FACT CHECK: Did Maricopa County Accept 18,000 Ballots After Election Day?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims Maricopa County in Arizona accepted 18,000 ballots after Election Day in 2020.

Verdict: False

The document included in the post is a transfer of custody document between Maricopa County and Runbeck Elections Services, according to election officials. All of these ballots were received on or before Election Day, not after.

Fact Check: 

An audit conducted by cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas of Maricopa County’s 2020 presidential election results confirmed President Joe Biden won the county by 45,000 votes, according to AZCentral. Biden won the entire state by more than 11,000 votes, according to official results.

The Facebook image shows a document titled “Election Day” that appears to be a receipt for 18,000 votes being received on “11-4-20” at “9:30.” All ballots must be accepted by 7 p.m. on Election Day, which in 2020 was Nov. 3, according to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission website.

“BREAKING: Maricopa County accepted 18,000 ballots AFTER Election Day,” the post caption claims. Text at the bottom of the image claims these ballots were picked up by the United States Postal Service Nov. 4, one day after the election.

While the image is authentic, it does not prove Maricopa County accepted ballots after Election Day. Rather, the image shows a document related to the transfer of custody of ballots between the county and the election management company Runbeck Election Services.

“The documents are not a record of when the Elections Department received the envelopes,” Megan Gilbertson, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department, told Check Your Fact in an email. “Instead it’s a record of when we transferred the envelopes to our vendor to be scanned.”

Gilbertson clarified that all 18,000 ballots were received prior to the deadline but were not scanned until the next morning due to a large number of early ballots received in the election.

Maricopa County rejected 2,042 ballots for having no signature or a faulty signature and another 934 for being late, according to the county’s election department. Gilbertson added that ballots that needed to be “cured” would be “tracked and scanned after Election Day until the curing deadline.”

Jeff Ellington, CEO of Runbeck Election Services, likewise said the document related to the transfer of custody of the ballots from the elections department to his company. (RELATED: Were Over 17,000 Duplicate Votes Found In The Maricopa County Audit?)

“These 18,000 ballots were received on Election Day prior to the deadline to cast a vote and delivered to Runbeck the next day for processing, following our standard operating procedure,” Ellington told Reuters. He added that the company scans the envelopes and takes an image of the signature on the ballot for verification.

Arizona has been the target of numerous false claims related to the 2020 election. Check Your Fact previously debunked several claims attempting to question the validity of the state’s vote totals.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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