Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Editorial: Cannibalism or Disinfectant? Missing the Plot in Arizona

by Denis G. Campbell

UK Progressive

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.


Republican Obstructionism
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."

March goes on to further assert: “I explained that what I was seeing was a connection between the central tabulator (also known as an “Election Management System” or “EMS”) and the general internet, and that per my understanding of AZ law via statute and the Secretary of State’s current edition of the state-standard election processing manual (May 2010), this cross-connection is illegal. He shrugged. I asked him to look and see what was happening; he refused saying he “couldn’t get involved”.


The implication is Republican controlled vote counting in Maricopa County can be hacked right there at the main tabulation source.

Democratic Cannibalism
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:

“John -

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:

Hi Jeff:

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. …

Bill Risner

1 comment:

  1. Sooooooo...they're committing flagrant crimes in Maricopa county elections as well it seems as we get ready for an election. Where's the front page headlines? "Attacking accusers rather than the problem" seems to be the method of governance on many different levels lately. Dare I say "since 9/11?" And am I crazy for being floored that Bill Risner endorsed Terry Goddard for governor? And apparently with a "race to the bottom" mentality of "Yeah but (insert opponent's name here) is worse." Is not this an example of an electoral and political system as really a system of control rather than consent when you have a guy work for years on a case that stolen and adulterated by a public official and then the same guy wants that public official promoted? Where's the freedom if you're forced by the crew "on deck" for a superior officer who is endangering the ship? "Yar, but if we don't, black Brewer'll have to be captain." How about we let "Black Brewer" be captain and then jump ship somewhere, because it seems like both captains want to sail to "where there be dragons," the only difference is one gives you better rations.