Benny White, J.D.
October 16, 2021
Yesterday, October 15, 2021 the unannounced campaign of Donald Trump for President 2024 issued a Press Release which contained a number of false claims about what happened in the 2020 General Election in Pima County.
I do work for the Pima County Republican Party and the Arizona Republican Party as a data analyst. I get voter registration files from all 15 counties in Arizona. Those files include voter information such as residence address, registration status and date, jurisdictional information and voting history, i.e., which elections the voter participated in and what voting method they used. In Pima County there are separate voter registration files for Active voters, Inactive voters and voters whose records are sealed (names only).
During elections I also receive daily and weekly reports from all 15 counties as to mail or early ballots requested and those same ballots returned. I track all of that information on a daily basis to advise the political party and party candidate campaigns how the early voting is going. I do this analysis down to the precinct level and political party registration of the voter. This work is a little bit complicated and involves use of database and spreadsheet software such as MySQL, Microsoft Access and Excel. I am posting my Excel spreadsheet for the last day of Early Voting activity reported by Pima County for the 2020 General Election, November 13. This spreadsheet accounts for every mail and early ballot that was counted except for the voters whose records are sealed. I don’t receive reports for those voters’ activities.
Here are Donald Trump’s claims and I want to debunk each one individually:
“When mail ballots started pouring in way higher than normal (at over 87%), this trend [the Republican candidate was steadily outperforming the Republican share of mail-in ballots by 3%, while Joe Biden was underperforming Democrats by 3%] this trend flipped.“
False. To begin, there is no way to know whether what is being claimed is true; it can be shown that it is not true. There are no results, i.e., votes for individual candidates, reported until after 8 PM on Election Night. The chart below shows the number of ballots returned on a daily basis by voters in the respective political parties.
What this shows is that there were always more DEM ballots being returned than REP ballots except for a couple of days in late October and those that were received at the polling place on Election Day and counted after the election. For Trump’s claim to be true DEM voters and non-partisan (PND + IND) voters would have to be voting for Donald Trump. That did not happen in any great numbers in Pima County.
At the close of business on November 2, 2020, about 424,765 ballots had been counted. Analysis of the Cast Vote Record, which is a record of the votes on each ballot cast during the election, shows that for those 424,765 ballots, Joe Biden had received 264,497 votes and Donald Trump had received 150,174 votes, a difference of 114,174 votes. (Beware, the CVR is a BIG file.) The final tally in Pima County was 304,91 for Biden and 207,758 for Trump, a Trump loss by 97,223. Contrary to Trump’s claim that the DEMs dumped a bunch of ballots after they saw he was winning, Trump was never ahead in Pima County and the gap between Biden and Trump actually closed late in the election cycle as the outnumbered REP voters in Pima County finally turned in their meager number of mail ballots or went to the polls on Election Day. The gap closed but it wasn’t enough to make a difference.
“Two precincts in Pima had over 100 percent turnout for mail-in ballots.”
False. The highest voter turnout (percent of mail ballots returned) was Precinct 186 which is about evenly ballots DEM/REP with 276 early ballots returned (96.17%).
“One precinct with 99.5% mail-in turnout had 9,812 ballots counted. Another precinct with 100.6% turnout had 2,182 ballots returned, but only 2,170 mail-ins were ever sent.”
False. As explained above the highest mail return percentage precinct was Precinct 186. The highest overall (early +polling) turnout precinct was Precinct 145 where there were 4,596 early ballots returned and 362 voters went to the polls for a 94.0% voter turnout in that precinct. You see, I use actual data and tell you exactly what I am talking about rather than talking in unverifiable generalities.
There is no way to tell what precinct the second part of this claim is involved other than to say no precinct had a turnout (return rate) of more than 96.17%.
Here’s a chart that shows the percentage of mail ballots returned in every precinct. (For details you will need to look at the spreadsheet.)
There is also a section of claims in the press release that includes charts by Shiva that appear to be some sort of analysis of mail ballot return rates. However, the data on these charts does not match the official records for Pima County so once again I conclude that they are just making this stuff up hoping the public will buy it.
To close, these latest claims by the unannounced Trump campaign are simply a continuation of claims being made by a group of people and Donald Trump who simply don’t understand voter registration records, voter history, election canvass and other public records involved in elections. They continually pump out this nonsense and expect the public to simply accept it without ever questioning whether it is true or not.
Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what is happening in our modern social media for news gathering and republishing society.