An apparent software error in Michigan flipped close to 6,000 votes for Donald Trump into Joe Biden’s column before officials noticed and corrected the mistake.
As the Detroit Free Press reported, the incident took place in Antrim County which discovered major errors after they had been sent to the Secretary of State’s Office. The report noted that the initial numbers showed the Democratic candidate in the lead, which would have been a highly unusual result in that area of Michigan.
“Political observers had expressed shock early Wednesday when the county transferred numbers to the state showing Biden beating Trump by about 3,000 votes. Antrim is a Republican stronghold where local GOP officials have mostly run unopposed in recent elections,” the report noted.
Sheryl Guy, the county clerk where the incident took place, told the outlet that officials had initially forwarded on the results without checking them, but they later realized that they showed Biden in the lead. Guy said the situation was likely a combination of a software glitch along with some level of human error.
The corrected tabulation showed Trump leading by close to 2,500 votes, the newspaper noted.
The situation attracted some viral attention, with many sharing the story on social media and claiming that it could have represented larger election fraud. Trump has made allegations that there has been widespread fraud in favor of his opponent, though not offered evidence of the claims.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany shared a link to a story from The Federalist about the incident and speculated that the same mistake could have taken place at other polling places.
J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, told the Detroit Free Press that there is some natural interest in the situation, and he would like to learn more about the cause of the vote flipping.
“It’s natural to wonder whether similar problems could have occurred in other jurisdictions that use the same machine,” he said. “Fortunately, even if the county hadn’t noticed, this would have been caught and corrected during Michigan’s normal canvassing procedures, when they compare the results to the paper tapes from the machines.”
After Trump notched a surprise victory in Michigan in the 2016 presidential election, Biden flipped it back to Democrats along with other key battlegrounds like Wisconsin. He remains ahead of Trump as counting continues in the remaining contests yet to be called, though major networks have not yet called the race.