Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Santa Cruz Judge Kimberly Corsaro Rules in Favor of the Plaintiffs Seeking Election Records

J.T. Waldron

Yesterday morning, Sergio Arellanos, John Brakey, and a number of citizens concerned with elections in Santa Cruz County received a welcome judgment finding the Defendants (County of Santa Cruz) in violation of Arizona state public records laws.

"The court helped restore public confidence with this ruling because it upholds the laws that support transparency," Brakey declared on his cell phone while driving home from his radio interview in Nogales, Arizona. Although two out of ten items requested are allegedly unfulfillable, the judge declared that the Plaintiffs substantially prevailed and are entitled to be compensated for their attorney's fees.

One item the defendants claimed did not exist was invoices from any vendors who programmed the central count elections computers and the Accuvote memory cards. This pursuit is supposedly empty due to the dubious testimony by Santa Cruz Elections Director Melinda Meek who claimed under oath that all programming of elections databases are done "in house".

On the second day of the hearing, Santa Cruz produced a CD containing a portion of the data requested by the Santa Cruz Elections Integrity Committee in conjunction with AUDITAZ (Americans United for Democracy, Integrity and Transparency in Elections). In the 2014 Primary audit log of Santa Cruz's central tabulating computer, databases used previously for five other counties were displayed as backup files in alphabetical sequence prior to "Santa Cruz". Below is a map of the counties this GEMS database was constructed for:

This has prompted a second records request from the County of Santa Cruz. Today members of AUDITAZ appeared at the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, who held an emergency meeting to discuss their predicament caused by refusing to abide by state records laws.

"They didn't even allow for public input or a call to the audience," says Brakey. "I approached one member to remind him of the deadline and ask when we'll see it and he tells me to contact their lawyer." Below is a video of today's Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors' exchange with Brakey:


The other excluded item involves the inspection of network settings key to determining whether the elections department is truthful when it claims its central tabulator is free of outside connections.  Plaintiffs believe that network settings are a form of metadata allowed by the same statute that provides for the remaining nine items to be promptly disclosed when requested. 

Ironically, Judge Corsaro did not take the time to determine if this information qualifies as public record because "the Defendants have shown that the tabulators are not hooked up to any network". The Plaintiffs are not so sure.

Brakey summarizes in his radio interview: 
"We the people must have elections that are 100% transparent with a documented chain of custody and the elections verified. Nothing less. Government must not be the sole verifier of its own secret elections."  
And over his cell phone:
"They must give the candidates and public the due process that is their right under the law.  Yes, voting is a secret process.  However, counting is a public process.  It is our right under 16-621 and other statutes to to have observers in all processes where ballots are being handled."  
Adhering to this philosophy, the ever growing list of plaintiffs will join this transparency initiative in a mandamus action to be filed in the Santa Cruz courts this Thursday morning if the Board of Supervisors fails to order their elections department to follow the law as per A.R.S. Sec. 16-621.

Check out today's Maxima 99.1 radio appearance by John Brakey as he discusses the state of elections with host Macho Martinez.  Tomorrow (Wednesday), Brakey will return with the Plaintiff's Attorney Alex Kolodin and  Libertarian Candidate for Governor Barry Hess.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Santa Cruz Will Be Asked to Produce Additional Elections Records

J.T. Waldron

After examining the records finally released by the Santa Cruz Elections Department, AUDITAZ, a coalition of Arizona citizens concerned about election integrity, will make a request for additional electronic data from past elections. Last Saturday, in an email sent to the plaintiffs and those concerned with elections, John Brakey of AUDITAZ revealed:
Next Monday we’re filing a new public records request with an open letter to the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors (SCBOS).   We’re asking them to do their job. Elections are their responsibility. The Board of Supervisors might as well be called the "Board of Elections".
Barry Hess, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, will be added to the list of those asking for records and, if necessary, to the list of plaintiffs if Santa Cruz continues to postpone the release of the records requested last July.

