Officials in an Arizona county that was featured in the documentary “2000 Mules” are investigating voter fraud, but a spokesperson said the new announcement wasn’t related to the movie.
In a May 11 statement, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office said it and the Yuma County Recorder’s Office “are working together to actively examine cases of voting fraud from the 2020 general election and now a recent pattern of fraudulent voter registration forms leading up to the 2022 primary election.”
Sixteen cases involving fraud were open as of March, with evidence being documented by the county recorder and being probed by the sheriff.
Officials said they’re seeing people vote under names that are not their own, registering to vote using fake names, and voting in the same election more than once.
Yuma County was one of the jurisdictions that were featured in the documentary. A woman who was not identified, but was described as a receptionist, said she was instructed to receive ballots from people, with the people being paid for alleged ballot harvesting. The woman said she dropped off some of the ballots into drop boxes.
The ’mules’ in the film’s title refers to people who investigators tracked with cell phone data to being near multiple drop boxes. They also obtained surveillance footage and used that to match with data from cell phones. The mules were seen dropping off multiple ballots, sometimes dozens.
Drop boxes were legal in most states but in many places, only dropping off a ballot on behalf of oneself or family members were legal.
The movie utilized data uncovered by True the Vote, an election integrity group.
“We are extremely encouraged that the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office and Recorder’s Office are now working together to investigate individuals involved in the subversion of elections,” Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the group, said in a statement. We’ve spent concentrated time in Yuma County and have provided significant information to both state and federal authorities. What has been happening in Yuma County is happening across the country. The targeting of vulnerable communities and voter abuse must be stopped.”
Tania Pavlak, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, told The Epoch Times that the announcement was not triggered by “2000 Mules.”
“We already had been investigating these cases for the past few months and so the sheriff wanted to make sure we sent out that information with election season now hot and up and running. That way, people were aware of what was happening and also could stay vigilant,” she said.
The cases referred to the sheriff were based on information from the Electronic Registration Information Center, a consortium made up of election officials in various states, that was independently verified by staffers at the county recorder’s office, Tiffany Anderson, the county’s election director, told The Epoch Times in an email when asked about any connection to the new film.
Officials said the pattern of fraudulent voter registration forms was detected by the recorder’s office, with a number of people sending in duplicate forms or documents with false information on them.
“What they’re seeing is that there are registration forms that are being either falsified or people that are double registering with information that doesn’t match their current registration,” Pavlak said. “So for example, they'll have the same name but a different birthday, but everything else will be the same. So it looks like people are either not filling it out completely when they’re filling it out with soliciting groups, and then they’re just getting filled in by other people.”
The sheriff is focusing on groups that are soliciting registrations. The office declined to name any specific groups.
Officials in Maricopa County, also featured in “2000 Mules,” did not respond to requests for comment, including on whether they'd seen the film.