Rigged Election Results Released Early, Clinton Wins-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
News outlets mistakenly released the results of the “rigged” 2016 election early. The pre-determined outcome was Hillary Clinton winning with 42 percent of the vote, compared to Donald Trump’s 42 percent.
There’s no truth to reports that news organizations mistakenly released pre-determined results of the “rigged” 2016 presidential election, with Trump losing.
The rumor started with a post by self-described “deplorable freelance journalist” Jim Stone that appeared under the headline, “Busted: Here are the Complete Rigged Election Results. Trump Loses,” on November 1st.
The report showed a graphic labeled “U.S. Presidential Popular Vote” showing Trump losing the election by a 2 percent margin. Stone reports:
THIS WAS RIPPED STRAIGHT OFF THE WORLDNOW MEDIA SERVER FOX, CBS, AND OTHERS USE. THIS IS NOT A SPOOF, THEY HAVE ALREADY FINALIZED THE ELECTION AND PREPARED THE REPORT PAGES. THIS IS A BUST OF THE ENTIRE SYSTEM, WITH THREE DIFFERENT CONFIRMED NEWS STATIONS USED AS EXAMPLES.
Worldnow is a central company that helps all the news stations stay synchronized so they all report the same news. This is a bust of that company, that already has the election results ready for the stations to post, complete with their station graphics. On election day, they go live with this. This is completely confirmed in the second report on this page, including proof that the posted results are NOT a test.
The story was quickly picked up by fringe right-wing news sites and was cited on social media as proof of a “rigged” election.
The original graphic appeared at WRCB TV, an NBC affiliate in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And it reportedly came from Associated Press election services. In response to public outcry, WRCB TV clarified that “all news organizations test their election graphics” ahead of elections, and there was nothing fishy about it:
Unpublished test election data appeared for a brief time on public servers this week for multiple news organizations that subscribe to the Associated Press election results service, including WRCB. Part of the test is to determine how the “winner check-mark” graphic and layout will appear on different platforms.
The test data appeared for several state and national races, including president. Now that testing is complete, WRCB has removed the test data stream to return results to zero in preparation for election night. It is possible the test data stream may need to be turned on again for brief periods of time as designers continue testing the graphics.
This has been the practice of news organizations for decades.
We found links to similar election result graphics posted by local news affiliates around the country. WNEM, a CBS affiliate from Michigan, displayed a test graphic with slightly different results. Clinton edged Trump, 41.1 million votes to 40.7 million, in that one. It probably came from a different elections service provider.
And for those who are still skeptical, election results in these graphics won’t be anywhere close to real the Election Day numbers. The WRCB TV test graphic, for example, shows a total of 99,958,413 votes cast. That’s nowhere close to vote totals in recent presidential elections. More than 129 million votes were cast in 2012, more than 131 million votes were cast in 2008. It wouldn’t make sense to rig an election with an unbelievably low voter turnout.
Given all that, we’re calling this one “fiction.”