Of the ten items requested, Santa Cruz refuses to allow inspection of the network settings for their Windows run central tabulating computer. Reviewing the Windows operating system settings is a simple way for inspectors to confirm that the central tabulating computer is not compromised by an outside connection through wire hookups or wireless transmissions. Santa Cruz Elections took great pains to avoid this procedure. They tapped the head of Santa Cruz's I.T. department to hoodwink the Board of Supervisors by presenting network settings as a means to gather software codes, reverse engineer the software, and manipulate the elections.


 As in Brakey's email:
His unsubstantiated claim of our quest for GEMS software or its framework is in direct contradiction to what we had painstakingly spelled out to the elections department at the time of the request. This act of smoke and mirrors may cost the county $100,000 or more.  Sadly, we the taxpayers are the losers. If they continue with their refusal to follow the law, we must file a “Writ of Mandamus” in Santa Cruz Superior Court invoking existing state laws to hold both the bureaucrats and elected officials accountable.  Their continued noncompliance will require an emergency lawsuit using mandamus action which asks a court to mandate that government officials follow statutory law.
Why does Santa Cruz Elections so jealously guard what should amount to a very short list for a stand alone computer? The people of Santa Cruz may have found an answer in one of the records they finally have received. The 175-page audit log for the 2014 primary election indicates that somebody was illegally checking the results before the end of the election and holes in the timeline appear near that election's logic and accuracy test.   Ironically, the logic and accuracy test is often publicly touted as a means to ensure the accuracy and fairness of elections. This test has a reassuring title, but listen to Ex NSA analyst Mickey Duniho give his testimony in last Wednesday's hearing:

Monday, AUDITAZ and the Santa Cruz Election Integrity Committee will present an open letter to the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors requesting elections database files and other items missing in the first records request. 

Sergio Arellano, John Brakey and Macho Martinez discuss the final hearing in an interview on Oscar Felix's 99.1 Maxima Radio Station - one of the rare media outlets for election integrity in Arizona.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Santa Cruz Fulfills Data Request With an Altered Audit Log

Citizens Against Rigged Elections (AUDITAZ) in Santa Cruz County, Arizona
J.T. Waldron

After months of delays and legal costs to taxpayers, the elections department in the small border county of Santa Cruz, Arizona, finally parted with a portion of their elections records. Santa Cruz's audit logs for last August's election are missing a portion of the entries and it appears they were deleted sometime before presenting them to Sergio Arellano, Chairman of Legislative District 2 and AUDITAZ, a coalition of Arizona citizens concerned about election integrity. Back in 2007, election computer files in Arizona were determined to be public records during a heated suit between Pima County and the Pima County Democratic Party. This case established that all elections data are public records subject to Arizona Revised Statute 39-121: Inspection of Public Records.

Santa Cruz has ignored this precedent and delayed the production of requested documents for over two months.  On September 24th, Santa Cruz Elections Director Melinda Meek testified in court that the decision to withhold information was ultimately made by the Board of Supervisors. 

"We were concerned that the integrity of the election process could potentially be compromised if this information were released," Meek recalls in her testimony.  Apparently Meek and the whole board of supervisors have a form of collective amnesia over what was established in neighboring Pima County.  None of the electronic elections data were found to compromise election integrity and that court case culminated into the largest release of elections data in U.S. history.   

Santa Cruz's alleged detachment from events in nearby Pima County seems superficial, especially when both counties' officials share the same habit of portraying those seeking public records as nefarious jackals intent on compromising the elections process. It's been over seven years since the records lawsuit in Pima County yet the need to distinguish application files from document files persists to this day.  It's as if the use of the word 'audit' wipes their brains clean of all knowledge of computers, applications and data familiar to practically every individual in the country on a day to day basis.  At least, that's what those in charge of Santa Cruz's elections would like you to believe.

They conjure Pima County's phantasm of "mayhem and chaos" by claiming that electronic elections data would somehow enable someone to hack into their central tabulator to alter an election.   With electronic elections, transparency is essential to remove the opportunity for everyone to cheat.

There seems to be a bit of communication between the two counties.  Pima County altered their elections database files but forgot to cover their tracks by altering the accompanying audit log.   The snail's pace of Arizona's bureaucratic crime culture led Santa Cruz to finally cut some of the more incriminating blips in their audit log.  Unfortunately for Meek and Company, clumsy disjointed audit logs can be even more incriminating than the erasures and overwrites of Pima County's RTA election.

