Download Press Release
Georgia Election Case Dismissed After Questionable Prosecution
ATLANTA, GA – All matters asserted against former Lowndes County elections technician, Laura Gallegos, were dismissed last Thursday during an administrative hearing. The State Election Board (SEB) had accused her of improper testing which led to the inclusion of 947 test votes in the 2008 Lowndes County election results. The case was investigated by the office of Shawn LaGrua, the Inspector General who reported to SEB chairwoman and former Secretary of State, Karen Handel.
The dubious allegations in Mrs. Gallegos’ case have attracted statewide attention that helped her garner assistance from civic organizations including the Georgia Voting Rights Coalition, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, Defenders of Democracy, Operation Restoration, Madison Forum, and VoterGA. VoterGA assisted her attorney, Converse Bright, in preparing the defense and offered expert witness testimony on her behalf.
Testifying for the SEB, Mr. James Long, a voting machine engineer hired from the federal Elections Assistance Commission to support Georgia’s state elections, provided technical background for the case that was prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General, Ann Brumbaugh. However, during cross examination, he concurred with points made by Mr. Bright in his opening argument, including that:
* The voting machines will accept test votes while accumulating actual election night results;
* None of the testing that Mrs. Gallegos allegedly skipped had anything to do with the inclusion of the 947 test votes into the live results on election night;
* The 947 test votes were included when an unidentified election official loaded a memory card during vote accumulation and ignored a warning indicating the card had test votes;
* There was no evidence that Mrs. Gallegos, who was not even present during the accumulation, committed any violation on election night;
* The machine malfunction that Mrs. Gallegos discovered during testing caused it not to clear the test votes from that card;
* The county elections supervisor, not Mrs. Gallegos, was responsible for matching the poll book totals to the recap of votes cast to detect potential discrepancies on election night;
Judge John Gatto dismissed the case after confirming another opening argument made by Mr. Bright. He determined from testimony by supervisor, Deb Cox that she had not properly sworn in Mrs. Gallegos as a voting machine custodian.
Evidence supporting all of these findings was previously delivered to the SEB in requests by Mrs. Gallegos and VoterGA. They sought to reopen her case due to lack of a proper hearing, as required by law. Their requests were denied in a December 2009 SEB meeting by Karen Handel.
Mrs. Gallegos’ saga is not over yet. She has filed a pending complaint to the State Inspector General’s office claiming that her investigation and prosecution were conducted to cover up a voting machine defect and as many as six or more potential violations committed by her supervisor. The verdict and admissions in her trial appear to corroborate her complaint.
Although absolved of any wrongdoing in court, Mrs. Gallegos spent thousands of dollars in attorney fees, her family has suffered a foreclosure, and she was terminated from her job.
Tom Courbat, Founder, SAVE R VOTE
Save R Vote Delivers Critical Review of Riverside County Election Procedures
Report details election law violations, miscounts, security breaches in 2008 election
WHERE: Riverside County Board of Supervisors chambers, 4080 Lemon Street, Riverside, CA
WHEN: Tuesday April 14, 1:30 p.m. Live Video at 1:30: http://bosvideo.co.riverside.ca.us/ppportal/agenda/webcast.aspx
"Missing Pieces," a devastating citizen review of the 2008 presidential election conducted in Riverside County, CA, will be presented to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the press today at 1:30 p.m. by SaveRVote founder and EDA Election Monitoring Coordinator Tom Courbat.
The presentation will be streamed live over the Internet via this URL: http://bosvideo.co.riverside.ca.us/ppportal/agenda/webcast.aspx
The report, prepared by Courbat and the citizen volunteers of the Save R Vote election monitoring organization, documents violations of election law and egregious failures by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters, Barbara Dunmore, and her departmental staff, to secure, track, or even properly count the ballots in the November 2008 presidential election.
Save R Vote volunteers on election day and night photographed evidence of election law violations, logged missing memory cards ("electronic ballot boxes"), and in their subsequent 5-month examination of Riverside County election records, found vote counting and ballot auditing errors in official county election reports numbering in the tens and even hundreds of thousands.
