this claim take off online when he tweeted the Gateway Pundit article:

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes thegatewaypundit.com as:

A partisan conservative website that regularly publishes hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and unsubstantiated claims, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

More Lead Stories debunks on alleged voter fraud can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

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  Victoria Eavis

Victoria Eavis is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. In her last few months at Duke, she was a reporter for a student news site, The 9th Street Journal, that covers the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

Read more about or contact Victoria Eavis

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