DETROIT (AP) — A widely shared story that claimed in headlines that Michigan had mass Democratic voter fraud and that more than half of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's Detroit vote faces disqualification is false. State election officials say there is no proof to back up either claim.
The story posted by Higgins News Network on Dec. 6 is headlined: "Michigan Recount: Over 1/2 of Hillary Clinton's Detroit Vote Faces Disqualification," with an updated headline on Dec. 7: "Michigan Recount Halted After Mass Voter Fraud Discovery," with a subhead: "Federal Judge Officially Stops Michigan Recount After Discovery of Widespread Democrat Vote Fraud."
The claim comes from reports that many precincts in Detroit — which Clinton won with about 95 percent of the vote over President-elect Donald Trump — could not be recounted because the number of ballots stored in a sealed container on election night due to scanning machine malfunctions did not match the number of voter names recorded in a poll book.
In such cases, election night totals stand in the recount and are not disqualified.
It is not uncommon for there to be slight inconsistencies between the number of stored ballots and the number of voter names in a poll book, typically due to human error, but Michigan's elections bureau has ordered an investigation into discrepancies in about 20 of Detroit's 490 precincts.
Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the Republican secretary of state, has said the differences would not have affected Trump's narrow victory over Clinton in the state.
Clinton cut into Trump's 10,704-vote win by only 102 votes during Michigan's recount, which covered more than 40 percent of the statewide vote before courts stopped it.