“All it was is there was an extra zero that got typed in,” said Abigail Bowen, the elections clerk in Shiawassee County in Michigan, just northwest of Detroit. “It was caught quickly,” she added. “That’s why we have these checks and balances.”
When Ms. Bowen and her team sent the county’s unofficial vote counts to Michigan officials early Wednesday, they accidentally reported Mr. Biden’s tally as 153,710, when it should have been 15,371, she said. About 20 minutes later, she said a state elections official called her to ask if the number was a typo; Shiawassee County doesn’t even have that many residents. Ms. Bowen said she corrected the figure and the number was updated.
“All of these numbers are unofficial, so even if it wouldn’t have been caught last night, it absolutely would have been caught before we would have submitted our official results,” she said. A team of two Republican and two Democratic canvassers review all of the county’s poll books, ballot summaries and tabulator tapes to confirm the results before they are finalized, she said.
“As far as Shiawassee County, I feel the election went very well,” she said.
Yet on social media, the county represented a stark example of voter fraud. Posts that highlighted the apparent sudden boost in Mr. Biden’s count in Michigan were shared more than 100,000 times, and conservative websites posted stories with headlines like: “Very Odd: Michigan Found Over 100,000 Ballots and Every Single One Has Joe Biden’s Name on It.”
Matt Mackowiak, a Texas Republican consultant, posted the screenshots of the election map on Twitter and watched them quickly go viral, eventually shared by the president himself. Twitter eventually labeled Mr. Mackowiak’s post as disputed or misleading, and the company stopped people from sharing it as easily.