Nestled against the foothills of Estrella Mountain Regional Park, a nearly 3,000 square foot home sits on allegedly vacant land.
According to a report by Tory activists who have spent much of the year since the election knocking on Maricopa County doors and asking people about their voting history, Goodyear’s address is a wasteland where two people nevertheless voted by mail in the November elections.
The Arizona mirror visited the address at Goodyear and found a house that is clearly visible from the street. A low wall surrounds the grounds and the house number is visible from the dirt road that leads to the gate at the front of the property. The house is also visible on satellite images on Google Maps which can be easily found with a few simple touches.
A few more keystrokes are all it takes to access the property records at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office which show two owners who took possession of the property in 2018. The house itself was built in 2005, these records show. The Maricopa County Elections Department said these two owners, along with a third person registered to vote there, voted by mail in the 2020 general election.
After months of hype among proponents of false conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was rigged, a long-awaited report on a voluntary “canvassing” effort by voters in Maricopa County landed with a thud on Wednesday when the activists behind made a series of claims without any evidence to back them up – highlighted by two specific claims that almost immediately turned out to be false.
It is misleading. This is not true. And that will just unfortunately add more fuel to the fire which is not precise.
– Eddie Cook, Maricopa County Assessor
The report released by conservative activist and failed legislative candidate Liz Harris said more than a quarter of a million votes in the November election were suspect. The claims were based on information that volunteer canvassers – who joined the effort by filling out a form on the itsmellsfunny.com website – gleaned from thousands of voters, according to the report, many of whom said they had voted in the election but as the county election records show they did not vote. Others said they did not vote, but records show they voted in the election.
Harris’ report does not contain any corroborating information that could be used to verify the allegations. He indicated that the prospecting team can provide affidavits under oath to support the findings. But Harris did not provide these affidavits to the Arizona mirror, and hung up without answering questions when contacted by phone.
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The report does not provide any names or addresses that could be used to verify the voters’ alleged allegations, nor does it indicate that the prospecting team verified their allegations against county records.
Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer said Harris had not provided any affidavits or other corroborating evidence to his office either.
Richer said he reached out to Harris to discuss his efforts and concerns. The two met in March and he asked her to provide him with some examples of the alleged problems his team had found – he suggested an initial list of 100 incidents – so his office could look into them.
Maricopa County Assessor Eddie Cook also spoke with Harris about his efforts several weeks ago. Both are members of the precinct committee for Legislative District 17, where Harris ran for a legislative seat last year, and Cook approached her to discuss the solicitation and request data. He agreed to pass several questions from her to Richer – one related to the disproved conspiracy theory that the county’s ballot tabulation machines were connected to the Internet during the election, the recorder said – and hoped that would persuade her to provide data that could be used to prove or disprove her claims.
Neither official has ever received any data from Harris.
Cook said he emailed Harris again after posting his report and informed her that they had found two serious errors on his report covers, and requested information that could be used to investigate his allegations regarding his allegations. She did not provide any information, Cook said.
“That was the danger that I didn’t want to happen because it will spread nationwide, and that’s incorrect,” Cook said of the bogus claim on the cover of the Harris report. “It’s misleading. This is not true. And that will just unfortunately add more fuel to the fire which is not precise.
Within minutes, specific claims turned out to be false
Only two allegations in the report included information that could be used to verify them. Both were found to be blatantly false within minutes of their release.
“Wednesday represents the first two data points we’ve ever seen on Liz’s efforts,” Richer said, referring to the Harris report. “Oh-for-two is not a good place to start.”
Problems with Harris’s claim about Goodyear’s address, which appeared on the cover of the report, were quickly discovered. ABC15 reporter Garrett Archer highlighted on Twitter that the lot contained a house and that the county property records clearly indicated the owner.
Harris’ group responded by republishing the report with a different cover image purporting to show another address where a ballot was cast from vacant land. This second address, in Tempe, is currently vacant land, according to county officials.
But before that, it was a mobile home park. Cook and Richer released a joint statement Friday morning showing an aerial photo of the park. The appraiser’s office said the property was sold in February 2020, a month after a demolition permit was filed for the property. The property changed hands again in March of this year.
Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson told the Mirror that 15 people were already registered to vote at this address. The ballot mentioned in the Harris report was from a former resident of the mobile home park who registered to vote there in 2016 and requested that his advance poll for 2020 be mailed to a temporary address , which is permitted by law, Gilbertson said.
Harris’s report was replete with other allegations of suspected fraud or questionable votes in the 2020 election, although none were attached to the names or addresses of voters that could be used to verify them.
The prospecting team claimed to have attempted to contact 11,708 voters, ultimately obtaining information on 4,570 and personally interviewing 964, according to the report. Of those, 330 said they voted, but county records said they did not vote in the general election. Based on the figure of 505,709 registered voters in Maricopa County who did not vote in November, Harris’ group extrapolated and alleged that 173,104 voters “had their votes stolen.”
Harris provided no evidence that a single person voted that was not registered by the county.
The report also claimed that there were 96,389 “ghost votes”. The figure is based on 164 people the Harris group said they identified who had postal votes from their addresses cast by people who were unknown to them and who did not live in their homes. Again, the report did not provide any evidence that such “ghost votes” were cast.
Because there isn’t even the slightest proof or evidence, Richer said the allegations shouldn’t be taken seriously. He noted that previous audits and investigations have shown the election to be accurate and unaffected by fraud.
“So far, no specific claim has been made. Two have been proposed. Zero was precise. So far we don’t have a problem, ”he said of the Harris report.
It is not known what attempts, if any, Harris and his group made to verify the claims they made in their report. Harris submitted two requests for records to the clerk’s office earlier this year – one in March for voter records throughout 2020 and the changes that were made to those records, and another in June that sought a plethora information on county election providers and the printing and layout of general election ballots.
Due to the magnitude of these requests, the registrar’s office forwarded them to the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office for review. Recorder’s office spokeswoman Ilene Haber said both requests were still under review and Harris had not yet received any files from them.
Harris’s efforts are separate from the so-called Maricopa County 2020 election audit that Senate Speaker Karen Fann ordered. Harris, however, has been a staunch supporter of Fann’s review and an enthusiastic promoter of false allegations that the election was rigged against former President Donald Trump.
The audit team had originally planned to conduct a survey itself, but Fann indefinitely suspended the proposal after the US Department of Justice warned it could violate laws on voter intimidation in the Voting. Rights Act of 1965.