Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Arizona Election Fraud: Supervisors Accept County Shenanigans, Reject a Proper Audit

J.T. Waldron

The Pima County Board of Supervisors refused to conduct a proper hand-count audit of the 2012 general election ballots. This decision was made despite seasoned statisticians and computer experts in its own Election Integrity Commission indicating that the county's elections are not verifiable in their current state.

The primary reason? Timing. Pima County's use of this rationale is ironic because it appears that the county was in complete control its timing. As EIC member Mickey Duniho states in reference to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry:

"Mr. Huckelberry unilaterally postponed the recommendation without consulting or informing the Election Integrity Commission. This violated the Commission’s right to advise the Board of Supervisors without interference, and it also violated basic rules of courtesy."

This postponement plays a role in solidifying the board's argument that 'it's too late'.

Huckelberry's recent memo, which is rife with distortions and errors, states that it's impossible to do a hand count audit. Such hyperbole was thoroughly eviscerated by Mickey Duniho's point by point response to the erroneous memo. Duniho provided his rebuttal in writing to each member of the board of supervisors.

"Your elections are being run by a sociopath," said EIC member Jim March. Elections Director Brad Nelson was held under a burning magnifying glass in the most recent Board of Supervisors meeting as March leveled a series of new charges against Nelson. First, March states that Nelson had his county-issued credit card yanked for fraud, yet he still keeps his job.

Other charges had to do with Nelson's management style with his employers. According to March, employees are willing to recall how they were retained because it was easy for Nelson to "make them cry" and "that's something he needed to do on occasion". Finally, March accused Nelson of breaking the law as he states that Nelson would ask temporary staff and poll workers to switch their party allegiance so that he can continue to retain these employees for future tasks.

Jim March's history of careful, meticulous analysis  before calling any one person's reputation into question adds significant weight to these charges.  We can only hope that an independent investigation into Brad Nelson's activities will take place. 

The only Supervisor concerned about having verifiable elections for this elections cycle was Ray Carroll, a Republican who has consistently moved to transcend party affiliation and improve transparency.

Arizona solidifies its national reputation as the 'meth lab of democracy' because those who can intervene refuse to make direct, immediate, substantive changes to the elections process.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Arizona Election Fraud: Pima County Issues Memo with Numerous Factual Errors

Memo King
Chuck Huckelberry
Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry's primary PR activity occurs through the construction of memo's addressed to various department heads within his own purview.  These memos, of course, wind up in the hands of specific local press outlets.  Local  outlets provide nice fluff pieces favoring Pima County in exchange for continued access and future reservations at Pima's own PR staff's trough after ad sales for these less than substantive reports hit the dumpster.

In his latest offering, Huckelberry seems to have outdone himself with the number of distortions, omissions, and factual errors.  This latest memo is part of an exchange with the public as it learns about Pima County's efforts to circumvent its own Election Integrity Commission to obtain a waiver from sorting early ballots by precinct.   The following is retired NSA analyst Mickey Duniho's correction of factual errors in Huckelberry's memo:

(1)  Mr. Huckelberry stated that “one member” of the Pima County Election Integrity Commission “has championed the concept of sorting early ballots by precinct,” implying that only one member of the Commission really cares about such matters. He omitted the fact that the October 26 EIC recommendation was approved by a 7-0 vote of the EIC members.

(2)  In describing 300-400 staff hours to sort early ballots as an impossible task, Mr. Huckelberry omitted the fact that 300-400 hours of work by a dozen people could be accomplished in three days, and that the cost of 300-400 hours of work would be on the order of $2,000-$3,000. Mr. Huckelberry’s estimate of time required to sort the ballots also omitted any reference to F. Ann Rodriguez’s offer to provide lists of precincts represented in the various batches, which would enable workers to extract ballots for a few precincts rather than sort all precincts. After extracting ballots for the chosen precincts from a batch, workers could move on to the next batch of ballots. This could shorten the time and reduce the effort required to select a small number of precincts for hand counting. With Ms. Rodriguez’s assistance, the time required might be only two days, since the three-day estimate is based on sorting all 288 precincts instead of just selecting a few precincts for the audit.

