Monday, December 13, 2010

Pima County: A Rigged Two Billion Dollar RTA Election Is a "Discrete Incident of Past Wrongdoing"

Suspects had access to ballots three years before recount.
Recently, the Libertarian Party earned a victory for election integrity activists when it won an appeal to reverse a previous judge's ruling.   Now the Libertarian Party is able to proceed with the case for prospective relief against rigged elections through the courts.  In Arizona, the courts are the last available means to prevent election fraud from reoccurring in the future since the legislative and executive branches have failed to provide adequate remedies.   As customary, Pima County, the losing team, was granted the opportunity to make a "Motion to Reconsider".   Pima County's position in this matter has been whittled down to desperate measures as their legal team attempts to denigrate the severe nature of election fraud.

Pima County oversees the elections for that county and enjoined itself in a lawsuit originally designed to determine the predicament of the 2006 RTA ballots, currently in the possession of the County Treasurer's office.  The ballots have been preserved because of previous litigation that ultimately uncovered a significant amount of evidence suggesting that the two billion dollar bond transportation measure was rigged.

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 now, before true auditing or forensic examination of the ballots could take place.  This idea backfired because two parties in the suit, the Democratic party and the Libertarian party, argued for prospective relief from the courts in a trial that was interrupted with then-Attorney General Terry Goddard's woefully inadequate audit of the ballots.   In addition to prospective relief, they wanted to see the  poll tapes, which are vital auditing tallies at each of the precincts on the night of the RTA election.  Terry Goddard had refused to examine them but saw fit to confiscate them along with the ballots.  He then locked them up again with Pima County, causing the other two parties to spend a year in litigation before gaining access.  Once they finally got to see the poll tapes, over one third were missing.

As we have stated, Pima County decided to make a "Motion for Reconsideration" of the appellate court's decision in the case.  With this pleading, Pima County's reasoning has crossed over into a surreal realm.  The document is truly bizarre.  The first sign of a bad argument is the run-on sentence, favored by legal desperadoes everywhere, and such occurs at the outset of this twelve page motion.   Amidst the tap dancing and sleight-of-hand involved with this lush document of legal yoga (replete with mispellings) is one gem to behold:  the unashamed and dismissive reference to the rigging of a two-billion dollar bond measure.  Pima County sidestepped the use of their own attorneys in favor of Ronna Fickbohm, a pricey private lawyer tapping taxpayer's funds to help taxpayers lose their representation at the polls. She attempts to accomplish this feat by boring  the judiciary senseless and wrangling the english language into unnatural positions, all while keeping a straight face.  She describes the rigging of the RTA election in this diminutive way:

"To the extent this Court disagrees with the trial court's interpretation and liberally construes Appellant's pleading as setting forth a claim for injunctive relief, the question is easy: has Appellant alleged anything more than a discrete incident of past wrongdoing and its desire to maybe have the trial court enjoin a repeat of that?..." 

She is not only presenting to the court the idea that such an offense is a "discrete incident", she continues to try to convince the court that because it only happened one time in the past, there's no evidence that it could happen again.

"[Appellant] nowhere even attempted to argue that the alleged single incident of believed historic wrongdoing presented a current and ongoing harm or risk of harm such that a trial court's order enjoining ongoing conduct is required."

Bill Risner, an attorney who has been assisting the Libertarian Party since the Democratic Party pulled out of this case, had an amusing rebuttal:

"Let's see.  Same County Manager supervising the Election Director. Check.  Same Election Director. Check.  Same computer operator. Check.  Same computer system. Check.  Same cropscanner. Check.  Same hand's off County Supervisors. Check.  etc.  Yep.  Nothing to worry about."

He continues: "As for the Libertarian Party, she is correct that they have a 'desire to maybe have the trial court enjoin a repeat of that?'  Actually many of us have such a desire.  Some are even offended by the rigging of any election."

We don't believe the court will be that impressed with this motion, but what of the ballots, now?  We have come to learn through previous testimony by an employee at the Iron Mountain facility that no specific instructions concerning the handling of the ballots were delivered to the Iron Mountain staff by Pima County.  Back then, a lot of posturing took place with a stern memo presented by County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry about the need to secure the ballots and ensure their security while litigation over this election proceeded, but later testimony confirmed that no actual action or enforcement was implemented to protect the ballots.  It appeared to have mattered more to Huckelberry that the public got to read the stern memo and forget about whether anything was actually done about it.  After all, the memo was a stern one.  Does anyone truly believe that what follows from a written directive is a mere crap shoot with no certainty over its enforcement?  How would anything get done in Pima County?

There have been recent calls by those involved with the Libertarian Party's legal team requesting that Pima County Treasurer Beth Ford finally make the ballots secure, but how will they know for sure?  How do they know that some other Huckelberry flunky like John Moffatt won't be caught again with his scaly hand in the evidence cookie jar.  After all, that is precisely what happened last time with the electronic evidence from that same election in the Pima County vault. 

Meanwhile, we watch the Libertarian Party in their epic struggle to get prospective relief from the courts.   Despite Ronna Fickbohm's supercilious and silly characterization of the harm committed by Pima County as a mere "discrete incident of past wrongdoing", we see it for what it is: a vicious affront to the public's right to election integrity.

Alissa Johnson
J.T. Waldron

No comments:

Post a Comment