Below is the portion of the audit logs in question:

John Brakey (pictured on the left above), once a resident of Santa Cruz himself, has been recently working in conjunction with Arellano who is also the Chairman of the Santa Cruz County Elections Integrity Committee (SCCEIC). This committee is made up of citizens from all sides residing in Santa Cruz County. Both Brakey and the SCCEIC are currently serving under the organization, AUDITAZ, which was founded during the years of scrutinizing elections processes in Pima and Maricopa voting districts. Brakey has provided the illustration below to indicate what should be found in the audit log.

During the court trial, AUDITAZ brought computer expert Chris Gniady to explain the purpose of audit logs in an election:
"The purpose of the audit log is so somebody at a later time can come in and check if there were any properties of the system any violation with the way the system should be used... have been used...detect potential malicious software, malicious files that have been modified. General verification of the system. That's why audit logs are used."
In Gniady's statement we find a better explanation for Santa Cruz's reason for denying the release of the audit logs.  They would prefer to avoid the public scrutiny especially when logs reveal the generation of a summary report on election day at 9:51 AM.   This is a class 6 felony under A.R.S. Sec. 16-551 (C).

Late last week, Santa Cruz released only half of what was requested on July 9th of this year.  Information they did release contradicts the testimony of Santa Cruz Elections Director Melinda Meek about the construction of ballots and databases.  First on the list of the records request was the contract with the "vendor who programs the central count election computers and the AccuVote memory cards".  Below you can see Meek telling her lawyer that there is no contract "because I do that myself. It's done in-house".


Near the bottom of the audit log you can see what's commonly called a 'fork in the database' where various versions are recorded as back-ups.  The illustration below is snapshot of that section of the audit log that reveals names (in red) of various counties including Apache, Gila, Greenlee, La Paz and Mohave.  This sequence indicates that whoever is constructing this database is also making files for these other various voting districts.  This is obviously the work of someone providing database files to other counties.  If Meek were to be programming her own database, it's doubtful she is moonlighting with her programming skills for numerous Arizona voting districts.  Somebody else is creating the database that ultimately generates the ballot.

Among the scraps of data thrown at AUDITAZ was this one invoice from William E. Doyle, a person who assists with elections in many of the voting districts in Arizona.  Working under the handle of Elections Operations Services, Doyle presumably provides consulting and elections expertise in such an expansive, lucrative fashion, it will take the next few articles to adequately cover this clandestine vendor. 

It's been seven years and counting since Pima County's electronic data transfer in 2007 and we have yet to see a cluster of villainous citizens rig an election from outside the tabulation room.  Maybe the real risk is the warranted erosion of public trust in the elections process itself.  Public outcry could change the current power structure and, for a while, give the majority of the population a more authentic elections process.  It's this fear of an informed citizenry that causes the defendants in this case to grope for every conceivable means, legal or not, to evade scrutiny.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mickey Duniho Resigns from Pima County's Election Integrity Commission

Mickey Duniho's resignation letter to Pima County Board of Supervisor Ray Carroll, the elected official who appointed Duniho to a seat in the Pima County Election Integrity Commission.

Dear Mr. Carroll,

I have spent many years at your request and that of others researching numbers of ways that elections in Pima County and the state could be made transparently honest. I have invested a great deal of research, much of it with others of the Pima County Election Integrity Commission and also with many others knowledgeable about methods of assuring the validity of elections. Six years ago I was honored by your appointment, having hopes for effective auditing of ballot counting in Pima County, and with the past experience of having witnessed apparently dishonest counts in my community. I now realize that these hopes and efforts have been wasted.

 The Election Integrity Commission in its six years has made a number of clearly sensible recommendations for improving legal and accurate processes for Pima County’s elections. Each of the Commission’s lucid suggestions to the Board of Supervisors or to the Secretary of State has been rejected outright or put off to another day when it was ultimately rejected by one or the other. The most recent recommendation, a very simple trial of an improved auditing procedure, was rejected quickly and blatantly, adding to the belief that the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the Pima County Administrator and Election Director, and the Arizona Secretary of State are engaged in the (successful) effort to block any substantive effort to improve the public auditing of ballot counting.  The only reasonable surmise at this point, considering the concerted and continued effort to prevent election reform, is that a majority of our county and state officials have a sincere stake in continued support of election fraud.

