PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Volunteers working the Arizona state senate's audit of Maricopa County's ballots are looking for bamboo in the ballot paper, claiming some may have come from southeast Asia. Contractors conducting the audit have offered no evidence to support their multiple claims of election fraud in Maricopa County, specifically surrounding former President Donald Trump's loss in the 2020 election.
John Brakey is with the group called "AUDIT" which he says is an acronym for Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections. "There's accusations at 40,000 ballots were flown in in to Arizona and it was stuffed into the box OK, and it came from the southeast part of the world Asia, and and what they're doing is to find out if there's Bamboo in the paper." Brakey said.
Organizations are using a 5K camera to take pictures of the ballots so they can look at the paper to find out if the ballot is hand-marked paper.
"You can see the folds in the ballot because 92% of all the ballots here should have been folded because they came in through an envelope, and so they're doing all sorts of testing to prove if it was or wasn't, and that's very important, because the only way you could persuade people on changing is having facts, and we're on a mission for facts." Brakey said.
- According to the United States Department of Agriculture, forest products are the third-largest export from the United States to China for a variety of paper products.
- Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that more than 50% of the recyclable paper in Chinese paper mills came from exports of recyclable material from nations like the United States and Canada.
- A study published by three students at Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Economics found in 2001, Bamboo pulp accounted for only 1% of the nation's paper production. In comparison, the students found 23% of demand for paper products came from domestic and imported wood pulp.
Brakey says this isn't his first time contesting an election. "We've been around 17 years. We worked all over the country for the last five years. I'm litigation of Florida. I've sued Alabama. I negotiated in Virginia. I sued in Ohio, and I've been in 18 states, just working elections, and I all started because of the Bernie Sanders election in 2016 with Hillary Clinton. I'm the guy who sued the whole state."
While the claims are baseless, advocates say they are dangerous to the Asian-American community that's already under attack. "This is disgusting. On behalf of the AAPI community, we are so offended. This is racism 101," said Leezah Sun.
Sun is the founder of Strength in Unity, a group that fights for racial equality in Arizona. She says the conspiracy theory only fuels hate, especially during a time when anti-Asian violence is on the rise. "It is almost like the last straw," she said. "It is so baseless. We want to know who came up with this?"
And while sun pushes for accountability, she says the damage is already done. "To pull this is almost a sign of severe desperation," she said. "It just looks so foolish and pathetic."
"After the shock wears off, you can't help but feel anger. Anger that is well-placed," continued Sun. "This is a clear sign of injustice."
“This is disgusting. On behalf of the AAPI community, we are so offended. This is racism 101.” Tonight @ 9, reaction from Asian American community after official says auditors are looking for bamboo in ballots due to baseless claim ballots were smuggled here from Asia. #azfamily https://t.co/b42Mauv2rT— Emma Lockhart (@EmmaPLockhart) May 6, 2021
John Brakey, an official helping oversee the audit of the 2020 Arizona election, says auditors are looking for bamboo fibers because of a baseless accusation that 40K ballots from Asia were smuggled here. #AzAuditPool pic.twitter.com/57UOBYIehg— Dennis Welch (@dennis_welch) May 5, 2021