Why Did Votes ‘Disappear’ in the Kentucky Primary?

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Bernie Sanders supporter Maria DelGrande implores passersby to vote on April 26. During the Kentucky primary, Sanders supporters reported votes mysteriously “disappearing.” (Getty)

Bernie Sanders supporters noticed votes mysteriously disappearing during the Kentucky primary last week. The Kentucky primary was so close that the delegates will be split evenly between Sanders and Hillary Clinton, with each getting 27 delegates apiece, according to AP. But Sanders is now asking for a recount, while others are pointing out suspicious things that happened during the primary itself. Did election fraud happen during the primary or was everything merely the result of glitches and technical errors? Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Roque De La Fuente has noticed the same thing happening with his votes in different states.

Here’s what you need to know.


1. Sanders Is Requesting a Recount in Kentucky

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Jane O’Meara Sanders tells her husband, Sen. Bernie Sanders, that he has won the Oregon primary during a campaign rally in Carson, California. (Getty)

In the Kentucky primary, Hillary Clinton led Sanders by a mere 46.8 percent to 46.3 percent. The delegate count will be split evenly between them, with each getting 27 delegates. During his rally in Carson, California, Sanders didn’t concede, but vowed to keep pushing forward. After the primary, Sanders’ communications director said the campaign would look at the numbers more closely to decide if it would request a recount.

Now they’ve made their decision. Sanders has announced that he is requesting a recount in Kentucky. This will take place on Thursday, in the 120 county boards of election, Huffington Post reported.

However, Sanders’ recount is not full recount, The Washington Post pointed out. That would cost him a lot of money. According to Bustle, Kentucky’s law requires that any candidate who has over 25 percent of the vote and requests a full recount within 10 days of the election must also pay for the cost of the recount. Instead, this will be a recanvass, which is a review of the voting machine tallies and absentee ballots. This will review whether human error switched any of the reports.


2. Sanders Somehow Lost 2,000 to 5,000 Votes in Kentucky During the Primary

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Lindsay Pastore shared this screenshot of Sanders’ votes changing in the Kentucky primary. (Facebook)

Sanders’ supporters noticed that he mysteriously lost 2,000 to 5,000 votes during the primary. The exact time this happened varied depending on which source you were watching. On The Guardian, between 6:25 and 6:30 p.m., his vote count changed from 210,228 to 205,576, as you can see in the photo above.

Anne Marie shared the following photo of the same thing happening while she was watching, between 9:15 and 9:33 p.m. (We’re not sure of the timezones for these posts.) In this time frame, his count went from 207,278 to 205,576:

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Anne Marie shared this on Facebook. (Facebook)

Mary Penn shared that CNN reported Fayette County had machine problems which accounted for some of the voting changes.


3. Votes in Pike County Disappeared

On the Reddit live thread for the Kentucky primary, Sanders supporters noticed that Pike County votes just disappeared completely at one point. Sanders had been leading by a huge margin at that point.

It turns out that card readers in Pike County had malfunctioned, Inquisitr reported. Votes in the county were completely erased and all of the data was wiped, leaving the totals at zero. When the votes returned, the reported count was down by 20 percent and Clinton’s results were ahead of Sanders’.  Some speculated that this may have accounted for Sanders’ lost votes:

On the Reddit megathread for the Kentucky primary, however, watchers later said he didn’t lose any votes in that particular county due to the machine error, because his votes caught up to where they were before the machine was fixed.


4. Roque De La Fuente, a Democratic Presidential Candidate, Shared Screenshots as He Mysteriously Lost Votes in Other States

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Roque De La Fuente shared these photos of his votes in Travis County, Kentucky. (Twitter)

Roque De La Fuente is also running for the Democratic nomination. He’s noticed the same thing happening in other states where he was on the ballot. He was tweeting some vote discrepancies during the Kentucky primary to let people know that they should keep an eye on the results. This article originally stated that his problems were in Kentucky, too, but he actually had seen them in different states.

For example, the photo above shows that he had 8,080 votes with 25.4 percent reporting in Travis County, Texas, and then only 108 votes later with 44.8 percent reporting. He was quick to point out that this isn’t the first time he’s seen this happening in an election. He later shared these photos on Twitter:

From the photos, it appears he saw a similar decrease in New Hampshire, Michigan, North Carolina, and other states. The Michigan election shows De La Fuente with 851 votes with 92.1 percent reporting, and then that number drops when 92.3 percent were reported. In North Carolina, he had over 4,000 votes when there were 13.4 percent reporting, which dropped to just a little over 1,200 votes when there were 17.6 percent reporting. At this point, according to his Twitter account, he hasn’t been given any reasons or explanations as to what happened.

On a Reddit thread one person suggested that the votes might have been added manually, with errors made as they were typed in. However, other people in the same thread weren’t sure if they agreed with that assertion. At this point, we’re not sure about the cause of these changes.


5. A Similar Problem Was Also Reported in Marion County, Oregon, Where Clinton Gained 11,000 Votes

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Marion County results (Facebook/Keren Portia)

Voters who were watching the election results closely on primary night noticed something strange in Oregon too. At 34.2 percent reporting in Oregon’s Marion County, Sanders had 11,281 votes to Clinton’s 257. Then, seemingly instantaneously, the count changed to Clinton’s having 11,257 votes to Sanders’ 11,281. She gained 11,000 votes, with 68.5 percent reporting, and Sanders didn’t gain a single vote in that same time period. Sanders’ supporters said that they found this suspicious and highly unlikely. On Facebook, comments included, “This is what you called ‘hacked voting machine,'” and “This needs to be investigated. This is extremely unusual and smells quite fishy.”

Keren Portia commented about the whole thing on Facebook:

However, a simpler explanation for the Marion County issue has recently been pointed out by Sanders supporters. It is possible that the person who keyed in Clinton’s vote simply forgot to put the “11” in front of the 257. That could possibly account for the sudden increase. At this point, it’s still not known which issues might be technical glitches or entry errors and which are not. But supporters are sure to keep a close eye on what happens in the next primaries.