Fact-Checking My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell’s ‘Absolute Proof’ Election Fraud Special
My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell on Friday released a two-hour special, titled “Absolute Proof,” that contains multiple claims about election fraud. It aired on One America News Network with a lengthy disclaimer that Lindell “purchased the airtime” and that the program “is not the product of OAN’s reporting.” It has also been shared on social media.
Lindell has made a number of baseless allegations about widespread election fraud over the past few months. Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology firm that has been a popular target for misinformation since the 2020 presidential election, reportedly sent the My Pillow CEO a letter threatening to sue him over his allegations of fraud involving the firm’s machines, The New York Times reported.
Here are four checks on claims from Lindell’s “Absolute Proof” special.
Claim 1: “What we proved, Mike, we showed that the state had deleted the ballot images,” said Dr. Shiva Ayyudarai.
Ayyudarai, who lost in the Massachusetts Republican Senate primary in September, has claimed Massachusetts committed voter fraud by destroying over 1 million “ballots.” During his appearance in “Absolute Proof,” he said, “The machine is counting the ballot image.”
Debra O’Malley, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts secretary of state, told the Associated Press in September 2020 that no Senate ballots had been destroyed and that the ballots “are still under seal in each of the 351 local election offices.” Federal law requires election officials to retain for 22 months “all records and papers which come into his possession relating to any application, registration, payment of poll tax, or other act requisite to voting” for federal elections.
Massachusetts election equipment did not capture images of ballots. State law prohibits anyone from re-examining ballots outside of a recount so “our certified tabulator venders are instructed to turn that functionality off on equipment used in Massachusetts,” O’Malley told the Associated Press.
Professors specializing in election law told Reuters that because the state is not legally required to save ballot images, it did not commit fraud.
Claim 2: “Your votes are stored overseas … 27 states use what’s called Clarity Scytl election night reporting, and those servers are overseas. They have what are called S3 bucket vulnerabilities and people can get in and change the votes there, and they can load them all the way back down to the country level,” Russel Ramsland, a cybersecurity analyst and former Republican congressional candidate, said.
Scytl, a Spanish election software company, provided election night reporting to “seven states, and counties in almost 20 states” during the 2020 general election, its website says. However, it does not “tabulate, tally or count any votes,” according its website.
Jonathan Brill, general manager of Scytl’s U.S. operations, refuted Ramsland’s claims in an email to Check Your Fact, saying the Scytl subsidiary SOE Software “does not store votes overseas” and “does not have access to county servers.”
“First, we do not store votes. Our clients upload tabulation files to our software. These are just the results of the elections and not actual votes,” Brill said. “Secondly, these results files that are uploaded to our software are stored domestically. All US products are housed on servers located in the United States.”
Technologies “implemented by Scytl in the U.S. are both hosted and managed within the US, by a local subsidiary, SOE Software, based in Tampa, Florida,” according to Scytl’s website. The firm also states on its website that it “does not have servers or offices in Frankfurt.”
Brill further explained that “all results that we display are unofficial results” and that “there is no truth that results can change at the county level because we are simply a tool that displays the unofficial results.”
Gregory Miller, the cofounder and chief operating officer of the Open Source Election Technology Institute, told Check Your Fact via email that there is “NO proof” of votes being transmitted overseas.
“The election night reporting system they’re referring to houses (temporarily) unofficial data in servers, stateside,” Miller said. “They could theoretically also be using cloud server capacity that has physical presence overseas, but there is NO proof of such connections. And even if there were it would be irrelevant; it’s simply aggregate (not ballot specific) data. And the notion that the data can somehow be returned modified is purely nonsense. And easily verified by recounting the actual ballots.”
Check Your Fact has previously debunked the notion that Scytl had U.S. election data servers in Germany.
Claim 3: “On that call, he was listing these to the secretary of state. He said, okay, you have felons with incomplete sentences that voted and cast their votes: 2,560. Underage children that registered to vote and illegally voted: 66,247. Unregistered voters who voted: 2,423,” Lindell said.
Lindell is referencing the Jan. 2 call between former President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a recording of which was obtained by The Washington Post. During the phone call, Trump made baseless claims regarding mass voter fraud in Georgia.
Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems manager for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, refuted many of Trump’s claims during a Jan. 4 press conference, according to The New York Times. Based on records from the state’s corrections and probation departments, the number of potential felon voters is actually 74, Sterling said. There were zero people younger than 18 and zero people who were unregistered to vote that cast ballots, according to Sterling.
Walter Jones, a spokesperson for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, provided Check Your Fact a copy of a Jan. 6 letter that Raffensperger wrote to members of Congress that addressed Trump’s claims, including that over 10,000 dead people and over 1,000 people who registered at addresses that were post office boxes voted. The letter refutes both figures.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office found 2 potential dead voters, according to the letter. Raffensperger also noted in the letter that a “simple google search of this list revealed that many of the addresses that are alleged to be post office boxes are actually apartments.”
Biden won Georgia by over 11,000 votes, according to the state’s official election results.
Claim 4: “So 26 hours of watching ballot after ballot, walking up and down these tabulating machines, not one ballot was for Donald Trump,” Lindell said.
Lindell spoke to Melissa Carone and at one point summarized what she said. Carone worked as a contractor for Dominion at Detroit’s TCF Center, where the city’s absentee ballots were counted in the Nov. 3 general election, according to Detroit News.
Despite her claim to have not seen a single ballot for Trump, unofficial election results displayed on Detroit’s government website show that thousands of votes were cast for him in the city. Trump received over 12,600 votes in Detroit, while President Joe Biden received over 233,900 votes, according to Detroit’s government website.
Carone appeared at Michigan State Senate Oversight Committee and State House Oversight Committee hearings in December 2020, saying that she saw many instances of ballots run through vote tabulators multiple times, Detroit News reported. Wayne County circuit court judge Timothy Kenny had previously said in a ruling denying a request to stop the certification of the county’s election results that allegations made by Carone in an affidavit were “simply not credible.”
“There are no other reports of lost data, or tabulating machines that jammed repeatedly every hour during the count,” he said. “Neither Republican nor Democratic challengers nor city officials substantiate her version of events.”
Lawyers representing Dominion in December sent Carone a letter telling her to “cease and desist making defamatory claims” about the company, The Hill reported. The letter also said she was “hired through a staffing agency for one day to clean glass on machines and complete other menial tasks,” according to the outlet.