BREAKING: Pima County (AZ) Republican Party Throws It’s Weight behind the Pima County Democratic Party’s Demand that the AZ Attorney General Preserve the Ballots from the $2-Billion RTA Ballot Initiative and Allow Them to Be Recounted, Given Extensive Evidence that the Official Count May Have Been Rigged.
In the 2006 General Election in Pima County, AZ, there was a ballot initiative to impose a half-cent sales tax to fund a 20-year $2-billion Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) plan. Contrary to expectation based on pre-polling and four previous rejections, the RTA initiative now appeared to have been approved by the voters. However, Tucson election-integrity activist John Brakey obtained by FOIA requests election-computer audit logs and with the aid of activist Jim March and Tucson attorney Bill Risner discovered evidence that the election computer operator Brian Crane had performed a series of operations that were extremely irregular. In fact, this particular sequence of operator interventions corresponded exactly to the pattern expected IF Crane had first read the results of the first week’s early voting and then, after finding voters were again rejecting the RTA, he wrote a program to flip the votes no-to-yes and overwrote the data base with this vote-flipping program. I’ve described this background in greater detail in an earlier post, including the incredible-but-true story of how Republican and Democratic Arizona State legislators got past their reflexive mutual suspicions and passed one of the better election-integrity laws in the country.
Still, the legal battle to secure additional election-computer data bases (for scrutiny by all major parties) AND a hand recount of the RTA paper ballots (to see whether or not Brian Crane actually committed election fraud) was carried forward in the courts by Bill Risner under the aegis of the Pima County Democratic Party with the backing of the Libertarian Party. Until about a month ago, the Pima Republican Party was part of the opposition – despite the fact that Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard appeared to have been white washing the case against Crane and refused repeatedly to intervene to save the RTA paper ballots from destruction. Now the Republican Party is also in favor of preserving and recounting the RTA ballots. I strongly recommend that the reader download the recent letters to AG Goddard by the Pima Republican Party and, especially the one by Bill Risner. Bill’s open letter to Goddard dated 2-19-09 provides an excellent history of the matter, replete with technical details and authenticating footnotes.
It now appears that a Monday morning hearing at the Pima County Courthouse may decide this critical-for-American-democracy matter for better of for worse: For better if the RTA ballots are preserved and handled with a rigorous chain of custody until counted in full public view; for worse if the ballots are destroyed – OR if a single person or office is granted control of the ballots with no chain of custody for an extended period of time before either claiming their hand count agreed with the original official count and/or releasing what they claim to be the original ballots for public counting.
Monday’s hearing (Superior Court Judge Charles Harrington, presiding) will be at 10:00 AM in Room 478 of the Pima County Building at 110 W Congress Street, Tucson. Those of you who live nearby and have the time should come down for this historical moment. Those farther away should urge the news media to cover it.
“The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery."
- - Thomas Paine