Fact Check: NO Election Fraud On French TV Station Showing Macron Behind 217,571 Against Le Pen -- It Was Software Glitch

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: NO Election Fraud On French TV Station Showing Macron Behind 217,571 Against Le Pen -- It Was Software Glitch Tech Problem

Did a French television station's display showing French President Emmanuel Macron behind 217,571 votes prove election fraud? No, that's not true: An election night broadcast that aired numbers showing Macron behind opponent Marine Le Pen was a glitch in the software used by a French TV station to tally votes with numbers directly from the Ministry of the Interior. It was a bad number shown due to a "technical bug," the station said.

The claim appeared in a Twitter post (archived here) on April 25, 2022. It opens:

Macron was behind 217,571 votes. He won 30 minutes later. Am I the only one that have seen this movie before?

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

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Apr 26 20:04:23 2022 UTC)

The image in the tweet showed a screengrab from the France 2 TV station broadcast from the evening of April 24, 2022, that had Macron with 14,214,825 votes and Le Pen leading with 14,432,396 votes -- a difference of 217,571.

A video of the France 2 election night broadcast shows the numbers on the screen at 2:50:34, which was approximately 9:10 p.m. in France. France 2 journalists Johanna Ghiglia and Jean-Baptiste Marteau were discussing the election. The graphic behind them is what was shown in the tweet. A screengrab from the broadcast shows the image:

Screen Shot 2022-04-26 at 12.08.08 PM.png
(Source: France TV screenshot taken on Tue Apr 26 18:33:44 2022 UTC)

France 2 told Le Monde that the numbers were a miscalculation by the new software system they used to tally votes using information provided directly from the Ministry of the Interior. A Google translation of the April 25, 2022, article includes the explanation from France 2:

Regarding the 14 million votes attributed to the far-right candidate live, France Télévisions admits that it is a computer error in the processing of figures provided by the Ministry of the Interior. 'This is a purely technical bug, we displayed bad figures', assumes the chain, contacted by Le Monde, in complete transparency.

... To do this, the channel called on a service provider responsible for establishing 'the direct link with the ministry without any human intervention between the reception of the data and the display', specifies France Télévisions. But, when receiving votes from several municipalities, 'the computer added up certain municipalities twice, instead of correcting and updating them correctly', admits the chain. However, she points out, 'the problem was fixed immediately by engineers, who changed the protocol to correct the bug.'

The numbers posted on the Ministry of the Interior website do not reflect the numbers temporarily shown on France 2. The archive website The Wayback Machine captured the Ministry of the Interior website 23 times on April 24, 2022, including before and after the time that France 2 posted the incorrect numbers. The 19:42:50 archive shows Macron with 9,655,433 and Le Pen with 8,650,706. The 22:33:39 archive shows Macron with 17,474,683 and Le Pen with 12,971,357.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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