During the two weeks leading up to Election Day, One America News has zeroed in on the election conspiracy theories conservatives could use to challenge the results of the 2022 midterm elections. After spending the summer spreading lies about the 2020 election and repeatedly airing Dinesh D’Souza’s debunked election-lies film 2000 Mules, OAN spent the final weeks priming its viewers to question the outcomes of the midterms.
OAN cried fraud in battleground states before most ballots were cast
OAN began broadcasting voter-fraud narratives about the midterms before most votes were cast. One that took a particularly strong hold on the network is concern over a debunked story that Pennsylvania sent 255,000 ballots to “unverified” voters. In reality, the “unverified” label is used for workflow purposes to help identify voters whose IDs weren’t automatically verified but will be verified before their vote is counted. OAN personalities also celebrated a Pennsylvania court decision discounting mail-in ballots that don’t have the date.
Additionally, in Arizona, a glitch in the voter registration system led to some ballots — less than a quarter of 1% of voters — being printed improperly. The error was caught and set to be fixed by providing new ballots to those affected. However, OAN has insinuated with no evidence that something more nefarious was underway because one of the government officials who addressed the issue was Katie Hobbs, the current secretary of state and Democratic nominee for governor of Arizona.
- OAN correspondent Pearson Sharp reported that, not only did Pennsylvania send out 250,000 ballots to “unverified applicants,” but some “election offices will simply override the system and verify the unverified elections illegally” in the state. According to Sharp, “Pennsylvania has a frankly ridiculous process where the state allows people to vote first and then verify their identities later.” [OAN, OAN News, 11/2/22]
- OAN News host Andrea Boyd shared former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social post claiming “over 240,000 ‘unverified ballots’ have already been sent out in Pennsylvania, a total mess.” Boyd also alerted the audience that: “Trump encourages people to be careful when voting, saying that Democrats are only playing games with ballots because they know they're in deep trouble.” [OAN, One America News, 10/30/22]
- Trump attorney and former OAN reporter Christina Bobb: “You know, I think in a fair race, Dr. Oz and Doug Mastriano sweep easily, decisively, by many, many points. I think the concern in Pennsylvania is they're known for cheating, and they have cheated for years.” Bobb celebrated a ruling in Pennsylvania that mail-in ballots without dates could not be counted, saying the ruling would “go a long way to help secure that election and make sure there's not the same level of cheating that occurred in 2020.” [OAN, OAN News, 11/2/22]
- Guest John Zadrozny took issue with ballots being counted after Election Day in Pennsylvania and warned: “I expect you'll see a lot of lawyers descending on the state of Pennsylvania after Election Day if the margin is not super significant.” In a discussion about the 240,000 “unverified ballots,” Zadrozny said: “The Democrats obviously want everything to be counted, whether it's valid or not, and, you know, just keep counting after Election Day until you get the result you want.” [OAN, OAN News, 11/2/22]
- OAN host Dan Ball ran a segment on “the possibility of fraud come November 8” in which his guest, Robert Knight, declared that the Democrats have already been “caught” cheating in the midterms, referring to the ballot issue in Arizona. Ball questioned an error in Arizona, saying that “6,000 faulty ballots that only listed … federal races were mailed to Arizona voters due to what they call a voter registration error. Ah. It's an error. That’s right. Who runs that, by the way? Isn’t it the secretary of state? Oh, that’s right. Katie Hobbs. That’s the Democrat running for governor against Kari Lake.” Ball’s guest, Robert Knight, concluded: “These aren't glitches. I think they were just caught.” [OAN, Real America with Dan Ball, 10/28/22]
- OAN guest Alexander Kolodin claimed the defense of drop boxes in court showed that the drop boxes are a strategy for voter fraud. OAN political correspondent Neil McCabe reported on an interview with Alexander Kolodin, an attorney for Clean Elections USA, on the legal ways people can monitor ballot drop boxes. Kolodin said in the interview: “They sort of said the quiet part out loud… They said anything that deters unlawful voting also deters legal voting, i.e., you're not allowed to do anything that deters unlawful voting because you might deter a legal vote… That tells me that we are striking serious bone here.” [OAN, OAN News, 11/2/22]
OAN doubled down on early voting conspiracy theories
Beyond battleground states, OAN has also made vague claims of voter fraud due to the widespread use of mail-in voting or early voting. Leaning on voter fraud conspiracy theories from the 2020 election, OAN has cast doubt on warnings from government officials that due to limitations on counting early ballots, the final vote count could extend beyond election night.
- Ball: “Early voting has begun in many states, and Americans are taking part earlier than ever before and in huge numbers. Now, that could be a good or a bad thing depending on whether or not we have a secure and safe election process this time, because we know what happened with all those mail-in ballots in 2020.” Ball lamented “the narrative that's spewed in the liberal media — it’s already started — about how all the votes probably will not be counted on election night on November 8.” [OAN, Real America with Dan Ball, 10/24/22]
- Guest Larry Klayman claimed that “you can vote two or three times” in California by requesting a mail-in ballot. Host Addison Smith asked, “Why is it the blue cities who take a while to post their election results? Hmm. It's really interesting when you think about it.” Klayman said: “Why do you think the Democrats, Addison, are still talking about COVID shots, booster shots, everything else? This is their excuse to flood the mails with paper ballots. … I have friends in California, they don't even check when you go into voting booth what your ID is. It's illegal to even ask in California and you can vote two or three times. They’ll send you a ballot at home, you walk in the polling place, they'll give you another ballot, and then there is a machine that you can vote. ” [OAN, In Focus with Addison Smith, 10/27/22]
OAN fearmongered over noncitizens voting
OAN also spread the false narrative that noncitizens are going to vote in the midterms. This comes after OAN had previously alleged that Democrats are allowing more undocumented immigration to get more voters, pushing the great replacement conspiracy theory, which claims Democrats are trying to outnumber white voters by bringing in immigrants.
- Smith: “At the same time that cities and states across the U.S. have tried to legalize voting for noncitizens, foreign nationals are poised to pour in from Guatemala right before Election Day.” Smith continued: “They're coming from Guatemala, meaning they'll likely support Democratic policies and initiatives. I don't know why they would flee the country otherwise. But Venezuelans, on the other hand, who hate Democrats' socialist policies are being deported from the country by Joe Biden.” [OAN, In Focus with Addison Smith, 10/28/22]
- Correspondent Pearson Sharp said Democrats would send illegal immigrants “little reminders to register as Democrats for the next election if they appreciate all the free stuff they just got.” Sharp reported on voter registration reminders sent to noncitizens by accident in Colorado and said: “Let's just open the borders, invite over 5 million illegal aliens a year. Give them free cell phones, education, health care, and housing. And oh, by the way, send them little reminders to register as Democrats for the next election if they appreciate all the free stuff they just got.” [OAN, OAN News, 11/2/22]
- In a segment about immigration, host Allison Steinberg referred to migrants as “undocumented Democrats” as a nod to the idea of noncitizen voting. Steinberg said, “The crisis is so out of control that the Biden administration is now considering desperate measures to house the growing number of undocumented Democrats — I mean, immigrants. The current occupant of the White House is weighing the idea of shipping illegals off to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.” [OAN, The Tipping Point, 11/2/22]