Pima RTA Election: 31 Anomalies for Investigation

31 Facts and Anomalies Pertinent to the Pima County RTA Election

1.   On the day of the RTA election (Tuesday, May 16, 2006) there was a very high and unusual number of failures of Diebold precinct-based optical scan voting machines.  Pima County tried to cover up these machine failures. On election night, the Pima Election Department reported to the newsmedia that 35 precinct optical scanners had failed.  A county memo two weeks later stated that 75 machines had failed.  Now it appears from examination of the election database that 149 scanners failed.

2.   A Microsoft Access manual was seen and photographed in the vote tabulation room on election night by former Representative Ted Downing. Use of MS Access on an election computer was and is illegal. Downing described a Microsoft Access manual being referenced by election department technician Bryan Crane in blatant violation of election law. Downing then called Donna Branch-Gilby, at that time the Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, and asked her to bring a camera.  Donna came with her husband, Bob Gilby, and took pictures of the Microsoft Access manual sitting open next to the central tabulator.

3.   Because of the problems and unusual procedures Downing had observed during the election night count, he requested that Pima Election Director Brad Nelson make a backup of the election database, put it in an envelope, sign it, and take it to the sheriff's office to be held in secure custody.  Nelson refused.

4.   The audit logs show that the database was NOT backed up on election night.  Election night backups had been performed in virtually every other Pima County election. The database was not backed up until three days later, on Friday May 19th at 5:00 pm, after all election results had been published.

cropscanner hacking tool5.   The Pima County Election Division purchased a 'crop scanner' computer-hacking tool ten months before the RTA election. This tool had no other purpose in the Election Division than to illegally alter the programming of precinct voting machines. The Cropscanner is a known hacking tool that can reprogram memory cards used in the precinct optical scanners.  See video from the HBO movie, Hacking Democracy: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8186883351933387074

6.   After Downing and other observers left the county election center on election night (we know from the databases saved on the 19th) the re-uploading of memory cards was fast and furious after 10:19 pm and continuing until 3:15 am.  Sixty-seven memory cards were reloaded for a second time. The next morning (May 17th) at 9:14 am one more card was reloaded a second time. Then on Friday, May 19th, eight more cards  were reloaded. On Saturday, May 20th, 23 other memory cards were reloaded for the second time, overwriting the previous precinct results. Altogether,  93 out of the 368 precinct memory cards used in the election were reloaded to the voting system.  In the 2004 general election --involving a much more complicated ballot -- there were fewer than three memory card reloads.

AccuVote memory card (electronic ballot box)7.   What does this all adds up to?  A very high failure rate of memory cards would be the only thing that could legitimately explain all these uploads.  Failure rates this high should have caused the county to blame Diebold - but they didn't.  Why?  Because it appears to be a self-inflicted problem and they knew it!  Something was going wrong.

8.   Audit logs show that Crane had a consistent pattern of always backing up databases after any work was completed and before shutting down GEMS. In view of this procedural pattern, it is highly unusual that he didn't backup the database on the morning of May 17th.

9.   Comparison of the database from May 19th and another database saved on Saturday May 20th reveals many discrepancies.  Among these, we see precincts where replacement memory card data were fed in that either added to the vote totals or, in some cases, subtracted ballots.  Ballot purging can't happen without a significant paper trail which is nowhere in evidence.  What we can't see clearly is what happened to the database between May 16th at 4:00 pm and May 19th at 5:00 pm.  The audit log only records when an operator enters the voting system through the GEMS front door. However, the backdoor is easily accessed using MS-Access.

10.   Pima County Administrator Charles Huckleberry has known about the back door to the Diebold voting system since 1996. That's when Huckleberry authorized Bryan Crane to use that back door to merge two databases by hand using MS-Access, thus bypassing all of Diebold's minimal security.  That operation was done to merge precinct punch card data with Global/Diebold optical scanning system votes processed in GEMS.  This information is from the archives of the Arizona Daily Star.  The operations Crane used to effect this database merger are not in the Diebold system manuals or in any certified voting system procedures.

11.   Former and current long-time Pima election department employees have stated that just before the RTA database was built, Election Department Director Brad Nelson expelled all employees from the tabulation center except Bryan Crane, Mary Martinson, and Tomas Kalesinskas.

12.   As insane as it sounds, it was a common practice for Bryan Crane to take the election databases home.

13.   Election Division staff printed unauthorized vote total summary reports after the first day of early ballot scanning and after Crane began an unusual procedure that led to the destruction of the original Early ballots vote tallies database from 'day one'. Crane then illegally printed two copies, ten minutes apart, of the election 'SUMMARY report,' a detailed outline of who's winning and losing.

