AP Refers to Election Integrity Experts as 'Conspiracy Theorists' in Report on AZ Senate Hearing


Establishment media outlets have sought to discredit the successful documentary film “2000 Mules” at every turn, so it came as no surprise when Arizona senators held a hearing with some of its stars that The Associated Press labeled them “conspiracy theorists.”

True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips, election integrity experts, worked with conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza to make the movie about alleged illicit conduct that took place during the 2020 general election.

Engelbrecht and Philips testified Tuesday at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix about the research underlying the case made in “2000 Mules.”

The central premise of the documentary is that an illegal ballot harvesting scheme took place in the key swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin during the 2020 election. These are all states that former President Donald Trump won in 2016 but flipped to Joe Biden in 2020.

A “mule” is a term used in the movie for those who were allegedly paid to repeatedly pick up batches of ballots and place them in drop boxes.

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Engelbrecht and Philips told lawmakers they used cellphone geo-tracking data to identify people who made 10 or more drop box stops along with five or more visits to non-governmental organizations working on voter turnout during the election.

The AP headline for Tuesday’s hearing was: “Arizona lawmakers hear from election conspiracy theorists.”

The lede sentence read, “Arizona Republican lawmakers heard Tuesday from members of the Texas-based conservative group that provided research for a widely debunked documentary that alleges widespread voter fraud led to former President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.”

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The news outlet went on to cite its own fact-check, claiming True the Vote’s analysis was “flawed” due to false assumptions about how precise cellphone tracking data is and other reasons people might frequently happen to go by drop boxes.

Phillips called the reporters who cast doubt on how accurate cellphone data is “journalist terrorists.” He told lawmakers the U.S. government can place someone within “centimeters” using their cellphone data.

Engelbrecht quoted from Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion in the 2018 Supreme Court case Carpenter v. United States. In it, he wrote, “When the government tracks the location of a cell phone it achieves near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user.”

Engelbrecht explained True the Vote’s “mule” threshold, saying it was very high.

“We wanted to focus on a very clear, narrow data set that showed what we would consider this extreme outlier behavior, and ultimately we settled on 10 times. The devices that we focused in on went to drop boxes 10 or more times,” she said.

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“And here in Arizona they went an average of 21 times,” Engelbrecht added.

The election integrity experts showed a graphic indicating 202 likely mules had been identified in Maricopa County and 41 in Yuma County.

To further guard against accidentally picking up people who happened to pass by drop box locations regularly, True the Vote bought cellphone data from September, October and November, showing before, during and after election season.

Only those whose cellphones placed them at drop boxes when voting was occurring were included in True the Vote’s data, the group said.

The mules followed a pattern of repeatedly going to drop box locations and back to the offices of non-governmental organizations, where ballots were allegedly collected. The movie called these locations “stash houses.”

“We are able to assure you that we’re not including false positives,” Phillips testified.

Engelbrecht told Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk in an April interview, “Pings don’t lie.”

In addition to cellphone data, Phillips said in “2000 Mules” that his group has 4 million minutes of surveillance footage from drop boxes it obtained through public records requests, allegedly showing the mules in action.

This week, D’Souza addressed a fact-check by Reuters, which again sought to undermine “2000 Mules” by questioning its use of cellphone tracking data.

In the piece, Reuters quoted University of Wisconsin political science professor Kenneth R Mayer, who said geo-tracking can’t show people actually used the drop boxes versus just walking or driving by.

“Geo-tracking can tell the difference,” D’Souza said flatly. “It’s basically the difference between a moving dot and a dot that goes to a particular location and then stops.”

“In other words, the geo-tracking can easily tell the difference between going by an object, say a drop box, and going to that drop box.”

Establishment media outlets may not like the information in “2000 Mules,” but resorting to name-calling is no way to get to the truth.

A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.

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