AZ Activists Win Release of Past and Future E-vote Databases

Pima County is Ordered to Release Data on Elections

By Andrea Kelly, Arizona Daily Star, May 24, 2008

TUCSON, AZ-- A Pima County Superior Court judge has ordered county officials to release a series of elections database records requested by the Democratic Party more than a year ago.

The judge's ruling also requires release of databases for all future elections.
The ruling comes after months of court hearings and decisions.

After the December trial, in which the Pima County Democratic Party and the county argued as to whether the records were public and, if so, whether their release posed a security risk, Judge Michael Miller ordered the release of databases for the primary and general elections in 2006.

That was only part of the party's request for electronic database records.

In January, the Pima County Board of Supervisors decided to also release the database records for the May 2006 Regional Transportation election.

Following that decision, the party asked for a new trial to consider the release of the rest of the records it requested, which included all of the Diebold GEMS and Microsoft database election files. It is those which the judge has released in his latest order.

The county Democratic Party says the decision sets a national precedent for open government and election integrity.

"Ultimately if you're going to have electronic voting and electronic election records, you need to have electronic oversight.
It's as simple as that," said Vince Rabago, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party.

People from across the country interested in election integrity issues have contacted the party about this case, Rabago said.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors will likely discuss the ruling with attorneys at its next meeting June 3, said Daniel Jurkowitz, deputy Pima County attorney.

The previous release included about 300 computer database files, and fulfillment of the full order will bring that number to about 1,100, Jurkowitz said.

In court, the county said releasing the records could put the county elections department at risk of a security breach. But the Democratic Party argued that there was no specific risk, and that allowing more people to see the records reduced the possibility of fraud.

Richard Elías, chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, said the ruling reflects the desires of the public.

"I think the people spoke through the Democratic Party, and the judge heard that and made a good decision," said Elías, a Democrat. "This is a good victory for all of us who want to see elections run more carefully."

He said the county elections process has changed dramatically in the last few years and has led to more security, and he hopes that continues.

Miller's ruling requires the release of data on future elections to occur when the election is officially canvassed. This is important because state law limits election-results challenges to the five days following the official canvas.

Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll said the Democratic Party's victory extends to any concerned citizen.

He said he would have released the records in the first place, and
has voted for releasing the records.

The judge has not yet ruled on a request that the county pay the Democratic Party's legal fees, which run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. He took the issue under advisement after a hearing earlier this month.

Contact reporter Andrea Kelly at 573-4243

Pima Election Lawsuit Update March 18, 2008
EDA Invesitgations Co-coordinator John Brakey writes:
"Mainstream media in Tucson get it!  They see the seriousness of the problem in the fight for election transparency, just not in Pima County but nationwide!  This story is hitting the AP wire.

Today's Top Breaking News Headlines for Phoenix and the Nation

County, Democrats Spar Over Witness Testimony in Election Lawsuit

by Associated Press

March 18th, 2008 @ 5:17am
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) --Pima County attorneys are asking a judge to bar additional testimony in a lawsuit by the Pima County Democratic Party.
The party wants access to all county electronic voting records going back to the late 1990s.

County attorneys will ask Judge Michael Miller Tuesday morning to prohibit the Democrat's attorney Bill Risner from deposing additional witnesses to buttress local Democrat's contentions that the county is overstating concerns that release of electronic databases from past elections would pose a risk to the security of future elections. . . . [ AP story continues below video ].

Must See Video: "Will Your Vote Count?" by Tucson Citizen reporter Daniel Buckley
Click here to open video: Will your vote count?
This video link opens to the Tucson Citizen website. It is WORTH it to go there to view this hands-on demonstration of insider election rigging techniques.
At a 3/11/08 Tucson Citizen editorial board meeting, EDA investigators John Brakey and Jim March show reporters how computerized votes are tabulated and demonstrate several ways the vote count can be tampered with, and how easy it is to do. Voting machines across the country can be just as easily rigged as these machines used in Pima County.
NOTE: The video opens with screenshots of not much happening. Stay with it-- soon the scenes switch to Brakey and March doing a walk-through of GEMS database hacking. In the intro section, Attorney Bill Risner explains the difference between external security measures --sealing the voting machines off from outside attack--and internal security risks, which are all about insider access to the machines. This is the heart of the Pima election lawsuit and the investigation that brought these insider attacks to court.
[AP story continues]
In their year-old lawsuit against the Pima County Board of Supervisors, Democrats have maintained that much more is potentially at stake in the lawsuit than local political parties access to local electronic election records.