(3)  Mr. Huckelberry’s estimate of $256,137 for hiring Runbeck to sort the ballots is factually incorrect. First, he based his estimate on 261,364 ballots, the total number of early ballots received at the time he wrote his memo; the EIC recommendation only referred to less than 200,000 early ballots received and processed by Election Day. Second, Runbeck’s price of $.98 per ballot is 100 times what it should be; it would make no sense for Pima County to pay Runbeck $200,000 to do a job that can be done in-house for $2,000. For $200,000, Pima County could buy several sorting machines.

(4)  Mr. Huckelberry’s estimate of $300,000-$500,000 to buy a sorting machine is a multiple at least five times too high. I asked Pitney Bowes about an earlier estimate of $125,000 given out by John Moffatt and was told that Pima County could buy a top-of-the-line Pitney Bowes sorting machine for “significantly less” than $125,000. The person I talked with, at Pitney Bowes Sales Headquarters, said the cost would depend on which features were included but that the cost would be on the order of $65,000.

(5)  Mr. Huckelberry’s distinction of sorting ballots in the envelopes versus out of the envelopes is incorrect. The sorter can handle ballots either way with equal ease.

(6)  Mr. Huckelberry disputed my report last week that the EIC members were not informed of the postponement of our proposal on the BOS agenda. He stated that we were notified on Nov 9. In fact, the EIC was informed only after we demanded an explanation of why the agenda published on Nov 8 did not contain the EIC recommendation. Mr. Huckelberry unilaterally postponed the recommendation without consulting or informing the Election Integrity Commission. This violated the Commission’s right to advise the Board of Supervisors without interference, and it also violated basic rules of courtesy.

(7)  Mr. Huckelberry’s statement that sorting early ballots is “impossible” is incorrect. The task is not impossible, merely tedious to do by hand. Mr. Huckelberry gave six reasons (the second two were actually the same reason, restated in different words) for avoiding the sorting of early ballots. None of these reasons is actually a valid argument for rejecting the EIC recommendation.

a.     The first reason: The fact that Pima County had already counted 100,000 ballots when the EIC made its recommendation is true but logically irrelevant to the current discussion.

b.    Reasons two and three: The risk of handling ballots in the face of a possible recount is listed as a reason for not sorting ballots but is logically erroneous. At this point, we are reasonably certain there will be no recounts and no legal challenges. In any case, an accusation of mishandling ballots would not be allayed by the County claiming that it did not touch the ballots while in its custody. A charge could easily be made that County election personnel manipulated the ballots while they were “in storage.” Sorting the ballots and performing a hand count audit by precinct is the only way to positively demonstrate that the ballots were counted honestly and that no manipulation of votes took place while the ballots were in Election Department custody.

c.     Reason four: That the audit should take place between the Hand Count Audit and the Canvass is true but logically irrelevant to your decision unless your decision is delayed until the date of your approving the Canvass, which it appears has been Mr. Huckelberry’s strategy all along.

d.    Reason five: The difficulties encountered by counters in the Hand Count Audit are well-known but not logically relevant to this discussion; they are manageable problems.

e.     Reason six: The difficulties of extracting early ballots for a precinct-based audit are real but manageable, and were considered manageable by the Election Integrity Commission before its recommendation was submitted to you.

(8)  In describing the sequence of events leading up to Pima County’s obtaining a waiver from the state requirement to sort early ballots by precinct, Mr. Huckelberry omitted the fact that Brad Nelson neither consulted nor even informed the EIC of the requirement or the waiver. In addition, Mr. Nelson’s arguments in his letter to the state that sorting is impractical are factually erroneous. Mr. Nelson claimed he could do a better hand count audit by not sorting the ballots but, in fact, the early ballot audit as currently performed is worthless in terms of confirming a lack of fraud in vote counting. It is also noteworthy that the Secretary of State’s Elections Director granted the waiver BEFORE Mr. Nelson wrote his justification letter, suggesting an improper sequence of events.

(9)  Mr. Huckelberry cited a successful hand count audit as proof that no further audit is needed, another distortion of fact. He touted the fact that Pima County counts four percent of polling place ballots; he omitted the fact that polling place ballots in this election made up only 27% of all the ballots cast; 70% of voters cast early ballots, and therefore a proper hand count audit of early ballots is needed to confirm the integrity of the overall election. Mr. Huckelberry also omitted the irrelevance of the current early ballot hand count audit to confirming a lack of fraud. [I might point out that the law requires an audit of 1% of all the early ballots issued (1% of 261,545 ballots would be 2,615 ballots) but Pima County only hand counted 1,985 early ballots. Not that it makes any difference, since the current early ballot hand count audit is useless for confirming an election’s honesty.]

