Monday, October 5, 2015

An Open Letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors and Its Elections Department

 Mission of Citizens Oversight for Verifiable Elections, COVE: To restore public ownership and oversight of elections, as per the Arizona constitution; to protect the “purity of elections”, “run by the people”.  This will ensure the fundamental right of every American citizen to vote, and to have each vote counted as intended in a secure, transparent, impartial, and independently verifiable audited election process. 
Chair of PCBOS Sharon Bronson
130 W. Congress, 11th Floor, Tucson, AZ 85701
Phone: (520) 724-8051 Email:  

Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez                                                                             OPEN LETTER                         
240 N. Stone Avenue, Tucson AZ 85701
(520) 724-4350  Email: 

Brad Nelson, (CERA) Elections Director
6550 S. Country Club Road, Tucson, AZ 85756
Phone: (520) 724-6830 Email: 
Monday, October 04, 2015

Dear Honorable Sharon Bronson, Chair PCBOS, County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez and Election Director Brad Nelson:
    We are pleased to announce that we have formed a coalition called “COVE” which stands for Citizens Oversight for Verifiable Elections.  At this point in time we have three committees members which are Gini Crawford, Chair of the “Taxpayers Against Pima Bonds, John Kromko Chair of Tucson Traffic Justice and Ignacio Gomez, Chair of the “No on the Sunnyside Override”.   We also expect to have several of the four certified legit non-partisan candidates from Oro Valley's recall joining COVE and naming our observers.  We expect our observers to have the same rights and respect that you give the two political party observers.  As you know most of the candidates and issues on the ballot are non-partisan.
   Our members are invoking their rights as “a political committee” and/or “nonpartisan” under ARS 16-621 Proceedings at the counting center, “Excerpt from section A”. …and shall be conducted in accordance with the approved instructions and procedures manual provided for in section 16-452 under the observation of representatives of each political party and the public. The proceedings at the counting center may also be observed by up to three additional people representing a candidate for nonpartisan office, or representing a political committee in support of or in opposition to a ballot measure, proposition or question….”  
    Here’s a link to the history of what happened in that case back in the 2006 RTA Bond Election titled “Elections remain compromised” which cost taxpayers several million dollars in litigation and left the voters wondering if their vote “really counts”. The only solution is to have a verifiable election.
    We at “COVE” support the Pima County Election Integrity Commission letter to Sharon Branson Chair BOS, dated September 28, 2015, advising minimal hand count audits that they hope to have in the November Election.  However, we must point out that this does not resolve the Vote by Mail problem of being unverifiable: video Mickey Duniho, (see problem below).
    Your own Pima County Election Integrity Commission has been proposing solutions that "you’ve been ignoring for years".  We refer to the April 17, 2015 letter from PCEIC to BOS titled, “Recommendation to Use Ballot Images to Enhance Early Ballot Audit”, and the letter dated July 18, 2014, to the BOS “Recommendation for Early Ballot Sorting by Precinct on Early Ballots”.
    There is nothing in state law to prelude the County from doing a voluntary hand count”.  Tom Ryan, Chair Pima Co. Election Integrity Commission.
    The big problem we see where the ballots could be gamed with impunity is in the Vote by Mail (VBM) in the November General Election which is about 80% of the votes.  VBM ballots are not sorted by precinct except inside the central 'hackable' tabulator that could easily be preprogrammed only hack ballot batches over a certain size, thus avoiding the random testing done by audit batches pulled for hand counting. That's why the Volkswagen case is so meaningful to elections transparency activists, WV rigged the testing.  “…the cheating was preprogrammed into the algorithm that controlled the car’s emissions.  Computers allow people to cheat in ways that are new.  Because the cheating is encapsulated in software, the malicious actions can happen, far removed from the testing itself.  Because the software is "smart" in ways that normal objects are not, the cheating can be subtler and harder to detect.”
    “That's why we must have software verification with two parts: Transparency and Oversight” which as we know in Arizona, neither exist. “Transparency means making the source code available for analysis. The need for this is obvious.  It's much easier to hide cheating software in the manufacturer's code. Cheating on regulatory testing has a long history in corporate America.” By CNN Bruce Schneier:  "VW scandal could just be the beginning”.   
    According to AUDIT-AZ longtime attorney and friend Bill Risner: “Every study of the security of computer voting systems has identified insiders such as company employees and or vendors and election department employees as the primary security risks.  These same vendors when having their software certified, instructed the test labs "NOT" to check the software for security.”   Video Bill Risner in Court:

