Fact Check: 'Duplicate Ballots' In Maricopa County, Arizona, Are NOT Proof Of Voter Fraud

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: 'Duplicate Ballots' In Maricopa County, Arizona, Are NOT Proof Of Voter Fraud Not Votes

Are "duplicate ballots" in Maricopa County, Arizona, proof of voter fraud? No, that's not true: "Duplicate ballots" or ballot envelopes don't prove duplicate votes. If a voter sends back a mail-in ballot and the signature on the envelope is questioned, or there is no signature, election officials will work to cure that signature by contacting the voter. If the issue is fixed by the voter, the envelope will be scanned a second time, resulting in more than one image of the same envelope. Although the envelope is scanned again, it is not opened until a valid signature is provided, meaning that only one ballot or vote is counted, according to election officials in Maricopa County.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by The Gateway Pundit on September 24, 2021. Titled "Dr. Shiva at AZ Senate Hearing: Over 17,000 Total Duplicate Ballots -- Votes By Those Who Voted More Than Once in Arizona -- 1.5 Times Biden's Winning Margin," the article opens:

Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, M.I.T. PhD, the Inventor of Email, was the first presenter Friday afternoon at the Arizona Senate Audit. Dr. Shiva and his team Echomail investigated the mail-in ballot envelopes from Maricopa County.

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Dr. Shiva at AZ Senate Hearing: Over 17,000 Total Duplicate Ballots -- Votes By Those Who Voted More Than Once in Arizona -- 1.5 Times Biden's Winning Margin

Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, M.I.T. PhD, the Inventor of Email, was the first presenter Friday afternoon at the Arizona Senate Audit. Dr. Shiva and his team Echomail investigated the mail-in ballot envelopes from Maricopa County. Dr. Shiva then was asked to join and he addressed issues related to ballot signature cards. Dr. Shiva shared the early...

The article was published the same day the Arizona Senate heard results of a GOP-commissioned audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County, Arizona's most populous county. Appearing to conflate duplicate envelopes with duplicate votes, the article continued:

Dr. Shiva announced on Friday that his team found 34,448 votes from those who voted more than once in Arizona in the 2020 election.

17,000 votes that NEVER should have been included in the audit!

That's not true. There's no publicly available evidence that illegitimate votes were inserted into the process.

Maricopa County election officials addressed the claim on Twitter:

In other words, if the issue is fixed by the voter, the envelope will be scanned a second time, but it's not opened until a valid signature is provided. More than one image of the same envelope does not constitute proof of voter fraud.

Following Shiva's lead, some people on social media questioned why the "duplicates" clustered around Election Day, again, implying fraud:

But that pattern can be explained by the fact that ballot curing happens when ballots accumulate ahead of Election Day. It stands to reason that duplicate envelope scanning would increase as officials reach out and voters correct their mistakes in time to have their vote counted. Maricopa County election officials said they hired more staff in 2020, boosting the number of cured signatures, tweeting:

Lead Stories has written about the Arizona audit before. See here for those stories, in which we found that there were not 74,000 more mail-in ballots received and counted than were mailed, that a quarter of a million illegal votes were not found and that the audit did not confirm the rumor that a "special watermark is on the real ballots."

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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