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CTG FACT CHECK REPORT

Alessandro Monastra, Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC) Team

Chloe Bissett, Editor

Week of Monday, November 07, 2022


Vote Here sign in Taft, Texas[1]


Claim: Tweets alleging the intentional miscalibration of voting machines have gained thousands of views and retweets on Twitter.[2] These allegations have occurred since the Early Voting Stage of the October 24, 2022, Texas State Election.[3] The posts claim that voting machines have been manipulated to switch voters' preferences from the Democratic candidate to the Republican incumbent.[4]

Facts:

  • From 24 October to 4 November 2022, in-person Early Voting occurred in Texas.[5] November 8 was the official Election Day. Votes in this election decided positions such as State Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.[6]

  • Voters could cast their vote on a traditional paper ballot or a touch screen voting machine. Calibration of the voting machines is conducted by local county election authorities and the Texas Secretary of State; political parties are not involved with the calibration of voting machines. Some voting machines deployed in Texas are 10 years old and experience age-related technical issues, such as issues with calibration.[7]

  • By November 2, 2022, the Texas Civil Rights Project received a total of 10 complaints from people who experienced difficulty selecting their chosen candidate.[8]

  • There is no evidence to support claims that the voting system had been manipulated in the Texas elections and that the scope of the problem is wider than the isolated cases reported.[9]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is likely that ongoing claims of technical issues and intentional attempts to impact the election will have stopped a small proportion of Texan voters, who saw the claims online, from voting. The spread of disinformation regarding the election and voters being influenced not to vote, will likely impact the 2024 US Presidential elections, as it is unlikely that voters who were impacted by the claims will not have regained faith in the effectiveness of the voting system and machinery. A reduction in the number of voters will very likely impact the results of the election to favor one political party.

  • Voters frustrated with the result will likely share misleading content on an alleged fraudulent influence of politics in the election process on social media, creating a cycle that fuels polarization among US voters. Allegations of election fraud will likely be exploited by some extremist anti-Government groups in their propaganda to recruit new members who share their views. It is likely that individuals recruited to anti-Government extremist groups will be radicalized to conduct acts of violence targeting Government employees and buildings.

  • It is likely depicting voting machine systems as easy to manipulate will delegitimize the tool in the eyes of voters. It is likely that there will be a rise in voters using paper ballots or postal votes in subsequent elections. Similar claims of intentional calibration manipulation of voting machines will very likely continue to reemerge in future elections periods. In upcoming national or State elections it is likely that higher numbers of people voting via paper ballots. This will likely result in attempts to physically alter the number of votes for certain candidates or parties, to change the results of an upcoming US state and country wide elections.

Verdict: FALSE

 

[1]Vote Here sign in Taft, Texas” by Jay Phagan licensed under CC BY 2.0.

[2] Fact Check-No evidence of intentional widespread effort to miscalibrate voting machines in Texas, experts tell Reuters, Reuters, November 2022, https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1N3202RX

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Important Election Dates 2022-2024, Texas Secretary of State, https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/important-election-dates.shtml

[6] Don’t jump to conclusions as Tuesday election night results come in, The Texan Tribute, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/11/07/texas-election-night-results/

[7] Fact Check-No evidence of intentional widespread effort to miscalibrate voting machines in Texas, experts tell Reuters, Reuters, November 2022, https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL1N3202RX

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

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