At a debate on March 21, Gibbons repeated his claim about five million more people voting than were registered to vote, and he added that his numbers came “from the US Census Bureau.” He reiterated this claim at another debate, on Monday: “Five million more people voted than were registered to vote, and that’s according to the US Census Bureau. There’s a problem. We need to investigate it. The January 6 commission should be investigating that instead of some false accusation of some kind of insurrection.”
The Election Assistance Commission wrote in the report that “more than 209 million people were active registered voters for the 2020 general election, which represents an all-time high, and more than 161 million voters cast ballots that were counted for this election.”
Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political science professor who studies elections, said Tuesday: “It is absolutely ludicrous to say that more people voted than there are registered voters.” He described Gibbons’ comments as “wild claims to appease people who want to believe that somehow there was fraud that denied (former President Donald Trump) the election.”
For this election-focused fact check, we’ll leave aside Gibbons’ assertion that it’s incorrect to say there was “some kind of insurrection” at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
A false Gibbons claim about Wisconsin
At the debates on March 18 and Monday, Gibbons followed up his false claim about registration numbers in 2020 with a false claim about what happened in 2020 in the swing state of Wisconsin, which was won by now-President Joe Biden.
He said on March 18: “I don’t know if you just saw the Wisconsin evidence, but apparently there are a number of nursing homes where 103% of the nursing home occupants voted — and they all voted for Joe Biden.”
He said on Monday: “Recently, there was a Wisconsin special counsel that discovered that a great — good — number of nursing homes in Wisconsin voted at 103% of their occupancy. And they all voted for Joe Biden.”
“We did not do anything with who the residents voted for,” Niemierowicz said.
Niemierowicz said Tuesday that the special counsel’s office stands by the nursing home numbers in the report. But Niemierowicz gave CNN a different explanation of its nursing home calculations than the explanation that appears in the report.
He said the special counsel was comparing the number of voters at nursing homes to the number of total beds these nursing homes said they had, not to the number of “registered voters” in those nursing homes — though the report says “registered voters.”
“We should’ve probably had different headers on that table,” Niemierowicz said.
But changing the table headings wouldn’t have solved the puzzle of Gableman’s nursing home numbers. When CNN compared voters to beds using Milwaukee County figures Niemierowicz provided on Tuesday, the result was about 43%, not 100%.
“None of this surprises me,” Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, said in an email Tuesday. “Little of the investigation that has been presented so far has been supported by facts.”
Other candidates made false claims too
Gibbons was far from the only candidate at the debate on Monday to make a false claim about the 2020 election.
On Monday, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel repeated his usual false claim that the election was “stolen from Donald J. Trump,” baselessly casting aspersions on the results in some heavily Democratic cities. Businessman Mark Pukita and author J.D. Vance also proclaimed the election stolen from Trump. Businessman Neil Patel made a vague false claim about tens of thousands of invalid ballots in Georgia.
Former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken did not say the election was stolen but said, “There’s no doubt in my mind there were irregularities and fraud in the 2020 election.”