On November 6 2020, several high-engagement tweets claimed that in Antrim County, Michigan, “6,000 Trump votes” were incorrectly recorded as votes for Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden due to a “software glitch”:
Serial disinformation purveyor Robby Starbuck wrote:
One Michigan county clerk caught a glitch in tabulation software so they hand counted votes and found the glitch caused 6,000 votes to go to Biden + Democrats that were meant for Trump and Republicans. 47 MI counties used this software. All must check now!
In two separate tweets, Malaysian propagandist Ian Miles Cheong said:
This is big. The software used to tabulate the votes in one county sent at least 6,000 Trump votes to Biden. 47 counties used the software. Other states may have, too. Was it a glitch or a “feature”?
More evidence of fraud in Michigan.
However, a search for “Antrim County” and the specific figure of 6,000 votes revealed that the “big” news Cheong shared was not new at all, but instead had been kicking around for days, since its publication on November 4 2020:
Antrim County issued two press releases via Facebook on November 4 2020, the first posted before noon. It read:
November 4, 2020
For Immediate Release
Antrim County Unofficial Election Results
ANTRIM COUNTY, Mich. – Early this morning [November 4 2020], the Antrim County Clerk, Sheryl Guy, became aware of apparently skewed results in the Unofficial Election Result tabulations. Since then, the Clerk’s Office has been reviewing the results and the multiple redundancies to search out any possible discrepancies. Staff is currently working with township officials and with Election Source, the company that provides the voting software programs and hardware. “By this afternoon, we expect to have a clear answer and a clear plan of action addressing any issue,” said Sheryl Guy, Antrim County Clerk. “Until then, we are asking all interested parties to bear with us while we get to the bottom of this.” Further information will be released as it becomes available throughout the day.
Just after 3PM Eastern the same day, Antrim County issued the second press release:
November 4, 2020
For Immediate Release
Antrim County Election Results
ANTRIM COUNTY, Mich. – The Antrim County Clerk’s Office has been working diligently to review the results and identify the source of discrepancies discovered early this morning. It is clear that the Unofficial results posted at 4am this morning were incorrect and have been removed. The vote totals counted by the election software did not match the printed tabulator tapes, which official results are based upon. Because of this, the printed tabulated tapes from each precinct will be counted manually and revised Unofficial results will be posted. Results will become Official once the independent board of canvassers verify results starting tomorrow. Antrim County is committed to ensuring that each and every valid ballot cast is accurately counted.
The second press release confirmed that the vote counts did not match, so the county clerk’s office removed the initial tabulations and started a manual count. At 6:34 AM Eastern (several hours before Cheong and Starbuck shared their tweets), the Detroit Free Press reported that results for Antrim County had been “updated and revised”:
Antrim County has posted updated and revised numbers for the presidential and U.S. senate races after discovering major errors in the numbers the county initially sent to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The revised numbers — arrived at after manually entering the results from printed tabulated tapes for all 16 precincts — show the northern Michigan county is still red, just not as dark a shade as it was in 2016.
The county is reporting Republican President Donald Trump beat Democrat Joe Biden by about 2,500 votes, with Trump receiving 56% of the just over 17,000 votes cast for president and Biden receiving 42%.
Political observers had expressed shock early Wednesday [November 4 2020] when the county transferred numbers to the state showing Biden beating Trump by about 3,000 votes. Antrim is a Republican stronghold where local GOP officials have mostly run unopposed in recent elections.
That revision did not meaningfully affect statewide tallies:
Statewide, unofficial results show Biden beating Trump by about 145,000 votes and Peters beating James by about 83,000 votes.
On November 5 2020, Reuters said of the amended results:
A spokesperson for the Michigan Secretary of State told Reuters via email that what happened in Antrim was a simple error, as outlined by the Facebook post from the county.
On the afternoon of November 6 2020, a spate of tweets revisited the days-old news about miscalculated votes in Antrim County, Michigan, on the same day local news outlets affirmed the results had been revised and that poll workers “manually [entered] the results from printed tabulated tapes for all 16 precincts.” As of 4:52 PM Eastern on November 6 2020, Joe Biden was ahead in Michigan with 2,790,648 to President Trump’s 2,644,525 votes — a difference of 146,123 votes.