Texas GOP Perpetuates Election Fraud Allegation Debunked in Fundraising Mail
The Texas GOP sent out a letter earlier this week that focuses on a claim for electoral fraud in 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 the GOP-controlled Arizona Senate. The Senate held a hearing on the current audit on July 15 in which it announced preliminary results showing that 74,243 mail-in ballots were counted without “any clear record of them being sent.”
The number caught the attention of the Texas GOP. On July 20, party chairman Matt Rinaldi took it up in an emailed donation appeal.
“Seventy-four thousand… That’s the number of recently found mail-in ballots in Arizona that have NO clear record of sending,” read the first line of mail sent Tuesday. “This is exactly why we are fighting so hard for the integrity of the Texas election.”
“For months the left called us conspiracy theorists, lunatics and even anti-Americans for daring to raise legitimate concerns about the 2020 presidential election,” he said.
The preliminary audit results also caught the attention of former President Donald Trump, who issued a statement with the same conclusion: “It appears that 74,243 mail-in ballots were counted without him counting. there is no clear record of their sending ”.
PolitiFact previously assessed this claim as false, as have many other fact-checking teams. Politics called the 74,000 mail-in ballots claim this is a misinterpretation. CNN characterized the claim as being without merit. the Associated press called it a false story. And in a Twitter feed Maricopa County election officials released at the Arizona Senate hearing they said the audit results were “not based on fact.”
In a statement sent to PolitiFact Texas, the Texas GOP spokesman accused Democrats of “trying to overturn the Election Code nationwide.”
“If the press and Democrats don’t like the fact that 74,000 ballots contain either major clerical errors or potential fraudulent history, they should seek more information from the chief audit executive of the Arizona, ”spokesman Luke Twombly said. “The Texas GOP has always been committed to electoral integrity and full transparency. Only Democrats have attempted to overturn the Election Code nationwide and muddy the waters of an election that has raised red flags in several states. ”
Arizona’s chief audit executive is Doug Logan, CEO of Cyber Ninjas, a cybersecurity firm hired by Republicans in the Arizona Senate. Cyber Ninjas had no previous election auditing experience prior to being hired, and Logan was an advocate for “stop the theft” conspiracy theories.
At the Arizona Senate hearing, Logan noted that a clerical error could explain the figure 74,243.
“We have 74,243 mail-in ballots for which there is no clear record of being sent.… This could be something where the documentation was not well done – there was a problem with the office, it there’s no proper stuff out there – but I think when we have 74,000, it’s worth, you know, knocking on a door and validating some of that information, ”he said, referring to his suggestion to visit voters door to door as part of the audit.
During the hearing, Logan said he based the number of 74,000 on two types of early poll reports released by Maricopa County. But his understanding of what the two files represent has been contradicted by Maricopa County officials.
Logan said the EV32 file records when mail-in ballots are sent out, and the EV33 file records when mail-in ballots are received by the county. The discrepancy between the two files explains Logan’s figure of 74,243.
However, Maricopa County election officials tweeted that the EV33 and EV32 files are “not the right files to refer to” for complete accounting of all ballots sent and received.
A former Maricopa County election official said the two files are created for political parties to help them in their efforts to secure the vote in the early poll, according to the Associated press. The county is required to provide this data to political parties under Arizona law.
Additionally, the county records both mail-in ballots and in-person advance ballots as advance votes, and both are included in the EV32 and EV33 totals.
Finally, the two files capture the votes submitted at different time periods. While the EV32 file includes all of the requests that voters have made for advance ballots up to 11 days before polling day, the EV33 file includes the advance ballots returned until the Monday before polling day. , according to the AP.
County officials noted that listeners suffered “from a lack of electoral knowledge and a multitude of political prejudices”.
An audit by election officials earlier this month revealed 182 clear cases of voter fraud out of more than 3 million ballots cast in last year’s presidential election, according to the Associated Press. Each of the 182 cases has been referred to investigators and so far four cases have resulted in charges.
President Joe Biden won the state by about 10,000 votes in the general election.
In a political fundraising direct mail, the Texas GOP perpetuated an allegation of electoral fraud based on a partisan election audit in Arizona, claiming that 74,000 mail-in ballots were recently found in Arizona without a record of ever having been sent. .
The claim, which has been repeated by Trump and others, has been flatly refuted, both by past and present election officials in Maricopa County. For this reason, we are evaluating this Burning Pants claim.