(10)             In his concluding recommendation:

a.     Mr. Huckelberry said the election tabulation “is expected to continue for another 4 to 7 days.” In fact, processing of the ballots which your EIC recommended sorting and hand counting was completed by Election Day.

b.    Mr. Huckelberry referred to the physical impossibility of accurately selecting, sorting into precincts and auditing nearly 200,000 early ballots. In fact, the EIC’s recommendation could be satisfied by selecting and auditing approximately 2,000 ballots.

c.     Mr. Huckelberry reiterated the “risk of handling ballots when faced with possible recounts.” In fact, it appears there will be no recounts, and Pima County would be in a better position to defend itself against charges of malfeasance if it adopted a more transparent policy, following the state requirement to sort early ballots and audit by precinct instead of secretly obtaining a waiver from the state requirement.

d.    Mr. Huckelberry claimed the positive outcome of the present hand counts as a reason to not adopt the EIC recommendation, but the EIC took that into account when it made the recommendation. The present early ballot audit is worthless in terms of certifying the election’s integrity.

How does a community allow an institution like Pima County's government to display such arrogance with so many lies to the representatives?

Just to give you an idea of how absurdly simple it is to build a system that is far more verifiable than what we currently have, here is the ballot scanning presentation produced by CBS Miami:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Arizona Election Fraud: Mickey Duniho and Jim March Report Election Shenanigans to Pima County's Board of Supervisors

 County Board of Supervisors Comment for 11-13-2012

I have not spoken in this forum since I was appointed to your Election Integrity Commission four years ago. A sequence of events has brought me here today.

* * * * * * * *

The first event: In November 2011 the state added new election requirements, including one that counties must sort early ballots by precincts for the hand count audit. John Moffatt was involved, and reported to your commission on changes proposed and made – but did not report this new requirement to your commission.

The second event: In June and July 2012, Brad Nelson applied for and received a waiver from this requirement. Mr. Nelson neither consulted nor informed your commission of this action.

The third event: On October 26, with statistical evidence suggesting potential fraud nationally in computerized vote counting, an emergency meeting of your Election Integrity Commission unanimously approved a recommendation for today’s meeting that you order the sorting of early ballots and a precinct-based hand count audit to confirm the honesty of Pima County elections.

The fourth event: In response to a lawsuit the County included copies of two letters which revealed the existence of the new early ballot sorting requirement and Mr. Nelson’s successful request for a waiver of that requirement.

The fifth event: Without informing or consulting your Election Integrity Commission, your staff postponed your consideration of our recommendation to November 20.

The sixth event: In response to a query about why your Commission’s recommendation was missing from the November 13th agenda, Mr. Moffatt attributed the delay to ballot counting and possible recounts and challenges. The reasons given are clearly not relevant to delaying your consideration of our recommendation, and serve only to tighten the time frame in which to organize people to implement a precinct-based hand count audit before the ballots are moved to the Treasurer’s vault.

This sequence of events raises the question whether there is genuine importance or credence given to election integrity in our county. Your staff has been disrespectful to your Election Integrity Commission and by implication insubordinate to you.

The question now is whether you will take any action to address these acts of disrespect to you and the Election Integrity Commission you created four years ago, after listening to two years of public concern about the conduct of elections in Pima County, and after Pima County lost, at great taxpayer expense, a lawsuit having to do with election transparency.

If there is no election fraud to mask, there is no reason for Pima County’s continued tolerance of the obvious anti-transparency efforts demonstrated by your staff.

Thank you for your attention.

Michael A. Duniho

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Did Expert Witness, Activists Thwart a Rove Ohio Vote Plot?

Michael DunihoA software expert’s testimony last week may have thwarted a plot to flip enough votes to secure a victory for GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Building on years of efforts by activists, election software critic Michael Duniho testified in Ohio's state court that secret software installed on Ohio machines could enable officials to flip enough votes to select a different statewide winner that the one chosen by voters. 

Duniho, a retired National Security Agency analyst, is shown at right in similar testimony in Arizona, where he is a local elections official. 

Jon HustedDuniho provided his explosive testimony first via telephone to a federal judge in a temporary restraining order hearing in the morning, and then to Franklin County Judge Mark Serrott to amplify his written affidavit, published here. The testimony supported an injunction request by election machine critics who have argued for years -- with scant previous success in courts and in the media -- that election machine software tampering has enabled theft of major elections, and thus poses a grave danger to the democratic process.