 Coming to the understanding that the Election Integrity Commission has been thwarted in its serious and sane efforts for election integrity in Pima County and the state, and that there currently seems to be no hope for election integrity in Pima County, I tender my resignation from the Commission.


 Michael A. Duniho

Duniho discusses the matter in a recent interview on the local radio show "Wake Up Tucson".  Video courtesy of John Brakey.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hernandez Encourages Pima County Election Integrity Commission "Don't Be Bullied, Don't Be Threatened" 

By John R Brakey AUDITAZ@cox.net

The Pima County Election Integrity Commission (PCEIC) was formed as a result of litigation surrounding the RTA election. In what appears to be a move intended to intimidate the commission and retaliate for their watchdog efforts,  Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry filed a complaint with Attorney General Tom Horne to subvert his group’s efforts. Then Huckelberry moved to have the attorney of record (who represented the RTA in election integrity trials) put on the agenda, and schedule an “executive session” for the upcoming July 11 commission meeting in an effort to discourage transparency.  What an amazing show of arrogance by Huckelberry. 

Huckelberry claims that on May 9th the PCEIC broke the opening meeting law. This after Richard Hernandez Chairman of Sunnyside Unified School District recall committee addressed the PCEIC, Hernandez, three candidates and others were asking them for their assistance to ensure a fair, honest, transparent and verifiable vote count in the Sunnyside Unified School. As seen in the video of the May 9th meeting, Hernandez and others pleaded with the commission not to count the votes five days out, but count it on Election Day

If a bureaucrat like Huckelberry wants to stop something from happening in Pima County, he forms a committee that lets some of his opposition participate. Ultimately, he controls the agenda with his team  while pushing an extreme interpretation of the open meeting laws.  After a while, it seems members are worried more about what you can’t say than what you can say. Many have stated to me that they lost their voice.   Sometimes, however, Pima County does not get its way.  Outside observers can tell when this happens by watching member Benny White's reactions.  He will usually have a temper tantrum or walk out when a majority of votes contradict the county's intentions (like in the video above).    

Pima County has a history of counting early ballots a week or two before election day, and has been accused of using early results to alter the election. That was the subject of the long-running lawsuit concerning the RTA election of 2006.

After the May PCEIC meeting, and thanks to Ally Miller, a member of the BOS, and the Arizona Daily Independent, the count was done on Election Day in only took 69 minutes to count.  

Pima County administrator Chuck Huckelberry along with Pima County supervisors Ray Carroll, Sharon Bronson, Richard Elias, and Ramon Valadez have all been previously accused in four open meeting law complaints in a four month period currently being investigated by the Arizona Attorney General’s office. 

Hernandez explained in the July 11th meeting that as an “individual - someone who lives in the city and the county,” and as a voter, he appreciated the work of the commission. Hernandez said, “The most fundamental right we Americans have is the right to vote and I'm really glad to see both sides,” engage in a robust conversation. “I don't know who's side you are on, or who has appointed you, because personally, it does not make a difference.” 

“I wish there were forty more Joe Q. Publics here, standing behind me to tell you that you are doing well,” said Hernandez. “We want you to protect us. To make sure that the process is fair.”

Hernandez urged commissioners to resist the efforts by Huckelberry to force them into an executive session and out of the public’s view at last week’s PCEIC public meeting. Some commissioners believed that Huckelberry was trying to force them into executive session backrooms away from public scrutiny, so that he could scare them into inactivity.

Pima County is the only county in the state where an unelected county administrator oversees completely the election department rather than the duly per the Arizona Revised Statutes delegates the responsibility to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) simply because these boards are  partisan  and made up of 3 to 5 persons. In Title 16 over 75 times it referees to the BOS.  

 Hernandez reminded the commissioners that they were the only entity the citizens had to protect their vote. “This it really upsets me,” he told the commissioners, “because I'm a voter, the one that you are representing and it's very important to me that you understand how what you do is so important.”

