The claim: Maricopa County lost 291,930 Election Day votes
Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, announced on Nov. 28 that they certified the county’s 2022 midterm election results. But some social media users claim there are missing votes in the county.
The article mistakenly compared Election Day in-person votes with total Election Day votes, and it claimed that the difference in the numbers indicated votes were somehow lost.
“Somewhere along the way Maricopa County lost 291,930 votes based on their own reporting,” reads the article.
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The Gateway Pundit article was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook, according to social media insights tool CrowdTangle.
But the claim that there are missing votes is baseless.
Maricopa County officials told USA TODAY the post conflates the in-person voting number on Election Day with the total Election Day vote number – more than 540,000 – that the county reported.
In addition to the nearly 250,000 in-person Election Day votes, total Election Day votes also included more than 290,000 ballots dropped off at voting sites on Nov. 8. There were also a small number of provisional ballots cast on Election Day that were counted separately.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment. Gateway Pundit updated its story Nov. 30 to note the total included absentee ballots, but the story text still asserts votes were lost.
All votes were accounted for in Maricopa County
The claim that Maricopa County lost 291,390 Election Day votes is false, Megan Gilbertson, communications director for the Maricopa County Board of Elections, told USA TODAY in an email.
On Nov. 28, Maricopa County reported that more than 540,000 voters voted on Election Day and 248,070 voters cast a ballot in-person on Election Day at the county’s 223 voting sites. The bulk of the remaining ballots – about 290,000 votes – were put in drop boxes at the voting centers on Election Day. There were also about 2,900 provisional ballots cast on Election Day, according to Gilbertson.
Jack Sellers, a Republican member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said in a Nov. 28 statement after the election results were certified that no matter how a person voted, “all legal ballots were counted.”
Steve Gallardo, who also serves on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, said in the same statement that the election was “safe, secure and accurate.”
USA TODAY has previously debunked claims about voting in Maricopa County, including baseless assertions that printing glitches showed “they’re cheating again” and that a poll watcher witnessed voting irregularities.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Maricopa County lost 291,930 Election Day votes. There were no missing votes in Maricopa County. The claim incorrectly compares in-person voting on Election Day with total Election Day votes, and it concludes the difference between the numbers indicates votes were lost. But voters on Election Day in Maricopa County could vote in person or by dropping off ballots in a secure box at a voting site. The total number of votes on Election Day reported by the county – more than 540,000 – includes in-person voting and ballots put in secure boxes. It also includes a small number of provisional ballots cast on Nov. 8.
Our fact-check sources:
- Megan Gilbertson, Dec. 5, Email exchange with USA TODAY
- Associated Press, Nov. 28, Posts falsely claim Arizona county ‘lost’ nearly 300K Election Day votes
- PolitiFact, Nov. 30, Maricopa’s final election results aren’t missing thousands of votes
- Maricopa County, Nov. 28, Board of Supervisors Certifies Maricopa County Election Results
- Maricopa County, accessed Dec. 6, Final election official results
- AFP Fact Check, Nov. 30, Website targets Arizona with false claim about missing ballots
- FactCheck.org, Dec. 1, Posts Mislead on Number of Election Day Votes in Maricopa County
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