    The solution is simple: Pima County’s new ES&S central count scanners, the EVS 5200 makes a digital image of both sides of each ballot. These digital ballots have a bar code and precinct number that can be sorted by precincts and counted. We know of several companies that have software that can sort and read the digital images that work in elections. However, the gold standard is hand marked paper ballots that are hand counted.  We recommend printing and counting the digital VBM ballots and then taking a "statistically assured" random group verification to the original ballots that are stored in numbered batches. Here’s a short video depicting digital ballots from Dane County in Wisconsin, where they used an older version of the EVS 5200 called the DS200 as a way to verify voting machines output with digitally imaged ballots as shown.

    Again by utilizing the existing election laws:  “ARS Title 16 – Elections and Electors", the Arizona Secretary of State Election Procedures Manual Revised 2014, to download the entire manual here, or link it to specific pdf pages below in this manual.  As political party, candidates, and as electors, we invoke our rights to the following positions, and request that the named party oversight designates be given prior significant constructive notice in writing & verbally, to invoke oversight, before these boards meet.   Each of these boards shall consist of at least two members, and shall be registered voters of the parties on the ballots cast.    Each board’s responsibilities shall be as provided in SOS manual:

                  & Citizens Observers                      *      snag board
                  L & A testing                                   *     duplication board
                  receiving board                               *     inspection board
                  write-in board                                  *     accuracy certification board
                  data processing board                    *     audit board

   The Persons noted below are designated as Observers for the counting of the early ballots, the General Elections ballots of November, and until all votes are counted.   Also, these persons have authority under ARS 16-571 to visit precincts. 
     Mickey Duniho, John R Brakey, Ally Miller, Richard Hernandez, Sergio Arellano-Oros, Paul Hilts, Jonathan Salvatierra, and others, to be trained and named later.
    The first Chairman of the Federal Election Assistance Commission, the Rev. DeForest Soaries, appointed by George W. Bush as the first chair of the commission created by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), otherwise known as the “Hack America Vote Act”, in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election Debacle, stated in Oct of 2006: "We know more today about how to build a machine to take pictures of rocks on Mars than we know about how to build a machine to safeguard the American right to vote.”  Read what else Rev. DeForest Soaries has to say.
    Today, thanks to the work of election transparency activists, scientists & statisticians, Secretary of State Debra Bowen of California, in 2006 called for:  Top to Bottom review on voting system.  From citizens on commissions like PCEIC, universities, and their reports generated, we now know that these machines must NOT be trusted.  This short video of 8 minutes, gives the best overview, and is right on the money in every respect, when it comes to electronic voting --- be it via touch-screen computers, or paper ballot optical-scan systems. 
    Ronald Reagan said it best; “Trust but Verify!”   Conversely, No Verify, means NO TRUST!  The Board of Supervisors actions on this matter will show the citizens of Pima County whose side you’re on?
    On a closing note: Please demonstrate by action that this is not true in Pima County. History teaches us that elections without public accountability are nothing more than vote-counting in the dark, controlled by a county government, in the act of choosing itself and its cronies, while picking our pockets.  Our message is simple: “We the People”, must have elections that are 100% transparent, that are completely verifiable, with a documented ‘chain-of-custody’, followed by mandatory election verification!  Nothing less!
  Government can never be the sole verifier of its own secret elections.
    Respectfully yours,
   John R Brakey
John R. Brakey of Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency, Arizona & Special task force leader for Citizens Oversight for Verifiable Elections.        520 578 5678 Cell 520 339 2696

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