Fact check: States don't have more than 100% voter turnout in an election

Devon Link

Claim: Several key states had more ballots cast than registered voters

Even as Joe Biden prepares enter the White House as president-elect, the president and the internet are spreading misinformation about the election. A recent meme uses outdated data to argue fraudulent votes have undermined the election's integrity. 

“Huh. It just so happened that we are on track to have more votes than registered voters in every single state that could potentially win Trump the election,” claims an image posted to Facebook on Nov. 4. “You’ve been caught Dems.”

The meme includes a table with the number of registered voters, projected votes and voter turnout rate from several battleground states. Of the states listed (Nevada, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia) voter turnout is above 100% for all but Georgia. The data is attributed to Real Clear Politics and WorldPopulationReview.com.

Jeri Shuits, center, office manager for the Beaver County Board of Elections, walks between election workers preparing ballots for counting in the basement of the Beaver County Courthouse on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Beaver, Pa.

Another user shared the same table to Facebook group Latinos for Trump the same day.

While the meme does not explicitly say Democrats manufactured fraudulent votes to prevent a Trump victory, Facebook users read between the lines.

More:Fact check: Trump ballots were not thrown out as claimed by fake poll worker

“This whole thing has me so frustrated,” one Facebook user commented. “The cheating and corrupt deep state, the fake news, they already have Biden winning no matter what. They’re shoving that narrative down our throats.”

“We need to remember even in a good voting yr 60-70 % of voter turn out is a lot! So 100% of voters voting should be suspicious,” commented another.

Neither Facebook user who posted the table responded to USA TODAY's request for comment.

More:Fact check: False claim that deceased Michigan man voted in 2020

Claim based on outdated data

Archived pages from World Population Review show the table in the posts matches that site's data as of Nov. 4. But that doesn't mean it reflected the number of registered voters as of Nov. 3. The site updated its voter registration data to reflect this year’s election the next day.

Archived pages of the website show that prior to Nov. 4 the voter registration data on the site had not been updated on the site since at least Aug. 7. The updated website now offers the date each total was counted for context because these numbers change – especially right before a major presidential election.

State data shows higher registration totals 

Each state's website offers data on voter registration and total votes, which confirm those states have not counted more votes than they've registered voters. As of Nov. 6:

  • Nevada reported 1,821,864 registered voters, 1,280,639 ballots cast and 70.29% turnout.
  • Pennsylvania reported 9,091,371 registered voters and 6,685,865 ballots cast. From this data USA TODAY calculated Pennsylvania had about 73.54% voter turnout.
  • Minnesota reported 3,589,785 registered voters and 3,278,548 ballots cast. From this data USA TODAY calculated Minnesota had about 91.32% voter turnout. 
  • North Carolina reported 7.36 million registered voters, 5.49 million ballots cast and 74.6% turnout.
  • Wisconsin reported 3,684,726 registered voters and about 3,289,472 ballots cast. USA TODAY found voter turnout to be about 72.3% in a previous fact check.
  • Michigan reported 8,128,430 registered voters and 5,519,348 ballots castFrom this data USA TODAY calculated Michigan had about 67.9% voter turnout. 
  • Arizona reported 4,281,152 registered voters, 3,154,794 ballots cast and 73.69% turnout.
  • Georgia reported at least 7,587,625 registered voters and 4,960,605 ballots cast. From this data USA TODAY calculated Georgia had about 65.38% voter turnout or less.

World Population Review’s updated data approximately mirrors each state’s registration totals and is much higher than the registration totals reflected in the meme.

It is unclear from where the table’s creators pulled the projected vote totals, which are higher than several states’ Nov. 6 reports of ballots cast.

More:Fact check: Arizona election departments confirm Sharpies can be used on ballots

Our ruling: False

Updated data and individual state reporting show no state had more than 100% voter turnout for the 2020 election. The implication that Democrats doctored election results to show higher turnout than possible is based off outdated data that has since been updated. We rate the claim that several swing-states received more votes than they had registered voters FALSE.

Our fact-check sources: 

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