Friday, August 27, 2010
"I made that decision based on my furious reading of Arizona Revised Statute 16-602. The sentence I was reading to myself was this one:
'The unofficial vote totals by precinct shall be made public before selecting the precincts to be hand counted.'
There's a reason for that. If they don't announce what the results are for each precinct...they pick the precincts to count...if they [Maricopa Elections] know what the results for each precinct are supposed to be and nobody else does, they can make sure that the reported results match what we're about to hand count."
As part of the recent lawsuit by gubernatorial candidate Barry Hess and other prominent citizens against Helen Purcell, the Maricopa County Recorder and the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, Attorney Brad Roach filed an "Emergency Request for Ruling/Request for Oral Argument" shortly after March's discovery. This emergency request asks that the court:
1. Order Maricopa County to make public the vote totals from all the districts.
2. Order Maricopa County to re-select precincts by lot that will be hand counted.
3. Order Maricopa County to hand count the precincts so selected before certifying the election results.
John Brakey recorded this incident on video and posted it on youtube. Here it is:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
by Denis G. Campbell
Sunlight is a great disinfectant, but it’s cloudy and raining over the Arizona election desert. In the few hours since t r u t h o u t ran my article on transparency and hacking problems with vote scanning machines in Arizona, two events occurred demonstrating a continued preference to attack accusers rather than the problem.
Having watched past Arizona vote machine election official fiascos for three years from abroad, UK Progressive recommends that since the Arizona election system seems to be so badly broken:
1. Federal observers, led by US Attorney General Eric Holder be dispatched to Arizona county tabulation and polling centres from the moment ‘vote by mail’ balloting begins until a final count is determined.
2. Judge Oberbillig order Maricopa County immediately to scrap machine tabulating and order a openly witnessed hand-count of all ballots in the general election for these two behemoth counties (Maricopa and Pima) that account for 75% of all votes cast and
3. Governor Jan Brewer and state Attorney General Terry Goddard should support and order all counties across the state to scrap these electronic systems and get the vote count right, even if the final outcome is not known until the next day or even later.
At stake is the state’s Congressional delegation, 1 Senator and its Chief Executive for the next four years. The voters of Arizona need to know their vote will be counted.
In a state known for an abundance of external sunshine, it is time to shine some of that light inward. Especially in light of these two:
• Pima County Democratic party chair Jeffrey Rogers attacking those leading the charge for transparency via e-mail and
• Jim March, an election observer in heavily Republican Maricopa County releasing a declaration to be attached to today’s plaintiff request for default judgement in the Maricopa County voter plaintiff Mandamus case before Judge Oberbillig showing the growing fraud potential brewing in the vote count.
‘Oh what a day this has been’ was a chosen season ending episode title of two Aaron Sorkin television series where calamity struck. There is long way to go to ensure accuracy of votes machine-counted in the two counties responsible for counting 75% of all Arizona ballots.
Jim March, an election technology expert who has advised AUDIT AZ and worked with vote count activist groups across the USA, observed a spurious series of unconnected network cables and the lack of independent, outside observation of vote count central tabulation computers. This is a scenario primed for central computer misdeeds, is clearly against Arizona law and when informed, county officials merely shrugged and threatened him with expulsion.
In March’s affidavit (date error on page 3 but it was from 23 August) he was watching mail-in ballot vote counting in heavily Republican controlled, Maricopa County and witnessed: “…a laptop connected to the central tabulator computer, a cross-connection can be made allowing the sharing of the cellular Internet connection to other computers the laptop is connected to over Ethernet – including but not limited to the central tabulator station. This would provide a way of connecting the central tabulator to the Internet at the discretion of whoever was operating the laptop."
The implication is Republican controlled vote counting in Maricopa County can be hacked right there at the main tabulation source.
This extraordinary e-mail exchange (edited for length) between the Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Jeffrey Rogers and two election transparency activists (AUDIT AZ co-founder John Brakey and attorney Bill Risner) is where by coming out for transparency, Rogers says they are sabotaging the election for the Democratic candidate:
Are you guys trying to assure that Brewer wins? I mean we need all hands on deck here if we have any chance of saving this state. Could you & Risner lay off the criticism of Goddard? Or, maybe you just like Brewer better? I mean really - are you trying to sabotage this election?”
(as sent by Jeffrey Rogers without signature)
A portion of John Brakey’s reply:
Yes, I’m a Democrat and a proud one at that, but 1st I’m an American, who believes in justice over politics.
Many others and I are working hard to protect the vote with very little help from you sir.