They suggest security flaws and potential hacking involving the same Diebold-GEMS elections system used in the county that was also used in numerous jurisdictions nationwide.
In December 2007, the judge ruled the county must turn over some of the databases sought by the Democrats, but not all.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors in January expanded on Miller's order to release databases from the 2006 primary and general elections to also include the electronic records of the May 16 Regional Transportation Authority election held that year.

Risner has since asked the judge to amend that ruling and compel the county to release all the electronic election databases in its possession or to allow a new trial over the issue. The judge is to rule on Risner's request for an amended decision or new trial at an April 21 court session.

Risner said he wants depositions taken against new witnesses before that hearing. In his ruling in December 2007, Miller cited security concerns raised by county attorneys as part of his reason for not releasing all the county's electronic elections databases.

The lawsuit seeking those databases was filed by the Pima County Democratic Party to gain access to county elections records to check for signs of tampering with the county's Diebold-GEMS vote system, or through software used to tabulate ballots cast in those elections.

Information from: Tucson Citizen,

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Check here for latest local updates on this story

The Diebold Records In Pima County: Understanding The Settlement

By Jim March and John R Brakey

The election integrity community is about to get something unique: access to the raw "electronic debris" from the three major elections of 2006. The files in question are created by the Diebold central tabulator system and were used to control how the elections operated and take in the data on votes.

What's unique is that for each of the three elections, we're going to get ALL such files, not just the "final result" file.

Each election contains up to 40 or more files. They can be viewed as "time slices" of the progress of the election: the initial setup, the intake of the mail-in vote day by day, the election-day processing and the post-election provisionals and final canvass.

We can finally do a real audit.

Better yet: we can design an automated software tool that does comparisons and tracks trends over time, reporting on such issues as timestamps, "Did the parts that aren't supposed to change get hacked?", "Do the multiple copies of vote totals in each file always match?" and much, much more.

Any "funny business" in there could reveal itself in any number of ways. To take just one example: The candidate IDs aren't supposed to be tampered with once the vote intake begins. Were they? Do the internal timestamps within the files show any changes once the election began? We've never had the ability to analyze this stuff, until now.

Once the tool is built, it will report changes that seem "wrong" once loaded with the file set for any election. Human eyeballs will have to follow up to determine if there was a real issue, but the key is that in AZ election challenges must follow within five days of the canvass.
An automated, open-source software tool usable by anyone can be used to chew through the volume of data needed and where necessary, trigger challenges by ANY candidate or party within the legal limits for filing.

This is a win for every party, every candidate, and every voter nationally. Once the tool is built and the need for analysis becomes obvious, access to these records in other states and soon, other voting system vendors, will turn into a standard method of ciitizen election oversight nationwide.

And anyone with a penchant for cheating will have to worry that "we the people" will be watching.

Jan. 8 Action: Tell Pima Supervisors, Full Disclosure

Judge Orders Release of 2006 Primary and General Election Databases

Read detailed courtroom coverage here

Download the Judge Miller Advisement Ruling here

The following text and video dispatches are from John Brakey, co-founder of AUDIT-AZ and the EDA Co-coordinator for Investigations, introducing a groundbreaking investigation and lawsuit to compel release of the public election data (VOTES) stored inside the Diebold electronic voting system for Pima County, Arizona.

