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Results have not been released in Arizona election audit

April 26, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: A recount of ballots from Arizona’s Maricopa County in the November 2020 election discovered a quarter of a million illegal votes so far.

AP ASSESSMENT: False. No results from the audit, which was ordered by Republicans in Arizona’s state Senate, have been released at this time. Furthermore, Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state acting as the Senate’s liaison to the recount, confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the claim is false.

THE FACTS: After baseless conspiracy theories circulated that Arizona’s 2020 presidential election results were marred by fraud, multiple lawsuits and audits found no widespread irregularities, according to reporting by the AP.

Nevertheless, Republicans in Arizona’s state Senate have initiated an unprecedented audit of the 2.1 million ballots cast in the state’s most populous county during the November election.

On Friday, Cyber Ninjas, a cyber security firm contracted by the Senate began the audit. Cyber Ninjas is run by a supporter of former President Donald Trump who has shared unfounded claims that Biden’s presidential win was illegitimate.

The audit is expected to take about three weeks to complete, and the company has reserved the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the state fairgrounds through May 14 to conduct the recount.

On Monday, claims began circulating on social media suggesting the results of the audit were known. One popular social media post with over 1,500 shares says, “A QUARTER OF A MILLION ILLEGAL VOTES FOUND IN ARIZONA AUDIT...SO FAR!”

But this claim is false. The results of the audit, which began Friday, have not been released.

When asked Monday if auditors had found 250,000 illegal votes, Bennett responded in a text message, “No.”

The Senate audit can’t overturn the results of the election, but Republicans who control the state Senate say it is needed to restore voter confidence and help them craft changes to state election laws, the AP reported.

Senate Democrats call the audit an effort to perpetuate false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Experts on election administration and security have expressed alarm at the Senate’s audit, which they say isn’t following standard procedures to transparently and accurately count votes.

Biden won Arizona by nearly 10,500 votes and won Maricopa County by just over 45,100 votes.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536