In the press conference April 21, 2009, it was announced by Terry Goddard that basically they did such a good job that they found 67 extra ballots. Yet Ms. Meg Hinchey’s own spreadsheet clearly shows that 4 precincts with 692 ballots are clearly missing – precincts 116, 174, 236 and 380. Please help us understand how that could be?…
… And then we finally get access to the poll tapes and 44% are missing or don’t match the finally database and you want others and I to stop seeking the truth? I don’t think so. …
John R Brakey
A portion of Attorney Bill Risner’s reply:
I read your email that referenced me and the need for all hands to be on deck to elect Terry Goddard. I intend to vote for Terry Goddard and I hope other Arizonans also vote for him. Brewer is a disaster. On the other hand I would feel better if you would reveal that Goddard has a secret deal that they won’t cheat in counting his votes or in counting any other Arizona elections. I’ve attached my report that I sent to members of the Democratic Party state committee. Please let me know how a rigged election can be challenged. Maybe Vince Rabago, or another candidate would need your plan.
You may recall that the state party did pass the resolution supporting graphic scanning which would prevent cheating in any election (insert link: ). Only within the last couple of months Terry Goddard’s office released an opinion agreeing with Pima County that graphic scanning was against the law. That opinion is absolute bunk. It is based on the claim that ARS 16-1018 prevents scanning. I ask anyone who reads English to read that statute. It purely relates to conduct at the polls. No competent and honest lawyer could conclude that graphic scanning is precluded by that statute. Why would Goddard put his personal nail in the coffin to prevent the one existing plan to prevent cheating? …
… I will speak the truth and I will continue to work for honest elections. I believe that Goddard’s chances of winning are better if the votes are honestly counted. …
Posted by Denis G Campbell on August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Monday 23 August 2010
by: Denis G. Campbell, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis
Why did Arizona's two main gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Jan Brewer, former secretary of state/head of elections, who contracted for highly criticized and easily-hacked Diebold and Sequoia ballot scanning systems, and Attorney General (AG) Terry Goddard, with his three-year "criminal investigation" into a 2006 Pima County (Tucson) local election allegedly hacked, according to a whistleblower, do everything in their power for years to stifle polling accountability while expensively fighting enforcement of Arizona's election laws?
"The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin
Arizona voters head Tuesday 24 August to primary polling places. They will mark paper ballots that will be optically scanned by Diebold and Sequoia vote scan machines. And there is absolutely no guarantee their vote will ever be tabulated.
Six plaintiffs recently filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County (Phoenix) alleging recently relaxed ballot handling rules ensure a lax chain of control over ballot papers in direct violation of Arizona law. Coupled with unapproved software installed on multiple election department computers, and it creates what the citizen watchdog group AUDIT AZ calls an "interlock." "This makes manipulation of vote counting easy and thus leaves elections vulnerable to undetectable fraud."
Arizona public officials confidently claim their system is completely safe from hackers. Yet, Maricopa County is the USA's fourth-largest elections department handling 56-58 percent of all Arizona votes cast. Its polling places rely on 22, sole-purpose laptop computers and their phone line modems to transmit final polling data from the Sequoia machines to election headquarters over phone lines and the Internet.
If CIA and Defense Department sites are hacked thousands of times daily, what, besides desert bravado or blind arrogance, gives anyone any indication their vote is safely counted?
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As AUDIT AZ co-founder John Brakey told us, "Lax handling of ballots and decisions relieving poll-workers of audit responsibility mean, regardless of the wishes of individual voters, the entire system can be manipulated and outcomes determined on central tabulation computers with expert hackers who are then able to completely cover their tracks."
And before you take Governor Brewer's or AG Goddard's (neither of whom would answer questions posed over three years by this reporter) tack of ignoring the message and instead attacking the messenger, dismissing all charges as baseless conspiracy theory ... ask yourself why Arizona's elected and unelected leaders (who all took a forced, unpaid, furlough day Friday to save money) have spent more than $1 million tax dollars hiring high-profile law firms to fight citizen-filed lawsuits from multi-partisan groups seeking ballot handling reforms?
Bill Risner, Democratic Party attorney for Pima County, is no stranger to election procedure battles. In 41-years of practice, he says the central problem of the current computerized systems is they are easy to cheat. "When the fact of 'easy to cheat' is combined with the 'impossibility of challenge' and 'nobody is looking,' the seriousness of the present vulnerability of our election system is obvious," he says.
Brad Roach, unsuccessful Republican candidate for Pima County attorney and lead counsel on the voter case said, "John Brakey and I are as politically opposite as you can find and would not likely agree on anything, but we agree on this." He describes Brakey as being as passionate as any death penalty opponent crusader he's ever met. "John's devoted years to this and we should thank him. While we disagree on most things political, he's absolutely right, your vote is the most important thing any citizen has," said Roach.
Roach further said he cannot fathom why elected leaders don't understand that "when you fight, fight, fight everything, you make things worse and it serves no utility." He continued, "If you have nothing to hide, why not just be open on something this important?"