Trial Video
See filmed coverage of the three-day trial here:

12/28 Trial Update from John Brakey: County Appeals Disclosure Order

12/7 Update from John Brakey:

News article from front page of the Tucson Citizen, 12/6/07:

Record of votes in '06 RTA election missing
Tape may confirm whether results were altered

Tucson Citizen

Potentially important evidence is missing in the Pima County Democrats' lawsuit against the county Elections Division regarding how votes were handled in a 2006 election.

No one seems to know what happened to a computer tape record of the May 16, 2006 Regional Transportation Authority election.

The tape was sent to the the Arizona Secretary of State's Office after the election last year and reportedly was returned to the county.


2nd Day Trial Update

by blogger Michael Bryan:

Below are links to two news articles published 11/29/07 by the Tucson Weekly, a more detailed analysis by Arizona blogger Michael Bryan, court documents including a forensic report on the GEMS election database, and an illustrated video interview with attorney Bill Risner, lead counsel for the Pima County Democratic Party and citizen investigators who are suing Pima County for release of the voting database records. The trial--originally scheduled for December 4 through 6--has now gone into overtime. See Calendar Event listing.

Voting Counts by Dave Devine 11/29/2007
Democrats' accusations of security breaches by the Pima County Elections Division go to trial next week.

"At a trial beginning Tuesday, Dec. 4, attorney Bill Risner is expected to paint an extremely unflattering portrait of internal security within Pima County's Elections Division.
Risner--representing the local Democratic Party--hopes to secure outside oversight of vote-counting procedures, and is asking Judge Michael Miller to order the county to provide copies of its election databases to all major political parties."

Voting GEMS by Mari Herreras 11/29/2007
A lawsuit regarding election procedures has raised tensions at Pima County headquarters:

The Pima County Election Integrity Blues by Michael Bryan of 11/15/2007
A very well-written, comprehensive review of the case


Click here for radio interview with John Brakey and Jim March describing their investigation and court case (60 minutes, recorded on the weekly Election Defense Radio program, 11/30/07.

Podcast Archive:



Advisement Ruling Ordering Disclosure of 2006 Election Data:

Forensic Report on GEMS Unsuitability:
"The GEMS software exhibits fundamental security flaws that make definitive validation of data impossible . . ."

Report to Pima County Supervisors Recommending Election Security Overhaul:

How the 2004 Election was Stolen on Optical Scanners: John Brakey and the "Hack and Stack"

Exclusive Advance Preview: David Griscom: Election Fraud in Arizona, A Microcosm of National Election Theft
Chapter from forthcoming book, "Loser Take All" edited by Mark Crispin Miller

EDA Investigator John Brakey on the significance of this case coming to trial on Dec. 4 in Pima County:

The right of We THE PEOPLE to access a computer database is pivotal to the upcoming three-day trial, December 4-6, Pima County Democratic Party vs. the Board of Supervisors.

Our elections must rest on verification, NOT blind trust.
Until now, no one has been asking questions or holding the election department accountable.
Public access to information reduces temptations for insiders to cheat during high stakes elections.

If WE THE PEOPLE prevails in this important case, the decision will set an important precedent that it is vital for WE THE PEOPLE to be able to analyze the electronic debris left over from high-tech voting going all the way back to the year 2000.

William Bill Risner Esq., the Pima County Democratic Party, its Election Integrity Committee (PCDP-EIC), and AUDIT-AZ are fighting for the peoples' right to see that elections are conducted transparently and fairly so that we can lay to rest doubt about anyone's motives or actions.

Margaret Mead was right: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Be a committed citizen and stand with us and Bill Risner in court:

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 at 8:30 a.m.
Pima County Superior Court
Judge Michael Miller 6th Floor
110 West Congress
Tucson, Arizona

Hope, Peace and Democracy,

John R Brakey
Cell 520-250-2360

iBeta_Election_Forensic_Report_Pima_Co.pdf35.43 KB
Pima_Court_Ruling.pdf6.13 MB
Griscom_Election Fraud in Arizona_Loser Take All.pdf362.34 KB
Pima_Election_Security_Report_101907.pdf7.03 MB