Arizona, Maricopa County officials combat election misinformation as ballot tabulation continues statewide

Misinformation on ballot tabulation sparked a fire on social media this week, which culminated in a protest outside Maricopa County Election headquarters in downtown Phoenix late Nov. 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Misinformation on ballot tabulation sparked a fire on social media this week, which culminated in a protest outside Maricopa County Election headquarters in downtown Phoenix late Nov. 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Misinformation on ballot tabulation sparked a fire on social media this week, which culminated in a protest outside Maricopa County Election headquarters in downtown Phoenix late Nov. 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Misinformation on ballot tabulation sparked a fire on social media this week, which culminated in a protest outside Maricopa County Election ballot processing center late Nov. 4.

Maricopa County elections officials announced just after midnight Nov. 5 that about 275,000 ballots remain and that more results are expected at 7 p.m. Nov. 5. As of the latest ballot tabulation, there had been 1.79 million ballots cast and counted: 912,585 ballots for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and 838,071 ballots for President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Biden continues to lead the race statewide as of Nov. 5, with 50.49% of the vote; Trump is trailing slightly behind, with 48.14% of the vote.

Clint Hickman, chair of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, sent a letter to county voters Nov. 4 that said the board of supervisors was "concerned about the misinformation spreading about the integrity of our elections."

"First, vote counting is not a Republican or Democrat issue; everyone should want all the votes to be counted, whether they were mailed or cast in person," read the letter. "An accurate vote takes time. It's possible the results you see now may change after all the votes are counted. This is evidence of democracy, not fraud."

Hickman, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs all debunked misinformation on social media regarding the use of Sharpies on ballots after Maricopa County provided Sharpies to voters; this was intended to keep ink from smudging as ballots are counted on-site.


Hobbs tweeted answers to commonly asked election questions Nov. 4 and addressed the question of Sharpies on ballots invalidating ballots.

"New offset columns on the Maricopa ballots mean bleed-through won't impact processing," Hobbs said; she further noted that counties may differ due to different tabulating processes or equipment. "If you followed your county's instructions, your vote will count, whether you used a Sharpie or other pen. The type of pen you use will not cancel or invalidate your vote."

Hobbs also addressed an issue some voters were reporting about the apparent "cancellation" of ballots when they looked to see if their ballot was counted.

"Voters who received an early ballot in the mail but chose to instead vote in-person will see their early ballot status as 'Canceled' on their Ballot-by-Mail/Early Ballot Status update," Hobbs tweeted. "This is because the early ballot is canceled so the ballot cast-in person can be counted. Seeing a 'Canceled' early ballot status does not mean the in-person ballot you cast was not counted. If you voted a provisional ballot, your ballot will be counted once the county confirms your registration status and that you did not cast another ballot."

The latest Chandler, Gilbert and Maricopa County elections results are available here.


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