He is suing the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and others requesting "Mandamus" and Injunctive Relief. The Mandamus action is unique in that it demands the court order public officials to follow existing Arizona election laws.
Plaintiffs want to ensure the entire ballot chain of custody is secure and Arizona's mandated audit trail is returned to full compliance, no matter how inconvenient or time consuming, to ensure integrity in the voting process.
The case was recently assigned its second judge. In a Friday telephone hearing, Judge Oberbillig, County Defense Attorney Colleen Conner and Roach all agreed nothing could be done in time for the primary election on Tuesday.
However, the Mandamus action falls outside of cumbersome civil trial rules and the judge said there was time to move forward with an expedited jury trial and emergency orders issued from the bench before the November general election.
Said Roach, "How patriotically ironic is it that on a question as important as insuring everyone's individual vote is counted, a jury of one's peers will decide the merits of this case?"
But what, if anything, can stop the arrogance of Arizona's elected and unelected leaders?
When Governor Brewer was secretary of state, she wrote the rules for voting machines across the state, however, when questioned repeatedly about them, claimed she had no authority to change the rules or order new ones.
The bar in Arizona for any recount is already higher than in almost every other states, with a minuscule one-tenth of 1 percent margin and inside five days the standards to trigger a recount. Miss either milestone and no recount can ever be granted.
Indeed, during a 2004 primary election between two Republicans decided by just four votes, officials were ready to begin a hand recount of all paper ballots, at their own expense, to ensure accuracy. Secretary Brewer called the local supervisor of elections and informed them they were "breaking state law and ordered them to stop." The only way to count ballots under Arizona law was to rerun them through the same machine that had already spit out this data. Jan Brewer explained on video she stopped the recount because "an angel was on her shoulder and guided her in the right direction."
In the second machine run, 496 extra ballots magically appeared inside one machine's "count" that were not part of the first ballot. Maricopa Elections Supervisor Karen Osborne under deposition stated, "an 18 percent error rate in machine tabulations was within their acceptable margin of error." What citizen would volunteer their ballot to be one of the nearly one in five miscounted in that "acceptable margin of error"?
Across Arizona, there is a pattern of refusal to cooperate with voter groups. Elected officials refuse to return phone calls asking for comment, ignore or obfuscate Freedom of Information Act requests for information and, later, even ignore judge's orders. And there seems to be zero consequences for state workers. To date, no one has been fired, reprimanded or reassigned for incompetence for any of these bungled elections.
Even when brought into court, the rank incompetence causes judges to throw their hands up in disgust, resulting in convoluted rulings. Two years ago, Bill Risner won all of the legal argument, but lost his case when Maricopa County Judge Edward O. Burke agreed County Elections Director, Karen Osborne, did not follow election law, ensure ballot integrity and provide an unbroken custody chain.
However, he ruled against the plaintiffs saying, "in a county the size of Maricopa, perfect compliance with the statutory electoral scheme, while desirable, is not possible due to time, space, the practicalities of the electoral process and the number of persons involved" in denying their injunction for a hand recount.
So, where does the voter go to ensure the accuracy of their vote count? Well, one could try voting in the UK as an example. There, the hand vote count performed across 650 parliamentary constituencies during the recent general election was a model of efficiency and accuracy.
This reporter covered Wales' Vale of Glamorgan constituency hand count. The result was declared final at 2:23 AM, with congratulations all around. It was completely transparent. All votes were counted across the nation in exactly the same way, with party observers and even candidates sitting directly across the table from and silently observing the counting teams throughout the night. Too, there was no artificial time pressure of reporting vote results on the 11:00 PM news. They were committed to getting it right.
The sanctity of one person, one vote, unites otherwise deeply divided and polarized Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Tea and every other party. So, why won't a Republican governor and a Democratic AG, both seeking the state's highest office, demand transparent accountability by state officials?
AG Goddard has led a "Keystone Cops" criminal investigation of the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election. Bill Risner sued Pima County, demanding a recount (and they are the party that WON!), trying to assure vote integrity as the result made no sense. How could a measure they supported suddenly win after losing so badly in every previous election?
When a whistleblower came forward saying the election result had been hacked, AUDIT AZ entered the fray. In the original UK Progressive article on this subject, they alleged and proved a Pima County election official had purchased an illegal scanner. Election Director Brad Nelson admitted in a deposition he wanted to test for himself whether ballot scanning machine memory cards could be hacked as demonstrated by Finnish scientist Harry Hursti in the HBO film "Hacking Democracy."
And boy did they test. (The question remains ... until they got it right?) Seventy plus machine memory cards were reported as "damaged." Hacking enough voting machine memory cards to affect an outcome before an election is clearly difficult. The more ingenious way is, as alleged in Risner's case documents, to break into the central tabulator using a simple and untraceable Microsoft Access table. This instantly changes results inside headquarters and leaves no trail.
