Debunking American Election Myths, Part 5: More Votes than Voters?

The previous parts to this series:

A claim made by both Republicans and Democrats after last year’s American elections, and made by Republicans after the 2012 election, this is one of the easiest conspiracy theories to check – in fact, THE easiest to prove or debunk (alongside the VP’s powers).

The number of registered voters in each state and county – and in many of the cities, if not all of them – is PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFORMATION found on the relevant state government websites.

Similarly, the number of votes cast in each state and county, and many if not all of the cities, is publicly available information.

In short, the voter turnout – whether the number of registered voters exceeded the number of votes cast, or whether it was the other way round, IS AN ABSOLUTE FACT OF REALITY. It is not a matter of theory or dispute, and it is certainly NOT a matter of opinion. Either it’s an absolute fact of reality that voter turnout was 100% or less, or it’s an absolute fact of reality that it was over 100% (either nationally or on the state level).

In short, it is the easiest thing in the world to check the actual turnout before repeating what your conspiracy theorist friend told you.


No ifs or buts or “I disagree”. How on earth is it that so many people did not do basic two-minute research?

Rather amusingly, unlike many of the other election myths and lies and misconceptions floating around, this one is found on both sides of the aisle: some Democrats claim that Republican senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (the then-Senate Majority Leader and now-Minority Leader) and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were re-elected in last year’s Senate elections with more total votes cast than registered voters – some even claim that one or both of them received more votes than voters. Others say some of the counties had more votes than voters.

The only problem is: it’s a lie. According to the Kentucky State Board of Elections, in October 2020 – the month before the election – the state had 3,569,160 registered voters.

Whereas if you look at the election results, in the Senate election, 2,135,057 people cast a vote, of which 1,233,315 (57.76%) cast a vote for McConnell (816,257 voters – or 38.23% – cast a vote for his Democratic opponent Amy McGrath).

Absolute fact of reality: Kentucky didn’t have more votes than registered voters in last year’s US Senate election, nor did McConnell.

One of the above screenshot idiots claimed that it was not the state as a whole that had more votes than voters, but some of the districts (I presume he means counties). Let’s look at the county-by-county voter registration and turnout figures (note that the number of registered voters is from the figures released in October 2020):

There are 120 counties in Kentucky, and I’m not gonna post the figures for all of them. Here’s the official spreadsheet for the registered voters in October 2020:

Here’s the results:

I dare you to find a single county where there were more votes than voters. Hint: you can’t.

Absolute fact of reality: no Kentucky county had more votes than voters, neither did McConnell.

Some of the above also claim that McConnell was polling really poorly in the state prior to the election.

First of all, polls can be wrong – just ask a Brit (the 2016 Brexit referendum) or an Aussie (the 2019 federal election).

Second of all, despite a drop in popularity in the middle of the year, McConnell consistently led in the polls – frequently by large margins – in the months prior to the election.

You can read the polls here:

Mitch McConnell Says Donald Trump 'Didn't Get Away with Anything Yet' |
Mitch McConnell was legitimately elected United States Senator from Kentucky

What about Graham and South Carolina?

SC had 3,486,879 registered voters when the roll was last updated on December 1st, which presumably hadn’t increased by too much since November 3rd.

And SC saw a total of 2,515,104 votes cast in the US Senate election (of which 1,369,137 – or 54.55% – voted for Graham).

Absolute fact of reality: South Carolina didn’t have more votes than registered voters.

And just in case anyone suggests Graham was losing the polls: the polls were mixed, some showing a Graham lead, others showing his Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison in the lead.

And if you want to compare county-by-county, here’s the results:

And the registered voters:

Fact check: Claim about Lindsey Graham's calls to states is misleading
Lindsey Graham was legitimately elected United States Senator from South Carolina

I’ll deal with the Republican claims in the next part.

4 thoughts on “Debunking American Election Myths, Part 5: More Votes than Voters?

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