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