Fact Check – Video Footage of People Casting Ballots in Maricopa County Is Not Evidence of Voter Fraud

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Social media users claiming video footage from a Maricopa County drop box proves that people who cast fraudulent ballots in Arizona’s midterm elections are missing key context. It is legal to cast ballots on behalf of other people in Arizona.

A Twitter user shared an eight-minute compilation video of different people dropping multiple ballots into a Maricopa County drop box in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections in Arizona with the caption: “This election in Arizona should not be certified! Videos of multiple people putting ballots into the ballot box in Maricopa County. The tweet has received over 2,600 likes and 1,500 retweets at the time of writing (here).

An Instagram user shared the video with the caption “We have mules again in Maricopa County” (here), (here).

The term ‘mules’ refers to ‘2000 mules’, a documentary by conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, which claims that 2,000 ‘mules’ were hired by anonymous nonprofits to ‘harvest ballots’ or placing fraudulent mail-in ballots in drop boxes across the country in the 2020 presidential election. A Reuters fact check previously found that the film did not provide verifiable evidence of voter fraud (here).

Megan Gilbertson, director of communications for the Maricopa County Department of Elections, confirmed via email that the videos were taken at a Maricopa County tabulation and election center.

A live video feed of the same drop box in Phoenix that was the focus of social media claims can be found on the Maricopa County Department of Elections website by selecting the Phoenix Drop Box stream (here).

The videos, however, show no incriminating activity.

Under Arizona law, a family member, household member, or caregiver can legally cast a ballot on behalf of another voter (here).

Gilbertson added that “there is no statutory provision that limits the number of ballots a person may return.”

Another Reuters fact-checking article debunked social media claims during the 2022 US midterm elections, claiming that “ballot harvesting” – or casting ballots for someone ‘one else – would lead to massive electoral fraud (here).

“Only registered voters who apply for early voting receive one,” Gilbertson said. “We are able to immediately cancel an early vote if a voter votes in person or requests a replacement early vote,” Gilbertson said.

After the ballots are received by Maricopa County officials, the signatures on the ballot are verified by trained personnel who match the signatures to another signature on the voter record. If the signature is not initially approved, it is again reviewed by a manager. If the manager cannot verify the signature, the voter is contacted to confirm their signature and ballot (here).

In Arizona, it’s a class five felony to tamper and cast a ballot, which means the consequence would be a fine of up to $150,000 and a minimum sentence of two years in state prison. (here), (here).

VERDICT

No proof. Videos of individuals dropping multiple ballots into a Maricopa County drop box are not in themselves evidence of voter fraud. Under Arizona law, a family member, household member, or caregiver of a voter can legally cast a ballot for them. There is no limit in Arizona on the number of ballots an individual can cast on behalf of another.

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


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