CNN chart does not show 2019 voter fraud in Kentucky
CLAIM: A 2019 clip of CNN election coverage shows a Republican gubernatorial candidate’s vote tally plummeting while that of his Democratic opponent total increases in the middle of the current count – proof of fraud.
AP ASSESSMENT: False. In the clip, a CNN graphic briefly dshows a drop in the Republican candidate’s total, bbut that was caused by a “typo”, according to a representative of the data company that provided the figures. The error was corrected by the firm a few minutes later.
THE FACTS: A clip of “Anderson Cooper 360” recorded by someone watching the show on their television has been circulating on Facebook for the past few days. The clip shows the results of the incoming votes from the November 5, 2019, Kentucky gubernatorial race, with Democratic nominee and eventual winner Andy Beshear ahead of Republican incumbent Matt Bevin.
The person plays the clip once, rewinds and then plays it back frame by frame, pausing to inspect the vote counts displayed on the screen. When the vote tally is updated, Bevin’s total appears to decrease, even though the ballots are still counted in the race.
“At the exact same second that Andy Beshear went up 560 votes, Matt Bevin dropped 560 votes,” the viewer said. “It’s a vote change in the computer.”
But the votes for Bevin did not transfer to Beshear. CNN’s chart contains a “typo”, according to Rob Farbman, executive vice president of Edison Research, whicha provided the voting data to CNN. Farbman told The Associated Press in an email that a reporter for Edison in Henderson County, Kentucky accidentally read the vote totals backwards, attributing Beshear’s 6,863 votes to Bevin and Beshear’s 6,303 votes at Beshear. This gave Bevin an illusory boost of 560 votes.
“This vote change was due to a typo in one county (Henderson) that was detected and corrected within 3 minutes on election night,” he said.
“We saw the discrepancy of this vote with the Kentucky state feed data and verified that the numbers were read backwards in our input center,” Farbman said. The voting numbers were later corrected.
The correct vote counts for Henderson County are corroborated by the county certified election results. Farbman said Edison’s data would automatically update CNN’s on-screen graphics.
“If the conspiracy theorists believe this was a fraud, they are accusing the right people at the Henderson County Elections Office of deliberately altering their final certified votes,” Farbman added. “It’s ridiculous.”
The race between Beshear, then state attorney general, and Bevin was hard fought and close. With 100% of precincts reporting on election night, Beshear led by just over 5,000 votes out of more than 1.4 million counted, a margin of less than 0.4 percentage points. the AP reported. Bevin conceded the following week.
The voting discrepancy shown in the video has repeatedly drawn attention and sparked false rumors in the years since the election.
Reached for comment, a CNN spokesperson referred the AP to further stories about the misleading clip, noting it had been spreading online for years.
This is part of AP’s efforts to combat widely shared misinformation, including working with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.