And this was four years ago, imagine how sophisticated hackers have become since 2006 (placing a full PacMan game on one "sealed" machine being but one example.)
Risner asserts one can determine if the RTA ballot results were hacked by reviewing the polling summary tape totals included with the ballots from the poll site and comparing them with the actual paper ballots from each polling location. A furious legal battle, costing Pima County hundreds of thousands of dollars, ended when AG Goddard's team swooped in and removed the ballots to an undisclosed location from a storage facility in Tucson. He then did his own recount without reconciling the poll tapes and declared the result final.
The problem? Almost one-third of the poll summary tapes, supposedly stored with the ballots, were reported "missing" at the time of his count. No one knows and the AG will not answer whether they were missing when he conducted his recount or before. Too, Pima County officials as "the customer," were allowed unfettered access to the ballot storage facility despite being implicated in the criminal investigation. And the logs of who visited the facility have not been released by the AG.
The issue has been stonewalled because, according to a local attorney wishing to remain anonymous, "by implication, the AG's office ends up looking either incompetent or complicit in a cover-up. With the election just 10-weeks away, the impact it could have on Goddard's election chances to the only office he has coveted since childhood, would be devastating."
Aside from immigration reform, economic loss issues around the "Paper's Please" law and an increasingly radical right-wing agenda, any further light on her otherwise anonymous tenure as secretary of state would create more problems for Governor Brewer's re-election campaign.
The irony is Democrat Goddard may end up hoisted on this petard and never know for certain his own ballot count fate since the rules change makes it easier for heavily Republican and lax-on-security Maricopa County officials to find results that favor Governor Brewer's re-election bid.
No matter what happens, democracy could be the ultimate casualty. As I wrote after the '08 general election for The Huffington Post, with the Maricopa recount case and result, was it possible Arizona's John McCain actually lost his own red state when every other state touching Arizona voted FOR President Obama?
Connecting electoral dots, Phoenix (Maricopa 56-58 percent) and Tucson (Pima 18-22 percent) account for roughly 75 percent of votes cast in any Arizona election. Evidence also exists that Pima County election department staff frequently accessed the early "vote by mail" official count database. Imagine the impact of this "Zogby poll from hell" as John Brakey calls it. "Illegally passing along actual early vote totals to party insiders allows them to conduct a series of Robocall and other campaign activities that could sway voters based not on research or polls but on actual vote counts!"
Arizona is no stranger to election controversy. Paper or machines? Most would probably now vote paper every time. To quote AUDIT AZ's motto: "Election Integrity is not about the Right or Left; it's about right, wrong, greed and corruption."
Friday, August 20, 2010
"I was also asked, 'Do you recall on one occasion when Mr. Evans refused to print a tally report for you and you went to Brad Nelson to complain to him that Robbie wouldn't print the report for you?' my answer was 'No, I don't recall that.'"
On the very same day, Chuck Huckelberry obtained another affidavit from his employee, Brad Nelson, the Elections Director, in which Nelson declares that, "no vote tallies were released prior to 8 Pm on election night, May 21, 2002."
"It's difficult to get people to admit to felonies, especially election officials," says Bill Risner, the attorney for the Democratic Party who recently revealed that 30% of the poll tapes in the 2006 RTA election are missing. Risner compares the people who are creating affidavits now to Robbie Evans, the election worker for Pima County who provided testimony in the electronic records trial. Robbie Evans distinguishes himself by having a clear recollection of this incident in his deposition and in the trial. "Cuvelier's testimony is that she doesn't recall the specific incident." Her affidavit also comes with a blanket declaration that she has never received summary reports before 8:01 in the evening. According to Risner, Evans has no axe to grind and puts his position at risk by providing such testimony at trial.
Huckelberry's characterization of Evans' statements as "completely inaccurate" is also a misleading stretch of the truth. If that were the case, you would think those County lawyers would have raked him over the coals at trial. That didn't happen.
This raises another question. If Evan's testimony is false, why were there no repercussions or challenges of Evan's account?
So who are we supposed to believe? Two people who have been prompted or pressured to sign affidavits in which they deny that they have committed felonies, or an elections worker who provided his recollection of an incident, despite potential risks to his employment?
And what about Brad Nelson? Who would accuse an elections director of lying, especially about summary reports? Oh yeah, Attorney Bill Risner would - and to his face:
Here is Robbie Evan's testimony:
Huckelberry complains about how such recollections of the past affect the credibility of the elections department. He shouldn't rely on the bliss of ignorance to allay suspicion. That's the sort of support he has come to expect at the Tucson Weekly and the Arizona Daily Star. Not here.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
A group of diverse individuals including Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Barry Hess, former Republican state Senator Karen Johnson, and voting activist John Brakey are suing Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, alleging that Maricopa County Elections is involved in various voting shenanigans.
