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Judge did not rule Dominion machines were designed for fraud

March 22, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: “Finally, a judge has ruled Dominion Voting Machines were designed to create fraud.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. No judge has made such a ruling. In December, a judge handling a Michigan lawsuit allowed the release of a report that contained false claims about a human error in Antrim County and about Dominion machines, including the unsubstantiated assertion that the machines were designed to create fraud. The release of that report, which has since been debunked, did not amount to the judge endorsing its claims.

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THE FACTS: Viral Facebook posts this month are claiming a Michigan judge has delivered a damaging ruling to election technology firm Dominion Voting Systems, which was targeted with a torrent of false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

“FINALLY, A JUDGE HAS RULED Dominion Voting Machines were designed to create fraud,” read a Facebook post without sourcing that was circulating widely on Monday.

“BREAKING NEWS ON DOMINION,” read a Sunday post on Instagram, which pictured a tweet making similar claims.

Contrary to these posts, there’s been no ruling from a judge that Dominion machines were built for election fraud.

Social media users aren’t even using new information to make the recent claims.

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Instead, they based their arguments on a December article, which covered a Michigan judge’s decision at the time to allow the release of a flawed report contained in a lawsuit seeking to challenge Antrim County’s election results.

Kevin Elsenheimer, the 13th Circuit Court judge in the lawsuit, ordered the report’s release in the case but did not make a ruling supporting its contents.

The 23-page report — signed by a former Republican congressional candidate with a history of spreading misinformation about Michigan’s election — claimed Dominion was “intentionally and purposefully designed with inherent errors to create systemic fraud and influence election results.”

The report claimed the results of the election in Antrim County, Michigan, should not have been certified because a forensic analysis of voting machines found a “machine error built into the voting software designed to create error.”

That analysis is “critically flawed, filled with dramatic conclusions without any evidence to support them,” according to a joint statement from the Michigan Department of State and the Michigan attorney general’s office in December.

Antrim County officials concurred in a press release, saying, “An analysis which should have been data and fact based is instead riddled with false and unsupported claims, baseless attacks, and incorrect use of technical terms.”

Dominion has presented evidence to show that its technology did not err in Antrim County during the 2020 election. Officials have thoroughly explained the human mistake that caused the small, Republican-leaning county to temporarily report unofficial results that reflected a landslide win for Joe Biden. Former President Donald Trump ultimately won the county with 61% of the vote.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced in early March that the state had completed more than 250 election audits, all of which “confirmed the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 election.” In her statement, Benson specifically mentioned the Antrim County audit, saying it found that “the Dominion machines used there accurately counted ballots throughout the county.”

There’s also no evidence the election technology firm Dominion Voting Systems switched or deleted votesused algorithms to unevenly weigh vote tallies, colluded with Democrats, or used foreign servers — despite repeated efforts by former Trump and his supporters to claim it did.

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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