Election Integrity is not about the 'Right' or 'Left'...it's about RIGHT and WRONG!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Judge Gives Green Light for Election Integrity Lawsuit

Andrea Kelly of the Arizona Daily Star reports:

"A state attorney general's investigation of the RTA election is not grounds to delay a Democratic Party suit against Pima County over access to public records, Superior Court Judge Michael Miller found Monday.

That means civil proceedings will continue without regard to the criminal investigation.

The Pima County Democratic Party filed two civil suits against the Board of Supervisors this year, seeking previously denied public records and databases relating to elections activity in the County Elections Division.

In the course of litigating these cases, the party discovered early ballots had been counted before election day, and requested an investigation of the May 2006 Regional Transportation Authority vote, saying it suspected the vote tallies could have been "flipped" or reversed.

The county asked the judge in the civil suits to stay one of the cases, or put it on hold, pending the results of the investigation on the grounds several of the people involved in the civil suit could also be interviewed in the criminal investigation.
Pima County Democratic Party attorney William Risner said the case involves the public's right to investigate elections, so it should not be put on hold.

Miller said the county request fails to meet several qualifications for the stay of proceedings. The case and the investigation involve different parties, different attorneys and different subject matter, Miller said."

This is good news for election integrity activists and transparency in our elections. Hopefully, via the lawsuits, we can get to the bottom of what exactly is going on in the Pima Election's Department and why they are printing off voter records illegally before the end of the election.

Jeff Rogers, attorney, did an opinion piece in the Arizona Daily Star a few days ago "RTA lawsuits are about integrity of elections"

"What is at issue is the integrity of our election process and our democratic form of government. The real story is what the Democratic Party is doing to make sure everyone's vote counts.

To meet its legal responsibility to provide election oversight, the Pima County Democratic Party was forced to file two public records lawsuits. The article discussed one of these, implying that the purpose was to challenge the RTA election. A related Star article presented a similar perspective ("RTA lawyer: It's too late to challenge vote," May 31). On the contrary, the Democratic Party fully and publicly supported the RTA."...

"After the 2006 general election, the Democratic Party discovered from computer print logs that summaries of early voting results were printed by a county elections employee on several different occasions before Election Day.

Viewing such extremely valuable information is prohibited, as it reveals how candidates are doing in their races. Arizona law makes it illegal to examine early vote tallies to project the outcome of an election. This is why results are not tallied until election night.

The Democratic Party sought records of the unauthorized reports but the county denied the request. The Democratic Party filed its public records lawsuit in February.

The Democratic Party also made a public records request for the Diebold "GEMS" electronic voting database, Pima County's central electronic voting tabulator file. This is not a request to obtain proprietary software, just the database and information it contains.

In refusing to turn over these electronic records, the county relied on the alleged "secret coding" of candidates as its sole reason for refusal. It turns out that Pima County's "secret" codes were actually published on the secretary of state's public Web site.

The county also made the astonishing suggestion that releasing the database to the party — which has a statutory oversight role — would compromise elections. There is no danger whatsoever in releasing the database, which is a public record. That information is essential to determining whether manipulation has occurred.

The Alaska Division of Elections released its voting database to the Alaska Democratic Party in 2006, concluding it was a public record and there were no security issues involved in its release."
Read the full article here.

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