A retired US Army colonel who authored the now infamous “PowerPoint Coup” slide deck played a major role in instigating the Arizona State Senate’s bogus “audit” of Arizona County ballots. Maricopa, Arizona, by convincing them that unproven technology from a notorious dotcom-era inventor could detect enough false ballots to undermine Joe Biden’s victory in the Copper State.
According to documents released by the pro-transparency group American Oversight, the Arizona senators who ordered the partisan audit of the state’s most populous county did so on the advice of Phil Waldron, a retired US Army colonel. January 2021 against the United States Capitol.
Waldron began contacting Republican elected officials in Arizona on December 8, 2020, which was the “safe harbor” deadline for states to certify their electoral college results before voters gathered to cast their ballots. on December 14.
That day, he emailed a pair of Republican state senators, Mark Finchem and Sonny Borelli, and two Trump campaign advisers, attorney Emily Newman and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Mr. Waldron wrote that he and his associates possessed “the ability to identify fraudulent ballots through optical scanning technology” and could reveal whether ballots were “printed/machined,” “not folded or enveloped.” ” or had “bar codes that [had] It has been mechanically altered.
“This will allow us to remove invalid votes from the ‘By Candidate’ totals so your state can certify normal elections and potentially not have to take additional legislative action,” he wrote.
The “extra-legislative action” Mr. Waldron referred to was a course of action advocated by then-President Donald Trump and his allies that would have been based on a controversial constitutional theory called the “independent state legislature” doctrine, according to the which state legislatures can unilaterally reject the results of a presidential election and designate their own preferred group of voters.
The theory, according to which Trump’s false claims of a stolen election generated significant momentum in right-wing circles, was central to the former president’s efforts to settle into the White House for a second term against the wishes of voters. Americans.
Waldron reportedly elaborated on the alleged anti-fraud technology in another email sent to Arizona Republican senators on Dec. 11, just three days before voters voted for Biden in Phoenix.
In that message, the retired Army colonel told lawmakers he was attaching affidavits about “existing technology that has been adapted to detect cinematic features of scanned or actual ballots to determine indicators of fraudulent activity,” which he suggested is “the faster and more effective. transparent manner” to provide Trump-aligned lawmakers with the “direct evidence” they needed to overturn Biden’s victory.
Included with the emails from Mr. Waldron, which were first reported by Rolling Stone, was an affidavit from Jovan Pulitzer, the alleged inventor of the alleged anti-fraud technology.
Mr. Pulitzer, formerly known as Jeffry Jovan Philyaw, is a self-proclaimed inventor and treasure-hunting book author who developed the CueCat barcode scanner in the late 1990s. He changed his name after it was discovered that the device had significant security flaws and was widely mocked.
In the affidavit sent to Arizona senators, Pulitzer claimed his technology could determine whether a given mail-in ballot was genuine by looking for what he called “kinetic markers” that would result from the ballot being “manipulated and folded many times in the process.” mail-in prior to the vote” because such markers, in his opinion, would not appear on ballots that were “fraudulently manufactured and not mailed to the voter.”
He also claimed that something called “Thin Layer Chromatography to Determine Inferential Statistical Analysis” could show whether a given ballot was marked by hand or by machine.
Pulitzer’s methods would be adopted by Cyber Ninjas, the bespoke election auditing firm founded by a pro-Trump election conspiracy theorist commissioned by Arizona Senate Republicans to conduct his partisan audit.
Arizona Republicans fell in love with Pulitzer’s auditing techniques because they hoped to test various election-related conspiracy theories raised by Trump allies in the days and weeks following the November 3, 2020 election.
These theories included an outrageous claim that Biden’s victory in Arizona came from counting a large number of paper ballots flown in by air from Asia, which allegedly led Cyber Ninjas to examine the ballots to determine if they were printed on paper. paper containing bamboo.
Although the Cyber Ninjas eventually did conduct such an audit at the behest of the Arizona Senate, it came too late to aid Trump’s efforts and, in the end, found even more votes for Biden than had been counted during the canvass. initial.
But Waldron, who claimed to have once worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency’s black ops division, had bigger plans for his plot to reverse Trump’s lost re-election.
His now-infamous 36-page set of slides, which former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows delivered to the House select committee on January 6 late last year, advocated seizing ballots in every state. to conduct a count under the supervision of a “Trusted Lead Counter” by the National Guard.