ANN ARBOR, Michigan (KXAN) — A poll worker from Michigan — where unproven rumors of “voter fraud” have been reported on social media — is weighing in on the claims.
In a piece for The Washington Post called, “I counted votes in Michigan. There’s no way to commit fraud,” poll worker Evelyn Smith says that claims of widespread fraud like that being alleged by Pres. Donald Trump and some of his supporters are “totally absurd.”
“Those claims are totally detached from reality — from the painstaking, tedious process of accounting for and tabulating every ballot. The count involves so many steps, so many layers of double-checking and supervision, that it would be virtually impossible to fake even a single ballot,” said Smith.
Smith tells WaPo that on Election Day she volunteered for 13 hours in Ann Arbor, where workers were required to leave phones outside and could not come back inside once they left.
Additionally, Smith says poll workers were kept in the dark about what they’d be doing on each day until they arrived, making it impossible to know if you’d be processing ballots on that day.
Other measures Smith says were taken to ensure security:
- Workers were required to identify their political party, so that groups would be made up of a mix of Democrats and Republicans
- Constant inspection
- Sealed ballot batches
- Ballots being double-checked by multiple workers
It would take a level of effort I can’t even comprehend to circumvent that process,” Smith told WaPo. “The sheer volume of ballots, their exact ID numbers, the number of people involved who have never met one another and don’t have much opportunity to talk and don’t have their cellphones — all those layers add up to keep the process fair and the count accurate.”
Workers were also (non-confrontationally) questioned at random by inspectors throughout the day on what they were doing at any given time.
Despite lack of credible evidence regarding voter fraud in any state, Pres. Donald Trump and supporters have advanced conspiracy theories regarding votes in key battleground states.
In Michigan, Trump said his campaign was denied access to observe counting in Detroit, the Associated Press reports.
But Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey says each party was allowed one poll watcher per board and that while she was unaware of any poll watchers being removed, she noted some Republican watchers had been “very aggressive, trying to intimidate the poll workers and processors.”
Another Michigan rumor circulating online is that a glitch in software caused former Vice President Joe Biden to gain 138,339 votes while Trump gained none, Vox and election results firm Decision Desk HQ report.
Decision Desk HQ explains what happened: the “misleading” screenshots from DDHQ that are being shared online reflect a numerical typo on a graph in a tweet. Maps were corrected very shortly after, but not before Trump himself shared the incorrect information.
The tweets circulated widely among Trump supporters and right-wing areas of social media, being considered proof of voter fraud.
On Wednesday, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the maps point to a larger issue of using fake graphics to cast doubt of legitimate election processes. Benson said, “What we’ve said this entire election cycle is that we have to be mindful of posts made on social media.”
As theories and claims continue churning online, Smith tell WaPo the clamor has made an otherwise positive experience less so.
“In the following days, it made me angry — angrier than I thought I would be — to see people dismiss all that work out of hand with no basis at all, or based on wild, concocted claims,” Smith says.