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Fact Check: Viral image – Human error caused brief misreporting of Georgia U.S. Senate runoff results

An Instagram post that shows fluctuating vote counts in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff is being misleadingly framed as evidence of election fraud. 

In reality, it’s evidence of human error. 

A video in the post shows what appear to be screenshots from Georgia Public Broadcasting’s website on election night. 

The first image shows Republican candidate Herschel Walker with 1,551,534 votes, according to The Associated Press’s estimate, with 66% of votes counted. Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock has 1,518,513 votes. 

The next image shows Walker with 1,529,948 votes and Warnock with 1,522,549 votes with 66% of votes counted. 

“At 10:01pm, Herschel Walker had 1,551,5344 votes,” reads text over the image, with a numerical typo. “At 10:03pm, Herschel Walker had 1,529,948 votes. Herschel Walker lost 20,000+ votes while his opponents gained.” To add an extra suggestion of nefarious conjuring, the video features a snippet of the Cars’ 1984 hit “Magic” in the background, with the lyric, “Uh-oh, it’s magic.”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

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Lauren Easton, a spokesperson for The Associated Press, told PolitiFact that “human error caused us to provide incorrect, overstated numbers for Herschel Walker for less than a minute on Tuesday night. As soon as we saw the mistake, we quickly returned to providing the numbers reported by the state.” 

Unofficial election results on the Georgia secretary of state’s website show Warnock won the election with 1,816,096 votes, or 51.37%.

We rate claims that the fluctuating vote count on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s website is evidence of election fraud False.

 

Source: PolitiFact.