On Slate magazine, I read the following news [emphasis in bold, mine]:

On Wednesday, a member of the Arizona election audit team that has been heavily touted by former President Donald Trump revealed that its examination of the 2020 vote in Maricopa County will include a “forensic” analysis of ballots to determine if the paper is made of bamboo—in order to determine whether or not China delivered tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots to tip the state to Joe Biden.

In a live interview posted on Twitter, John Brakey, an official helping oversee the audit of the 2020 Arizona election, explained

Accusations of 40,000 ballots were flown into Arizona and it was stuffed into the box. OK? And it came from the southeast part of the world, Asia, OK. And what they're doing is to find out if there's bamboo in the paper.

[…] 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 can persuade people on changing is having facts, and we're on a mission for facts. […] And what we do is not about the right or the left.

I looked up Chinese paper exports to the US (which among cardboard also includes: napkins, tissues, kitchen/paper towels, and sanitary paper e.g. toilet rolls and diapers.)

The top three exporters of paper in 2019 were

  1. China: US$22 billion (12.9% of total paper exports)
  2. Germany: $20.7 billion (12.2%)
  3. United States: $15.1 billion (8.8%)

Paper Exports by Country

While the top three paper importers between 2018 and 2019 were

  1. United States $17,332,676,000 -4.2%
  2. Germany $13,971,259,000 -7.1%
  3. France $8,527,818,000 -2.9%


It is also true that a sizable percentage of paper produced in China is made from bamboo. According to the Sichuan Paper Association, in 2017 1.1 million tonnes of household paper was from bamboo, equivalent to about one-tenth of China's total paper production for household purposes. Source

Question If traces of bamboo is discovered in the Arizona paper ballots, is that sufficient proof of election fraud. Especially when we consider a significant amount of paper in the US, with its derivatives, are already imported from China?


If we watch the short interview posted on Twitter, it's clear that no one is putting all their eggs in the Chinese paper basket, and if the team already knew that paper was imported from China then why even bother doing the forensic test in the first place? The auditor mentions they are on a mission for "facts" in order to persuade people. I am humbly suggesting that traces of bamboo, were they found, is itself inclusive proof of foreign interference–and not only for the aforementioned reasons. I am confident that there is more than one person out there who can state confidently “It makes no difference to the election results in Arizona if traces of bamboo are detected or not because.....”

In other words, the discovery (if it happens) of bamboo strands in the Arizona ballots is worthless UNLESS someone can state confidently–with supporting evidence–that US ballot paper must not only be printed in the US but it must also be produced there.

The modest question is just focusing on one tiny element that's all.

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    So, the claim is that IF the paper contains bamboo, it comes from China AND that means China interfered in the elections? Seems like quite a leap of faith there. Commented May 6, 2021 at 12:52
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    So China was devious enough to influence the US elections by fraud, clever enough to stuff ballot boxes without detection, but stupid enough to use Chinese bamboo paper to give the game away? Nobody can seriously believe all three things.
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 13:42
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    @JeromeViveiros: "So, if she weighs the same as a duck..." Commented May 6, 2021 at 15:37
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    The key problem with this claim is there is no evidence to link the source of the paper to fraud. Is there any reason why the paper used for the ballots can't be purchased from China or made from bamboo? The problem is it is a large leap to make to say that what the paper is made out of means that fraud happened as has already been pointed out.
    – Joe W
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 17:37
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    It boils down to: no single test by itself is sufficient proof of election fraud, and I don't think there is a notable claim that would be the case. It is one test in a larger investigation.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 23:48

1 Answer 1



This is a logical fallacy of the form: some men are tall, you are tall, therefore you are the man who stole $20 out of my wallet because because I think I'm supposed to have $20 more.

There's a long chain of assumptions in the claim. They're not even looking for "Chinese paper" they're looking for paper made of bamboo.

  1. Bamboo paper = Paper made in China.
  2. Blank paper from China = Printed in China.

The first claim is of the form: some paper made in China is of bamboo, therefore all paper made of bamboo is from China. Their "expert" claims to be able to identify specific strains of bamboo, but as we'll see their "expert" isn't.

There is no explanation given for the second claim which renders the whole thing moot.

Additionally, there are some questions one might ask about this idea that it's important to audit for ballots printed in China.

  • How did the false ballots bypass election security?
  • Who coordinated all this?
  • Why would you print the ballots in China and ship them to the US?
  • Wasn't there already supposed to have been rock solid evidence of election fraud?

Bamboo = China

They're not checking if the paper came from China, they're checking that it contains bamboo. Why do they assume paper in China is made of bamboo? Why do they assume no one else makes paper out of bamboo?

