Were a quarter of a million illegal votes found in the Arizona audit? No, that's not true: At the time of writing, April 27, 2021, no results from the audit commissioned by Republicans in the state Senate have been released. An exact release date is not known.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on April 26, 2021. The post read:
A QUARTER OF A MILLION ILLEGAL VOTES FOUND IN ARIZONA AUDIT...WE TOLD YOU SO...
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Apr 27 16:33:37 2021 UTC)
The post is referring to an audit of ballots from the 2020 general election in Maricopa County, the state's most populous county. The audit is taking place at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Phoenix, where subpoenaed election materials were delivered April 21 and April 22, 2021. The audit began on April 23, 2021.
It is unclear exactly how long it will take to recount all the ballots and release the results.
In a statement, dated March 31, 2021, Senate Republicans said a report would be issued "in about 60 days." The statement read:
Because it is an independent audit, leadership will not be directly involved, and members do not expect to comment on any of the processes of the audit until the report is issued in about 60 days.
The Senate has rented the coliseum until May 14, 2021.
According to the Arizona Republic, Doug Logan has said that he expects the counting of ballots to take 16 days. Logan is the head of Cyber Ninjas, the private company tapped to lead the audit effort.
In other words, it's not clear when the results of the audit will be released. But it is clear, at the time of writing -- April 27, 2021 -- that no results have been announced yet.
An Instagram post (archived here) makes a claim similar to the one in the above Facebook post:
The Instagram post appears to be a screenshot of a tweet that references an article published by Worthypolitics.com, titled "THIS IS HUGE! -- BREAKING NEWS FROM ARIZONA AUDIT: The Number Of Illegal Votes In Maricopa County Could Easily Reach More Than 250,000 Votes." The article can be seen here (archived here).
There are two points worth mentioning about the article. One, it claims that as many as a quarter of a million illegal votes could be found -- not that they have been found.
Two, the article claims that it received a list of "possible illegal votes" on April 25, 2021, characterizing the news as "BREAKING." But there's nothing new about the list. It's the same as one that was circulated back in January 2021 by Peter Navarro, as can be seen here; the relevant part is on page four. Navarro served in the administration of Donald Trump and has repeatedly claimed, against available evidence, that Trump won the 2020 election.
Another post (archived here) on Facebook claimed that the audit had turned up more than 200,000 invalid votes. This is false for the same reason that the first post is wrong: The results have not yet been released.
Lead Stories has debunked claims about the Arizona audit before. See here and here for those stories, in which we found that Dominion Voting Systems did not have 70 lawyers in the state trying to stop the audit and that the audit did not confirm rumors about a special watermark.
More than 2 million voters in Maricopa County participated in the 2020 general election. The audit is being streamed here, with nine cameras on ballot storage areas and workspaces where auditors are recounting and examining ballots:
(Source: AZAudit.org screenshot taken Tue Apr 27 19:13:48 UTC 2021)