Posts Falsely Claim to Show Hobbs in Arizona Election Tabulation Room

Quick Take

An image shared on social media shows a woman with glasses and brown hair in an Arizona ballot tabulation room. The posts falsely identify the woman as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, who is the secretary of state, implying that Hobbs was illegally influencing the count. The woman pictured is an election observer, not Hobbs.

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Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs chose not to recuse herself from overseeing election proceedings during her gubernatorial race against Republican Kari Lake.

As ballot counting continued after Election Day, an image posted to Instagram by multiple users falsely claimed to show Hobbs in the voting tabulation room, which would be illegal.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, political party representatives are allowed to observe the election process at voting locations and counting sites in Arizona. The Arizona Secretary of State’s website explains that observers cannot interfere with the procedures or staff. And candidates appearing on the ballot — such as Hobbs — cannot serve as observers.

The viral image shows a woman with glasses and long brown hair, similar to Hobbs, standing in a room with U.S. Postal Service boxes. It is time-stamped at 10:07 a.m. on Nov. 9, the day after the election.

“LOOK WHO WAS INSIDE THE BALLOT ROOMS. KATIE HOBBS. Timed Stamped too,” the post reads. “They wouldn’t cheat now, would they?” the caption reads.

Another user posted the same image with the caption, “Rigged Election!!!!”

In Arizona, the public can view live video feeds showing the ballot-counting process across the state. The room in the photo seems to match the tabulation room shown in a live feed from Maricopa County.

The image, however, does not show Hobbs, but rather an official observer, according to a tweet on Nov. 10 from Maricopa County’s Twitter account.

“Not every woman with glasses is Katie Hobbs. We can confirm this was a party Observer. Please refrain from making assumptions about workers who happen to wear glasses,” the tweet reads.

The Associated Press reported that a campaign spokesperson also said the image doesn’t show Hobbs.

Hobbs has faced multiple calls to recuse herself from overseeing the election, but chose not to heed those requests. That’s not unusual. In 2018, Georgia’s then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp did not recuse himself from overseeing the election process, even when his gubernatorial race against Democrat Stacey Abrams went to a recount.

As of early afternoon on Nov. 11, Hobbs held a slim lead. She had nearly 27,000 more votes than Lake with about 516,000 estimated ballots still to be counted.

Editor’s note: is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.


Joyce, Tom. “Katie Hobbs says she’ll responsibly oversee election results, including her own.” The Center Square. 7 Nov 2022.

Cooper, Jonathan J. “Dems maintain narrow leads in Arizona Senate, governor races.” Associated Press. 11 Nov 2022.

Collins, Eliza. “Katie Hobbs Again Rejects Kari Lake’s Call to Recuse Herself From Oversight of Arizona Race.” Wall Street Journal. 6 Nov 2022.

Krieg, Gregory. “Kemp refuses to recuse if Georgia governor race with Abrams goes to a recount.” CNN. 23 Oct 2018.

Coconino County. “Live Ballot Counting Video Feed.” Accessed 11 Nov 2022.

Maricopa County Recorder and Elections Department. “Live Video Feeds.” Accessed 11 Nov 2022.

Pinal County. “Live Video Feed – Tabulation Room.” Accessed 11 Nov 2022.

Maricopa County (@MaricopaCounty). “Not every woman with glasses is Katie Hobbs. We can confirm this was a party Observer. Please refrain from making assumptions about workers who happen to wear glasses.” Twitter. 10 Nov 2022.

Policies for Election Observers.” National Conference of State Legislatures. Accessed 11 Nov 2022.

Phan, Karena. “Photo of woman in Arizona ballot-counting room is not candidate Hobbs.” Associated Press. 11 Nov 2022.

Arizona Secretary of State. “Pre-Election Procedures.” Arizona Secretary of State. Accessed 11 Nov 2022.

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