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Ben Carson’s hilariously wrong map of the northeast US, explained

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.
Ben Carson campaign

Ben Carson, like many Republican presidential candidates, opposes allowing Syrian refugees into the United States in the wake of the Paris attacks. And while this is overall a bad argument, only Carson chose to make it with a uniquely wrong map.

The Carson campaign shared this map on Twitter and Facebook last night, seemingly not noticing the weird outgrowth in the northeastern United States. Vermont is still there, but Connecticut and Rhode Island have migrated to its northeast border, and New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine moved even north of that.

This seems like an inexplicably bad error of geography, but Vox graphics editor Javier Zarracina told me what likely happened is that the designer accidentally shifted part of the map using layers in an illustrator tool, but not all of it.

That doesn't explain, though, why no one noticed. It will be difficult for Carson to win New Hampshire if he isn't sure where it is.