Activist group says it meant to allege ‘ghost’ votes from a nonexistent address

By: - September 16, 2021 12:48 pm

Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus

The leader of an activist group that issued a report last week full of baseless allegations of election irregularities provided an unusual explanation as to why she falsely claimed that two mail-in ballots were cast from a vacant lot: She meant to attribute those votes to an address that doesn’t actually exist and where she knew no ballots were cast.

Liz Harris’s report claimed on the original version of its cover that two early ballots were cast from a vacant lot in Goodyear. However, a large house is clearly visible on the property, and several people are registered to vote there, including the two homeowners, who voted by mail in the November election. The error was swiftly pointed out after she issued the report, prompting her to reissue it with a different cover.

In a post on her “Crime of the Century” website on Monday, Harris publicly addressed the snafu with the Goodyear property for the first time, after previously refusing to comment to the Arizona Mirror and other news organizations. She said an accidental typo led the team to list the wrong address on the cover report. The address they meant to write, which was one digit off, was for a vacant lot down the road from the Goodyear address they originally showed.

However, Harris acknowledged that the vacant lot “did not have any votes cast from it.” According to the Maricopa County Elections Department, no one is registered to vote at the lot. And county property records show that the address Harris claims her group meant to put on the cover isn’t the address of the lot at the corner of 134th Avenue and Beverly Lane — and doesn’t actually exist.

Harris refused to answer questions from the Mirror about why she and her group intended to falsely claim that two votes were cast from an address that didn’t exist. 

GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

Most of Harris’s post focused on the second address in Tempe where she claimed a ballot had been cast from a vacant lot. That address, on Wildermuth Avenue, was on a second cover of  the report that Harris reissued in response to the debunking of her claim about the address in Goodyear.

Maricopa County Assessor Eddie Cook and Recorder Stephen Richer explained that a former resident of the mobile home park who was still registered at the address last year requested that his ballot be sent to a temporary address, which voters are legally permitted to do. Both acknowledged the lot is now vacant, but emphasized that it formerly housed a mobile home park where 15 people had previously been registered to vote, according to the Elections Department.

Harris attempted to refute Cook and Richer’s explanations with a series of inaccurate claims. She questioned how the voter could have still been registered at the address when the City of Tempe issued a demolition permit in January 2020. She alleged that, because the voter could have no longer lived there as of that date, that he must have made the request for a temporary address more than 330 days before the election. She noted that the Wildermuth address still appeared as the voter’s address in records from the 2020 general election and argued that a state law prohibiting the forwarding of ballots to different addresses should have prohibited the ballot from going to the temporary address. And she alleged that the voter’s ballot was delivered to the vacant lot.

None of those arguments or claims stand up to scrutiny.

Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson said the department would have no way of knowing a demolition order had been issued for the mobile home park at the Wildermuth address. Displaced voters can request that their ballots be sent to temporary addresses, and the law preventing ballots from being forwarded only applies to situations when voters apply to have their mail automatically forwarded to new addresses. The voter in question made that request on Oct. 23, 2020, not 330-plus days before the election.

That voter’s registration was terminated in February because he no longer lives in Maricopa County, Gilbertson said. 

Temporary addresses also don’t appear on the reports that Harris cited, Gilbertson said. Those reports only list the address under which a voter is registered. 

Furthermore, the United States Postal Service would not deliver ballots, or any other mail, for that matter, to a vacant lot with no mailbox, according to spokesman Rod Spurgeon. Any mail sent to such an address would be returned as undeliverable.

SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.

Harris would not answer any questions about the misinformation she posted regarding the Wildermuth address. She has also refused to provide affidavits or any other evidence to support the many other claims she made in her report.

The report claimed that her canvassing team spoke with 330 people who said they voted in the November election but aren’t listed in county records as having cast a ballot, and 164 “ghost votes” cast by people who were unknown to the residents of the addresses where they were registered. Based on those claims, they extrapolated and alleged that 173,104 votes were missing or lost, and another 96,389 “ghost votes.”

Despite the report’s insistence that affidavits supporting those claims are “readily available,” Harris has refused to provide them or to provide any evidence of any of her findings. The post on her website states that the affidavits will be delivered to the Arizona Senate or Attorney General’s Office within the next few weeks.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Associate Editor Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”

MORE FROM AUTHOR