PHOENIX — Arizona region predetermination officials person identified less than 200 cases of imaginable elector fraud retired of much than 3 cardinal ballots formed successful past year’s statesmanlike election, further discrediting erstwhile President Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen predetermination arsenic his allies proceed a disputed ballot reappraisal successful the state’s astir populous county.
An Associated Press probe recovered 182 cases wherever problems were wide capable that officials referred them to investigators for further review. So far, lone 4 cases person led to charges, including those identified successful a abstracted authorities investigation. No 1 has been convicted. No person’s ballot was counted twice.
While it’s imaginable much cases could emerge, the numbers exemplify the implausibility of Trump’s claims that fraud and irregularities successful Arizona outgo him the state’s electorate votes. In final, certified and audited results, Biden won 10,400 much votes than Trump retired of 3.4 cardinal cast.
AP’s findings align with erstwhile studies showing elector fraud is rare. Numerous safeguards are built into the strategy to not lone forestall fraud from happening but to observe it erstwhile it does.
“The information of the substance is that predetermination officials crossed the authorities are highly invested successful helping to guarantee the integrity of our elections and the public’s assurance successful them,” said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat. “And portion of that entails taking imaginable elector fraud seriously.”
Arizona’s imaginable cases besides exemplify different reality: Voter fraud is often bipartisan. Of the 4 Arizona cases that person resulted successful transgression charges, 2 progressive Democratic voters and 2 progressive Republicans.
AP’s reappraisal supports statements made by galore authorities and section elections officials — and adjacent immoderate Republican region officials and GOP Gov. Doug Ducey — that Arizona’s statesmanlike predetermination was unafraid and its results valid.
And still, Arizona’s GOP-led authorities Senate has for months been conducting what it describes arsenic a “forensic audit” of results successful Phoenix’s Maricopa County. The effort has been discredited by predetermination experts and faced bipartisan criticism, but immoderate Republicans, including Trump, person suggested it volition uncover grounds of wide fraud.
‘A prevarication that developed implicit time’
“This is not a monolithic issue,” said Adrian Fontes, a Democrat who oversaw the Maricopa County predetermination bureau during the 2020 predetermination and mislaid his re-election bid. “It is simply a prevarication that has developed implicit time. It’s been fed by conspiracy theorists.”
The AP tallied the imaginable cases aft submitting nationalist grounds requests to each Arizona counties. Most counties — 11 retired of 15 — reported they had forwarded nary imaginable cases to section prosecutors. The bulk of cases identified truthful acold impact radical casting a ballot for a comparative who had died oregon radical who tried to formed 2 ballots.
In summation to the AP’s reappraisal of region predetermination offices, an Election Integrity Unit of the authorities lawyer general’s bureau that was created successful 2019 to ferret retired fraud has been reviewing imaginable cases of fraud.
A spokesperson for Attorney General Mark Brnovich told the AP successful April that the portion had 21 progressive investigations, though helium did not specify if each were from past fall.
A period later, the bureau indicted a pistillate for casting a ballot connected behalf of her dormant parent successful November. A spokeswoman declined to supply updated accusation this week.
Maricopa County, which is taxable to the disputed ballot reappraisal ordered by authorities Senate Republicans, has identified conscionable 1 lawsuit of imaginable fraud retired of 2.1 cardinal ballots cast. That was a elector who mightiness person formed a ballot successful different state. The lawsuit was sent to the region attorney’s office, which forwarded it to the authorities lawyer general.
Most cases successful Pima County
Virtually each the cases identified by region predetermination officials are successful Pima County, location to Tucson, and progressive voters who attempted to formed 2 ballots.
The Pima County Recorder’s Office has a signifier of referring each cases with adjacent a hint of imaginable fraud to prosecutors for review, thing the state’s 14 different region recorders bash not do. Pima County officials forwarded 151 cases to prosecutors. They did not notation 25 others from voters implicit property 70 due to the fact that determination was a greater accidental those errors — typically attempts to ballot doubly — were the effect of representation lapses oregon confusion, not transgression intent, an predetermination authoritative said.
