Finchem hopes audit will lead to reassignment of Arizona’s electoral votes

By: - May 10, 2021 1:07 pm

Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Republican state representative and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem told a QAnon talk show that he hopes the results of Arizona’s election audit will lead to the state’s 11 presidential electors being reassigned to former President Donald Trump. 

Finchem, R-Oro Valley, appeared on RedPill78 hosted by Zak Paine on Saturday, and the two men spent two hours discussing the audit and election fraud allegations. 

Finchem has long asserted that the goal of the audit is to not find fraud but restore integrity in Arizona’s election. However, during the interview he said he hopes that the outcome will result in Arizona’s electoral votes being awarded to Trump, though President Joe Biden won the state by 10,457 votes. Congress certified the final results of the Electoral College in January.

Trump himself has claimed that the audit will uncover massive fraud showing that he actually won Arizona, and that the revelation will open the door to similar discoveries in other states that he lost to Biden in November.

The interview also touched on a number of conspiracy theories popular among those in the far-right, including conspiracy theories about George Soros, misinformation about an audit in Antrim County, Mich., and continually debunked claims of over registered voters

During a Q&A session, a caller claimed that the government had been corrupted and that the drug cartels are also involved in election fraud and Finchem began to interject. 

“I think the question you’re asking is whether we are living through a slow motion coup,” Finchem said. He went on to claim that he felt former President Barack Obama was connected to the “Chicago crime syndicate” and that the Biden administration is connected to the Chinese government. 

RedPill78 has been spreading conspiracy theories around the Arizona audit effort, falsely claiming that an aircraft owned by the Phoenix Police Department was surveilling audit workers and using electronic surveillance to do so. Paine also alleged that the aircraft may have belonged to the FBI or U.S. Department of Justice. 

“While the maps do accurately represent our flights, both times were (sic) the aircraft was on police calls that had nothing to do with the events at the Veteran Memorial Coliseum,” Phoenix Police spokeswoman Maggie Cox said to Arizona Mirror

The flight paths of the aircraft were mainly over the Glendale area, not near the coliseum at all

RedPill78 has been a platform for QAnon and a number of other unfounded conspiracy theories, leading to YouTube removing Paine’s channel from its platform last year. Paine and a host of other conservative and QAnon channels who were removed by YouTube have been attempting to sue the platform over their removals. 

In its simplest form, QAnon is a conspiracy theory that alleges that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles are running a global sex-trafficking ring, control world governments and are trying to bring down Donald Trump — who is single-handedly dismantling the cabal.   

However, the community has seen division since the election and Biden’s inauguration, splitting into new tribes and forming new conspiracies as they contend with prophecies that did not come to fruition. 

RedPill78’s channel and network of other content creators have shifted gears since Trump lost to Biden in November’s election, and now focus heavily on claims of unfounded election fraud. Some of its shows have focused on Arizona’s audit efforts. 

During the two-hour discussion, Finchem claimed the media are the ones creating conspiracy theories around Arizona’s audit efforts. 

“They’re (the media) creating conspiracy theories about bamboo paper,” Finchem said.

The conspiracy theory of bamboo ballots began in December with Jovan Pulitzer, an inventor and treasure hunter who claimed that China uses bamboo to make paper and that fraudulent ballots could be detected by looking for the fibers. No counterfeit ballots have been found in any United States election, and there’s no indication that such a thing happened anywhere in the country.

Pulitzer is a favorite of election fraud conspiracy theorists, and claims to have invented technology that can detect fraudulent ballots by examining the folds in the paper and the markings in various elections. When Pulitzer claimed that he had hacked the Georgia election system, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state derided him as a “failed inventor and a failed treasure hunter.” 

Pulitzer is already known to have a role in the Senate’s audit, though it was unknown in entirely what capacity. The show has also interviewed Pulitzer in the past. 

Paine was also present at the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and admitted going past the barricades that lead to the Capitol entrance. Co-hosts of the show have also suggested that the events of that day were a “false flag” or were “orchestrated” to make Trump and his supporters look bad.

RedPill78 has amplified conspiracy theories such as the “Great Reset” conspiracy popular among QAnon believers, alleged connections between cancer and vaccines, a belief that a Korean Air plane flew fraudulent ballots into Arizona and numerous interviews with people well known in QAnon circles.   

Finchem himself has dabbled in QAnon, sharing a widely debunked photo on the social media platform Gab that actor Paul Walker was killed by Bill and Hillary Clinton because he was “coming forward” with information about alleged crimes against the Clinton Foundation in Haiti. The actor died in 2013 when the sports car he was a passenger in crashed into a lamp post and a gas pipe, which burst into flames. 

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

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