Saturday, May 24, 2008

Precedent Setting Election Integrity Ruling In Pima County Superior Court.

Every once in a while our Old Pueblo manages to do something that impacts world history. A ruling on Friday addressed the right of the people to have access to election records and databases. The county had argued that releasing such records would be a security risk. Pima County Superior Court Judge Michael Miller ruled on May 23, 2008 for the release of databases for the primary and general elections in 2006.

Of course the Arizona Daily Star hid the information about this landmark ruling deep inside the paper even though this news made the Daily Voting News.

The Tucson Citizen reports:
Judge Michael Miller Friday issued his under advisement ruling declaring that the interests of the state and public outweighed unproven vote security concerns voiced by county attorneys and witnesses.
"All existing electronic databases must be disclosed," the judge ruled.
It is the first time a judge has ordered any governmental entity to turn over all records from electronic elections and ballot tabulating systems past, present, and future to political party officials for scrutiny for signs of tampering.
"Everyone is going to be looking at this ruling and realize that electronic records are public records," said Vince Rabago, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party.
Earlier this year Pima County Board of Supervisors decided to release the database records for the May 2006 Regional Transportation election.

The Pima County Democratic Party had brought suit last year against Pima County for the release of electronic voting records for the 2006 elections under the basic logic that electronic elections require electronic monitoring. Pima County Dems have more guts and good sense than the state level party as a whole I would say.

The judge has not yet ruled on a request that Pima County pay the Democratic Party's legal fees that reportedly run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

With the advent of Diebolt voting machines that can be easily hacked, election results locations in the United States have come under suspicion of tampering since before their adoption as voting technology.

Arizona is one of the places leading the way for requisite scrutiny of electronic voting databases, in my humble opinion, due to a few dedicated folks, such as John Brakey. Individual action does make make all the difference in the world between freedom and servitude. I think John's comment on a Tucson Citizen article from April of this year is worth republishing.


Joseph Stalin said, “Those who cast the votes DECIDE NOTHING. Those who count the votes DECIDE EVERYTHING.

Folks, Election Integrity is NOT about the RIGHT or LEFT. It’s about citizens challenging injustice, greed, and corruption.

Yesterday we stood together in court NOT just for our County; but as Americans concerned for our Country!

NY Times article 1/6/08 Can You Count On These Machines? “One might expect computer scientists to be fans of computer-based vote-counting devices, but it turns out that the more you know about computers; the more likely you are to be terrified that they’re running elections.”

Fact: Since then, Huckelberry's Election Department has been ILLEGALLY printing election summary reports of early ballots (WHO'S WINNING AND LOSING) way before Election Day.

Fact: County Manger Chuck Huckelberry has known about the back door to our voting system since 1996. That's when Huckleberry authorized Bryan Crane to use that “back door” to merge two databases. What Crane did wasn’t in the manuals.

Huckelberry and the country ridiculous delusional defense for keeping the databases secret -- that releasing them would result in "Mayhem and Chaos" – lost!

Casting secret ballots is essential in our democracy. Counting them in secret is contrary to everything our Founding Fathers fought for.

I’ve learned, after three years of investigating Pima County Government, that it's NOT JUST voting that makes democracy, its TRANSPARENCY IN COUNTING VOTES and we still have a long way to go getting it right in Pima County.

Vigilant Patriots, practicing the rights of citizenship in a democracy with civility, can make the Difference!

Hope, Peace & Democracy,

John Brakey, co-founder of AUDIT-AZ (Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections, Arizona) & Co-Coordinator Investigations for Election Defense Alliance.
Arizona Fair Elections is another source of information on this topic.

I previously wrote about related Arizona and political manipulation of voting records in 2005.

Arizona may have a reputation for a quirky libertarian streak, but we have Clean Elections and now a precedent setting ruling that helps to insure election record transparency. The western states gave women the right to vote before the nation did too. Yee-ha! Now if we could just translate this fierce patriotism into booting McCain and Kyl from office, well, then I would be downright proud to call myself an Arizonan.

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