Not Real News

An election worker verifies a ballot on a screen inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office on Nov. 10 in Phoenix. On Friday, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming Arizona’s Maricopa County announced that more than 540,000 voters visited voting centers on Election Day and that only 248,000 Election Day ballots were counted. Therefore, the county “lost” some 292,000 votes.

CLAIM: Election equipment in Arizona was not certified by an accredited testing lab before it was used in the midterm election.

THE FACTS: Voting equipment used in the 2022 election in Arizona was certified by the Arizona secretary of state and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, according to spokespeople and documentation from both offices. A video showing a man claiming that the certifications for election equipment in Arizona lapsed prior to the 2018 election has spread widely online in recent days, with many social media users claiming that such equipment was not certified during the 2022 midterm elections.

In the video, a man states that Arizona’s election machines must be “certified by an accredited test lab” before claiming that the machines’ “accreditations had expired at the time of the original accreditation” going back to the 2018 election. A Twitter user who posted the video last week wrote that “the voting machines in Arizona were not certified and thusly the election in turn cannot be legally certified.”

The tweet with the video was shared over 15,000 times. But the equipment used in the midterm elections was certified, according to officials and publicly available documentation.

“All of Arizona’s election equipment that is currently in use meets federal and state standards and remains properly certified,” Sophia Solis, a spokesperson for the Arizona secretary of state, wrote in an email to the AP. Election equipment used in Arizona must be certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the secretary of state to ensure the equipment meets both federal and state requirements, according to Solis. The certifications don’t lapse, though recertification is necessary if significant upgrades or modifications are made to equipment, she wrote.

The office maintains a publicly available list of Arizona voting equipment that has previously been certified, as well as a list of hardware used in the 2022 cycle, with the latter showing three companies — Dominion, Election Systems & Software and Unisyn. An Election Assistance Commission web page shows that all Arizona counties use voting systems that have been certified by the commission, and also lists the same three companies.

“According to our records, there are three EAC-certified systems in use in Arizona,” Karen Meyers, a spokesperson for the commission, wrote in an email to the AP, citing the same systems. Manufacturers of election equipment submit applications for certification to the Election Assistance Commission, said Laura Albert, an industrial engineer who studies voting systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Federally accredited labs conduct tests of the equipment as part of the certification process.

“There’s a lot of checks and there’s a lot that election officials do to ensure the integrity of the system," Albert said.

— Associated Press writer Josh Kelety in Phoenix contributed this report.