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Elections Remain Compromised

 J.T. Waldron

On May 21st of this year, the Maricopa appellate court denied the Libertarian Party's pursuit of injunctive relief for rigged elections.  Stemming from litigation over the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election in Pima County,  the Libertarian Party was well on its way towards pursuing their claim that the RTA election was fraudulent.  Once fraud was established in the courts, the Libertarian party would obtain injunctive relief for rigged elections.

Back in 2010, the Libertarian Party had won an appellate court decision for that same claim in Pima County's district. Pima County immediately requested the appellate court to reconsider its ruling,  describing the rigging of the RTA election asa discrete incident of past wrongdoing.”   The request was denied. 
Over the past four years, the promise of a resolution slowly withered as Pima County Superior Court judges kept ruling in defiance of the appellate court decision.  They refused to hear the case, so the Libertarian Party was forced to appeal for a second time.  

Pima County's next legal maneuver may have ended their eight-year war of attrition against transparent fair elections.  County operatives forced a change in appellate court venue by contriving an amicus brief through the Republican Party to develop a conflict of interest in the elections case.  As a result, Pima County's bureaucratic political machine finally achieved an appellate court decision to deny the pursuit of prospective relief for rigged elections in the courts. According to Rule 2.11 in the Arizona Supreme Court rules for judicial ethics:
A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
Not so for Kent E. Cattani, one of three appellate court judges who served with the Arizona State Attorney General's office until his appointment as a Maricopa appellate court judge on February 9th, 2013.  He had worked at the Attorney General's office at the time of Attorney General Terry Goddard's dubious investigation of the RTA election.

Critically fortified and influenced by the growth industry, Pima County has spent millions of taxpayer's dollars in a cover up that has soiled the Arizona Attorney General's office and the state's judicial system in an effort to prevent an authentic investigation of the 2006 RTA election.   This election authorized a two billion dollar construction project financed by a raise in the area's sales tax.

For the millions of taxpayers' dollars spent by Pima County, key evidence in the form of RTA ballots stored for eight years without a forensic exam or a meaningful comparison to precinct totals, will be destroyed.    

The money and effort spent to prevent these ballots from a simple hand lens inspection has become its own source of shame for not only the county, but for the press, for law enforcement and for the courts.

On that election day, May 16th, 2006, notable political party observers discovered suspicious activity in the tabulation room involving the manipulation of election database files. A lengthy records law suit confirmed that databases for that specific election were overwritten during the tabulation process.   Subsequent illegal summary reports were printed immediately following the overwrites and the computer operator was known to remove election data from the tabulation center and take it home with him on a daily basis.    Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, the person ultimately accountable for the elections division, is consistent in erroneously stating or implying that elections data was never taken home.   Court testimony, however, identified computer operator Bryan Crane as the individual who took home elections data and identified the type of medium taken as attributed only to elections data.  That same computer operator later made a barroom confession to a former Pima County employee who signed an affidavit with other witnesses.  The operator stated that he rigged the election on the instruction of his bosses.   Videotaped surveillance footage of the tabulation room during the key times in question were requested in litigation, stalled for an inordinate amount of time, then erased under the pretense that the requested footage was still in rotation and subject to normal recycling.   

Attorney General Terry Goddard conducted an initial investigation using a subcontractor IBeta to examine the RTA database files.  Pima County employee John Moffatt became involved with guiding the IBeta company through the investigation despite the fact that Pima County was formally named as the suspect.  Goddard was aware of this arrangement and didn't seem to mind how various inquiries suggested by Moffatt were either diversionary or irrelevant to discovering election fraud.  Goddard also chose to ignore suggestions by those who filed the initial complaint, despite their high levels of expertise drawn from University of Arizona professors, an expert from blackboxvoting.org and a former NSA employee.    

IBeta concluded in its report that the Diebold computer software used by Pima County (GEMS) "exhibits fundamental security flaws that make definitive valuation of data impossible."  The suspect's influence on the outcome became evident in IBeta's second key observation that the data was tampered with, but the lack of effort in covering their tracks suggests such tampering was a mistake.  

