Previous depositions indicate that Pima County employees were able to access the RTA ballots since they were delivered after the election in 2006. The depositions were part of the hearings that ultimately led to the Libertarian party's successful pursuit of prospective relief for rigged elections. This court case was first triggered by the Pima County Treasurer's pursuit of a declaratory judgement over the ballots for the 2006 RTA election.
Originally, Pima County attorneys advised County Treasurer Beth Ford to sue the political parties (those charged with monitoring elections in Arizona) to "get a decision on what to do with the RTA ballots". The original idea was to provide an opportunity for Pima County to destroy the ballots before true auditing or a forensic examination of the ballots could take place. This idea backfired when the Libertarian party made a successful counterclaim for prospective relief from the courts.
A favorable ruling for prospective relief means the courts can intervene when there is a failure of existing laws as well as a failure to enforce existing laws designed to keep elections transparent and accurate.
Fighting Tooth and Nail over Rudimentary Disclosure
Pima County has taken elaborate, evasive measures that exceed what is legally customary when requests are made for public records, discovery, depositions and other seemingly innocuous items that could provide a clearer picture of election security.
RTA Ballot Custody Still a Major Concern
The county's most recent efforts at blocking disclosure involved the request by the Libertarian party to depose employees of Iron Mountain, the storage facility that held the ballots since 2006.
What reason did the county provide? Concern over the costs of the depositions. An ironic position given the exorbitant private attorneys hired by Pima County to litigate the case initiated by their Treasurer's office. Previously, Pima County attorneys handled the electronic records lawsuit over the RTA's database files. In addition to cost, Pima County's private attorney Ronna Fichbohm claims that the Libertarian party hasn't shown good cause for the need to find out what happened to the ballots.
Pima County employee John Moffatt, however, was all the cause needed to justify this line of inquiry. During the RTA records hearing, Moffatt had managed to take possession of a box in the county vault that had a court order specifically instructing that both parties be present when the box is released. This box contained two hard drives: one intended for the county and the other for the Democratic party. In violation of the court order, John Moffatt obtained possession of both hard drives before the Democratic party was aware they were available.
The Democratic party had publicly announced its intention of using software developed to pick up certain anomalies in the electronic database files soon to be released through a court ruling. Apparently, the county wanted a little 'extra lead time' with both hard drives while they were still in the process of developing their own software aimed at detecting what the Democratic party might detect.
The following clip shows the precise moment when John Moffatt was caught with his hand in the evidence cookie jar. Notice the free pass provided by AZ Daily Star's obedient reporter, Erica Meltzer:
Unfortunately, it's not just the county that disrupts the chain of custody of crucial evidence. The very same RTA ballots were removed from Iron Mountain's facility in February of 2009 by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard for his criminal investigation of the RTA election. While his appearance of upholding the law was initially appreciated, Terry Goddard played the unfortunate role of demonstrating why prospective relief is needed through the courts. In addition to the refusal to conduct a proper audit or a forensic investigation of the ballots, the chain of custody seems to be completely unaccounted for during the ballots' 5-6 week hiatus with Goddard's staff.
John Brakey, Co-founder of AUDIT-AZ and CARE (Citizens Against Rigged Elections) was on location at Maricopa's Elections Division as the ballots were rolled out in a cart to be counted.
" The boxes were an absolute mess, Boxes were already opened, tape looked like it was removed and reused. I kept asking myself and others 'How could the Attorney General take evidence without securing it?'"
Around this time, John Brakey gained notoriety for being falsely arrested through the request of Pima Elections Director Brad Nelson. Brakey discovered mislabeling of ballots earmarked for a hand-count audit and was promptly arrested when he brought the discrepancy to the attention of the Pima Elections Division. Charges were dismissed once it was made clear in the courts that Brakey did not disrupt the process.
This court case is set to continue this Friday, because Pima County is delaying the hearing to determine if the courts should obtain custody of the ballots during the case. Those familiar with this case know the answer to that question. The following initial disclosure statement is a great comprehensive statement of facts: http://tinyurl.com/LPFiling
All are invited to attend this historic hearing.
Friday, January 20th, 2012- 11:00 AM
Judge Kyle Bryson’s Courtroom
Fifth Floor, Pima Superior Court: 110 W. Congress
Tucson, Arizona USA
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