Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Curious Business of William E. Doyle

J.T. Waldron

In the past eight years of litigation over election transparency in Arizona, William E. Doye's name has appeared only twice in court transcripts but Doyle and his company "Election Operations Services" play an unsettling role in most elections throughout the state.  Doyle's career in public service appears to have begun with the earliest public record connecting him to elections in Arizona as Deputy Recorder for Maricopa County in 1976.  His formation of a limited liability corporation to assist with elections a decade later mirrors the eventual privatization of key functions in the electoral process throughout the nation.
Picture with text courtesy of the Kingman Daily Miner-Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1991
Proficient in accommodating new technology, Doyle was firmly established as an authority for evolving use of punchcards in the late nineties and "Elections Operations Services" was a name for a handy source of consultation and problem solving for election workers. In Kingman, Arizona, Doyle was tapped to conduct a recount of a city council election that had a margin of two votes. The local Kingman Daily Miner reports:
"The recount will be done with a different computer, which Doyle will program before the punch-card ballots are processed."
In 2002, the year the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed into law ushering in our new found era of black box voting, Doyle decided to change his limited liability corporation to a sole proprietorship. Some remnants in the public archives enable us to grasp the size of these contracts along with the exorbitant profits they must yield. Various sites, articles and municipal public records indicate close to $900,000 worth of business in Mohave County alone with the highest individual contract at over $112,000. Records won in litigation for the latest primary election in Santa Cruz drew our attention to William Doyle through the discovery of one invoice billing over $30,000 for the printing of ballots, which is another function provided by Elections Operations Services. The common perception among those following elections is that Runbeck Graphics prints the official ballots for elections in Arizona. Runbeck devotes a webpage (Runbeck Election Services) to describe their advanced facilities and services, but "it also works with a pool of subcontractors that add local production capabilities."

Two years ago, Pinal County awarded Doyle with a $425,000 contract to print election ballots. The county described their process for determining the award:
"Two responses to PC-120517 were received. Runbeck Election Services, Inc. submitted a "No-bid" letter as a response. As a "No-bid" is still a bid response, the bid submitted by Elections Operations Services is determined to be the lowest responsive bid. Elections Operations Services is responsible and the pricing submitted is fair and reasonable based upon previous/current contract pricing.
Try to imagine why a company so well equipped would turn away almost half a million dollars of business in such a finite market. Why would they bother going through the motion so the county can pretend to have a competitive bidding process? Perhaps Doyle is a member of that "pool of subcontractors".

Three years ago in Gila County, a Board Supervisor insisted that her lesser qualified secretary (Linda Eastlick) replace Dixie Mundy as the new Elections Director. The Rim County Gazette reported the consequences:
"The county has also contracted William Doyle with Elections Operations Services to do much of the election director's job through 2012. The county will pay $225,000 for his services, performing the same duties listed in the job description for the election director, a position that pays $51,000 a year. This means one consultant was hired to teach Eastlick the job, and now another is being paid a quarter million dollars to do the job."
Taxpayer dollars paid into this one vendor may rival the sum squandered by Pima County to avoid meaningful scrutiny of the 2006 RTA ballots. What's more distressing than monetary cost is the unique position and opportunity vendors like Elections Operations Services have in an election. Ironically, Dixie Mundy revealed this circumstance as she testified on behalf of Pima County in its effort to legally skirt the public records request brought by suspicion surrounding that 2006 RTA election. In the video below, she describes how Doyle programs and transmits the databases to Gila County's elections computer through a telephone modem.

Stephen Spoonamore, a key expert I.T. witness for the 'man-in-the-middle' attack of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, provides an excellent account of how a once trusted elections vendor Smart Tech was provided an opportunity to compromise the election.


Author Marta Steele writes about similar 'man-in-the-middle structures' in other swing states like Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico in her book, "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, 2000-2008".

Unlike L.L.C.'s, sole proprietors can plead the 5th amendment and decline to give self incriminating information.  How sinister is this seemingly helpful vendor now entwined in the electronic voting process for most of the Arizona voting districts? It probably doesn't matter. Transparent,verifiable elections are an inconceivable notion when a vendor has this kind of access and secrecy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FATALLY FLAWED Reviewed by Marta Steele on OPED News

"I've been an activist all my life . . . but I've never done anything more important than what I've done now" (John Brakey)

"Every data point assured that the election was rigged" (Bill Risner)

"This is a third-world standard of justice" (Jim March)

J. T. Waldron's 2009 documentary Fatally Flawed: The Problems Are Inside, The Solutions Are Outside is (I can't say it better) "not only a character driven cinema verite but a moving journey of triumph and heartache in the face of monolithic government opposition." 
Ultimately, the Democrats succeeded in gaining the release of all of the election 2006 databases--the largest release of such files in U.S. history up until that time. But unfortunately this is hardly the end of the story.

Set in Pima County, Arizona, it begins innocuously enough with a situation posited for a primary election referendum: In Tucson, Grant Road, a six-lane highway, narrows down to a four-lane highway, causing a bottleneck. The six-lane width needs to continue beyond this point to improve traffic flow, from Swann Road to Oracle Road. This process will involve gutting homes and businesses. At least one nearby neighborhood association is understandably worried. There is no thought about their plight as the project moves forward; it's "Get them out of the way and then we'll make it better," says one local resident.  [Click here to read more]

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.