PHOENIX – Phoenix’s local news station Fox10 accidentally aired election “test results” declaring Democrat Katie Hobbs the winner over Republican Kari Lake in the Arizona gubernatorial race.
A screenshot of Thursday evening Fox10 air footage shared by Charlie Kirk to Twitter shows a small graphic in the lower left corner of the TV screen displaying election “results,” with a red checkmark next to Hobbs’ vote “tally,” thus “declaring her the winner 53-47 over Kari Lake,” Kirk noted.
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 pic.twitter.com/2Gxq09rfo7
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) October 28, 2022
Fox10 Phoenix subsequently issued a statement in an effort to explain the blunder, tweeting, “At 5:50pm 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. 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. The station has taken steps to make sure this cannot happen again,” continued Fox 10 Phoenix, a station where Lake formerly worked as television anchor.
Commentators have observed that the incident undermines trust in the integrity of U.S. elections, as it has given the impression to many that election results have been fraudulently “fixed” beforehand.
Arizona state Rep. Jake Hoffman issued a statement that went so far as to call the error as a “threat to our Republic,” and announced he would introduce a bill to hold Arizona news outlets “accountable” if they “interfere with Arizona’s election.”
“While I understand the need for internal planning by news stations, errors like this that are broadcast live to the public pose a legitimate threat to our Republic and serve only to undermine the confidence that Arizonans have in the integrity of their vote,” Hoffman wrote.
“What if this had happened on election night or the day before the election? The impact to our democratic process would be devastating,” he continued. He went on to share that in the “coming legislative session” he would introduce a bill to issue consequences should Arizona news outlets either “interfere” with a state election “and/or disenfranchise Arizona voters like this in the future.”