Fact Check: The Number Of Registered Voters Is NOT Greater Than The Voting-Age Population In Sells, Arizona

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: The Number Of Registered Voters Is NOT Greater Than The Voting-Age Population In Sells, Arizona Bad Stats

Is the number of registered voters greater than the voting-age population in Sells, Arizona? No, that's not true: The Pima County Recorder's Office told Lead Stories that the total number of registered voters in the district of Sells is 1,197, which is less than the voting-age population.

The claim appeared in a tweet (archived here) published by "Liz Harrington" on December 13, 2021. It reads, in part:

Voting Age Population: 1,375
Registered "Voters": 2,762

This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Fri Dec 17 16:29:19 2021 UTC)

The post includes a short video from a hearing held on December 13, 2021, in Oro Valley, Arizona, on the 2020 election. In the clip, Pima County GOP Chair Shelley Kais can be heard saying:

Why this is particularly important to me is because the population of Sells, Arizona, is 2,121 ... 64.8% of the population is over the age of 18 and, therefore, eligible to vote. That would make 1,375 people eligible to vote in Sells, Arizona. Our data shows that 2,762 people in the voter database -- that's double the people eligible to vote according to the 2020 census. That's my point.

Kais appeared to be relying on this data from the Census Bureau. And, in fact, that site shows the population in Sells to be 2,121, with 64.8% of the population being over the age of 18, which calculates to an exact number of 1,374.4.

It was not immediately clear where the figure she cited -- "2,762 people in the voter database" -- came from. Lead Stories reached out to Kais to ask. We will update this story, as appropriate, if we receive a response.

We also reached out to the Pima County Recorder's Office. According to spokesman Michael Truelsen, the total number of registered voters in the district of Sells is 1,197, including 1,062 active voters. Those figures are below the purported voting-age population of Sells.

It's important to note, too, that census data does not update in real time. It is not a current snapshot of the population. Kais said as much in her extended comments, stating that the data was "technically, only about 15 months old." When pressed for specifics on Sells, she acknowledged some holes in the data. Kais said:

My position today is to raise inquiry, and so we did not go out to any of those homes in Sells to canvass any of those doors. We just looked at data.

Lead Stories also reached out to state Rep. Mark Finchem, who organized the hearing, and Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward about the Sells stats. Again, we will update this story if we receive a response.

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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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