Former President Donald Trump seized on technical issues plaguing some polling stations in Arizona on Tuesday to suggest voter fraud in the midterm elections, writing, “Here we go again?” – despite the fact that election officials made clear the technical issues only delay vote counting, not the vote itself.
GOP nominee for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake, on Tuesday morning boosted a misleading claim from Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk that “A poll worker in all-important Maricopa County tells Election Day voters the machines are broken.”
Kirk tweeted a video of an election worker explaining that the polling station’s tabulator was not working, which meant that voters instead of scanning their own ballots would need to leave them in a box to be manually counted. Voting in Maricopa County has not been affected by the machines not working, only the counting has been impacted.
Lake retweeted Kirk, writing, “I am getting flooded with calls and text messages from people who are having trouble voting all over Maricopa County.”
“THIS is why we must reform our elections,” Lake argued.
I am getting flooded with calls and text messages from people who are having trouble voting all over Maricopa County.
THIS is why we must reform our elections. https://t.co/oFFElskQFs
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) November 8, 2022
Trump also got in the action, writing on Truth Social:
Reports are coming in from Arizona that the Voting Machines are not properly working in predominantly Republican/Conservative areas. Can this possibly be true when a vast majority of Republicans waited for today to Vote? Here we go again? The people will not stand for it!!!
While Trump, Lake, and Kirk appeared to cast doubt on the polling station’s ability to conduct the vote, NBC News reported that polling stations are prepared for these kinds of technical issues and the actual voting is in no way impacted:
Elections officials in Maricopa later posted a video explaining the issues around the voting machines and assuring the public that they were working on a fix. Election officials have clarified that the issues in Maricopa are with the machines that count votes, and that any ballots filled out and deposited into the ballot boxes will be counted.
The elections department released the following update, showing exactly how to vote if the machine’s are not working:
Lake later clarified on Twitter how voters can ensure their vote is counted. “If you have already checked in at a Maricopa County voting location where the tabulators do not work, you can (1) wait for your ballot to be tabulated on site, (2) ask to use the handicapped voting machine, or (3) leave your ballot in a box to be counted later,” wrote Lake, echoing Maricopa County officials.
Maricopa County is notably run by Republicans as the Board of Supervisors is 4-1 Republican and so is the county recorder.
If you have already checked in at a Maricopa County voting location where the tabulators do not work, you can (1) wait for your ballot to be tabulated on site, (2) ask to use the handicapped voting machine, or (3) leave your ballot in a box to be counted later. (2/2)
— Kari Lake (@KariLake) November 8, 2022
The tweets from Kirk and Lake, however, had already sparked a conspiracy theory online. Kirk later tweeted claims that Democrats were trying to rig the election with long lines and told his radio show audience not to use the secure ballot box.
Trump, not wanting to suppress his supporter’s turnout, later posted urging them to remain in line. “People of Arizona: Don’t get out of line until you cast your vote. They are trying to steal the election with bad Machines and DELAY. Don’t let it happen!”
The Election Integrity Partnership noted, “Conversation around the tabulation system errors spread rapidly on Twitter. We have observed 40,000+ relevant tweets in the span of two hours. Attention spiked after a tweet from Charlie Kirk, which fueled others who allege that these machine failures are deliberate.”
Conversation around the tabulation system errors spread rapidly on Twitter. We have observed 40,000+ relevant tweets in the span of two hours. Attention spiked after a tweet from Charlie Kirk, which fueled others who allege that these machine failures are deliberate. pic.twitter.com/b3i7cbCCB6
— Election Integrity Partnership (@EI_Partnership) November 8, 2022
Lake, a prominent advocate for the debunked claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen, has already cast doubt on whether or not she will accept the results of her own election.
In mid-October CNN’s Dana Bash pushed Lake three times if she will accept her election result. “I’m going to win the election and I will accept that result,” Lake responded the second time.
“If you lose, will you accept that?” Bash asked.
“I’m going to win the election and accept that result,” Lake doubled down. “The people will never support and vote for a coward like Katie Hobbs…”
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