Maricopa’s final election results aren’t missing thousands of votes

FILE - An election worker verifies a ballot on a screen inside the Maricopa County Recorders...
FILE - An election worker verifies a ballot on a screen inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office, Nov. 10, 2022, in Phoenix. Six Arizona counties will decide Monday, Nov. 28, whether to certify 2022 election results. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)(Matt York | AP)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:49 PM MST
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WASHINGTON (Politifact) - False claims about voting in Arizona’s largest county persist three weeks after the midterm election. One social media narrative claims Maricopa County’s voter turnout numbers “don’t add up.” That’s because the numbers shared in the post are missing necessary context.

“Bombshell report: Maricopa County announced that on Election Day over 540,000 voters visited one of the 223 vote anywhere centers in the county despite releasing final official results data claiming only 248,070 people voted,” read a tweet attributed to former Florida congressional candidate Chuck Callesto. (A Twitter exchange with Maricopa County suggests the tweet was deleted.)

A screenshot of the tweet was shared to Instagram on Nov. 28 with the caption, “These numbers don’t add up… just sayin’...”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

(Screenshot from Instagram)
(Screenshot from Instagram)(Politifact)

According to the Maricopa County Elections Department, more than 540,000 voters visited a vote center on Election Day to cast a ballot in person or drop off their early ballots.

On Nov. 28, county officials voted unanimously to certify the election results, which resulted from 1.56 million voters casting 2022 midterm ballots. Those certified results included the following breakdown:

  • Verified and counted Election Day ballots: 248,070
  • Verified and counted Election Day provisional ballots: 2,954
  • Verified and counted early ballots: 1,311,734

There’s an important point to know about the early ballots tally: Voters who dropped off early ballots on Election Day weren’t counted alongside in-person voters.

“Voters dropped off approximately 290,000 early ballots on Election Day,” said Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer.

About 248,000 people voted in person Nov. 8, Richer said. Those voters went to one of the county’s 223 vote centers where a ballot was printed for them. They completed that ballot and fed it through a tabulator — or placed it in a secure slot marked “No. 3″ to be tabulated later.

The more than 540,000 people who visited vote centers on Election Day included in-person voters who cast traditional and provisional ballots — 251,024 people — and about 290,000 people who dropped off early ballots on Election Day.

Our ruling

An Instagram post claimed that “Maricopa County announced that on Election Day over 540,000 voters visited” their 223 vote centers, but the final official results data reported that “only 248,070 people voted.”

That data is missing context. More than 540,000 people visited vote centers Nov. 8, but only about 251,000 of them were there to vote in person. The majority were dropping off early ballots.

We rate this claim False.

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