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Dominion machines didn’t ‘flip’ votes in Ware County, Georgia

December 7, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Forensic tests completed on Dominion Voting Systems equipment show that dozens of votes cast for President Donald Trump in Ware County, Georgia, were “switched” or “flipped” to count for Joe Biden, who has been declared the winner in the presidential election.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A 37-vote difference between the results of an initial vote count and a hand recount in Ware County, Georgia, resulted from a human tabulation error that was quickly flagged and amended, according to Ware County Elections Supervisor Carlos Nelson. There is no evidence for claims that Dominion machines “switched” or “flipped” votes in the 2020 election. A forensic audit of Dominion voting machines used in the 2020 election in Georgia found “no sign of foul play,” according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office.

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THE FACTS: Social media users are misrepresenting a minor error in a Georgia county’s initial vote tally as evidence of election fraud, even as local elections officials confirm nothing is awry.

According to Nelson, an election worker made a small tabulation error on election night involving 37 votes out of about 14,000 cast for president in Ware County. 

Election officials caught the error during an internal audit, Nelson said. They corrected it during a full hand recount of paper ballots. A machine recount requested by Trump resulted in the same numbers as the hand recount, giving officials confidence in those results.

There was never an issue with the Dominion technology used for vote tabulation, Nelson said. And the 37-vote shift did not influence the election results in Ware County, where Trump won with about 70% of votes.

“There was no vote flipping,” Nelson said. “The system worked like it should.”

However, the advocacy group Voter GA misrepresented that reality in a Dec. 3 press release, saying it had “confirmed the Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5 system” caused 37 votes to be “swapped” from Trump to Biden in Ware County.

Over the weekend, other social media users and conservative websites picked up on the false theory that a Dominion algorithm switched votes to Biden in Ware County.

“37 Trump votes used in the equal sample run had been ‘Switched’ from Trump to Biden,” read one tweet shared 10,000 times. “In actual algorithmic terms this means that a vote for Trump was counted as 87% of a vote and a vote for Biden was counted as 113% of a vote.”

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Jody Hice, a Republican congressman from Georgia, also spread the false information, tweeting that a “forensics examination” in Ware County found votes were switched.

“This is one machine in one county in one state,” read the tweet shared more than 17,000 times. “Did this happen elsewhere? We need to know! EXAMINE ALL THE MACHINES!”

In fact, a forensic audit completed on a random sample of Dominion machines in Georgia found “no signs of cyber attacks or election hacking,” according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office.

Voting machines that Ware County used during the 2020 election are secured in storage, according to Nelson, and couldn’t have been accessed for the so-called “test” or “examination” social media users have referenced.

A statement released by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, a federal agency that oversees U.S. election security, says there’s no truth to claims that any voting system “deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised” in the 2020 election.

Dominion also denies claims that it somehow used an algorithm to manipulate votes, saying the company’s systems do not support “fractional” or weighted voting, and that it “is technologically impossible to ‘see’ votes being counted in real-time and/or to ‘flip’ them.”

Gabriel Sterling, a top official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office, called Hice’s post “flat out disinformation.”

“Ware County has accounted for all its equipment,” he said in a tweet. “There are no vote flipping machines.”

A spokesperson for Hice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536