By David Kelly
In the spirit of “Dewey Wins,” a Kalamazoo, Michigan, television station posted the results of the 2022 GOP primary on Sunday night. There was only one problem: The primary election doesn’t take place until next Tuesday, August 2!
To add to what some would call an intentional error, the establishment candidates all won by a landslide, which could sway voters. Tudor Dixon won the GOP primary for governor in Michigan! She received 47 percent of the vote compared to Ryan Kelley (23 percent) and Kevin Rinke (13 percent). Dixon is endorsed by the wealthy DeVos family, one of the most influential families in the State of Michigan.
“In advance of Michigan’s Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary election, News Channel 3 was conducting a test of its election systems last week,” reads a post on WWMT.com published Monday explaining the error. “In doing so, the station inadvertently published mock results on WWMT.com. The numbers used were randomly generated and did not reflect actual results.”
“Despite this regrettable human error, we remain committed to accuracy, transparency, and fairness in our reporting,” said News Channel 3 News Director, Matt Johnson. “There has been no counting of ballots. Once ballots are counted, we will post actual results on Tuesday, Aug. 2.”
Johnson added, “News Channel 3 takes its civic duty to inform the public seriously and apologizes for the confusion our error has caused.”
A tweet from the Michigan Department of State posted earlier in the day clarified that “no votes have been counted in the election.” “News media often test their webpages with sample data ahead of elections to ensure they will function properly on election night,” the department said.
Website posts have suggested that the error was intentional and designed to influence voters. “Voters want to vote for the winner, and seeing the huge numbers the establishment got in the ‘mistake’ it might get voters to change voting for the candidates they initially backed. These things do not happen in a vacuum, someone had to intentionally insert the results.”
Kent and Ottawa county clerks said their offices received calls and messages about results posted online by local media. “At least two Michigan television stations published the data sent out by the Associated Press to the news outlets to test election systems over the weekend,” said Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck in a joint statement.
“We want to be very clear that results posted on these sites were not provided by official election administrators, nor were our offices involved in any way,” added Roebuck.
The Ottawa and Kent County Clerk offices were inundated with calls and text messages starting early Monday morning from people who were concerned after they saw what they thought were early election results published online.
“There’s certainly a lot of concern about the election process in general, and people noticed this website information and have been calling us very concerned about where that data is coming from,” Roebuck said. “Misinformation from any source, whether intentional or unintentional can damage public confidence in our elections.”
In the state of current affairs with voter-fraud accusations, lawsuits, and the Dominion Voting machine controversy, it is no wonder that voters across the nation have lost faith in the whole election process. Add in this weeks’ test of a station’s election system and “inadvertently” published mock results, and you feed the flames of conspiracy to a nervous electorate. To paraphrase what Stalin is reported to have once said, “It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the votes.”