On Election Day 2012, their litigation and testimony raised the issue to unprecedented prominence. The litigation against state officials would have put any plotters on notice of serious threat of investigation and retribution. 

The contrary view is that no plot ever existed -- and that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, shown at left, and fellow Republicans are being falsely suspected of bad intentions. Husted has denied misconduct in court filings. I reached out to him also for more specific questions, and shall update this post with any comment he or his staff provide. The Ohio Secretary of State's website contains background information.

This column reports Duniho’s testimony, and summarizes other evidence that election software poses a threat to fair elections. Reported also are: an Oct. 24 news conference announcing a chart alleging a Rove-linked “empire” of vote theft; a half dozen recent books on electronic election fraud; and a survey of a decade of major scandals, books, and articles.
The documentation draws on my previous columns, my research for a forthcoming book, Presidential Puppetry, and my ongoing interactions with research sources, several of whom asked my advice concerning their recent  news announcements in Washington. I suggested they announce litigation before Election Day because the public tunes out complaints from losers.

Update: I am scheduled to appear Nov. 12 on vote theft-critic Harvey Wasserman's 3 p.m. (EST) radio show on the Progressive Radio Network to discuss next steps with him and his fellow pioneer in the election integrity movement, Robert Fitrakis, a 2012 Green Party Congressional candidate. Fitrakis, based in Columbus, is a professor, attorney, website editor, and co-author of several books with Wasserman. Fitrakis filed the suit alleging electronic voting theft in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election and elsewhere.

Theirs and my multiple roles are increasingly typical in modern communications. Many news makers blog and broadcast these days, thereby blurring the lines between being a news source and part of the media. 

An even greater departure from past categories is that Karl Rove covered the Democratic National Convention September on a press pass. This was while he was also in the process of spending an estimated $300 million to help Republican candidates via his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS funds. Also, he was allegedly scheming to steal elections via software fraud and voter suppression. Rove, like Husted, denies wrongdoing, and failed to respond to my request for comment on specifics. Whatever the facts on election fraud, Rove clearly is part of the Washington punditry elite delivering news to the nation.

The Duniho Testimony

Michael “Mickey” Duniho is a volunteer election official in Pima County, Arizona. He became prominent this fall among electronic voting machine critics because of his videotape testimony in an Arizona case arguing that dishonest officials can easily steal votes electronically. The photo above portrays that testimony, not his remarks by telephone in the Ohio litigation Nov. 6.

Duniho worked nearly four decades as a National Security Agency computer expert before his retirement. NSA is far larger and more secretive than the better-known CIA. It has vast information gathering and storage capabilities reported, among other places, in a series of authoritative books by former NSA staffer James Bamford.

Duniho claimed that the United States faced the threat of vote theft in Ohio because Husted, Ohio's secretary of state, had secretly installed software on voting machines covering 80 percent of the state’s population for no apparent legitimate purpose. The witness said the software could enable vote theft by officials, and no actual “emergency” required its installation throughout Ohio in violation of a state law requiring testing before installation. Also, Duniho said the voting machine company, Electronic Systems and Solutions (ES&S), appeared to be cheating the state on the cost of the software.

Clifford Arnebeck
Husted’s legal team rebutted Duniho’s affidavit and testimony. The presiding state court judge failed to issue the injunction requested by the plaintiff.

A whistleblower in Husted’s office prompted the litigation by telling the Fitrakis team Thursday that the state secretly installed the controversial software in September. The Fitrakis suit was one of several he filed in state and federal courts last week with the cooperation of Columbus attorney Clifford Arnebeck, at left.

The litigation failed to attract much news coverage from major news outlets. Historically, reporters ignore allegations of electronic vote fraud as, in general, too complex and controversial. NBC News Political Director and Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd sent a Tweet this fall claiming election machine fraud is a “conspiracy theory” unworthy of coverage. 

Similarly, the New York Times published on Nov. 8 what can only be described as a biased, mocking profile of Mark Crispin Miller, a New York University professor and author who has documented election fraud. The Times article was A Long Day for a Professor Suspicious of Voting Machines. In contrast to the snide approach by the Times reporter, a YouTube video garnered more than 80,000 views with its more straightforward interview, visible here: None Dare Call It Stolen: US Election Fraud in 2012?
Despite such handicaps, the litigation last week doubtless reminded elections decision-makers that civil and perhaps criminal investigation could await them if dubious election results occurred. A reporter such as NBC's Chuck Todd can ignore a story. A defendant must respond in court, sometimes by sworn testimony that could potentially escalate into a criminal investigation that trumps secrecy provisions in official contracts with private vote tabulation companies.