Their claim, which you can read in its entirety, here, was filed this Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court, and asks for injunctive relief and court costs. Judge John Hannah has been assigned the case, but so far no hearing dates have been scheduled.
The petition for an injunction makes several specific allegations against Maricopa County Elections. It alleges that the county has not ordered pollworkers to sign the results tapes, the printouts of the electronic tally captured by the optical scanners the county uses to count ballots.The claim also states that observers are not allowed into the ballot tabulating center's computer room.
Plaintiffs further allege that county elections officials are communicating voting results over the Internet, that observers are not allowed to inspect and photograph the physical results tapes (another name for "poll tapes") after the polls close, that the poll tapes are not being placed into secure envelopes, that elections officials are not segregating the vote count by category, and that only one person is transporting ballot material after the polls close, instead of two, as is required.
Colleen Connor, assistant general counsel with the county's litigation office, said that the claims in the complaint were inaccurate, and based on information gleaned from the 2006 and 2008 elections.
"I don't know if [the claims] were true then," she told me. "But they certainly are not true now."
Connor went point by point over the allegations. She said the county does segregate vote totals in its final canvass of the results, which is then sent to the Board of Supervisors. She sent me a sample of the canvass from 2006 showing this. The information is available through a public records request, but the county does not post the entire canvass online.
Pollworkers are being instructed to sign the poll tapes, Connor said. And ballot material will be transported by at least two individuals. She stated that the poll tapes are placed in secure, sealed envelopes, and that observers are allowed to look at and photograph these results tapes, but they would only be allowed to do so one hour after the polls close, to comply with state law regarding the release of election results.
Access to the ballot tabulating center's small computer room is restricted, but observers can watch through the room's window along the wall, she said. (You can see a live feed from the ballot tabulating center, here.)
As for the most troubling allegation concerning the transmission of electronic results through the Internet, Connor described how memory packs from the Sequoia-manufactured voting machines are taken to one of 22 receiving sites and read by a laptop. She said the information is then sent over an analog phone line using Sequoia's software, and that the information is password encrypted.
(Note: Sequoia was recently acquired by Dominion Voting Systems, which has offices in Denver, New York and Toronto.)
Black Box Voting's Jim March, one of the plaintiffs' investigators, contested this, saying that a temp staffer from the 2008 election told him that the county had software for a cellular modem on at least one of the county's 2008 laptops.
Referring to access to the computer room, March complained that he cannot properly observe what's going on in the room through its window. He said that he was once yelled at for attempting to use a pair of binoculars to watch what was going on inside.
(Connor told me March would be allowed to use binoculars this time around. Score one for the Libertarians.)
Asked why they waited until just days before the primary to file their suit, plaintiff John Brakey said he and March were only recently asked to be observers for the Libertarian Party in the upcoming elections, and then began their digging.
"We went through our old notes," he said, "and talked to others who had recent contact with [Maricopa County Elections] as either observers or staff. We then asked an important question...basically, `We know this stuff is stupid, but is it also illegal?'"
He continued: "What we found was that it was systematically illegal top to bottom."
One intersting aside concerns the Sequoia touch voting screens. There's one at each polling place, and they are used mainly by folks with impaired vision.
Apparently, these machines can be hacked. In fact, a couple of university professors went so far as to demonstrate that they could even play Pac-Man on the machine. They do admit it took them a couple of afternoons to make this happen.
However, March says the machines could be hacked within a matter of minutes.
Connor countered that there are bar code seals on the touch voting machines to prevent tampering.
In the 2006 general election, there were 303 touch screen votes recorded out of a total of about 900,000 votes cast. In the 2008 general election, 165 voters used the touch screen devices, out of more than a million votes cast.
Brakey said their concerns about the touch screens were not in the lawsuit because the issue involves such a small percentage of total votes cast.
Considering the fact that the primary is this Tuesday, August 24, it seems unlikely that Brakey, March and the others will get their day in court before that. But if they do, I'll let you know what happens.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
"I can continue to factually debunk unfounded accusations that cast any doubt on the integrity of County election processes as I believe it is very important that voters have the highest level of confidence in election integrity and election results. Continual misrepresentation of facts without a response from the County damages election integrity and credibility."
"Well, lets start with Robbie Evan's testimony about Oro Valley Town Clerk Kathy Cuvelier being shown summary reports before the polls closed. This time, providing typical bureaucratic lip service just ain't gonna work. Everyone should expect more, especially when so many legal indiscretions start to pile up. Chuck Huckelberry is so slick he can't get a grip on himself. The only folks damaging election integrity and credibility are those who are still running the Pima Elections Department despite their past violations of the law."
