Reuters Fact-Checker Has Not Updated Election Misinfo Claim

December 22nd, 2020 11:42 AM

So-called “fact”-checking websites often jump at any chance they get to attempt to prove President Donald Trump wrong. But they aren’t so eager to fact-check themselves.

Reuters fact-checked a Nov. 19 tweet from President Donald Trump but has not corrected, or even addressed, the inaccuracies in its own article.

“Almost ZERO ballots rejected in Georgia this election. In years past, close to 4%. Not possible. Must have signature check on envelopes now. Very easy to do. Dems fighting because they got caught. Far more votes than needed for flip. Republicans must get tough! @BrianKempGA,” Trump tweeted. Brian Kemp is the governor of Georgia. Twitter slapped a label under Trump’s tweet that said, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

Reuters took issue with Trump’s tweet, firing back with a Nov. 23 fact-check that argued: “[t]he claim that almost zero ballots were rejected in Georgia this year is false. 2,011 absentee by mail ballots were rejected for signature related issues.” Reuters further stated, “In 2020, 2,011 out of 1,322,529 absentee by mail ballots were rejected for missing or non-matching signatures with a rejection rate of 0.15%.”

Reuters claimed at the time that “[t]he total rejected ballots data is not yet available for 2020,” but now the data is available. Yet the fact-checker has not updated its article since Dec. 7. 

Reuters also hammered on the “4%” ballot rejection claim made by Trump: “The claim that around 4% of ballots were rejected in Georgia in previous election years is also false. The Georgia Secretary of State said that 580 ballots in 2016 and 454 in 2018 were rejected. These numbers make up ballot rejection rates of 0.24% in 2016 and 0.15% in 2018.”

Ballotpedia, however, reported very different numbers than Reuters. According to its Analysis of Rejected Ballots, which covers the elections of  2016, 2018 and 2020, Georgia rejected 6.42 percent of absentee ballots as a percentage of total absentee/mail-in ballots returned in 2016, 3.10 percent in 2018, and 0.60 percent in 2020, citing the Georgia Elections Division

Reuters had not responded to a request for comment at the time this article was published. 

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