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Fact Check-Maricopa County ballots were not burned in a farm fire

Posts claiming that 2020 general election ballots were burned in a farm fire in Maricopa County are false. The ballots were not removed from a vault at the tabulation center until they were transported to the Arizona Senate, according to county officials. Sheriff investigations into a farm fire revealed no burned election ballots.

Examples can be seen here and here .

The text on one post reads: “A friend called me when they found out ballots were shredded at the farm. I told them not to worry, tell them I could still do the forensic audit on the shredded paper. The smoking gun is that the paper will prove that some were printed in China. An hour later it was on fire. The fire burned two huge barns. It killed 162,000 egg laying hens. Hickman is the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. He owns Hickman Egg Farms. This was no coincidence.”

Comments on the posts include: “Treason”, “just a co-incidence!”, “How convenient” and “Liberals have done everything they can to stop this audit.”

Some posts refer to an article by Gateway Pundit published on March 6, 2021 (archive.ph/qowxU) with the headline: “After Finding Shredded Ballots in the Dumpster Earlier Today – A Mysterious Fire Breaks Out at Maricopa County Official’s Farm.”

The article claims the ballots were moved before being requested by the Arizona Senate and that a mysterious fire broke out at the Hickman’s Egg Farm, owned by the family of Maricopa County District 4 Supervisor Clint L. Hickman (here).

The article, however, provides no evidence of these alleged “shredded ballots” being inside the farm during the fire.

Fields Moseley, Maricopa County Communications Director, told Reuters via email that the claims stemming from the Gateway Pundit article about the Hickman’s farm are false.

“No ballots from the 2020 General Election were ever removed from the vault at the tabulation center until we had to prepare them for transport to the AZ Senate,” Moseley added.

An article by CNN here published on March 7, 2021 reported on the farm fire in question. The farm told CNN here that a piece of equipment malfunctioned, causing the fire.

A statement sent to Reuters by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office explained that over 166,000 chickens died in the fire that burned down three warehouses at the farm.

“The investigation was concluded and cleared as unfounded. The investigation revealed there was no evidence of a crime. The cause of the fire was listed as unknown. The Arson investigation revealed no election ballots,” the office said.

VERDICT

False. Maricopa County 2020 general election ballots were not burned in a farm fire.

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

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