John Moffatt was later caught absconding with key evidence from the county vault.  He had somehow managed to obtain database records from that same 2006 RTA election in violation of a court order.    Electronic data was not the only evidence potentially compromised.  Attorney Bill Risner discovered through depositions that nobody was preventing access to the RTA paper election ballots, which were being held in storage during years of litigation.  Any Pima County employee could have accessed those paper ballots or other paper records associated with that election.  

When Bill Risner's litigation team was finally set to examine individual printouts of precinct totals (called poll tapes), Terry Goddard intervened and confiscated all the paper evidence for an ostensible second examination of the 2006 RTA election.  Initially, transparency activists were hopeful Goddard was acting in good faith and finally conducting a real investigation.  Not so.  Terry Goddard had initially promised to examine the poll tapes as part of his recount of the paper ballots in March, 2008.  Once the count began, however, he refused to examine the tapes throughout his investigation.  This move would postpone Risner's examination of these printed totals for another year 

Goddard knew of John Moffatt's previous mishandling of evidence in the court vault.   He was also aware of PIma County's ability to generate ballots on demand with a specialized ink jet printer.  Despite sufficient cause, Goddard refused to perform a forensic exam of the ballots.  Instead, he and his team performed a recount of the 2006 RTA ballots behind glass.   Observers noticed major differences in paper thicknesses, which suggests a different print run was used despite the original vendor confirming a uniform thickness for all the ballots at the time of the election.  During a press conference in April, 2008, Goddard announced that the count indicated similar results to the 2006 election.  He therefore concluded that the election was not rigged.   

Attorney General Terry Goddard's investigation of the RTA election was rife with errors and missing whole precincts.  Not only did it lack a forensic exam but there was no attempt to compare precinct totals to poll tapes or poll worker reports.  One year later, Bill Risner's team was finally able to access the poll tapes for that election.   They finally understood why Goddard suddenly changed his mind.  One third of the poll tapes were missing and more didn't match their precinct totals.  In totality, this discovery called into question almost half of the precincts counted.  Those missing and errant poll tapes were closely correlated with an abnormally high number of malfunctioning memory cards detected in the electronic files won by the first records lawsuit.  That same RTA records lawsuit revealed Pima County's purchase of a tool used for circumventing normal function of those unique types of memory cards.   That tool, sold to PIma County Elections as a "crop scanner",  was designed for measuring condensation on corn but demonstrated in 2004's hit documentary "Hacking Democracy" as a handy device for altering the way a memory card records and reports elections outcome on a precinct level.     

Database tampering was only one facet of this complex task to change an election outcome.    On the paper side of the RTA election, missing and errant poll tapes were statistically significant as they correlated with memory cards exhibiting malfunctions in the electronic files won by the first records lawsuit.  Malfunctioning memory cards indicate one rub in the mix when trying to rig an election in this fashion.  Only very skillful technicians can reprogram close to 150 memory cards within a short window of time.   Pima Elections obviously did not have the time to successfully perform the arduous task which is comparable to jamming copious amounts of code into a cheap calculator, but they certainly tried,  Their failure required the Arizona State Attorney General and the entire local court system to cover their tracks.    

Pima Elections' scheme began unravelling on election night as observers from behind the glass of the tabulation room noticed an open instruction manual that is banned from use in an official election.   Quick-thinking observers used a telephoto lens to capture images that not only identified the contraband manual, but revealed the book open to the area demonstrating a key task for altering electronic database files.   That night, observers requested that Elections Director Brad Nelson make a back-up of  the elections systems, place the resulting CD into a sealed envelope and hand it over to the police until their observed violations are investigated.   Brad Nelson refused.  By ten that evening, Nelson indicated to the observers that election work was finished for the evening and that there was nothing more to observe.  Electronic data would later reveal that once observers left, Pima Elections started up again at 10:13 pm and continued to tabulate votes until three the next morning.  

Thus began eight years of litigation.   Past articles in this blog provide a detailed history that starts with the RTA issue evolving into the pursuit of prospective relief in the courts.  After seeing the movie, "Fatally Flawed" and reviewing this site's coverage of past exchanges in the courts, at public meetings and behind closed doors. you will understand why there is no reliance upon the accuracy or fairness of elections within the United States.