AUDIT AZ has now turned its attention to Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona responsible for 56% of the total votes in Arizona. Here is their announcement of the lawsuit:
EMERGENCY LAWSUIT FILED TO FORCE MARICOPA COUNTY ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT TO FOLLOW THE LAW TO PROTECT UPCOMING ELECTION RESULTS FROM ELECTION FRAUD
Pre-election research over the last three weeks (based on the work of AUDIT AZ since 2006) discovered flagrant ILLEGAL violations of Arizona Election Laws. The interlocking pattern of deliberate violations of these security measures indicated below makes manipulation of vote counting easy, leaving elections vulnerable to fraud that is very difficult to detect in a timely fashion:
1) Arizona Election Law requires poll workers to sign poll tapes at the conclusion of the ballot count. Maricopa Elections has removed the signature line and changed the pollworker manual to remove instructions for poll workers to sign the poll tapes printed by the precinct electronic voting machines.
2) Maricopa Elections Dept. has prevented properly credentialed party observers from observing the central tabulator systems.
3) Maricopa Elections Dept. has been connecting to and distributing election data over the Internet, in violation of Arizona law.
4) Maricopa Elections Dept uses uncertified software on the certified voting systems. These are listed in AZ law specifically as felonies.
5) Maricopa County blocks the public from knowing the vote totals at the precinct, instructing poll workers to withhold results and prevents any observers from photographing the machine totals. This is in open violation of Arizona law. Pinal County, just south of Maricopa, posts their vote totals (or result totals) on the outside of the polling house door. Why does Maricopa hide these results?
6) Maricopa County ordered their poll workers for all recent elections not to place the poll tapes produced by the electronic voting machines (“results tapes” that should, by law, be signed) into the sealed “official returns envelope”. This sealed envelope is to be preserved in case of a challenge.
7) Maricopa Elections Dept. orders their poll workers to return critical ballot materials (the “memory cartridge” electronic ballot boxes) from the polling places at the end of election day with one person only. Arizona law requires two persons to be assigned this task, one from each party.
8) Maricopa Elections Dept reports election results, combining mail-in, precinct and provisional votes. It is easier to tamper with election results either by the precinct or mail-in votes. Tampering with both to make them more or less equivalent in terms of the percentage of fraud is difficult. If a candidate or issue wins a large majority in one type of voting and loses in the other, it’s a strong indicator of election tampering. Maricopa County combines all distinguished parts of the data into one total to avoid detection of these disparities.
These problems “interlock” to form a net aggregate that ultimately effects the outcome of the election. This scheme allows for one or two discrepancies to be found, with the follow up excuse, "Yes, this was wrong, but it didn't effect the outcome of the election." If observers aren’t allowed to see the precinct data on election night (5) or afterwards (8), and are blocked from seeing what goes on at the central tabulator (2) when it gets there on systems connected to the internet (3) on unknown, untested and illegal software (4) and the one reliable record available of precinct results isn’t signed (1) or put in a sealed bag for later review (6), then it’s not a credible election. In our opinion, all of this activity is illegal and we will make that argument in court.
The state of Arizona is the most difficult state in which a recount can occur. Recounts are automatically generated only when there is a one tenth of one percent or smaller difference in election totals. Florida is the only other state comes close to this standard, and Florida recounts are still easier to obtain. In Arizona, a candidate challenge is impossible, even if the candidate pays for it. This is a recipe for un-auditable election fraud.
A pattern is emerging in Arizona elections. In the case of Maricopa Legislative District 20 (Sept 2004), Elections Director Karen Osborn testified that an 18% error rate on optical scanning machines was within the accepted error rate for those machines. This same election fiasco resulted in ballots being confiscated by the FBI. Unfortunately, the FBI refused to properly investigate this case. Regarding the Pima County legal battle over the disputed RTA Election, a court ordered examination of the stored poll tapes from the RTA election of May 2006 showed that a third of the poll tapes were missing.
Maricopa County Elections is responsible for counting 56% of the total votes of the state of Arizona and could easily swing election results for the statewide election. We are a group of concerned citizens from five Arizona counties, who have requested (as individuals) an emergency hearing to ask the court provide remedy for these violations of the law before the upcoming election on the 24th of August. This Special Action Relief request asks for an expedited hearing to ensure that the upcoming election will follow election law with accurate results in this upcoming election and all future elections in the state of Arizona.
John R Brakey
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Oro Valley Town Clerk Kathy Cuvelier was shown summary reports on a past Election Day before the polls closed. This activity is in direct violation of state law A.R.S. Sec. 16-621 (a), where it states: “there shall be no preferential counting of ballots for the purpose of projecting the outcome of the election”. Despite this illegal activity, the same people are in charge of the Pima County Elections Division, which is under the direct control of Chuck Huckelberry, who remains the county administrator.
