On January 27, the pro-Trump channel OAN broadcast a segment interviewing an "expert mathematician" named Ed Solomon who claimed to have found evidence within precinct-level reporting that the election was rigged by an algorithm. The basis of Solomon's claim is that he found several precincts throughout the country reporting exactly the same results at various times throughout the vote tabulation process.
Asked by host Christina Bobb what the likelihood of what Solomon claimed to have found being a coincidence is, Solomon replied, "You can use the binomial probability formula, and the chance of that event happening is one over ten to an exponent so large there's not enough stars in the universe—there's not enough atoms in the universe to explain the number. It can't happen naturally."
If this sounds suspiciously vague for a mathematician, that's because Solomon is not actually a mathematician, according to a lawsuit voting machine company Dominion filed against OAN for knowingly reporting defamatory claims against the company in the wake of Trump's loss. In fact, according to the lawsuit, Solomon is a convicted drug dealer and "was working as an 'installer' at a swing set construction company in Long Island" at the time of the interview.
According to a FactCheck.org review of Solomon's segment, his mathematical expertise is limited to having taken a few math classes at Stony Brook University from 2008 to 2015. He never received a degree.
Motherboard was able to independently verify that an Edward Solomon from Ronkonkoma, Long Island bearing a visual resemblance to the Edward Solomon in the video was arrested for a range of drug-related charges in 2016 and served two years for criminal sale of controlled substances. Dominion spokesperson Claire Bischoff told Motherboard the company learned this through "publicly available information" but declined to explain further on the record. Motherboard was unable to reach Solomon for comment.
As for the nature of Solomon's supposed findings, FactCheck.org spoke to several actual voting systems and math experts who noted that, far from being "not enough atoms in the universe" to explain its occurrence, whatever that means, is not at all odd for various precincts to have the same vote shares at different times in different parts of the country. It is also unclear where his data actually came from, since in the original 50-minute video outlining his claims, Solomon says it is the "data from the NYT feed from PA on November fourth" and the link to the "original data sets" is dead.
Dominion sent OAN two retraction demands within a week of the video being posted, according to the lawsuit, pointing out that Solomon lacks any expertise and is a convicted felon. The lawsuit says OAN "quietly removed" the video and story from its website, but it can still be found on OAN's Rumble page, a popular video platform for Trump supporters, where it bears the title "Smoking Gun." Solomon has continued to post YouTube videos of election analysis and math lessons for months. His most recent stream from early July, "The Mirror of Maricopa; Is there a parametric line?" is 11 and a half hours long.