Tri-partisan Coalition Denounces Illegal Vote-Counting in Maricopa County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, February 4, 2008


Sen. Karen Johnson 602.926.3160 kjohnson[at]azleg[dot]gov fax: 602.926.3429

John R. Brakey 520. 250.2360 AUDITAZ[at]cox[dot]net

Jim March 916.370.0347 1.jim.march[at]gmail[dot]com

Tri-partisan Coalition Denounces Illegal Vote-Counting in Maricopa County

Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians Unite for Citizen Oversight of Elections

[ PHOENIX, AZ] -- Several Arizona Legislators and a tri-partisan citizens’ coalition will present an official complaint alleging use of illegal vote-counting software and obstruction of citizen observation rights by the Maricopa Elections Department in a press conference Monday, February 4th, at 12:30 pm on the Arizona Senate lawn.

The Arizona Election Transparency Project will support allegations that the Maricopa Elections Department and vendor Sequoia Voting Systems have illegally been using uncertified ballot programming software to conduct county elections with legal and technical investigatory documentation distributed to the press.

Copies of a sweeping public records request to be served on the Maricopa County Elections Department today will also be distributed to the press, political parties, and the public.

Sequoia Voting Systems is the manufacturer of the computerized election equipment used in Maricopa. Recent revelations by a former Sequoia employee, corroborated by technical examination reports commissioned by the States of California and Pennsylvania, show that an entire subsection of the Sequoia product line known as the Ballot Preparation Software (“BPS”) essential to program ballot definitions in elections, was fraudulently withheld from mandatory certification review at the federal and state levels.

According to Sequoia’s own product manuals, the BPS ballot preparation software tool can take total control over a computerized election database – and therefore over the recording of the votes. The BPS software application is integral and necessary to the operation of the entire Sequoia voting system.

Federal and state law requires that computer voting machine systems be subject to certification review. The documented failure to subject the Sequoia BPS software application to certification review renders the entire Maricopa County computerized voting system illegal according to the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), which authorized the purchase of the voting equipment.

The integrity of the federal voting system certification process is itself in question, following delayed public disclosure last year by the federal Election Assistance Commission that two of the three private test labs it had contracted to perform certification testing of the nation’s computerized voting systems were subsequently disqualified for failure to perform the required testing. All of the computer voting systems currently in use in Arizona were certified by these now debarred test labs.

The coalition presenting today’s press conference also condemn the Maricopa County Elections Department for obstructing citizen rights to election observation and oversight. The County has recently denied computer specialist Jim March and election activist John Brakey credentials as official public observers of pre-election logic and accuracy testing of the county’s electronic voting system.

Brakey and March were the lead investigators in a recent successful public records lawsuit against the Pima County Elections Department which resulted the release of 300 election databases, the largest release of raw election data in the history of electronic voting. Brakey and March are supported in their insistence that “voting is secret, but the counting is public” by Arizona Revised Statute 16-601 which states, “The count shall be public, in the presence of bystanders.”

The coalition of citizens and legislators convening today’s press conference declare that the County's refusal to allow technically qualified citizen observation of elections compounds their violation of election law by the continued use of uncertified and therefore unlawful vote-counting software in the conduct of public elections.

For the The Arizona Election Transparency Project:

John R. Brakey, Democrat, Tucson

Randy Graf, Republican, Tucson

Dan Gutenkauf, Republican, Tempe

Michael Shelby, Democrat, Phoenix

Jim March, Libertarian, Tucson


This Press Release Distributed by Election Defense