The Secretary of State's Role?
Several voting theft opponents allied with Fitrakis and Arnebeck helped publicize the Ohio-litigation with a news conference Nov. 5 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Speakers included Clint Curtis, a Florida IT consultant who helped pioneering whistle blowing in the field by alleging that a Florida congressman asked  him to help defraud voters in the 2000 election. Also speaking were Harvey Wasserman, a frequent co-author with Fitrakis of books and articles on the topic, and Lori Grace, who has helped provide funding for such research. The activist group Protect Our Elections created a video of the speakers.

Several days previously, Ben Swann, a television-consumer reporter based in Cincinnati for Fox News affiliate WXIX-TV, published an investigative report describing how electronic vote thievery can occur. Swann’s video was widely circulated until YouTube removed it for violating terms of service. Election theft critics hope that such news reports encourage the FBI to demand records and interview all those involved. 

Their view is that massive elections fraud can be accomplished by very few conspirators so long as the operators are sufficiently expert and corrupt.

Alleged Rove Electronic Vote Fraud 'Empire'
On Oct. 24, I  co-moderated with Arnebeck a news conference at the National Press Club. Alabama attorney Dana Jill Simpson and IT consultant Jim Marsh unveiled a new chart that they described as “Roadmap to Karl Rove’s Empire of Election Fraud.”

The chart is displayed at right, here on a downloadable link, and in larger size below. The relationship chart diagrams voting machine companies, and their ownership (including by Romney and Bush family backers).  Also, it asserts that a national training network runs a significant part of the nation’s back-office election operations through private companies hired by partisan officials who conduct operations in secret because the voting companies use proprietary software immune from outside scrutiny. 

Simpson, Marsh, and Arnebeck also announced formation of a new organization, Election Protection Action. This is one of several small civic groups across the country that have developed election fraud research for years, primarily in obscurity. 

Simpson has said she formerly worked with Rove and his allies on campaign opposition research that inevitably led, by her account, to campaign dirty tricks that soured her on the Republican Party. Among her allegations is that SmarTech, a Chattanooga IT consultancy, has played major role helping Republicans control elections, government websites, and government email  traffic both through the United States and globally.

Alabama Test Run For Election Theft?

Now a progressive, Simpson says that when she was a Republican volunteer opposition researcher she visited SmarTech in the days it was handling vast volumes of sensitive political traffic. Also, she has been reported to be knowledgeable on certain circumstances of one of the nation’s most notorious election software mysteries, the late-night switch of nearly 7,000 votes in rural Baldwin County that flipped Democratic Governor Don Siegelman’s reported re-election victory in 2002.
Speaking also at the Oct. 24 news conference was Siegelman's daughter, Dana, 27. She said the family went to bed on Election Night in 2002 believing news reports that her father had won re-election, but awoke to learn that votes had been shifted electronically in Baldwin County for never-disclosed reasons. She said that Alabama's Attorney General William Pryor, a Republican since elevated to the federal appeals court, threatened to arrest anyone who tried to investigate the vote-change. 

Therefore, she said, there was nothing her father could do except try to run again for governor in 2006. However, the Bush administration indicted him on corruption charges in 2004. When that case fell apart, they indicted him against before a different judge, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who was able to help prosecutors secure corruption convictions by making many pro-prosecution rulings that have puzzled legal experts for years but have been affirmed by appeals courts, including Pryor's. The convictions were primarily for Siegelman's reappointment to a state board in 1999 of a Republican who had donated to a non-profit that Siegelman supported.

In 2007, Simpson broke with the Republican Party to swear that she was aware of a Republican plot for years to prevent Siegelman from running for re-election in 2006 by framing him on corruption charges with the help of “Karl” {whom  she identifies as most likely Karl Rove] and Fuller, whom she swore was picked to preside over Siegelman as judge because the judge "hated" the defendant and wanted to "hang" him.

