Yesterday, The Washington Pundit reported about information shared out by Richard “The People’s Pundit” Baris. The column was specifically about a photograph he took showing a “Heat Map” inside the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) titled:
General Election 2020 In-Person Republican Vote Dot Density
Election Day and Early Vote Sites | Metropolitan Maricopa, Arizona
When Baris shared the picture on his Inside The Numbers (Episode 307) podcast, he stated at the 3:55 min mark:
“And for people who say, ‘Oh, I think the Democratic map is right to the right.’ It’s not. That is not a map of Democratic voting in Maricopa County. If I remember correctly, that was a map of early drop locations and where there was drop boxes from 2020. If I remember correctly that is what it was. But no, there was no Democrat election day map”
It appears, however, Baris did not remember correctly. Since our story was first published, photos have emerged of the full, blue-shaded map off to the right of Baris’ original photograph. It appears to, in fact, be a comparable heat map showing “General Election 2020 In-Person Democratic Voter” turnout.
In a sort of inverse “Republicans Pounce” reaction, Hobbs supporters are using the existence of the Democratic map to attack and discredit the story as a whole. As TWP noted in our original column—this was an interesting, but immaterial detail to the story.
“First and foremost, election officials would have no valid reason to need to track where voters would be expected to turnout by party. Maybe a case could be made election officials might want to know information about total voter turnout in order to best allocate their resources, but there is absolutely no good reason for the partisan break up.” ~ From TWP’s column ‘Rich Baris: Maricopa Had A “Heat Map” of Expected Republican Voters’
Baris himself noted at the time in his podcast,
“And even if there was [a Democratic map], it really wouldn’t matter. Because why would a county allocate resources to learn something like this? And did you really just think it’s a ‘coinkydink’ that the problems were concentrated in those areas? If so, I’ve got a bridge to sell you, folks … I have a bridge to sell you. That is crazy.”
Anyone discounting the entire story—based on Baris’ misrecollection—has failed to explain how the presence of the Democratic map would have prevented Maricopa officials from tampering with election equipment destined for Republican-heavy polling locations. If anything, this is more problematic. It means officials could have been able to cross reference to ensure equipment destined for Democratic-heavy polling locations was not tampered with, and in perfect working order before being sent out.
The other issue, as we quoted Baris in our prior column,
“As someone who does things like this for a living and plots this stuff. Do you have any idea how much money that costs? If I went to Datawrapper right now or Eye Maps and said, ‘I have a data set that’s 380,000 rows deep.’ [Do] you know how much it’s going to cost me to plot that, and then print out that map on that format in that big area? Why would you justify that expenditure if you’re MCTEC? Right! There’s only one reason why you’d do it. Let’s be honest.”
So having the second Democratic heat map just means the expenditure by Maricopa County was at least double the cost than previously believed. All this for information that no other election officials—to Baris’ knowledge—anywhere are collecting and plotting before election day. As Baris stated quoting an election official from Carteret County, North Carolina (paraphrasing):
“No. Couldn’t justify the cost for something like that. Plus, it’s not relevant to what we do here. We count votes. We don’t predict where they come from.”
While it is unfortunate that Richard Baris uncharacteristically got this minor detail wrong— that led TWP to need to issue this correction— this doesn’t make the story any better. If anything, it’s gotten somewhat worse.
So Maricopa … you’ve still got some splainin’ to do.
The Washington Pundit | Speak Truth To Power