AUDIT AZ Released this Statement:
Pima County wants to start counting Early Ballots August 18th! That is 7 days before the election. This a very bad idea. From the litigation and their own records we learned that they have a long tradition of peeking into the "who's winning and losing" by illegally printing the election results report. Of the data before every election from 2004 to 2006 (when we busted them) based on their own system's audit logs. They were doing it before then based on eyewitness testimony in court, but the log system didn't track it back then.
This data is incredibly valuable, both politically and financially. It can be used as a "Zogby poll from hell", far more accurate and detailed than any big-bucks polling system and therefore also very useful if you need to know how much fraud to do before each election.
Tell your member of the Pima Board of Supervisors that you reject this plan to facilitate fraud in an agency known for fraud in this area.
Your supervisors are here: http://www.pima.gov/bos/bos1.html
Here is the proof. The testimony of Mr. Robbie Evans Pima County Election Integrity Trial Arizona in December 2007
The plaintiff case seeks to illustrate for the judge that the elections division is unworthy of public trust, is marked by maladministration, persistent errors of judgment, and flaws and neglect in their security procedures. The purpose of Robbie Evans testimony is to give the judge specific reasons why the public interest would be better served by public scrutiny of those records that would allow confirmation of the integrity of the election process than by keeping those records confidential. One consistent theme in the testimony is that summary reports, which contain current vote totals, were frequently printed before elections were closed and handled somewhat casually. Another consistent theme was Bryan Crane's practice of taking home computer data backups for the remarkably consistent purpose of protecting the data should the building burn down. This in spite the presence of the fire-proof safe in the computer room.
Speak up, folks Elections matter!
John Brakey, co-founder of AUDIT-AZ (Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections, Arizona) http://www.audit-az.blogspot.com/
EDA & AUDIT-AZ’s Mission: to restore public ownership and oversight of elections, work to 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 audited election process.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
New Yorkers Turn Out to Support U.S. Boat Sailing to Break Gaza BlockadeMore than 400 New Yorkers crowded into the Marco Polo Marina on 23 rd Street at the FDR Drive last night for a sunset cruise around Manhattan to support the U.S. Boat to Gaza.
The boat, named The Audacity of Hope, will sail under the U.S. flag as part of a new international Freedom Flotilla whose organizers are vowing to break the siege of Gaza this fall.
Ranging in age from 18 to 89, supporters from around New York and as far away as Hawaii heard prominent journalists, actors, musicians, poets, and survivors of past flotillas express feelings of urgency about the situation in Gaza and distress at their own country’s role in it.
Jane Hirschmann, an organizer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, emphasized the significance of sending a U.S. boat as part of the next flotilla: We in the United States participate in this siege whether we know it or not, because the U.S. gives over three billion dollars a year to Israel, most of which is military aid. We need to say a resounding No! to U.S. complicity in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the siege of Gaza, she said. Interest in the venture has been overwhelming, and the capacity crowd on tonight’s cruise is indicative of a new surge of popular support for a change in U.S. policy toward Israel/Palestine.
Speaker Ann Wright, a former deputy ambassador to Afghanistan and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, was a participant in the most recent flotilla this past May when Israeli armed forces killed nine passengers as Israeli soldiers rappelled down from a helicopter onto the deck of the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara. Wright spoke about the importance of continued international efforts to break the blockade and specifically of the need for a U.S. boat as part of the next flotilla.
The effort to send a U.S. boat to break the blockade also comes in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, a massive Israeli military attack in December 2008 January 2009, which resulted in the deaths of over 1400 people in Gaza, most of them civilians, and exacerbated a dire humanitarian crisis there. An extensive and detailed list of human rights violations and possible war crimes were documented as part of the UN investigation that produced the Goldstone Report. After vilifying the Report and its lead author, Justice Richard Goldstone, Israel has recently admitted that many of its findings were in fact accurate as determined by an internal investigation.
Concern for the humanitarian situation in Gaza was on the minds of many aboard tonight’s New York City cruise. Joel Bitar, another organizer, explained, Despite Israeli government propaganda to the contrary, the siege of Gaza is ongoing. Though the Israeli government is allowing a few more goods into Gaza in the wake of the May 31 attack, the Palestinians of Gaza are still prevented from coming and going. They can’t sell their goods, they don’t control their air space, their electricity or their water, and they have been unable to rebuild all the homes, schools, hospitals, police stations and other essential structures destroyed by the Israelis in the winter of 2009. She added, They are living, as British Prime Minister David Cameron said last week, in a prison camp.
