Right-wing media figures are lying about Wisconsin voter turnout

Right-wing media figures have been spreading false claims about voter turnout in Wisconsin, claiming it is unusually high and implying it may be indicative of fraud. Harlan Hill, conservative commentator and a member of the Trump campaign advisory board, tweeted that turnout in the state reached 89%. The president’s son Eric Trump amplified this lie, saying it constitutes “absolute fraud” and Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “I’m calling bullshit.”

This number is unambiguously wrong. Wisconsin is one of 19 states that, along with the District of Columbia, allow eligible voters to register on Election Day. As a result, Wisconsin’s elections commission calculates voter turnout as a percentage of the total voting-age population, not the number of registered voters prior to the election. As of now, if the correct formula is used to determine voter turnout, roughly 73% of the eligible voters cast ballots in Wisconsin. Though the state’s voter turnout in 2020 is higher than in some past elections, it is not even a record nor anywhere close as to be a sign of potential fraud.

Despite relying on a wrong number, several right-wing media figures are continuing to spread disinformation about Wisconsin’s voter turnout. Conservative commentator and a member of the Trump campaign advisory board Madison Gesiotto amplified the false turnout number and called it “interesting.” Conservative activist and author Brigitte Gabriel also tweeted the incorrect number, writing, “FRAUD!” Grant Addison, deputy editor of the conservative Washington Examiner, called the false 89% turnout figure “unbelievable.”

This wanton amplification of lies is part of right-wing media’s concerted effort to undermine U.S. democracy and help Donald Trump steal this presidential election.