Fact check: How we know the 2020 election results were legitimate, not ‘rigged’ as Donald Trump claims

USA Today

Fact check: How we know the 2020 election results were legitimate, not ‘rigged’ as Donald Trump claims

Daniel Funke, USA TODAY January 6, 2022

The claim: The 2020 presidential election was ‘rigged’

As the nation marks a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Donald Trump continued to promote a falsehood that he and his supporters have peddled for more than a year: that the 2020 election was rigged against him.

“Why is it that the Unselect Committee of totally partisan political hacks, whose judgment has long ago been made, (sic) not discussing the rigged Presidential Election of 2020?” the former president said in a Jan. 6 statement, which spokesperson Liz Harrington tweeted. “It’s because they don’t have the answers or justifications for what happened.

“They got away with something, and it is leading to our Country’s destruction.”

The statement, which has also been widely shared on Facebook, came after President Joe Biden delivered a speech in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall in which he criticized Trump and his distortion of the 2020 election results. Biden said Trump and his supporters “held a dagger at the throat of America.”

“You can’t love your country only when you win,” Biden said. “You can’t obey the law only when it’s convenient. You can’t be patriotic when you embrace and enable lies.”

More: Biden accuses Trump of holding ‘dagger at the throat of democracy’ in Jan. 6 speech

On Jan. 6, 2021, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, pushing through police barricades and smashing windows in an attempt to disrupt Congress’ certification of the presidential election results. The events of that day led to five deathshundreds of arrests and Trump’s second impeachment, as well as the creation of a bipartisan House select committee to investigate the attack. That committee’s work is ongoing.

The violent insurrection was predicated on the misguided belief that widespread voter fraud swayed the election in Biden’s favor. This was a baseless claim when Trump first made it in late 2020, and the year that passed since has only added to the evidence of the election’s legitimacy.

USA TODAY reached out to Harrington for comment.

Test ballots are hand counted, July 14, 2021, in the Wesley Bolin Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix, Arizona.
Test ballots are hand counted, July 14, 2021, in the Wesley Bolin Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, Phoenix, Arizona.
Ample evidence fraud did not affect election outcome

In the immediate aftermath of Biden’s win, election officials insisted the results were legitimate.

“The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and its partners said in a November 2020 statement. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”

Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, said in early December 2020 that the Justice Department had “not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” Biden won the presidency with 306 electoral voteswhich Congress certified in January 2021 after the Capitol riot.

Fact check roundup: Debunking false narratives about the Jan. 6 Capitol riot

At the time, some Republican lawmakers also pushed back on claims of widespread fraud.

“Nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election – nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican said in his address to the chamber before it was evacuated during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Since then, a mountain of evidence – including lawsuits, recounts, forensic audits and even partisan reviews – has affirmed those results.

Dozens of lawsuits by Trump and his allies aimed at overturning the election, some of which inspired misinformation about results in contested states like Nevada, failed. The Supreme Court refused to take up several cases challenging results in battleground states that played a key role in the outcome of the election.

In those battleground states, numerous audits and recounts have affirmed Biden’s win:

Fact check: What’s true about the 2020 election, vote counting, Electoral College

Many claims of fraud stemmed from a misunderstanding of how vote counting and reporting processes work in different states.

In Wisconsin, for example, some claimed late-night vote dumps for Biden were proof of fraud. That’s wrong – the state can’t count absentee ballots until Election Day, so tallies for the largest counties can take all day to complete, or even into the night. On election night, that resulted in a late addition of absentee votes, which trended heavily Democratic in 2020.

Similar narratives targeted other contested states.

In Michigan, an election-night typo resulted in the addition of more than 100,000 votes to Biden’s tally. Although the clerical error was quickly corrected, some falsely claimed it was evidence of voter fraud. In Georgia, footage of poll workers placing ballots in their proper storage containers was also misconstrued as evidence of fraud.

Other pervasive election conspiracy theories haven’t panned out, either.

Claims from conservative pundits that voting machines deleted Trump votes and changed them to Biden are false.

Companies like Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic have filed defamation lawsuits against Trump allies and conservative news outlets for promoting baseless claims about their voting technology.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged.” Lawsuits, recounts, forensic audits and partisan reviews have all affirmed the election results. Officials from both parties have repeatedly debunked claims of widespread voter fraud. With 306 electoral votes, Biden beat Trump in the election.

Our fact-check sources:

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.