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How many counties did Biden win? Less than any other president — but he still received more votes than Trump

Pro-Trump groups claim ‘something doesn’t seem to add up’ while promoting misinformation about the national vote

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 15 December 2020 20:01 GMT
Joe Biden asks Trump to accept his 'clear victory' after electoral college vote result

As the old saying goes, “two things can be true at once.”

President-elect Joe Biden won more votes than any other presidential candidate in US history, with an estimated 81,282,903 Americans casting ballots for the 78-year-old Democrat.

Those votes came from 509 counties across the country, according to data published by the Brookings Institution, making up just 16.7 percent of the nation’s counties. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, won the majority of votes in over 2,500 counties nationwide.

Students for Trump, a popular social media group for the president’s younger supporters, pointed the apparent discrepancy out in an Instagram post earlier this month.

The group posted a meme that read in part: “Did Biden win more votes than any president in history? He won a record low of 17% of counties.”

The post continued: “Biden won 477 counties while Obama in 2008 won 873..."

In a caption, Students for Trump wrote: “Something doesn’t seem to add up.”

The issue with that logic? Counties don’t vote: people do. While Mr Biden won more than 81 million votes, the president earned an estimated 74,223,030 — nearly seven million votes less than his opponent in the general election.

Their estimated vote totals, tallied by USA Today, prove that counties don’t determine elections. If so, Mr Trump would have won himself another four years in the Oval Office. Instead, he will be retiring from the White House next month as his successor takes over as commander-in-chief.

Many counties in rural parts of the country feature low density populations, while other counties can include hundreds of thousands of voters.

For example, Kalawao County in Hawaii has a population of 88 people, making it the least populous of the contiguous US. Los Angeles county in California has a population of more than 10 million people, according to the latest US Census data.

Still, similar memes were shared in recent weeks across conservative corners of the web while the president and his allies continued to promote false claims of widespread voter fraud, despite his own Department of Homeland Security describing the recent election as the “most secure” in US history.

There has been no evidence to support Mr Trump’s claims of vote rigging. The Justice Department said it did not find any credible evidence backing the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to overturn the election. Still, Mr Trump filed another federal lawsuit on Monday, just as the Electoral College was voting to confirm Mr Biden as the next president of the United States. 

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