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Split-ticket voting in Arizona isn’t a sign of fraud

Not Real News

A voting sign points voters in the right direction to drop off ballots on Nov. 7 in Phoenix. On Friday, The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly claiming the fact that incumbent Republican state treasurer Kimberly Yee got tens of thousands more votes than GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake shows the Arizona election was rigged.

CLAIM: The fact that incumbent Republican state treasurer Kimberly Yee got tens of thousands more votes than GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake shows the Arizona election was rigged.

THE FACTS: While Yee did get more votes, that isn’t proof of fraud. Many Arizona voters, including Republicans and independents, have a history of voting for candidates from both political parties. That continued this cycle. But as Lake lost her gubernatorial bid to Democrat Katie Hobbs in Arizona on Monday, social media users baselessly suggested that the fact that Yee garnered more votes than Lake was a sign of manipulation.

“It makes no mathematical sense that the GOP State Treasurer just won reelection by 250,000 votes, but none of those voters also felt like voting for Kari Lake,” one Twitter user wrote Monday in a tweet shared over 7,000 times. Far from being a sign of election fraud, such results in Arizona indicate that voters picked candidates from both political parties or voted in some races and not others, experts and political operatives say.

In fact, such voter behavior was common in 2022 in elections across the country. “Split-ticket voters are very common," said Paul Bentz, a Republican pollster in Phoenix. "It happens all of the time. It speaks to the various strengths or drawbacks of a particular candidate.”

Arizona voters in particular have a track record of not always voting along party lines. In 2018, many Arizona voters opted for Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who was running for U.S. Senate, and incumbent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, Bentz said. And in this election, Republican Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell fended off her Democratic challenger, outperforming Lake.

Lake, Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters and Republican secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, all of whom lost, were all endorsed by Trump and promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Johnny Melton, acting chair of the Legislative District 29 Republicans in Maricopa County, said he personally knows Republicans and right-leaning independents who didn’t vote for candidates like Lake and Finchem due to their embrace of election conspiracies. “Of course I know people who either split or just withheld their vote,” Melton said.

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

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