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Inspired by Mike Lindell, Republicans demand information from elections officials

By: - June 8, 2021 11:21 am
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in 2020 at an event in Phoenix. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Fantastical and baseless claims of voter fraud made in a video last week by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell are the basis for a series of public records requests two Republican state legislators have filed with elections officials across Arizona.

In an email to supporters of his campaign for secretary of state, Rep. Mark Finchem claimed that Lindell’s recent internet video provided enough “probable cause” to “begin an inquiry” into ballot images from multiple counties across the state. 

The Lindell video, “Absolutely 9-0,” claims that Chinese hackers switched votes to Joe Biden from Donald Trump, among other dubious and false claims. Finchem wrote in his newsletter that he and Rep. Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu City, have requested “ballot printing order records” from Apache, Pima, Pinal and Yuma counties, as well as ballot images from Pima County, due to the “revelation” from Lindell’s video. 

However, Lindell’s video does not prove anything. 

It features an anonymous “hacker” who claims that a wall of scrolling text are alleged PCAP files. PCAP files — the name is short for packet capture — hold data captured from a network in the form of a packet, which is a small segment of a larger message. 

PCAPs are helpful for people who want to analyze their network traffic to see what devices are using it the most or to see if someone else may be on it. Capturing and reading the packets requires the use of special software. 

But the data shown in Lindell’s video does not appear to be from a PCAP at all, but publicly available voter information that has been translated into hexadecimal digits. The PCAPs in the video look nothing like real world examples. 

Lindell is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems, a company at the center of unfounded allegations of election fraud in Arizona and elsewhere, for $1.3 billion in damages after he repeatedly accused the company of rigging the election against Donald Trump. In April, he countersued the company for $1.6 billion. And earlier this month, he filed a separate lawsuit against Dominion and Smartmatic, another company that makes election equipment, claiming that they enabled voter fraud.

It is unclear how or why these fake PCAPs would mean Finchem and Biasiucci would want ballot images and ballot printing order records. Neither Biasiucci nor Finchem returned requests for comment. 

Finchem is also no stranger to conspiracy theories. He has been on a popular QAnon talk show and has re-posted QAnon theories on his Gab account.  

And he recently claimed without evidence that there are “elected officials” engaged in sex trafficking while appearing on Victory News, echoing a popular QAnon conspiracy theory that elected officials are engaged in pedophilia and sex trafficking worldwide.

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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.