Stephen Colbert Rails Against ‘Insane’ Arizona Election Auditors

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Scott Kowalchyk/CBS
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Stephen Colbert on Monday addressed the conspiracy theory-fueled audit of presidential election ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona, saying those who support it are “thinking outside the box—and the brain.”

Initiated by the state’s Republican-controlled Senate, the audit is being carried out by a private security firm (with no experience in election audits) called Cyber Ninjas—“also the name of a knock-off Luke Skywalker toy,” Colbert joked.

Cyber Ninjas is led by a CEO who has promoted claims of fraud in last year’s election and has approved dubious methodology for determining the authenticity of paper ballots. For instance, ballot counters have used ultraviolet light to check for watermarks, which matches up with a popular QAnon theory that then-President Donald Trump had mail-in ballots secretly watermarked to catch cheating. Workers have also been examining ballots for any bamboo particles, because that would supposedly be evidence that they were fraudulently planted by China.

“That’s insane,” Colbert exclaimed. “Bamboo literally grows everywhere in the world. If you want to prove the ballots were from China, you’ve got to look for little bits of panda fur or traces of Ivanka [Trump] handbags.”

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The host of The Late Show also mentioned a story noting how the CEO, Doug Logan, retweeted messages predicting that an audit would reveal “hundreds of thousands” of uncounted votes for Donald Trump.

“I question the neutrality of that ‘prediction,’” Colbert said. “That would be like saying, ‘I predict that someone’s going to break into my neighbor Glen’s house when he’s in Boca Raton this weekend. And my powerful sixth sense is also telling me that his flatscreen is going to look great in my den.’”

The 2.1 million ballots in Arizona’s most populous county were audited twice after being certified by Gov. Doug Ducey in November. No issues were found. Still, the state’s GOP senators pursued a controversial measure that would have allowed contractors to show up at voters’ residences and interrogate them.

“Because that’s what ninjas are best known for: knocking on people’s doors in broad daylight,” Colbert joked.

The Justice Department shut this plan down last week. Interestingly, Republicans responded that if canvassers were, in fact, sent out, they wouldn’t be armed.

“How is that a thing you have to promise?” Colbert asked. “That’s like finding a flyer in your mailbox that says, ‘Troop 167 will be out this weekend selling cookies… without machetes!’”

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