Fact Check: Meme Does NOT Show Some Virginia Counties Had Turnout Exceeding 100%

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: Meme Does NOT Show Some Virginia Counties Had Turnout Exceeding 100% Not Turnout

Did a meme correctly cite Virginia voter turnout numbers exceeding 100% in several counties and did these numbers appear as "voter turnout" data in a Judicial Watch report? No, that's not true: the meme falsely presents Judicial Watch's voter-registration-compared-to-census-population estimates as the turnout numbers.

An example of the meme can be seen in this Facebook post (archived here) published on December 4, 2020. It paired the meme with following text:

BREAKING! This is Virginia voter turnout folks!!!! This is not possible. Again, those pesky facts, those damning videos, that shocking eye witnesses testimony under penalty of perjury and that annoying little thing called MATH will be their undoing in Supreme Court! #stoleVirgina #HoldTheLine #RebirthOfAmerica #livefromamerica #ArmorOfGod

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Dec 7 09:31:48 2020 UTC)

The text in the meme read:

Loudoun County (116%);
Falls Church City (114%);
Fairfax City (109%);
Goochland County (108%);
Arlington County (106%);
Fairfax County (106%);
Prince William County (105%);
James City County (105%);
Alexandria City (105%);
Fauquier County (105%);
lsle of Wight County (104%); Chesterfield County
(104%);
Surry County (103%);
Hanover County (103%);
New Kent County (103%);
Clarke County (103%);
King William County (102%); Spotsylvania County
(102%); Rappahannock County (102%); Albemarle
County (101%);
Stafford County (101 %);
Northampton County (101%); Poquoson City
(100%);
Frederick County (100%)

Source:
https://www.judicialwatch.org/tom-fittons-weekly

However, that link goes to a 404 error page on the Judicial Watch site, likely because it was cut off when the text was copy-pasted.

The numbers do appear on on the Judicial Watch website (archived here) in an article titled "New Judicial Watch Study Finds 353 U.S. Counties in 29 States with Voter Registration Rates Exceeding 100%". In the "Virginia" section of that article the exact same set of numbers appears:

Virginia: Loudoun County (116%); Falls Church City (114%); Fairfax City (109%); Goochland County (108%); Arlington County (106%); Fairfax County (106%); Prince William County (105%); James City County (105%); Alexandria City (105%); Fauquier County (105%); Isle of Wight County (104%); Chesterfield County (104%); Surry County (103%); Hanover County (103%); New Kent County (103%); Clarke County (103%); King William County (102%); Spotsylvania County (102%); Rappahannock County (102%); Albemarle County (101%); Stafford County (101%); Northampton County (101%); Poquoson City (100%); Frederick County (100%)

However, according to Judicial Watch these numbers just show the ratio between voters on Virginia county voter rolls compared to an estimate of the population provided by the American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census bureau from 2014 through 2018. (This doesn't necessarily prove election fraud either as the voter rolls sometimes include inactive voters that haven't actually requested a ballot or voted in years and the actual population count is sometimes higher than the estimate based on data from several years ago. We have written about a similar Judicial Watch report here in the past.)

What these numbers definitely don't show is the actual turnout. You can find actual Virginia registration and turnout numbers on the website of the Virginia Department of Elections here (archived here) and here (archived here).

Looking at the numbers for the top 3 in the list it quickly becomes obvious the real turnout rates are much lower. For example for Loudoun County the data shows 282,263 registrations and a turnout of 225,611 (about 79.9%). For Falls Church City there were 11,126 registrations and a turnout of 8,887 (about 79.9%). Fairfax City had 17,373 registrations and a turnout of 13,592 (about 78.2%).

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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