No charges for 151 votes in Arizona examined for fraud

PHOENIX (AP) — A review of potential cases of voter fraud in the 2020 general election in Arizona’s second-largest county ended Friday with an announcement from prosecutors that none of the 151 cases they reviewed didn’t deserve to be charged.

The discoveries in Pima County provide another official rebuttal to former President Donald Trump’s claims that voter fraud led to his downfall in Arizona and other battleground states.

The Pima County District Attorney’s Office announcement closes the book on more than 2/3 of all potential voter fraud cases that were being reviewed by Arizona election officials and prosecutors.

Pima County District Attorney Laura Conover said while prosecutors have found instances where voters knowingly submitted more than one ballot, “there is little to no evidence they acted knowing that their actions would or could result in multiple votes being counted.

“What our investigation has revealed is the genuine confusion about the electoral process, particularly in relation to absentee and provisional ballots, and the real fear, for various reasons, that their initial vote will not count. “Conover said in a statement.

No voter counted more than one ballot, Conover said.

An Associated Press investigation found that fewer than 200 cases of potential fraud in Arizona had been identified until last week, when election officials in the state’s most populous county, Maricopa, said they uncovered 38 potential cases of voter fraud during a comprehensive review of 2.1 million ballots. . These cases were sent to the state attorney general’s office for review and possible prosecution.

These include five voters identified as having voted in more than one county, and six individuals may have voted twice in Maricopa County. The county report also found 27 instances where ballots were counted that were cast by deceased individuals before being mailed back; these were referred to the state attorney general for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The AP’s review has now found that across Arizona’s 15 counties, the total number of potential voter fraud cases in the 2020 presidential election, including the 151 cases now closed from Pima County, was 230 out of 3.4 million ballots cast statewide. Maricopa County County is reviewing another 100 cases involving people who died near the election but still voted.

Only 10 cases in Arizona have so far led to criminal charges.

An Associated Press review of every potential voter fraud case in the six battleground states contested by Trump found fewer than 475 — a number that would have made no difference in the 2020 presidential election. The review was completed before Maricopa County found its 38 new cases.

Democrat Joe Biden won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and their 79 Electoral College votes by a total of 311,257 votes out of 25.5 million ballots for president . The disputed ballots represent just 0.15% of his margin of victory in those states.

The cases couldn’t question the result even if all of the potentially fraudulent votes were for Biden, which they weren’t, and even if those ballots were actually counted, which in most cases they were. were not.

Pima County, home to 1.1 million people and the city of Tucson, has identified by far the most cases of potential voter fraud than any other county in Arizona. That’s because the Pima County Recorder’s Office has a history of referring all cases with even a hint of potential fraud to prosecutors for review, unlike the other 14 county recorders in the state.

Pima County officials referred 151 cases to prosecutors out of just over 520,000 ballots cast for president. They did not refer another 25 voters over the age of 70 because there was a greater chance that those errors – usually attempts to vote twice – were the result of memory lapses or confusion, not intent. criminal, an election official said.

Deputy Secretary Pamela Franklin told the AP in July that the county had seen an unusually high number of people who appeared to have intentionally voted twice, often voting early in person and then voting again by mail. In Arizona, where nearly 80% of voters vote by mail, it’s not uncommon for someone to forget they returned their mail-in ballot and then later request a replacement or try to vote in person, a she declared. But this model was new.

Franklin noted several factors at play, including concerns about U.S. Postal Service delays. Additionally, Trump at one point encouraged voters who voted early by mail to show up at their polling stations on Election Day and vote again if poll workers could not confirm that their ballots had been cast. received.

Friday’s announcement from the county attorney-elect said the cases had been reviewed by his Election Law and Fraud Units. About a third of the 151 cases have been selected for further investigation. They involved 23 Republican voters, 15 Democrats and 13 with no party preference.

Prosecutors were trying to determine whether voters who cast more than one vote did so knowingly and committed a crime. But prosecutors found no instances where voters intended to have both ballots count.

“Thus, without fraudulent intent, there is no substantial likelihood of conviction of any of the voters under investigation in these incidents,” Conover’s statement said.

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