Nonetheless, Fuller has remained on the case, and in August ordered Siegelman, now 67, to resume a seven-year sentence. Don and Dana SiegelmanDana Siegelman, at left with her father before his reimprisonment, is leading a nationwide petition drive to persuade President Obama to pardon her father. The petition is here.
She said it has been signed by 34,000 people so far, including an unprecedented group of 112 former state attorneys general who separately wrote the Supreme Court that Siegelman's actions did not constitute a crime under the law. The Justice Integrity Project has gone beyond that finding and concluded that prosecutors and the trial judge framed Siegelman, thereby creating a notorious political prosecution of global significance. 
The Siegelman prosecution is the kind of result that can occur when vote thieves acquire the power to appoint prosecutors and judges. 

Simpson’s “roadmap” devised with Marsh is so other researchers, including the media and law enforcement personnel, can understand the ownership, operation, and goals of the nation’s vote-tabulation process. The critics allege that the process is increasingly secret and controlled by partisan officials seeking to rig outcomes in selected locales when the stakes are high enough.

Karl Rove
Rove has denounced her as someone who makes incredible allegations. Also, he states that he has never met her. Vanity Fair columnist Craig Unger examined her allegations, SmarTech's responses and , and Rove’s denials in his recent book, Boss Rove. Unger found her to be more credible than Rove on the specifics.

I have reached a similar conclusion. Rove has failed to respond to my requests for comment, or an in-depth interview. Furthermore, representatives of the Romney family have denied that family or Bain investments in a voting tabulation company, HIG Capital, which controls Hart InterCivic, has a fraudulent purpose.

Historical Background of Software Fraud

Fitrakis, Arnebeck, and Wasserman have alleged election machine fraud for years, including in litigation alleging that the 2004 presidential election was determined by IT fraud. In their  books and unsuccessful lawsuits, they say Ohio’s electoral votes went to President Bush via what they call a “Man in the Middle” strategy whereby IT consultant Michael Connell helped arrange for SmarTech to have access to Ohio’s votes before they were announced to the public. 

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a GOP partisan, arranged Connell’s consultancy via his company, GovTech, which hosted its operations at SmarTech in Chattanooga. Blackwell denied any improper motive or result. Yet Steve Spoonamore, the top IT employee for 2008 GOP nominee John McCain, testified that the set-up enabled vote-switching without public knowledge. Connell described in a 2008 pretrial deposition the specifics of how he set up vote transfers. Connell died a month later when his airplane crashed. I summarized that history in a 2010 column. An appendix to the column provides hot links to nearly a decade of major books and articles in the field.

The concept of "election fraud" orchestrated via voting machine software is different from "voter fraud," which typically refers to ineligible voters casting ballots. Republicans have enacted many harsh voter suppress laws to restrict voting by largely Democratic groups, as Huffington Post columnist Dan Froomkin noted Nov. 12, Voter ID: The More You Know, The Less You Like It. Some voter fraud does in fact exists, counters Melinda  Pillsbury-Foster, a host of World Truth Radio who formerly had close contacts with prominent conservatives. But, she says, whatever actual problems exist in voter fraud have been grossly magnified by the media to create a false equivalence with the much-greater problem of massive elections fraud.

Summing up
Conventional wisdom is that no plot existed this year, or ever in the past. But we’ll never know for sure unless the relevant operatives and officials are examined under oath. 

Michael Duniho took the process to a new level on Election Day, Nov. 6. Let’s hope that the beginning, not the end, of any questions.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pima County Judge Refuses Citizen's Request that Pima County Elections Follow the Law

J.T. Waldron

Pima County Judge James E. Marner denied every request by citizens concerned about election integrity in Pima County.  Parroting the previous Pima County judges' claims about the lack of jurisdiction, Marner has paved the way for Pima County to continue subverting efforts to improve election integrity.   Key auditing functions like the simple placement of election returns receipts in election returns envelops (A.R.S. §16-615), incorporating sufficient quantities for hand count audits and the separation of early ballots by precinct will fall outside of any meaningful law enforcement.  One of the main obstacles to improving elections in Pima County is the county's choice to simply adhere to what is legally permissible instead of what truly achieves election transparency.

The appellate court, which looms just above Pima County's insular legal structure, ruled in favor of the court's jurisdiction to intervene when the legislative branch and the executive branch fail to provide an adequate remedy in a constitutional crisis. As Brad Roach stated in his closing arguments in last Thursday's hearing, "To say you don't have the authority because there already been some rules that passed, it fails. It has to fail, because that's what court systems do is make sure state executives and state legislatures follow the state law."

