Kari Lake
Kari Lake
Fox 10 Phoenix

Fox 10 Conspiracy Theorist Credulously Retweets Unverified Claim of Election Fraud

The Phoenix television anchor who once peddled a conspiracy theory about #RedForEd has done it again, retweeting an unverified claim of election fraud on Sunday from an anonymous account to her 9,000 followers.

Fox 10's Kari Lake is facing criticism for her retweet of Twitter user @fern009, who claimed on November 1 to receive a ballot in the mail that was already filled out for Democrats. The Twitter user included took a photo of the ballot and tagged @azcentral, @foxnews, @abc15, @CNN, and @CNBC.

None of those outlets picked up the tweet. But Lake retweeted it, writing, "Now this is a new one! Ever get a ballot in the mail that was ALREADY filled out???" She added the hashtag #ElectionIssues.

She did not appear to contact @fern009 or Maricopa County officials before retweeting the photo.

Baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, most notably echoed by President Donald Trump, have been used by Republicans to support voting restrictions.

Many Twitter users were quick to jump on Lake for her tweet. Several noted that a pen is visible in the photo.

"Fake journalist retweets fake controversy," wrote former Arizona State House candidate Nathan Schneider.

"This is grossly irresponsible for a journalist to effectively declare that this is true without doing any verification," wrote Jeremy Duda, the associate editor of local news site ArizonaMirror.com.

Fewer Twitter users supported Lake. Among that small group was her colleague, Fox 10 anchor Marc Martinez, who wrote, "This seems fishy..."

Four hours after her initial tweet, Lake updated her followers. She said the Maricopa County Recorder's Office "is on the case," having forwarded @fern009's tweet to the FBI. A spokesperson for the office confirmed to Phoenix New Times that they have referred the case to law enforcement.

County Recorder Adrian Fontes responded to @fern009 on the day of the alleged pre-filled ballot tweet, asking the Twitter user to send him a direct message. That was four days before Lake amplified @fern009's claim without verification.

Lake previously drew controversy when she mused in April that #RedForEd is "nothing more than a push to legalize pot," offering a T-shirt as evidence. She deleted and apologized for the tweet.

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