14.   By law, these reports are NOT to be printed until one hour after the polls close on Election Day.  If the voting system needs to be checked, the proper procedure is to run a 'Cards Cast Report'. To summarize, Crane ran what looked like normal actions on 5/10/06 and made a 'snapshot backup' of the file when counting was done for the day.  On the morning of 5/11, he WROTE OVER the 5/10/06 database, destroying its integrity. He then printed two illegal copies of the 'who's winning and losing' summary report, ten minutes apart. 

15.   Diebold audit logs obtained by court order and examined by investigators Brakey and March show a pattern of printing illegal copies of election summary results going back as far as 2002.  The illegal peeking and printing was usually done during the first third of the election counting period.  Further counting was not done until printing became legal after close of polls at 8:00 pm on election night.

16.   Court testimony established that this illegal early-vote counting had been going on as far back as 1998, even before the audit log had that feature enabled.

17.   Bryan Crane told Pima County Judge Michael Miller that this was a normal practice and that every morning when running early ballots, he would prep a backup for that day.  Yet examination of the Diebold GEMS audit logs showed this had been done only a few other times since 2000. In actuality, Bryan Crane did backups just before lunch and before he went home at night. Watch this 13 minute video clip that shows Crane lying to Judge Miller!


18.   Again, before the second day of RTA early ballot scanning, Election Division staff erased the first day's database backup by overwriting it. This would have required responding to two warning messages, one from GEMS and one from Windows.  Then two election summary reports of who's "winning and losing" were printed with 13,618 ballots counted.

19.   This pattern of illegally taking home election database backups, then overwriting data and printing summary reports, is the model for hacking an election. First a false database is created or obtained.  Next, the false data is used to replace existing data.  Last, the winning and losing summary reports are printed to confirm that the hack was successful.

20.   Election systems expert Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon advised the AG investigator of possible RTA fraud and recommended handcounting the ballots, echoing advice from local election activists.

21.   The AG Investigator lied to Shamos in an e-mail, claiming that 'local naysayers' were onboard with not looking at ballots. The opposite was true, and the investigator knew it because he had engaged in a shouting argument with those local naysayers over the issue.

22.  Examination of RTA election database evidence conducted by the i-Beta laboratory under contract to the attormey general's office should have included looking for possible swapping of yes and no votes, but did not.

23.   County staff directed all aspects of the i-Beta testing.  They directed the supposedly independent examiners to look at irrelevant items and to disregard potentially important ones.

24.   A whistleblower has come forward stating in a sworn affidavit, that Bryan Crane told him privately that he had 'fixed' the RTA election under direction from his bosses.

25.   Democratic Party observers were prevented from investigating cables connected to the tabulation computer after the RTA election, with the excuse that this alarming security violation didn't matter because it had been a nonpartisan election.

26.   A record copy of the ballot layout files held by the Secretary of State for use by the Attorney General in any fraud investigation was never examined during the attorney general's RTA  investigation, even though it was potentially key evidence that could have indicated fraud. Instead, the AG's office returned this crucial evidence to the prime i suspects running the Pima County Elections Department -- who then "lost" it.

27.   Through their lawyers, the Pima County Board of Supervisors claimed there was a substantial risk that all election employees who had any role operating election computers would 'take the fifth' and refuse to answer questions, based on a fear of criminal prosecution.

28.   The Pima County Board of Supervisors has never requested an internal investigation of the Pima County Elections Department.

29.   Neither Brad Nelson nor Bryan Crane nor any Election Department employee has been reprimanded for any violations of rules or procedures.

30.   Jim Barry retired from his job as the County Administrator's assistant in early 2005 and was immediately hired by Pima County to do a precinct-by-precinct study of how Pima voters had voted in the preceding four bond elections, with "other duties" as assigned. Mr. Barry was paid $75,000 by the county for this contract, while at the same time collecting $12,000 from a pro-RTA group for helping them with the RTA campaign. See video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1282511168148207359

31.   The RTA passed by a surprisingly large margin (approximately 60/40). Sales tax increases for roads had lost badly in four previous elections, by an approximately inverse ratio. On the fifth attempt, the RTA measure's previous unfavorable ratings among voters were reversed by about 40 points.


The above evidence researched and submitted by:

John Brakey
Co-founder of AUDIT-AZ (Americans United for Democracy, Integrity, and Transparency in Elections, Arizona)

Election Defense Alliance Co-Coordinator for Investigations

Mission of EDA and AUDIT-AZ:

To restore public ownership and oversight of elections, work to ensure the fundamental right of every American citizen to vote, and to have each vote counted as intended in a secure, transparent, impartial, and independently audited election process.
Thomas Jefferson's Powerful Words:

"It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights... Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power... Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go...
--Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798