Fact Check: 17,327 Dead People Did NOT Vote In Michigan In 2020 Presidential Election

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: 17,327 Dead People Did NOT Vote In Michigan In 2020 Presidential Election Audit Refutes

Did 17,327 dead people vote in Michigan in the 2020 presidential election? No, that's not true: The Michigan Office of the Auditor General released an audit in March 2022 that found 1,616 votes cast by electors who died prior to election day in the 2020 general election were tallied. No voter fraud was determined to have occurred by the audit, and the number of people who voted but that were deceased by Election Day was not 17,327.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) where it was published on X, formerly known as Twitter, on November 11, 2023. It opened with the caption:

Election deniers, conspiracy theorists and J6 political prisoners listen up,

Voter fraud occurred on a massive scale the likes of which we've never witnessed in this county.

17,327 dead people found in obituaries voted in Michigan 2020 presidential election. Check for yourself

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

Screen Shot 2023-11-13 at 12.01.47 PM.png

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Mon Nov 13 19:16:13 2023 UTC)

Cheri Hardmon, senior press secretary with the Michigan Secretary of State's office, told Lead Stories via email on November 20, 2023 that 1,616 votes cast in the general election by people that had died by election day were counted, as the audit revealed, not 17,327:

The auditor general found that 1,616 such ballots were counted in the 2020 election. The Michigan Election Law requires an absent voter's ballot to be rejected if the voter dies before election day. However, in some cases, particularly if a voter dies shortly before election day, election officials may not receive information indicating that the voter has died until it is too late to reject the ballot. The auditor general noted this in its report.

The 2022 report (archived here) released by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General stated that only 1,616 votes were cast by electors who died prior to election day in the 2020 general election cycle. Page 12 of the report explained the details and shows there were 2,775 total for the 2019/2020 election cycles:

Screen Shot 2023-11-13 at 12.33.42 PM.png

(Source: Michigan Office of the Auditor General website screenshot taken on Mon Nov 13 19:20:33 2023 UTC)

The audit stated:

We determined 2,765 (99.6%) of votes cast by electors recorded as deceased as of the election date were cast via an absent voter ballot. We analyzed date of death for the deceased electors and determined 2,734 (98.5%) votes were cast by electors who died within 40 days of the election and the remaining 41 (1.5%) by electors who died 41 days or more prior to the elections. Finally, we noted these 2,775 votes cast represented 0.02% of the 11,725,897 votes cast in the eight elections subject to this review.

Lead Stories in November 2020 debunked an earlier version of the claim that more than 10,000 dead people cast ballots in Michigan.

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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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