News Update

The most absurd conspiracy theory yet in in the ongoing Arizona recount

“This could be Voter Fraud at the highest level,” Trump promised his supporters late last month. “Don’t think that Arizona is the only State. Much more to come!”
Don’t be fooled. The Maricopa recount, which is being run by Republicans in the state Senate, is a travashamockery of an actual audit of votes — which the county has previously done, and they found no evidence of widespread voter fraud and other issues. It is a conclusion in search of supporting “facts,” a witch hunt of the first order.
The latest example? The search for bamboo — yes, bamboo — in some of the ballots cast in Maricopa County.
In an interview with a local CBS TV reporter named Dennis Welch, a man named John Brakey, the founder of a group called AUDIT USA, which is involved in the recount process, laid out the bamboo theory.
“There’s accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown in and it was stuffed in the box … and it came from the southeast part of the world … Asia,” explained Brakey, adding later: “What they’re doing is to find out whether it is bamboo in the paper.”
Welch, rightly confused, asks for clarification. Which Braes provides: “Because it was bamboo in their paper; there’s bamboo in their paper process … people in southeast Asia.” Worth noting: Brakey wants to make clear he doesn’t believe the bamboo theory himself. “I don’t believe any of that. I’m just saying that is part of the mystery that we want to un-gaslight people about and this is a way to do it.”

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It appears as though this conspiracy theory comes from the mind of someone named Jovan Pulitzer, whose Twitter handle describes him as a “Missoula, MT Google Scholar.” Uh huh. (Kudos to Slate for tracing the genesis of all of this.)
“Now let’s say there was an influx of China ballots. China does not have the tree and lumber population we have because it got deforested primarily a long time ago. They use bamboo — and they do use wood pulps — they use bamboo in their paper and they use about 27 different mixes of grasses that we don’t have here in the United States. And even though you can’t look at it and see it, it’s very detectable.”
Uh, riiiiight.
This is, of course, utter bunk being passed of as sound science (or something). There is zero evidence that 40,000 ballots — bamboo-laced or not! — were “flown in and stuffed in the box,” in the words of Brakey. None.
While the bamboo theory is the most outlandish thing to emerge from this Maricopa recount, it’s far from the only evidence that this process is simply not trustworthy. Consider:
* Arizona Senate Republicans have handed the logistics of the recount to a cyber-security company called Cyber Ninjas. The CEO of that firm, according to the Arizona Republic, had touted a variety of election conspiracy theories on Twitter and been a part of an effort to overturn the results in Michigan.
* Cyber Ninjas have said that the audit will cost far more than the $150,000 Senate Republicans in the state are paying them but won’t disclose who else is providing funding for the effort. (One American News has said they are raising money for the recount.)
* The auditors are not following Arizona law laid out for the recounting of ballots. And Cyber Ninjas has provided little to no information about who these people are and what their particular expertise is to be involved in this audit.
The whole thing stinks. And would be laughable if so many people — including the former President of the United States — didn’t take it so seriously. Because they do, what’s happening in Arizona is rightly and truly scary.
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