Blank paper from China = Printed in China

Let's say the paper was made in China. So what? Arizona bought blank paper made in China and printed ballots on it. Where paper is made doesn't change what's printed on it. Arizona didn't even have to make contact with anyone in China, some 3rd party government contractor might have supplied the paper because it was cheap.

Paper made in China does not mean it was printed in China. Because of this basic missing logical link there isn't much point in looking at who makes paper out of bamboo and where US paper is imported from.

How did these false ballots bypass election security?

There's multiple redundant safeguards to prevent tampering with the ballots. How did these ballots get printed correctly in China, shipped to the US, and inserted into the stack with nobody noticing?

Who coordinated all this?

The Chinese had to have multiple conspirators in Arizona with the ability to bypass election security. They'd need to coordinate with China to print the ballots correctly so they won't be detected as fraudulent. Ship them to the US. And get past customs. All in time for the election. And then insert them as legit ballots... somehow.

This brings up Occam's Razor.

Why print the ballots in China?

Instead of having to do all that coordination to have someone print the ballots correctly in China and delay in shipping them to the US and then to Arizona risking getting caught with a container full of ballots... seems it would be easier and safer to have an agent in the US use US printing press. The claim has already invented an airtight conspiracy within Arizona Elections, an unscrupulous print shop doesn't seem a stretch.

Wasn't there already supposed to have been rock solid evidence of election fraud?

Before the election, during the election, after the election Trump and his miasma of enablers claimed to have incontrovertible evidence of election fraud. They didn't. Now, six months and dozens of failed lawsuits later, here's their new hypothesis about folds and inks and bamboo also lacking any evidence. You'll excuse me if I don't go racing off to check paper manufacturing statistics.

Jovan Hutton Pulitzer

This bamboo claim appears to originate from Jovan Hutton Pulitzer. He appears as an expert witness in MARICOPA COUNTY v KAREN FANN which claims that "Cast ballots can be reviewed by software to ascertain whether counterfeit ballots have properly been rejected by the system".

Their support for this is an affidavit by Jovan Pulitzer who claims to be "a document pattern recognition expert" but has no background in election security nor printing nor paper manufacturing. He instead cites how many patents he has, specifically Predilution sets for distributing antigens and System and method for using a mobile device as an input device for surveys at a live event and System and method for haptic mapping of a configurable virtual reality environment. What these have to do with his being a document pattern recognition expert is beyond me.

He claims he can "recognize in a document whether or not the document has been folded or bent... the type of paper used in paper documents... the type of ink that is used to make patterns in the document and whether the ink is commercial or ink used in personal marking devices or pens and pencils". He gives no evidence for this being true.

He claims "all mail-in and absentee voting ballots (and any other ballots that were placed in the mail) should have kinetic markers as a result of being handled and folded many times in the process of mailing prior to voting... Absentee and mail-in ballots which were fraudulently manufactured and not mailed to the voter would be devoid of these markers." That is its own set of unsupported assumptions. And that "a voting ballot that has not been mailed and not processed through the mail system will be pristine" which is packed with its own assumptions.

It is unclear what his exact methods are, whether any of it works, whether it's been independently verified, and is loaded with assumptions. The more I read from Pulitzer, the longer the chain of assumptions gets.

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    @Hobbamok, I'll just repeat myself: we need to reference an actual expert on this matter. This is a community based around scientific skepticism, this is not commonsense.stackexchange.com. This post is nothing more than a personal review of the matter from a laypersons perspective, combined with a couple of ad hominems. Both are very much off-topic. Commented May 7, 2021 at 9:59
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    @Jan Could still just be a matter of different areas receiving different blank paper from different suppliers. In fact would it really be surprising if Republican-leaning counties didn't like buying stuff from China? Commented May 7, 2021 at 10:11
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    But since you got me going I'll elaborate. This post assumes that bamboo ballots are normal, or common [citation needed], there are multiple redundant safeguards to prevent tampering with ballots [citation needed], "it would be easier and safer to have an agent in the us" [citation needed]. See where I am going with this? Commented May 7, 2021 at 10:28
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    The question was "Does X prove Y?". Just because X is consistent with Y it doesn't mean it proves it. If you can point out numerous obvious ways that X can be true without Y being true, you can answer the question "no".
    – Barmar
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 13:35
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    @Jordy: Because a narrative that takes all facts into account does not automatically mean that the narrative is true or even meaningful. - Yes, that's exactly the point this answer is making, about the original claim. The question is whether bamboo-paper ballots prove Chinese-backed election fraud. Any alternative explanation that's plausible and not ruled out by any known facts means that X doesn't prove Y. This answer doesn't need to enumerate all possible explanations, and finding a problem with one of its suggested possibilities doesn't invalidate the others. Commented May 7, 2021 at 14:44

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