TUCSON, ARIZONA – January 14, 2022 – A multilayered investigation by the Pima County Attorney’s Office (PCAO) into 151 incidents of Pima County voters casting multiple ballots in the 2020 general election has concluded, with zero incidents resulting in criminal prosecution.
“While PCAO’s investigation documented instances of these voters knowingly submitting more than one ballot, there is little to no evidence that they acted with the awareness that their actions would or could result in multiple votes being counted,” said Pima County Attorney Laura Conover. “What our investigation revealed was the genuine confusion about the electoral process, particularly relating to mail-in and provisional ballots, and the genuine fear, for a variety of reasons, that their initial vote would not count.”
The incidents reviewed by PCAO include:
- A Tucson man who admitted to filling out two ballots after he completed the first ballot and then lost it. He and his wife looked all over the house for it and along Craycroft Road near his house before requesting a second ballot, which he completed and mailed in. He believes someone found his initial ballot and mailed it in for him.
- A Tucson woman who said she placed her first ballot in a mailbox and raised the red flag to alert the postal carrier of outgoing mail. She said she later realized it was a holiday (Columbus Day) and the mail might not get picked up. She said the following morning, before going to work, she checked the mailbox and the ballot was gone. Due to the holiday, she said she suspected someone other than the mailman had taken her ballot and she requested a replacement ballot, which she completed and mailed in.
- A first-time voter who first went to the precinct nearest his parents’ address, where he gets his mail delivered. He said when he arrived at the polling place, he was told that he wasn’t on the roster and was given a provisional ballot. He said he spoke to someone at the precinct who told him to go to his own precinct and vote, so he did. He said he knew he wasn’t supposed to cast more than one vote but didn’t know where he was supposed to vote.
To be clear, the additional ballots cast in these incidents were not counted in the final tally of votes and did not impact the election results for any candidate or ballot measure, and PCAO uncovered no conspiratorial acts in the incidents investigated. The applicable statute in these incidents, A.R.S. § 16-1016(2), states that a person is guilty of illegal voting, a Class 5 felony, if they “knowingly vote more than once at any election.” Thus, without fraudulent intent, there is no substantial likelihood of conviction of any of the voters investigated in these incidents.
The 151 incidents were first investigated by then-Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez in December 2020, shortly after the general election. PCAO’s Elections Law Unit then reviewed the incidents before forwarding evidence to PCAO’s Fraud Unit for further investigation. In collaboration with the Detectives Division, the Fraud Unit identified approximately one-third (51) of the initial 151 incidents for more intensive review beginning in October 2021. The breakdown of those 51 incidents: 23 registered Republicans, 15 registered Democrats, and 13 registered as unaffiliated/other.
This week, the Fraud Unit concluded its investigation and declined to prosecute any of the 151 incidents.
“I’m proud of the dedicated and laborious work done by so many different units in our office, from our detectives to the Elections and Fraud units,” Conover said. “Truly, they were protecting the very heart of democracy and confirming that the southern Arizona vote was free of interference. I can’t think of more noble work.”