“The comparison to a prison camp is an apt one,” said Laurie Arbeiter, another U.S. Boat organizer. “The definition of a prison camp is a place where people and goods cannot go or come without the say-so of the guards , in this case, Israel. One can argue whether the guards are nice guards or mean guards or whether the prisoners are well treated or poorly treated. But there can be no dispute that Gaza is a prison for 1.5 million people who have committed no crime other than voting. The purpose of these flotillas is to open the gates of the prison.”
The U.S. Boat to Gaza is part of the larger international movement to achieve justice and freedom for the Palestinian people. As nonviolent protests against Israeli government policies, including the vast expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, are held regularly in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and as the Palestinian-initiated non-violent campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel grows in international support, the U.S. Boat to Gaza joins the growing global movement to end the Israeli siege of Gaza and its illegal occupation of Palestine.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Dr. Sagalevich’s report was drawn up and presented to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In this report, the investigator from the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology and the Russian Academy of Science has stated that the ocean floor has been irreparably damaged and that the planet must prepare for an ecological disaster “beyond all understanding”.
The reason why Dr. Sagalevich was called by BP is because he is the leading world expert in deepwater exploration, having been awarded the order of Lenin for the creation of the submersibles MIR-1 and MIR-2, which are capable of diving to a depth of 6 km, the deepest-reaching submarines in the world.
For Dr. Sagalevich, the oil pouring into the Gulf is not just coming from one source, as the media have been claiming, but fro 18 different places. According to the report, the Russian scientists called by the USA are forbidden to divulge their findings to the media – yet another source backing up the claim that there is a media blackout.
According to a report in Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russian experts are pressing the Americans to use a nuclear explosion to extinguish the well, before it destroys the Atlantic Ocean. The USSR apparently used nuclear explosions five times (being successful on four of these occasions) to extinguish problematic oil and gas deposits between 1966 and 1981.
For Dr. Sagalevich, the problem facing the Obama administration as regards using a nuclear explosion to seal the well has more to do with the effects on the continued exploration of oil in the Gulf of Mexico than the environmental impact of the Deepwater disaster.
Russian scientists are also warning against the use of the poisonous dispersing agents by BP against the oil, due to the fact that this falls elsewhere as acid rain and is destroying all the plant life it comes into contact with.
Source and original article:
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The disclosure of tens of thousands of classified reports on the Afghan war last week by WikiLeaks has been compared, rightly or wrongly, to the release in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. "The parallels are very strong," Pentagon Papers contributor and leaker Daniel Ellsberg told The Washington Post on Monday. "This is the largest unauthorized disclosure since the Pentagon Papers."
But perhaps not large enough? Outlook asked Ellsberg for his wish list of documents to be leaked, declassified or otherwise made public, documents that could fundamentally alter public understanding of key national security issues and foreign policy debates. Below, he outlines his selections and calls for congressional investigations:
1. The official U.S. "order of battle" estimates of the Taliban in Afghanistan, detailing its size, organization and geographic breakdown -- in short, the total of our opponents in this war. If possible, a comparison of the estimate in December 2009 (when President Obama decided on a troop increase and new strategy) and the estimate in June or July 2010 (after six or seven months of the new strategy). We would probably see that our increased presence and activities have strengthened the Taliban, as has happened over the past three years.
2. Memos from the administration's decision-making process between July and December 2009 on the new strategy for Afghanistan, presenting internal critiques of the McChrystal-Petraeus strategy and troop requests -- similar to the November 2009 cables from Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry that were leaked in January. In particular, memos by Vice President Biden, national security adviser Jim Jones and others; responses to the critiques; and responses to the responses. This paperwork would probably show that, like Eikenberry, other high-level internal critics of escalation made a stronger and more realistic case than its advocates, warranting congressional reexamination of the president's policy.
3. The draft revision, known as a "memo to holders," of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran from November 2007. This has been held up for the past several months, apparently because it is consistent with the judgment of that NIE that Iran has not made a decision to produce nuclear weapons. In particular, the contribution to that memo by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), since the INR has had the best track record on such matters. Plus, estimates by the INR and others of the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran later this summer. Such disclosures could arrest momentum toward a foreseeably disastrous U.S.-supported attack, as the same finding did in 2007.
4. The 28 or more pages on the foreknowledge or involvement of foreign governments (particularly Saudi Arabia) that were redacted from the congressional investigation of 9/11, over the protest of then-Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.).
On each of these matters, congressional investigation is called for. The chance of this would be greatly strengthened by leaks from insiders. Subsequent hearings could elicit testimony from the insiders who provided the information (whose identities could be made known to congressional investigators) and others who, while not willing to take on the personal risks of leaking, would be ready to testify honestly under oath if requested or subpoenaed by Congress. Leaks are essential to this process.