2020 Election

Arizona Dem Advances Baseless Ballot Conspiracy Theory

Hiral Tipirneni accuses GOP of stealing the election

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Arizona Democrat Hiral Tipirneni baselessly claimed that Republicans will "take the reins" on ballot counting in her prospective district to ensure that Democratic votes are not tallied.

Tipirneni, who is running to unseat Rep. David Schweikert (R., Ariz.), sent a fundraising email Thursday requesting $25,000 to curtail "ballot counting chaos." The Democrat said that without the money, her campaign will be forced to "sit on our hands and let Republicans take the reins on counting these final ballots."

"We could do nothing as they make sure every single one of their ballots is counted, while ours fall to the wayside," the email states. "That would be the quickest way to ensure we lose this toss-up race."

Tipirneni currently trails Schweikert by roughly 12,000 votes with an estimated 93 percent of ballots recorded, according to the New York Times. The Republican's campaign accused Tipirneni of falsely undermining the electoral process in a ploy to raise funds.

"Hiral Tipirneni's scheme to raise money by trashing the ballot counting process is despicable," Chris Baker, Schweikert's political consultant, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Her comments about the ballot counting were not only a flat out lie, but they also baselessly impugned Arizona and our ballot counting process."

Tipirneni's campaign attempted to distance itself from the fundraising email in a Friday statement, saying the email "aimed, but unfortunately did not do so clearly, to emphasize the important work" of reaching out to voters whose ballots have not been counted.

"In the face of GOP-led efforts to disrupt the vote-counting process like we saw at the Capitol the last two nights, we wanted to reiterate our steadfast commitment to doing all we can to ensure that every voter gets their ballot counted," the campaign said. "The dedicated individuals who are working tirelessly to count the ballots are doing a tremendous service to our democracy. They control the process and are doing an excellent job."

Under Arizona law, election officials began counting mail-in ballots on Oct. 20. The process includes checking a voter's affidavit, with officials rejecting the ballot if the affidavit is determined to be "insufficient." Should a mail-in ballot show an "inconsistent signature," county officials are required to "make reasonable efforts to contact the voter," who can then correct the mistake no later than five business days after the election.

Tipirneni's email came as President Donald Trump chipped away at Democratic nominee Joe Biden's lead in the Grand Canyon State. Biden currently leads Trump by less than 44,000 votes in the state, according to the Times. An estimated 7 percent of the vote remains to be counted. The Associated Press called the state for Biden early Wednesday morning.