Clip of French TV shows technical glitch, not election fraud

28 April 2022
What was claimed

A French news channel showed during the count for the presidential election that Marine Le Pen had more votes than Emmanuel Macron, but her votes were later reduced, suggesting electoral fraud.

Our verdict

France 2, which showed the erroneous graph, has confirmed the inconsistency in figures was due to a technical glitch.

A post on Facebook claims that an inconsistency in vote numbers broadcast on TV during the French presidential election is evidence of “electronic fraud”. 

The post itself is the screenshot of a tweet, which includes a short clip of a broadcast from French news channel France 2 during the second round of voting in the French election on April 24, apparently showing eventual winner Emmanuel Macron receiving fewer votes than opposition candidate Marine Le Pen while votes were being counted. 

The France 2 clip shows Ms Le Pen with 14,432,396 votes—1.14 million more than she had actually received by the end of the count. As other fact checkers have also written, this then prompted widespread claims of electoral fraud. 

In fact, the apparent inconsistency in numbers was caused by a technical glitch. In a statement published to Twitter the following day, a spokesperson for France 2 said the software that allowed the live results to appear on screen had malfunctioned at 9.10pm, meaning the results for some municipalities were counted twice for both candidates. 

They added that the error had been noticed almost immediately, and subsequently corrected. 

The French government’s interior ministry updated the results as they were announced live on Sunday evening. Archived versions of the page, collected via Wayback Machine, show that the number of votes for Ms Le Pen never reached the 14.4 million erroneously shown by France 2. 

Image courtesy of Rémi Noyon, via Flickr.

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