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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sign election documents to certify the election results Nov. 30, 2020. (AP) Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sign election documents to certify the election results Nov. 30, 2020. (AP)

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, left, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey sign election documents to certify the election results Nov. 30, 2020. (AP)

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman September 29, 2021

Posts stating Arizona ‘could decertify’ 2020 presidential election are Pants on Fire

If Your Time is short

  • Arizona state officials certified the results of the presidential election on Nov. 30 showing that Joe Biden won Arizona. A GOP-led review of ballots in Maricopa County doesn’t change that fact.

Some supporters of a GOP-led review of ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election in Arizona’s Maricopa County have engaged in wishful thinking that the process would lead to decertification of the election results. The idea is nothing but a fantasy.

"Arizona bombshell dropped — could decertify," said a Facebook post on Sept. 24, the day that the full report about the ballot review was released. The post linked to a clip of Steve Bannon, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump, interviewing Boris Epshteyn, an adviser to Trump’s 2020 campaign.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Arizona state Senate Republicans ordered a review of 2 million ballots in Maricopa, the state’s largest county and home to Phoenix, the capital. The review found that Joe Biden beat Trump in Maricopa by about 45,000 votes. That number was virtually the same as the county’s official canvass.

Arizona state officials certified the results on Nov. 30 showing that Joe Biden won Arizona by about 10,500 votes.

As Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said on Twitter, the results stand: The election is over.

"There will be no decertification of the 2020 election —  the audit does not call for one, and even if it had, there is no lawful way to decertify. As we have every step of the way, Arizona will follow the law," Ducey tweeted.

That’s true for all states once the Electoral College has cast its votes.

Once the electors vote, as they did on Dec. 14, 2020, "there is no constitutional mechanism to undo the popular vote that led to the appointment of the electors," said Ohio State University law professor Edward Foley.

And federal law clearly does not give states a right to withdraw or change a certification once a president has been sworn into office, said Paul Bender, Arizona State University law professor.

Our ruling

A Facebook post stated that Arizona "could decertify" the 2020 presidential election.

State officials certified the results of the election on Nov. 30 according to the law. Those results showed that Biden won the election. The 2020 presidential election in Arizona was settled months ago, and the GOP-led review of ballots in Maricopa County doesn’t change that fact or call for any decertification.

We rate this statement Pants on Fire!

RELATED: Trump falsely describes Arizona audit findings

RELATED: No evidence Maricopa County audit found 17,000 "duplicate" votes

RELATED: No evidence for claim that Maricopa County ‘purged machine records before audit’

Our Sources

Facebook post, Sept. 24, 2021

Arizona election law about canvass for offices, Accessed Sept. 29, 2021

Gov. Doug Ducey, Twitter thread, Sept. 24, 2021

Gov. Doug Ducey, Twitter thread, Nov. 30, 2021

Chris Krebs, Tweet, Sept. 24, 2021

CNN, 'A constitutional amendment and a time machine': Fact-checking calls to decertify the 2020 election, Sept. 28, 2021

Arizona Republic, Arizona secretary of state certifies election results with Biden winning state's 11 electoral votes, Nov. 30, 2020

Edward Foley, Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States, 2015

PolitiFact, No, key swing states did not cast electoral votes for both Trump and Biden, Dec. 16, 2020

Email interview, Edward Foley, director of Election Law at Ohio State University, Sept. 29, 2021

Email interview, Paul Bender,  professor of law and dean emeritus for the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Sept. 29, 2021

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Posts stating Arizona ‘could decertify’ 2020 presidential election are Pants on Fire

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