In his analysis, Judge Marner refers to Judge Kyle Bryson's previous ruling over jurisdiction. He attempts to clarify the previous judge's ruling against what the appellate courts ruled:

"Judge Bryson's order does not find that he lacked jurisdiction to hear challenge and, as evidenced by his detailed analysis of the arguments before him, he obviously accepted jurisdiction to hear the contest. However, as indicated below, the nature of the requested relief by the Plaintiff does not raise a question of where this court's jurisdiction ends."

Citizens concerned about rigged elections know that jurisdiction "ends" once elections are truly verifiable and transparent. Local citizens have introduced very finite measures for this outcome.

The only hope for citizens to restore the integrity of elections within the system is to once again appeal to a higher legal authority. The previous case heard by Judge Kyle Bryson is currently back in the appeals court and will be one of few options for straightening out elections within Pima County.

Closing arguments in last Thursday's hearing (Pardon the dirty tape heads):

Various figures of Pima County's legal establishment helping the county preserve their right to cheat in elections. Includes the five judges (Borek, Miller, Marner, Harrington and Bryson) that have juggled the hot potato of election integrity.  Can anybody guess what the green monster represents?


Pima County Circumvents It's Own Election Integrity Commission to Get a Waiver that Removes Proper Audit of County Election

Arizona Citizens Sue Pima County to Enforce Existing Election Laws

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pima County Circumvents It's Own Election Integrity Commission to Get a Waiver that Removes Proper Audit of County Elections

J.T. Waldron

A key document has surfaced in a recent lawsuit in Pima County, Arizona, that suggests much more activity affecting the reliability of elections took place in secret meetings with Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett. When the 2011 revision of the state elections manual added a sentence requiring presorting of early ballots by precinct, the County secretly went to the Secretary of State and got a waiver, without any disclosure to their own Election Integrity Commission. This activity certainly falls within the purview of the Commission and presorting had been frequently discussed by the Commission.

Although Bennett is familiar with Pima County's Election Integrity Commission, he may or may not be aware that the meetings took place without the knowledge of the other Commission members. Pima County employee John Moffatt and staunch county supporter Benny White were the two members of Pima County's Election Integrity Commission (EIC) that sought changes to the Secretary of State’s Election Procedures manual. One key substantive auditing provision, to sort early ballots by precinct, was removed without the knowledge of the rest of the EIC.

The letter from the Secretary of State, dated June 29th of 2012, acknowledges the request made by Pima County Elections Director Brad Nelson to avoid presorting early ballots by precincts and grants an exemption for the upcoming Fall election. At no point was this change mentioned at any of the commission meetings. Retired NSA analyst Mickey Duniho, Computer expert Tom Ryan, and Black Box Voting member Jim March are among the members of Pima County's EIC that strongly recommended presorting the early returns by precinct.

The process for revising the Secretary of State’s Election Procedures manual begun in 2011 when Ken Bennett formed a commission consisting of Pima County employee John Moffatt and Benny White. Although Brad Nelson is the recipient of the exemption, it is unknown whether he participated in that committee. During the time in 2011 when that committee was meeting, John Moffatt and Benny White regularly reported to the Pima County Election Integrity Committee about the changes that were being recommended. At no time did they mention the Secretary of State's intention of requiring presorting of early ballots by precinct. At almost every EIC meeting, however, Mickey Duniho and other members frequently discussed with the board the importance of presorting early ballots by precinct before conducting the hand count audit.

Citizens filed a lawsuit against Pima County and held a hearing earlier this week over presorting early ballots along with other auditing procedures provided by Arizona Statutes. They filed this lawsuit absent any knowledge that this provision was added by the Secretary of State and later exempted at the request of Pima County. Had it not been for the current lawsuit to get Pima County to follow existing election laws, we would have never discovered this activity taking place behind the backs of the rest of the Election Integrity Commission. Such trickery seems to involve far more work and effort than actually negotiating the logistics of presorting early ballots by precinct.

It appears that County Attorney Chris Straub has reported this change and the accompanying waiver to the court in this recent trial. This disclosure is likely required to avoid potential sanctions, even possible disbarment, for withholding information from the court that is pertinent to the case.

