Arizona station displayed test election data, not real results – The Associated Press – en Español


CLAIM: More than a week before Election Day, a TV news outlet in Arizona published election results showing Democrat gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs beating Republican Kari Lake, which is evidence of election tampering.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Fox 10 Phoenix accidentally broadcast a small graphic showing mock results as part of a test in preparation for Election Day, the outlet confirmed in a statement. The randomly generated numbers were not real election results, nor are they an indication of fraud. News outlets do not have direct access to ballots. Election results are reported through information that comes from local election officials.
THE FACTS: Fox 10 Phoenix broadcast the small graphic on Thursday, spurring social media users across multiple platforms to criticize the station and suggest it was evidence of election fraud.
Footage shared online shows the graphic appearing on the lower left-hand corner of the screen during a report on property rental prices, showing Hobbs leading Lake at 53% and a red check mark next to her name.
“Fox10 in Phoenix—Kari Lake’s former station—just displayed a graphic showing Katie Hobbs won the Arizona governor’s race 12 DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION,” one Twitter user wrote Thursday in a tweet that was shared more than 10,000 times.
An Instagram user shared an image of the graphic alongside the text, “Az media station putting up election results days before election. Doesn’t matter what side or opinions you have. This is not okay.”
While the news station did broadcast the graphic, the numbers displayed were just a test that was published accidentally and don’t represent actual election results, which are issued by local election officials.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday, the station acknowledged the mistake.
“At 5:50p during the Fox 10 newscast today a small graphic appeared on the lower left side of the screen showing test results for the upcoming election,” the station wrote. “These were generated by the Associated Press which distributes results to clients.”
“This graphic was never meant to go on air — the numbers were only part of a test,” a subsequent tweet reads. “The station has taken steps to make sure this cannot happen again.”
The AP confirmed in a statement that the random numbers are provided to news outlets to allow them to test their systems ahead of Election Day. Those numbers are not supposed to be published.
“Before any election AP provides clearly labeled test data to customers as part of routine testing,” AP spokesperson Lauren Easton said. “The data is randomly generated by a computer and is not based on any predictive analysis or polling.”
Social media users have previously misrepresented another instance where Michigan TV stations inadvertently published mock election results as part of a test in preparation for the Aug. 2 primary.
As officials there explained at the time, news organizations do not administer elections. Election officials release election results and transmit them to news organizations, which report the results to the public.
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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.

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