After Arizona's Appellate courts ruled in
favor of the Libertarian's argument for prospective relief in
rigged elections, Judge Kyle
Bryson granted Pima County's Motion
to Dismiss based on the grounds that the courts do not
have jurisdiction in elections. Sound familiar?
The goal of the Libertarian Party's suit is to protect the “purity of elections” in the future, starting with this 2012 election season. As stated in their initial disclosure statement:
“At the present time it is easy to cheat using our election computers and impossible to challenge a rigged election. The ease of cheating when matched with the impossibility of challenging any specific election requires court intervention in order to protect the purity of elections and ensure that we will have free elections.”
The need for
prospective relief was first brought up in a counter claim by
the Libertarian Party as a means to help prevent Pima County from rigging
future elections like what appears to be the case for the RTA
election. The appellate courts already decided that
Libertarian party may demonstrate through the courts once and
for all that the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
election was rigged. This is a necessary component for
justifying prospective relief. The RTA ballots for this two
billion dollar bond measure are being held under a court order
to ensure restricted access to their location at the Iron Mountain storage
Currently, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry is using every legal means possible to stand in the way of a proper, independent forensic examination of the ballots. Huckelberry's legal team is blocking this proceeding despite his numerous claims that his elections division would be exonerated by a proper investigation.
Judge Bryson, who replaced Judge Charles Harrington after he erred in his previous ruling, seems to have cut-and-pasted Judge Harrington's earlier ruling granting the County's Motion to Dismiss.
A key element in this court proceeding was Attorney General Terry Goddard's investigation which is often referenced by the county, yet always proven to be woefully inadequate. So inadequate that it represents the failure of the executive branch to provide sufficient remedy in a rigged election and was part of the argument for winning the initial appeal for prospective relief from rigged elections.
The issue of jurisdiction and when such jurisdiction applies was discussed in the previous Appellate Court ruling ordering the courts to proceed with the hearing for prospective relief. Here the argument centered around the failure of the legislative branch, because of the impossible five-day window to challenge elections in the state of Arizona. The Appellate Court agreed with the Libertarian Party's argument that "the court abused its discretion by not exercising equity jurisdiction to consider the lawsuit." This same abuse is repeated by Judge Kyle Bryson.
Bryson's ruling is the strongest evidence that Pima County's court system should be included in the war of cost and attrition against election integrity. As Bill Risner observes, "This lawsuit involves only the issue of preventing cheating in the future. The Pima County Courts do not want to hear it and do not want to consider ways to prevent cheating."
Election integrity advocates had previous indications of Pima County Superior Courts' collusion with its administrators, especially with Harrington's "wash your hands" incident and the refusal of the courts to grant attorney's fees for previous court victories.
Add a recent move reminiscent of Pima County's past shenanigans. No copy of Bryson's ruling was sent to the attorneys working on behalf of prospective relief for elections. Although the County received their copy of the May 4th ruling, attorney Bill Risner (along with his co-counsel Ralph Ellington) were left to make the inadvertent discovery of the ruling 15 days later. Part of the mystery behind the ruling was not only how long it took to decide (snuck out in three months), but what on earth Judge Bryson might have been doing with his time during this period. It's difficult to make the assumption he was presiding over something more important and therefore could not include a rudimentary analysis involving the subject matter at hand.
Fortunately the 15 day stall tactic was just a stall tactic and did not eat up the 15 day window legally afforded to make an appeal. An appeal that may not be necessary, because Judge Bryson's ruling seems to have put the cart before the horse. As Bill Risner states:
"The Libertarian Party's counterclaim had simply requested that the court after 'finding that there was tampering, issue an appropriate permanent injunction to prevent a reoccurrence.' Judge Bryson said that 'it now appears the Libertarian Party will ask the Court to require Pima County to perform graphic scanning of all ballots case and provide those images to the public in future elections.' He decided that he couldn't do that so he might as well dismiss the case. Such a request had not been made. A motion to dismiss had not been made on that ground by the county. Such an order would have been lawful. It was only one of many possible orders that the court could have entered."
Due to this oversight, the county may be looking at a whole new trial. A trial addressing additional remedies like immediate access to memory cards for election challenges, adjusting auditing procedures for county and bond races and improved chain of custody procedures to prevent further tampering.
Pima County's unique form of nepotism provides a living, breathing model of how monopolies work. It's a bureaucracy that might as well be one big corporate oligarchy with arms outstretched to its own judiciary, its own public defenders, its own prosecutors, its own elections division, its own treasurer's office, its own court vault and its own law enforcement. Heads of all these departments have their salaries set by Pima County Administrator, Chuck Huckelberry, the CEO or chief administrator deeply entrenched in this bureaucracy. A bureaucracy exclusively funded by taxpayers.
To soften the blow of public outrage for what is eventually becoming obvious in the 2006 RTA elections case (as well as a number of other conflicts), Pima County has engaged in building a P.R. machine by picking up employment slack from failing local newspaper outlets. For example, Gary Duffy, a reporter for the now defunct Tucson Citizen, co-wrote an award winning article shedding light on one of many RTA security breaches entitled, "Record of votes in ’06 RTA election missing". Last month you might have spotted Duffy hanging out behind a booth promoting the RTA as part of his job for the county. Reliable sources include ten reporters making the jump to the county trough. What are the chances of accurate, critical coverage of Judge Bryson's ruling in the local news outlets?
Despite such adversity, in the decaying "methlab of democracy" known as Arizona, election integrity advocates continue to engage in this battle for clean elections.
1. Information acquired within the past six years includes specific ways to identify red flags in electronic records that are sufficient to challenge elections.
2. Testimony is on record from officials all over the country confirming that electronic voting machines and their software are insecure and unreliable.
3. Despite the stall tactics used by Pima County's giant bureaucracy, this litigation will set a precedent to help others throughout the country pursue and achieve election integrity.
4. Similarly flawed electronic voting machines and software are currently in use throughout the country.
5. Prospective relief through this precedent-setting court case could provide a tangible, timely means to improve election transparency nationwide.