Those who knew that the Election Integrity Commission was being circumvented are obviously Benny White and John Moffatt. Brad Nelson and Chuck Huckelberry would also have a difficult time claiming ignorance over withholding information and secretly obtaining a waiver from Ken Bennett to avoid compliance with the new rule. Every EIC meeting has transcripts and are sufficient to show that Moffatt and White were falsely representing what took place with the Secretary of State.

Was Benny White's role in working with the Secretary of State to enhance the impression of the EIC's participation in the revision of the Secretary of State’s Election Procedures manual? Pima County has no doubts over Benny White's loyalty to those currently entrenched in Pima County's bureaucracy. In 2008, he provided false testimony and slandered John Brakey to the Pima County Board of Supervisors when Brakey was falsely arrested while serving as an elections observer (see below). Brakey has so far refrained from suing Pima County over his false arrest, which was requested by Brad Nelson. Despite what we had previously predicted, Benny White indeed testified in the hearing earlier this week. You could see the difficulty in getting a direct answer out of him as he's asked his position over presorting early ballots by precinct.

Discovery of this "runaround" by the county sheds new light on the dynamics of last week's emergency meeting proposed by Mickey Duniho. Here they are spending hours discussing the importance of presorting the early ballots. Benny White left early because he claims to have a conflict of interest with the upcoming court case. Absence makes withholding information a lot easier. Brad Nelson has the easy excuse of being busy during the election season (It's also the excuse Pima County uses for not complying with state election laws). Pima County employee John Moffatt is left to sit through the whole meeting discussing a subject that he knows has been "managed" behind their backs. It's his job.

Here is Benny White lying to the Pima County Board of Supervisors:

With all the scurrying behind the scenes, one has to wonder what part of the election do they plan to alter?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Former Rep. Ted Downing Recalls Efforts to Exclude Audit of County Races

Pima County has not only fought over the plain meaning of various election and public records laws, it has actively intervened in drafting of election laws.

Specifically, in 2006, former Representative Ted Downing and former Senator Karen Johnson authored SB 1557 in the State legislature to mandate random auditing and hand counting of ballots. Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson told Downing that including county races in the bill would be a "deal breaker". Nelson said that he and the Maricopa County Election Director would oppose the entire bill if the County elections were covered by the mandatory hand count. Because of that threat, SB 1557 was passed into what became A.R.S. §16-602 and County races were not included.

Elections Specialist Jim March Testifies About Black Box Vulnerabilities and Election Fraud

Jim March's testimony covers a variety of ways to hack into an electronic elections system. In yesterday's hearing, March also had the opportunity to describe the various indications of fraud that he had discovered in the electronic records from the 2006 two billion dollar bond measure (RTA Election).

Pima County Attorney Daniel Jurkowitz somehow thought is was a good idea to bring up Attorney General Terry Goddard's investigation during his cross examination. This backfires as March responds by reminding the court that Goddard's recount was missing four precincts.

This testimony is key in finally referring to the statistical improbability of having a third of the 368 precincts experience memory card re-uploads followed by the discovery of the corresponding missing poll tapes. After all, experts with DNA analysis provide a statistical probability of there being a match to a suspected murderer. Why does the statistical match not apply here? There is no will to prosecute, of course.

Retired NSA Analyst Mickey Duniho Testifies in Arizona Election Integrity Trial

Mickey Duniho testified in yesterday's election integrity hearing held in Tucson, Arizona.  Duniho is one of thirteen plaintiffs suing Pima County to get them to comply with existing election laws.   He provides an excellent summary of the problems verifying elections counted on electronic voting machines.

Pima County is notorious for fighting measures for election integrity and  have spent millions of taxpayer's dollars to prevent disclosure of public election records. 

The aim of the lawsuit against Pima County is to get the court to:

1. Issue an injunction requiring the Defendants to instruct poll workers to include, in every Official Return Envelope, a copy of the signed “tally lists” or results tape as required by A.R.S. §16-615.

2. Issue an injunction mandating that the Defendants separate the vote by mail ballots by precinct.

3.  Issue and injunction ordering Pima County to conduct sufficient randomly selected hand count audits of the vote by mail ballots, according to the procedure outlined in A.R.S. 16-602.  County races must be included in the audit.

This suit also requests the recovery of legal fees incurred.

A ruling on this case is expected today.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Donna Branch-Gilby Talks About Why She Ran Against Supervisor Sharon Bronson

Arizona:  In light of Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson's campaign season shots at Republican rival Tanner Bell over money and politics, the public is slowly starting to learn that the real question should be "Who's your sugar daddy?"