Posts Falsely Claim to Show Hobbs in Arizona Election Tabulation Room
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An image shared on social media shows a woman with glasses and brown hair in an Arizona ballot tabulation room. The posts falsely identify the woman as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, who is the secretary of state, implying that Hobbs was illegally influencing the count. The woman pictured is an election observer, not Hobbs.
Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs chose not to recuse herself from overseeing election proceedings during her gubernatorial race against Republican Kari Lake.
As ballot counting continued after Election Day, an image posted to Instagram by multiple users falsely claimed to show Hobbs in the voting tabulation room, which would be illegal.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, political party representatives are allowed to observe the election process at voting locations and counting sites in Arizona. The Arizona Secretary of State’s website explains that observers cannot interfere with the procedures or staff. And candidates appearing on the ballot — such as Hobbs — cannot serve as observers.
The viral image shows a woman with glasses and long brown hair, similar to Hobbs, standing in a room with U.S. Postal Service boxes. It is time-stamped at 10:07 a.m. on Nov. 9, the day after the election.
“LOOK WHO WAS INSIDE THE BALLOT ROOMS. KATIE HOBBS. Timed Stamped too,” the post reads. “They wouldn’t cheat now, would they?” the caption reads.
Another user posted the same image with the caption, “Rigged Election!!!!”
In Arizona, the public can view live video feeds showing the ballot-counting process across the state. The room in the photo seems to match the tabulation room shown in a live feed from Maricopa County.
The image, however, does not show Hobbs, but rather an official observer, according to a tweet on Nov. 10 from Maricopa County’s Twitter account.
“Not every woman with glasses is Katie Hobbs. We can confirm this was a party Observer. Please refrain from making assumptions about workers who happen to wear glasses,” the tweet reads.
The Associated Press reported that a campaign spokesperson also said the image doesn’t show Hobbs.
Hobbs has faced multiple calls to recuse herself from overseeing the election, but chose not to heed those requests. That’s not unusual. In 2018, Georgia’s then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp did not recuse himself from overseeing the election process, even when his gubernatorial race against Democrat Stacey Abrams went to a recount.
As of early afternoon on Nov. 11, Hobbs held a slim lead. She had nearly 27,000 more votes than Lake with about 516,000 estimated ballots still to be counted.
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