On Friday, Colorado’s biggest “alternative facts” bullhorn in Congress, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, broadcast the following misinformation coming out of the dubious so-called “audit” of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona, the partisan adventure in confirmation bias grinding on to some manner of conclusion at some unspecified point in the future:
In Arizona, 74,000 ballots were counted with no record of being sent in.
That’s not normal. That’s not right. That’s not safe nor is it secure.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) July 16, 2021
Of course, if Boebert was even a little bit interested in disseminating accurate information to her 600,000+ followers on Twitter she might have checked with Maricopa County, Arizona for a perfectly reasonable if somewhat less conspiratorial answer to the question:
CLAIM: Maricopa County received 74,000 more mail-in ballots than we sent.
FACTS: In Maricopa County, we allow people to vote early in two ways: 1) by mail and 2) in-person at Vote Centers. These are all considered early votes.
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) July 16, 2021
Yesterday, CNN took a look at the basis for this latest morsel of 2020 election conspiracy bombast, and found Boebert as usual “went further” than her questionable source material:
[Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug] Logan made clear that this wasn’t necessarily a case of fraud, saying it could be a “clerical issue.” But his claim about an unexplained 74,000-plus ballot gap between the county’s list of mail-in ballots received and its list of mail-in ballots sent out was amplified on Twitter by Liz Harrington, the spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump, and by numerous other Trump supporters, such as Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert. Some of them, including Boebert, went further than Logan did.
“In Arizona, 74,000 ballots were counted with no record of being sent in. That’s not normal. That’s not right. That’s not safe nor is it secure,” Boebert wrote.
On Friday, Trump himself went further than Logan. In a written statement, he claimed that the Thursday Senate briefing showed “74,000 mail in ballots received that were never mailed (magically appearing ballots).”
Facts First: There is no evidence of either fraud or any significant error with these ballots, and certainly not “magically appearing ballots.” Both Maricopa County and outside experts say there is a simple explanation for the gap Logan claimed had not been explained: the existence of in-person early voting. Contrary to Logan’s claims, the ballot lists he was talking about include not only mail-in ballots but also ballots cast early in person.
Much like when Boebert falsely claims that hammers kill more people than guns or that no one died of COVID in Texas after the mask mandate in that state was rescinded, it’s another case of mindlessly repeating a falsehood that she has no intention of either verifying to be factual or correcting if it isn’t. It happens so often that we find it necessary to ignore many such examples so as not to become a blog wholly devoted to fact-checking a single member of Congress.
In this case, however, with Boebert directly spreading misinformation suggesting fraud in the 2020 presidential elections, there’s another wrinkle that bears mentioning. Responding to the complaint filed with the House Ethics Committee by Rep. Pramila Jayapal accusing Boebert of “instigating and aiding the violent riot at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021,” Boebert very specifically stated that her objections to certifying the election results in swing states were not related to election fraud.
To be clear, I was not involved in instigating and aiding the riots that took place on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol and there is no evidence that would support further investigation of these unjustified, politically motivated claims. As previously mentioned, my objections to the counting of Electoral College votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania were based on the Constitution and changes to state law that were not made by the state legislature, not election fraud. [Pols emphasis]
Apparently this distinction was important to Boebert’s defense before the Ethics Committee? After all, the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th most certainly did believe that election fraud happened, and Boebert doesn’t want to be blamed for inciting them. It’s ridiculous, of course, since Boebert repeatedly told her army of followers the 2020 election was fraudulent in the weeks leading up to January 6th:
— MissingPundit (@MissingPundit) June 30, 2021
Successful as it was, Boebert makes a mockery of her defense to the Ethics Committee every chance she gets.