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Arizona Election Auditors Check Ballots for Bamboo Fibers After Conspiracy Theorists Claim 40,000 Votes Were ‘Flown in’ from Asia


Contractors working for Cyber Ninjas, who was hired by the Arizona State Senate, examine and recount ballots from the 2020 general election at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on May 1, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Maricopa County ballot recount comes after two election audits found no evidence of widespread fraud.

The already bizarre circumstances surrounding Arizona’s controversial GOP-led audit of the 2020 presidential election became even stranger Wednesday. Auditors are reportedly checking ballots for bamboo fibers in an effort to confirm an absurd conspiracy theory that fraudulent votes created in Asia were somehow counted in Arizona in November.

In an interview with journalist Dennis Welch of local CBS affiliate KTVK, Tucson resident and volunteer observer John Brakey explained the bamboo theory in greater detail.

“Well, there’s accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown in to Arizona and stuffed into the box, okay, and it came from the south east part of the world — Asia — and what they’re doing is to find out if there’s bamboo in the paper,” Brakey said.

He then gestured to a piece of equipment that wasn’t captured in the video interview but which was apparently being used to take extremely high definition photographs of individual ballots for inspection.

“That camera right there, that they [use] to take a picture of the ballot, they can really look at depth and find out is it a hand marked paper ballot because it’s a 5k camera. You can see the folds in the ballot, because 92-percent of all the ballots here should’ve been folded because they came in through an envelope,” he said, adding that he was “on a mission for facts.”

Welch then asked Brakey, who explicitly stated that he did not believe the bamboo-fraud theory, why auditors would be interested in finding bamboo.

“Because they use bamboo in their paper processing,” Brakey responded, specifying that by “they” he meant “people in South East Asia.”

“I don’t believe any of that,” Brakey added. “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.”

The search for bamboo fibers is just the latest cause for concern in a list that has been growing since the GOP-led state senate announced the audit last month.

First, the senate contracted Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based consulting firm that has never worked on an election and is led by conspiracy theorist Doug Logan.

Following the election, Logan authored a document promoting a series of debunked conspiracy theories about alleged voter fraud running rampant in the 2020 election. The missive was provided to U.S. Senators prior to that chamber certifying the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6. That document, titled “Election Fraud Facts & Details,” was also promoted by “Kraken” attorney Sidney Powell on her website under the heading “Evidence of Fraud – 2020 Election.”

The Arizona Mirror also chronicled Logan’s support for Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement and his penchant for conspiracies. For example, in December, Logan tweeted that the “parallels between the statistical analysis of Venezuela and this year’s election are astonishing.” He also accused Joe Biden of committing election fraud.

The audit also got off to a shaky start. Journalists who observed the audit informed staffers that ballot counters were using blue pens when only red or perhaps green pens were permitted in counting rooms. The prohibition on blue and black ink is critical because those colors can be read by vote-counting machines and potentially be used to alter ballots.

Citing “trade secrets,” Cyber Ninjas also tried to withhold its auditing methods and procedures from the public until a judge ordered the firm to release such documents.

[Photo by Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.