Fact check: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell spreads false claim about Arizona election results
The claim: Donald Trump won Arizona by 270,000 votes
Former President Donald Trump didn't win Arizona in the 2020 election, but false claims that he did have persisted on social media for months. The latest iteration of the conspiracy theory comes from the CEO of a pillow company.
Ahead of an Aug. 11 "cyber symposium" in Sioux Falls, S.D., Mike Lindell promised data that would prove the election was stolen from Trump. But that data never came, and Josh Merritt, a "cyber expert" Lindell hired, told the Washington Times he'd seen no evidence to back up that claim.
Still, voter fraud conspiracy theories from Lindell's symposium are making the rounds on Facebook.
"President Trump won Arizona by 270,000 votes!" reads an Aug. 10 post from a Trump fan page. "Cyber results are in."
The post accumulated more than 3,100 shares within two days. Similar claims have tens of thousands of interactions on Facebook, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool.
Fact check: Arizona audit hasn't found 275,000 fraudulent votes
Those claims are wrong.
Certified election results, as well as several recounts, show President Joe Biden won Arizona. There is no evidence that widespread voter fraud affected that outcome.
USA TODAY reached out to Lindell and social media users who shared his claims for comment.
No evidence of widespread fraud in Arizona
Biden won Arizona by more than 10,000 votes, according to Electoral College votes certified by Congress.
Several hand counts across the state have upheld that outcome, and local election officials have repeatedly debunked allegations of widespread fraud. In July, the Associated Press reported officials had found fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud in Arizona out of more than 3 million ballots cast.
And it's not just Arizona – officials from both parties at every level of government have repeatedly refuted claims of widespread voter fraud.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and its partners said the election was the "most secure in American history." Former Attorney General William Barr repeatedly dismissed claims of fraud. Dozens of lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies to overturn the election results failed.
If Lindell had legitimate evidence to support his claims of voter fraud in Arizona, he had ample opportunity to present it at his symposium in South Dakota. But he didn't.
Fact check: No evidence of 8 million 'excess' Biden votes from 2020 election
“So our team said, 'We’re not going to say that this is legitimate if we don’t have confidence in the information,'” Merritt told the Washington Times.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Trump won Arizona by 270,000 votes. Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes, as certified vote totals and several recounts show. Claims that widespread voter fraud affected that outcome have been repeatedly debunked.
Our fact-check sources:
Argus Leader, July 21, MyPillow founder Mike Lindell wants 'cyber guys' to join him in Sioux Falls to vet election fraud claims
The Washington Times, Aug. 11, EXCLUSIVE: Cyber expert says his team can’t prove Mike Lindell’s claims that China hacked election
CrowdTangle, accessed Aug. 13
USA TODAY, Nov. 30, 2020 Arizona Election Results
National Archives, accessed Aug. 14, 2020 Electoral College Results
Arizona Secretary of State, accessed Aug. 14, 2020 General Election Hand Count Results
USA TODAY, July 23, Fact check: Arizona early votes falsely cited as evidence of voter fraud
USA TODAY, April 28, Fact check: No evidence election audit in Maricopa County has found widespread election fraud
USA TODAY, July 29, Fact check: Arizona audit hasn't found 275,000 fraudulent votes
Associated Press, July 16, AP: Few AZ voter fraud cases, discrediting Trump’s claims
Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, Nov. 12, JOINT STATEMENT FROM ELECTIONS INFRASTRUCTURE GOVERNMENT COORDINATING COUNCIL & THE ELECTION INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR COORDINATING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEES
USA TODAY, June 27, 'It's just a joke': Former AG William Barr derided Trump's false election claims
USA TODAY, Jan. 6, By the numbers: President Donald Trump's failed efforts to overturn the election
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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: MyPillow CEO spreads false claim about Arizona election