Pima Democratic Party Wins Lawsuit Releasing E-voting Databases

Media Contact: Vince Rabago, Chair, Pima County Democratic Party

“A national victory for open government and transparency”

Democratic Party Wins Lawsuit to Obtain Past and Future Electronic Voting Records

Tucson, AZ (5/23/08) Today a judge ordered the release of past and future electronic electiondata in a public records lawsuit by the Pima County Democratic Party againstthe Pima County Board of Supervisors. The judge found no proof of any security risk to future elections byreleasing the records.

Vince Rabago, Chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party,applauded the decision. “This is a national victory for open government and transparency in elections,” declared Rabago. “If you are going to have electronic voting and election records, you need to have electronicoversight. This is an important win for accountability, oversight, and transparency in our democracy.”

Since late 2006, the Democratic Party had fought for release of public records to conduct its statutory oversight role, after finding anomalies in a post-election review of audit log data. Pima County refused to release the records and forced the Party to file a public records lawsuit.

After a four-day trial in early December, the judge ordered the release of 2006 primary and general election databases. On January 8, 2008, the Pima County Board of Supervisors was met with public pressure from citizens and activists, including representatives from the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties, and agreed to go beyond the judge’s initial ruling by releasing records for the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority election, after a motion for reconsideration by Chairman Richard Elias.

A week later, Supervisors Bronson, Valadez, and Day reversed course and decided to continue fighting to keep past and future election records secret.

On May 5, 2008, the Democratic Party went back to courtseeking election records dating back to 1998 and the ability to obtain recordsin future elections. The Party presented testimony from national experts who concluded there was no security risk fromreleasing the databases.

Today’s ruling orders the release of past election records and allows for future election records to be released immediately after the official results of an election are released. The timing of the release is important because Arizona law has a 5-day period to challenge election results after the official results are released.

Rabago commented on the review of election records in the future, noting that consultants working for the Party have designed and are developing a software program to allow for rapid review of electronic election data for any given election to check for tampering or even electronic glitches that could affect the outcome of an election.

“The software code for this analysis tool will be ‘open source,’ which means the software will be open to review or use by anybody and will not be subject to any proprietary or trade secret restrictions. This is how election software should be, but isn’t yet.”
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