The exhaustively documented Missing Pieces report, presented in its entirety on the Election Defense Alliance website, consists of an executive summary, findings and recommendations, a slideshow of photographic evidence, and a spreadsheet analysis of oversized precincts exceeding legal limits.
SaveRVote concludes its report urging the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to commission an independent auditing firm to conduct a true forensic audit of the county's election canvass process, as well as a computer systems security audit of the county's Sequoia voting system by independent qualified experts. More than 120 citizen volunteers with SaveRVote examined 20,000 election documents in what is believed to be the most comprehensive forensic review ever performed on a single county election system.
For Immediate Release June 12th 2008
John R. Brakey, AUDIT-AZ (520) 250-2360
Jim March, BlackBoxVoting.org, 916-370-0347
Additional Background Resources Linked Below
Brewing Up Election Trouble:
Activists Respond To AZ Sec. of State Brewer’s 11-Page Letter
On 6/6/08 Arizona Secretary of State (SOS) Jan Brewer wrote an 11-page letter outlining objections to the election integrity process in Pima County. The letter followed a June 4th vote by the Pima County Board of Supervisors not to appeal a court decision establishing that computerized election databases are public records that must be released to political parties according to state law after each election.
Beginning in 2004, Pima County citizen election integrity advocates working with and within the Pima County Democratic Party were able to cooperate with the county government to achieve significantly improved election transparency and security measures that make Pima County a model for fair elections in the state and nation. With the lawsuit over, that cooperation is now picking back up.
Brewer is intent on blocking this progress. Her press release and letter reprimanding county officials (see links at the end of this document) make clear her objections to any current and future security measures. The letter is filled with misstatements and inaccuracies that echo talking points by voting machine vendors.
Brewer maintains that most of the increased election security procedures created by Pima County in cooperation are superfluous, since the state’s “statutory and procedural security, educational and
accountability requirements” assure fair and honest elections.
Her assertions don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Brewer maintains that voting equipment is vigorously tested and certified at the federal and state levels. The state’s testing and certification process amounts to little more than an ineffective “kicking the tires” of the voting equipment. The state does no “red team” type security analysis, in which qualified security professionals take a complete voting system and, acting as both voters and elections staff in separate scenarios, attempt to subvert a test election.
When “red team” testing was performed in California, every voting system failed miserably.
Brewer objects to the disabling of modems that could allow outside tampering to anyone who knows the phone number.
Brewer maintains that touch screen voting machines help disabled voters. Diebold and other providers of touch screen machines have long used the ploy of helping disabled voters to get their machines into polling places, while providing seriously substandard access. Brewer’s view of “accessibility” involves twisting disabled grandmothers into pretzels as shown.
Brewer adamantly opposes the county’s proposal to graphically scan ballots and upload them to the Internet. Brewer vastly exaggerates the cost of this “security patch” which would cost under $150,000 in Pima County. This security measure was recommended by election integrity advocates working with the Pima Democrats as a check on Diebold products, declared “fatally flawed” along with every other Brewer-approved system in open court by Pima County’s own experts. Brewer has no trouble with spending $3 million to $6 million to replace the Diebold equipment with another vendor’s garbage, making her objections based on cost ring hollow.
The Need for Election Transparency
The concerns above and many more raised by Secretary of State Jan Brewer’s letter are discussed in greater detail in our full-length report, "Brewing Trouble," linked below, but the point is clear. Brewer’s thinking does not include the concept of election transparency, where every phase of the election is open to the legally proscribed oversight by Arizona’s political parties. She apparently believes the voters should trust the state and counties to conduct fair elections. The Pima County Democratic and Libertarian Parties and Pima County’s officials are working together to create a transparent secure system – those are not opposites, they are hand-in-hand partners to a truly Democratic process.
The continuing efforts by Secretary of State Jan Brewer to impede our progress and to keep the process of counting votes a hidden and mysterious process makes us question her commitment to fair elections in Arizona.
Read Our Full-length, Point-by-point Rebuttal:
Secretary Brewer’s June 5 Press Release:
Secretary Brewer’s June 5 11-page letter to Pima County:
For Additional Context on the Pima County Election Security Lawsuit, see:
This press release circulated by Election Defense Alliance
Election Defense Alliance is a sponsored project of International Humanities Center