The claim: People depositing multiple ballots in Arizona drop boxes is proof of election fraud
A Facebook user shared a video they claim shows fraudulent ballot harvesting in Arizona.
"Massive ballot harvesting/fraud out of Maricopa County, Arizona," reads the caption of a Nov. 18 Facebook video. "This was just footage from ONE drop box. Keep that in mind so you can understand the scale of 'the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.'"
The post's caption includes a link to a Gateway Pundit article headlined "BREAKING: Grassroots Group Releases Footage of Maricopa County Ballot Mules Stuffing Ballots in a Drop Box."
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The video shows a compilation of people driving up to a Maricopa County drop box and depositing multiple ballots. It also includes clips of Kari Lake talking about election integrity. Lake lost Arizona's governor's race to Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs.
But this video isn't proof of fraud. It is legal in Arizona for relatives, household members and caregivers to submit ballots other than their own, according to spokespersons for the Arizona Secretary of State and the Maricopa County Elections Department.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post for comment.
Relatives and caretakers can legally return someone else's ballot in Arizona
Sophia Solis, an Arizona Secretary of State spokesperson, told USA TODAY in an email that ballots can legally be returned on behalf of others in certain cases.
"In Arizona, you can return someone else's ballot if you are a relative, share a household or are a caretaker," Solis said.
Megan Gilbertson, a Maricopa County elections spokesperson, said in those cases the law does not limit how many ballots a voter can submit.
"There is not a statutory provision that limits the number of ballots someone can return if they meet the criteria defined by law," Gilbertson told USA TODAY in an email. She included a link to the Arizona State Legislature website, which notes that relatives, household members and caretakers can return others' ballots.
The viral ideo presents no information on who was dropping off ballots or what their relationship was to the voters involved, so there is no proof the ballots were invalid.
Signatures on early ballots are verified by trained election staff before being counted, Gilbertson said.
"State statute also defines the legal consequences if someone were to fraudulently submit a ballot on behalf of someone else," Gilbertson said.
The claim that the video shows fraudulent ballot harvesting has been debunked by Reuters as well.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that people depositing multiple ballots in Arizona drop boxes is proof of election fraud. It is legal in Arizona for relatives, household members and caregivers to submit ballots other than their own, according to spokespersons for the Arizona Secretary of State and Maricopa County Elections.
Our fact-check sources:
Megan Gilbertson, Nov. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Sophia Solis, Nov. 21, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Arizona State Legislature, accessed Nov. 22, Ballot abuse; violation; classification
Gateway Pundit (archive), Nov. 16, BREAKING: Grassroots Group Releases Footage of Maricopa County Ballot Mules Stuffing Ballots in a Drop Box – VIDEO
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: It's legal to drop off multiple ballots in Arizona