None of the 176 duplicate ballots was counted twice. A spokesperson for the Pima County Attorney’s Office, Joe Watson, said that the 151 cases it received were inactive being reviewed and that nary charges had been filed.
Pima County’s tally of referrals to prosecutors aft past year’s predetermination was successful enactment with those successful 2016 and 2018. Prosecutors filed nary elector fraud cases aft the 2016 predetermination and conscionable 1 aft the 2018 election, and that lawsuit was aboriginal dismissed, Watson said Friday.
But determination were immoderate caller patterns this year, said lawman recorder Pamela Franklin. An unusually precocious fig of radical appeared to person intentionally voted twice, often by voting aboriginal successful idiosyncratic and past again by mail. In Arizona, wherever astir 80% of voters formed ballots by mail, it’s not antithetic for idiosyncratic to hide they returned their mail-in ballot and past aboriginal inquire for a replacement oregon effort to ballot successful person, she said. But this signifier was new.
Franklin noted respective factors astatine play, including worries astir U.S. Postal Service delays. In addition, Trump astatine 1 constituent encouraged voters who formed their ballots aboriginal by message to amusement up astatine their polling places connected Election Day and ballot again if canvass workers couldn’t corroborate their message ballots had been received.
Similar findings to different states
The results successful Arizona are akin to aboriginal findings successful different battleground states. Local predetermination officials successful Wisconsin identified conscionable 27 imaginable cases of elector fraud retired of 3.3 cardinal ballots formed past November, according to records obtained by the AP nether the state’s unfastened records law. Potential elector fraud cases successful different states wherever Trump and his allies mounted challenges person truthful acold amounted to conscionable a tiny fraction of Trump’s losing borderline successful those states.
The Associated Press conducted the reappraisal pursuing months of Trump and his allies claiming without impervious that helium had won the 2020 election. His claims of wide fraud person been rejected by predetermination officials, judges, a radical of predetermination information officials and adjacent Trump’s ain lawyer wide astatine the time. Even so, supporters proceed to repetition them and they person been cited by authorities lawmakers arsenic justification for tighter voting rules crossed the country.
In Arizona, Republican authorities lawmakers person utilized the unsubstantiated claims to warrant the unprecedented extracurricular Senate reappraisal of the predetermination successful Maricopa County and to walk authorities that could marque it harder for infrequent voters to person message ballots automatically.
Trump, successful a statement, called AP’s tally an effort to “discredit the monolithic fig of elector irregularities and fraud” successful cardinal battleground states and said the “real numbers” volition beryllium released “shortly.” He did not supply immoderate grounds to backmost up his assertions.
Senate President Karen Fann has repeatedly said her extremity is not to overturn the predetermination results. Instead, she has said she wants to find retired if determination were immoderate problems and amusement voters who judge Trump’s claims whether they should spot the results.
“Everybody keeps saying, ‘Oh, there’s nary evidence’ and it’s like, ‘Yeah well, let’s bash the audit.’ And if there’s thing there, past we say, ‘Look, determination was thing there,’” Fann told the AP successful aboriginal May. “If we find something, and it’s a large if, but if we find something, past we tin say, ‘OK, we bash person grounds and present however bash we hole this?’” Fann did not instrumentality calls this week to sermon the AP findings.
Aside from treble voting, the cases flagged by officials mostly progressive a ballot formed aft idiosyncratic had died, including 3 voters successful Yavapai County who look felony charges for casting ballots for spouses who died earlier the election.
In Yuma County, 1 lawsuit of a elector attempting to formed 2 ballots was sent to the region lawyer for review. Chief Civil Deputy William Kerekus told the AP that determination was nary intent astatine elector fraud and the lawsuit was closed without charges.
Cochise County Recorder David Stevens recovered mail-in ballots were received from 2 voters who died earlier message ballots were sent successful aboriginal October. Sheriff’s deputies investigating the cases recovered their homes were vacant and closed the cases. The votes were not counted.