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Late last week, Students for Trump founder Ryan Fournier declared on social media that he had unearthed definitive proof of widespread voter fraud in Detroit. He pointed to an absentee ballot cast by “118-year-old William Bradley”, a man who had supposedly died in 1984.
“They’re trying to steal the election,” Fournier warned in a since-deleted Facebook post.
But the deceased Bradley hadn’t voted. Within days, Bradley’s son, also named William Bradley, but with a different middle name, told PolitiFact that he had cast the ballot. That was confirmed by Michigan election officials, who said a clerk had entered the wrong Bradley as having voted.
The false claim that the deceased Bradley had voted in the 3 November election is one of a barrage of voter fraud conspiracy theories fired off by Trump supporters across the country during recent weeks, and all have been debunked while failing to prove that widespread irregularities exist.
Instead, the theories often reveal Trump supporters’ fundamental misunderstandings of the election system while creating a game of conspiracy theory whack-a-mole for election officials.
Bradley was only one of dozens of allegedly dead Michigan voters who were found to be alive. Trump supporters pointed to Napoleon Township’s Jane Aiken, who they claimed was born in 1900, and cited an obituary as evidence that she was deceased. But the township’s deputy police chief investigated and found the obituary to be for a different Jane Aiken.
Police told Bridge Magazine that the Aiken who cast the ballot is “94 years old, alive and well. Quite well, actually.”
Meanwhile, CNN examined records for 50 Michiganders who Trump supporters claim are dead voters. They found 37 were dead and had not voted. Five are alive and had voted, and the remaining eight are also alive but didn’t vote.
Read more of Tom Perkins’ report here: The dead voter conspiracy theory peddled by Trump voters, debunked