FACT CHECK: Did An Election Audit In Arizona Uncover ‘A Quarter Of A Million Illegal Votes’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared over 1,300 times claims an audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona uncovered “a quarter of a million illegal votes.”

Verdict: False

While an audit of ballots is being conducted in Arizona’s Maricopa County, the results have not been released at this time. Arizona election officials also refuted the 250,000 fraudulent vote number.

Fact Check:

Multiple false claims related to the 2020 presidential election in Arizona have circulated on Facebook since Election Day last year. Now, multiple Facebook users are claiming an audit in Arizona revealed a quarter of a million – or 250,000 – illegal votes.

While the post does not provide a source for the claim, it appears to reference an ongoing audit of ballots cast in Arizona’s Maricopa County during the November election. The audit of the county’s 2.1 million ballots comes at the behest of Arizona State Senate Republicans, according to the Arizona Republic.

The Florida-based consulting company Cyber Ninjas has been contracted to conduct the audit, the Associated Press reported. Doug Logan, the company’s founder, has previously used social media to promote unsubstantiated claims about the 2020 presidential election, according to the outlet.

The recount of Maricopa County’s ballots, which is being live-streamed, began last Friday, according to The Washington Post. However, at the time of publication, the audit has not been completed, and the official results have yet to be released. Cyber Ninjas agreed to produce a final report within 60 days, the Arizona Republic reported.

The Arizona Senate has not put out any press releases announcing the Maricopa County audit found 250,000 illegal votes. Ken Bennett, the state Senate’s liaison to the recount, told the Associated Press “no” when asked if the auditors found that many fraudulent votes. Multiple prior audits of the county’s election results found they were accurately counted, according to the Arizona Republic.

The Facebook post’s claim may be based on an April 24 article published on WorthyPolitics.com titled, “THIS IS HUGE! – BREAKING NEWS FROM ARIZONA AUDIT: The Number Of Illegal Votes In Maricopa County Could Easily Reach More Than 250,000.” The article includes a graphic alleging that 254,722 “possible illegal votes” were discovered, seemingly linking it to the audit, but that figure appears to be the same one put forward by former White House trade advisor Peter Navarro a few months ago.

In January, Navarro released the third volume of his report about the 2020 presidential election that included the same numbers of supposed “possible illegal votes” in Arizona. The first volume of Navarro’s election report was characterized by Forbes as “dubious” for its reliance on “debunked allegations that have largely been rejected when raised in court.”

Arizona election officials also refuted the notion of 250,000 fraudulent ballots in emails to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Image Claims To Show Shredded Ballots From The 2020 Election In Arizona’s Maricopa County)

“This is absolutely false,” said C. Murphy Hebert, a spokesperson for the Arizona Secretary of State, in an email to Check Your Fact. “You must be a citizen to vote in an election in Arizona, so that number appears to be completely fabricated and continues to rise, I believe the last time I got asked about this the claim was that 30,000 non-citizens voted. This too is false.”

Megan Gilbertson, communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department, also said that the numbers in the graphic about 254,722 “possible illegal votes” are “false.”

She noted that any Arizona voter who casts a ballot before Election Day “votes an Early Ballot” rather than an absentee ballot because the state doesn’t “have absentee ballots” and that “our systems do not allow for voters to have two ballots counted.” Gilbertson also directed Check Your Fact to official 2020 election results from Maricopa County.

President Joe Biden won Arizona by over 10,400 votes, Politico reported. Across the state, he received 1,672,143 votes, whereas former President Donald Trump received 1,661,686 votes, according 2020 election results from the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

Neither WorthyPolitics.com nor Cyber Ninjas responded to requests for comment by the time of publication.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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