Hearing on Ballot Destruction in Pima, AZ Election Fraud Case

Staying Order Sought to Preserve Ballots Pending Appeal

August 28, 2009 The elusive Pima County ballots that absconded to Maricopa and continue to evade public hand-counting going on four years, return to a Tucson courtroom today for a ruling on their fate.

The Democratic Party, through their attorney Bill Risner, and the Libertarian Party, will ask the judge to stay his order concerning destruction of the RTA ballot evidence, until an appeal of his earlier decision in which he claimed that Arizona courts do not have jurisdiction to consider allegations of fraud in any election. The essential issue in today's hearing is the decision on the stay question. The jurisdictional question is extremely important, but will be moot if the ballots are destroyed.

UPDATE 09/01/09:

See Courtroom Video of Friday's Hearing, and Evidence the Attorney General Ignored

Friday August 28th, 2:30 pm
Pima County Superior Court
110 West Congress,
4th floor, room 472

Judge Harrington presiding
The hearing topic is the Pima County Republican Party's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. The lawsuit, Beth Ford v. Democratic Party of Pima County,  also includes the Libertarian and Republican Parties. In this Declaratory Judgment action, Beth Ford, the Pima County treasurer and custodian of the RTA ballots, has asked the court for "direction" as to whether she is required to destroy the RTA ballots.

What’s At Stake

The real issue is whether our courts have any role in guaranteeing honest elections. Judge Harrington ruled that he is unable to consider whether an election was rigged. The procedural ruling said that the court did not have jurisdiction of the very subject. It was assumed for the decision that the election was fraudulent and the result "rigged" to give a false result.

Nonetheless, the Judge said Arizona's courts could not hear or consider such a case. He said that a voter has five days only to challenge an election after the election canvass is approved. It is impossible to challenge an election within five days because a challenge must allege specifics that prove the outcome was actually different. Meeting such a standard of proof within 5 days of an election is, practically speaking, never going to happen.

If proof is obtained -- as for instance in the RTA case,  a sworn statement that the computer operator had been ordered to rig the election and did so -- the court nonetheless avers that it is powerless to consider it.

That is an unacceptable situation in a democracy, whether in Arizona or anywhere in the world. We want to appeal. An appellate court needs to rule on this issue. We think it is clearly wrong. If correct, we want it in writing from an appellate court that our courts are powerless to consider fraudulent elections. That is the issue. If the ballots from the suspect 2006 RTA election are destroyed, then a court of appeals will not be able to even consider the case.

Prospective Relief

The Arizona Transparency coalition that has pursued this case is seeking “prospective relief” so that in the future, election officials on the inside cannot cheat as they have in the RTA election. However, history shows there are many ways to cheat and if more ways are found, the courthouse doors must be kept open to right the wrong. This case is as fundamental as it gets. Adding to this all the other Pima election problems previously exposed, documented, and yet not answered, leaves the public questioning whether votes are being secured and accurately counted in Pima County.
The previous case in Judge Miller’s court room proved that Pima Count’s voting system is “fatally flawed.” When counting and processing of the ballots is concealed from the public, the only solution is transparency, transparency, and more transparency at all times, not election theater.

A Solution in View

Yes, voting is a secret process; however, counting and verifying our votes must be a public process. That’s why the solution that the Arizona Transparency Project is working toward is graphic scanning of ballots as done in Humboldt County, California.
If you're in the Tucson area, join us  for the premiere of Fatally Flawed, September 16th at 7:00 p.m. at the Loft Theater, 3233 E Speedway Blvd., Tucson.   Click for details

View Fatally Flawed, the you-are-there documentary on this case, and see with your own eyes why the use of electronic voting machines is a “fatally flawed” approach to democracy.