LANSING — Antrim County has posted updated and revised numbers for the presidential and U.S. senate races after discovering major errors in the numbers the county initially sent to the Secretary of State’s Office.
The revised numbers — arrived at after manually entering the results from printed tabulated tapes for all 16 precincts — show the northern Michigan county is still red, just not as dark a shade as it was in 2016.
The county is reporting Republican President Donald Trump beat Democrat Joe Biden by about 2,500 votes, with Trump receiving 56% of the just over 17,000 votes cast for president and Biden receiving 42%.
Political observers had expressed shock early Wednesday when the county transferred numbers to the state showing Biden beating Trump by about 3,000 votes. Antrim is a Republican stronghold where local GOP officials have mostly run unopposed in recent elections.
In 2016 in Antrim County, Trump got about 62% support, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton by about 4,000 votes.
County Clerk Sheryl Guy told the Free Press Wednesday that officials sent the initial results to the state without checking them. But they later asked: “How could Democrats take over this county?” she said.
Guy was unclear on whether the apparent errors resulted from a software glitch or human error, but appeared to attribute the problem to a combination of both. The county uses Dominion Voting Systems equipment and results are manually transported on computer cards from the precincts to county offices, where they are uploaded onto another computer, she said. The county does not use cellular modems — which have raised concerns about the potential for manipulation by hackers — to transmit results from the precincts, she said.
J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan and an expert on voting machines and security, said he is interested in getting more information about what happened.
“It’s plausibly human error, but if a simple screw-up could cause these problems, that sounds like a technical design flaw,” Halderman said.
“It’s natural to wonder whether similar problems could have occurred in other jurisdictions that use the same machine. Fortunately, even if the county hadn’t noticed, this would have been caught and corrected during Michigan’s normal canvassing procedures, when they compare the results to the paper tapes from the machines.”
Dominion voting equipment is used in most Michigan counties, including Wayne County, but not in Oakland or Macomb counties.
The updated Antrim numbers, which are still unofficial, show Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James beating Democrat Gary Peters by just over 2,500 votes.
Statewide, unofficial results show Biden beating Trump by about 145,000 votes and Peters beating James by about 83,000 votes.
The county listed the updated numbers as “partial,” because while they include complete numbers for statewide races such as president and U.S. Senate, they do not yet include updated numbers for some local races.
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4. Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Antrim County still red after vote tally snafu showed Joe Biden winning it
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