Fact Check: Were 74K Fraudulent Mail-In Ballots Found In Arizona?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Brandon Mulder, PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman; radio story produced by Alexandra HartJuly 28, 2021 9:59 am,

From PolitiFact Texas:

The Texas GOP sent a mailer earlier this week that focuses on an election fraud claim out of Arizona in an attempt to attract donations for upcoming congressional races.

The claim stems from a recent audit of the November election in Maricopa County, which includes Arizona’s largest city Phoenix, ordered by Arizona’s GOP-controlled Senate. The Senate held a hearing on the ongoing audit July 15 in which they announced preliminary results showing that 74,243 mail-In ballots were counted with “no clear record of them being sent.”

The number caught the attention of the Texas GOP. On July 20, the party’s chairman Matt Rinaldi latched onto it in an emailed donation plea.

“Seventy four thousand… That’s how many mail-in ballots were recently found in Arizona that have NO clear record of being sent in,” reads the first line of the mailer, sent Tuesday. “That’s exactly why we are fighting so hard for election integrity in Texas.”

“For months, the left called us conspiracy theorists, crazies, and even un-American for daring to raise legitimate concerns about the 2020 presidential election,” it said.

The preliminary audit results also caught the attention of former President Donald Trump, who issued a statement repeating the same finding: “it seems that 74,243 Mail-In Ballots were counted with ‘no clear record of them being sent.’”

PolitiFact previously rated that claim False, as have numerous other fact-checking teams. Politico called the 74,000 mail-in ballots claim a mischaracterization. CNN characterized the claim as baseless. The Associated Press called it a false narrative. And in a Twitter thread Maricopa County election officials published during the Arizona Senate’s hearing, they said that the audit results are “not based in fact.”

In a statement sent to PolitiFact Texas, the Texas GOP spokesperson blamed Democrats for “attempting to overturn election code nationwide.”

“If the press and Democrats don’t like the fact that 74,000 ballots have either major clerical errors or potential fraudulent backgrounds, they should be asking the Arizona Audit Chief for more information,” spokesperson Luke Twombly said. “The Texas GOP has always been committed to election integrity and full transparency. It has only been Democrats who have attempted to overturn election code nationwide and muddy the waters of an election that raised red flags across multiple states.”

The Arizona audit chief is Doug Logan, the chief executive officer of Cyber Ninjas, a cybersecurity firm hired by Arizona Senate Republicans. Cyber Ninjas had no prior experience in election auditing before it was hired, and Logan was an advocate of “stop the steal” conspiracy theories…

Read the full story and see how the Texas GOP’s claim rated at PolitiFact. And listen to an interview with PolitiFact’s Brandon Mulder in the audio player above.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on texasstandard.org and KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.