for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Fact Check-Election Day turnout numbers do not account for Arizona early voting

Votes cast in-person on election day in Maricopa County, Arizona, represented only 16% of the total votes cast, so claims that low in-person Democrat turnout make it “impossible” for the Democratic candidate to have received a majority of votes are missing key context.

Data showing low Democratic turnout on Election Day does not account for early mail-in and ballot drop-off votes. While Republican candidate Kari Lake had a majority of the Election Day turnout, Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs had a majority of the early votes, accounting for the close race.

Reuters reported on Nov. 14, 2022, that Edison Research projected Katie Hobbs had won her bid to be the governor of Arizona against Kari Lake (here). Maricopa County has posted unofficial results on its website (here), showing that Hobbs received 51% of the votes.

Examples of social media posts saying that it’s “impossible” for Democrats to win with over half the vote when election day turnouts were just a portion of that amount can be seen (here) and (here).

The posts share links to, or screenshots of, two articles by the Gateway Pundit. One article headlined “IMPOSSIBLE: Despite Only 17% Democrat Turnout on Election Day – Katie Hobbs and Democrats Are Winning Over 50% of Maricopa County Election Day Totals” was published on Nov. 13, 2022 (archive.ph/HIOdS). Another, similar article was published on Nov. 14 (archive.ph/4Gv3Z).

The articles cite information and reproduce cropped versions of graphs from Uplift, which describes itself as a media firm for Democratic campaigns and progressive political organizations (here).

One of the Uplift charts, titled “Maricopa County E-Day Check Ins,” shows 16.6% Democrat, 30.7% Other, and 52.7% Republican check ins at Election Day in Maricopa County.

Not legible in the article’s version of the chart are clear notations in the original: “Election Day Voters Only”, “Early Ballots Not Included” and “Ballot Drop Offs Not Included” that can be seen in the full chart, which is viewable in a tweet by its creator, Sam Almy, a data strategist at Uplift (here).

“Claiming that there is ‘funny business’ because GOP voters came out on election day in a single county completely ignores the voting that took place for the preceding 28 days,” Almy said.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer said in a tweet on Nov. 22, 2022 (here) that there were 1.56 million votes cast in total in Maricopa County. These included 250,000 (16%) in-person votes on Election Day, 290,000 (19%) early ballot drop-offs on Election Day and 1.02 million (65%) early ballots before Election Day.

According to this information, the Gateway Pundit article’s claim that it is “impossible” that Democrats had about a 17% turnout on Election Day and Hobbs won is unsubstantiated as this only accounted for 16% of all the votes cast. The majority of votes came from early ballots before Election Day, not shown in these graphs.

Additionally, another chart titled “Returns by hour and ballot party” and “% of Voters by Ballot Party” shown in one of the articles (archive.ph/4Gv3Z), shows data from the earlier primary election, not the midterm election in question, and was posted by Almy on Twitter (here) on Aug. 2, 2022.

“The short answer to why this is incorrect is the data is from primary election day 8/2/2022,” Almy said. “Voters in the primary have no relevance to the general election.”

Megan Gilbertson, communications director for Maricopa County, said “Maricopa County has not asserted either of the claims stated that article.”

VERDICT

Missing context. Republican candidate Kari Lake had the majority of the Election Day turnout and Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs had a majority of the early votes, which caused a close race with Hobbs selected as the governor of Arizona.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here.         

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up