Black Box Voting : Latest News : Mainstream News Reports: (AZ) Probe of possible vote rigging may stall case
Posted by Jim March on Thursday, June 07, 2007
There's likely to be a LOT more to talk about on this one after the
12th of this month (another court hearing date).
There has been enough public discussion of this case that I think I
can talk about some of it. I'm involved in this up to my neck, hired
by the Democratic Party as a consultant, I helped prep the public
records requests, etc.
First thing that happened was, during the general election 2006 (Nov.)
a new set of procedures had to be created to allow at least
hand-spot-checking (hand audit counts) of a small percentage of the
mail-in ballots. Up until then there was no hand-recount ("spot
check") law at all.
The new procedures called for doing "audit batches" of mail-in ballots
processed specially to allow hand-counting. These boxes were randomly
picked by party observers. A printout of the summary report (the
"who's winning" report!) would be made, about 400ish ballots would be
scanned, then another summary report is cut. NOBODY was supposed to
look at the summary reports (this is up to two weeks before election
day) and all three parts (two summaries plus ballots) would be taped
up in a cardboard box with tamper-evidence seals all over it. Party
observers would watch the process and make sure nobody "peeked" - and
record the tamper seal serial numbers. Party people also recorded when
these special boxes were created and knew how many existed.
So after the election, we asked for the GEMS audit log. The county
stalled for about 19 days. We took the audit log, compared the summary
report print events to the audit box counts and found we were off - at
least three apparent "extra printouts" of how the election was going
were made prior to polls close. Seriously prior.
Alarmed, we (Democratic Party plus Libertarian me) asked to see the
video tape covering the hours in which the extra printouts were made.
Whoops. The video was on a 20-day rotation cycle and since they'd
stalled, it was all gone. Too bad.
Well now we were upset. So in basically a surprise move, we got audit
logs off the machine covering prior elections going back to 2002
(oldest GEMS files they had that record print events).
They didn't like it, but they (county elections office) did cough 'em
up with myself watching.
In scanning the logs, 2002 looked clean (no printouts of election
results) but in EVERY election we obtained records for after that,
somebody had either been printing summary reports or "peeking at them"
("print preview" to the screen command). 2004 general and primary,
2006 special election (RTA race), 2006 primary.
In the case of the primary of '06, on the saturday before election day
somebody did a summary report at 3:45pm. At around 8:00pm this
horrible slanderous "robocall" (automated voice message) went out to
voters in Ted Downing's area where he was running for Senate against
another Democrat with no Repubs in the race - so whoever won the
primary won the whole match. The ad was paid for by the Republican
Party and slammed Downing six ways from Sunday. Ted Downing was THE
strongest election integrity legislator in AZ.
OK, so now our hackles were up. Bigtime.
We asked for an accounting of the summary reports that had been
printed out during the '06 general and stuck into the "audit boxes".
The county's reply? "Whoops, we locked 'em in the vault with the
ballots and per state law, since the ballots can't be looked at, we're
assuming everything locked with them (even though the summary reports
ARE public record!) are in a no-touchy situation. So sorry."