The claim: Maggie Hassan won 1,100 votes from the town of fewer than 700 people
Computer glitches and human error in the midterm elections have led to false allegations of voter fraud, the most recent of which centers on a small New Hampshire county.
“Another miracle of the Democrats! Maggie Hassan wins 1,100 votes from a town of fewer than 700 people,” reads the headline of a Nov. 13 article from Gateway Pundit, a conservative website with a long history of untruth-sharing.
According to CrowdTangle, a social media analytics tool, the article was shared nearly 3,000 times in two weeks.
Screenshots of the caption also appeared on Instagram, where seven versions of the post received 500 likes. The allegation also appeared on Twitter and Facebook, where it was posted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has frequently made unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
But the claim is wrong.
The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office sent USA TODAY a press release explaining that the 1,106 votes the state of Columbia says Hassan won in the city of Columbia was a simple typo. The correct number of votes of 106 is now reflected in the official counts.
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USA TODAY reached out to Gateway Pundit and the social media users who shared the claim — including MyPillow’s Lindell — for comment.
City attributes incorrect number of votes to a “simple typo”.
The press release said the New Hampshire Board of Elections reported after election night that Hassan received 1,106 votes in the city of Columbia, which has a population of about 600 according to 2020 census data.
“The reported number far exceeded the number of ballots actually cast in the city,” the press release said. “The Secretary of State has confirmed to the Columbia City Clerk that Senator Hassan received only 106 votes on election night. The number originally entered was a simple typo.”
The error was due to information submitted on the official voting form, the press release said. The Vote Feedback Form is a document used by city and township moderators to record vote counts that are sent to the secretary of state on election night in accordance with the state electoral procedures manual.
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The New Hampshire Electoral Administration uses a variety of measures to ensure errors are discovered and corrected, the manual explains. This includes comparing the number of ballots used from inventory to the number of votes cast, and comparing the total number of votes for all candidates to the number of votes cast.
The handbook notes that errors can occur at points in the process where election officials report numbers manually, including “when votes from different counting tables are added, when the totals of hand-counted ballots are added to the totals on the results tape of the counted ballots, or when results from tally lists are transferred to the vote.”
The Secretary of State’s website was updated with the correct vote count for Hassan at Columbia and the error did not affect race results.
“Hassan remains the winner of the US Senate race,” the press release said.
PolitiFact also refuted the claim.
Our rating: Wrong
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Hassan won 1,100 votes from a town of fewer than 700 people. That number comes from a typo on an official form, the foreign minister’s office said in a press release. The error was later corrected and did not affect the results of the race.
Our fact check sources:
- Anna Fay, Nov. 16, email interview with USA TODAY
- Gateway Pandit (archived version), Nov 13, Another Democrat Miracle! Maggie Hassan wins 1,100 votes from a town of fewer than 700 people
- Census Reporter, accessed November 16, City of Columbia, Coos County, NH
- Secretary of State for New Hampshire, accessed Nov. 18, Election Procedures Manual
- Secretary of State for New Hampshire, accessing the results of the November 21, 2022 general election
- PolitiFact, Nov. 14, Maggie Hassan failed to get 1,106 votes in Columbia, New Hampshire. It was a typo
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