Friday, June 6, 2008

Damned If You Don't, Damned By Brew If You Do

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:44 PM

Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer's office sent out a press release late yesterday, along with a letter sent to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry on June 5 in response to his 133-page document that outlines proposed changes the county wishes to make regarding elections procedures.

In an 11-page letter to Huckelberry, Brewer said most of the proposals in Huckelberry's Election Procedures and Security memo issued to the Pima County Board of Supervisors on April 3 is problematic. 

"Although some of your recommendations make sense, most are problematic, unnecessary and/or unjustifiable, and nearly all establish a protocol for Pima County that is vastly different from every other county," Brewer wrote. 

Making uniformity such a big deal seems kind of odd, since several counties use different electronic voting systems and most likely have other differences, such a ballots size, color and fonts, and such.

But before she gets into detail, Brewer has more paddling headed for Pima County, and isn't at all happy that the county implied her office lost the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election tape filed by Pima County. 

"This is simply false," she wrote. "My office testified that this tape was sent back to Pima County via U.S. Certified Mail on November 27, 2006, along with hundreds of other programs that were returned to the other counties and local jurisdictions." 

"It is strange coincidence indeed that the only program reported lost was your RTA election program, which also happened to be at the center of some very serious allegations involving your election officials. I resent your attempt to blame my office for the convenient loss of this program by your staff. To reiterate, all other jurisdictions were mailed and received, their programs and there is not evidence to suggest my office lost your program." 

Ouch. Okay, Jan. Anyway, it's a good thing we knew what was coming. Besides the letter, a press release from Brewer's office did warn this was a "terse response to Pima County addressing her serious concerns about the county's recent election procedure report which was released this past April." 

In the letter, Brewer doesn't seem to be happy that the county is waiting to see what kind of reforms Brewer might have coming from her office, so she contines getting down and terse with a list of things she has done to bolster the security and integrity of our elections in Arizona--basically saying, look we're secure; nothing more needs to be done.

I don't know what Jim March and John Brakey have been doing up there in Maricopa County, but could the close proximity to her capital office be part of what is getting this gal on the defense? One of the items she notes is that her office has rigorously tested and certified voting equipment at state and federal levels, but I believe certification in Maricopa County is at issue for Brakey and March. 

Brewer goes on to shake a finger at the county for going to court  against releasing the databases and then releasing more than what was originally ordered by Judge Michael Miller. 

"It is no surprise that the court reversed itself in the post-judgment proceedings and ordered the release of this information given the actions by the board. 

"... (T)he Board's unilateral actions have placed all of our elections in jeopardy. I hope that the Board will make future decisions involving election security based on sound reason and judgment and not as a result of pressure from a handful of partisan rabble-rousers." 

"At this point I can't help but conclude that the Pima County Board of Supervisors never intended to seriously defend the county against this lawsuit." 

Man, Jan's mad. 

Brewer's press release ends with: 

"I must r-eemphasize the point I made in my earlier letter to you about the importance of following the existing physical security protocol for election equipment in your county to prevent any unauthorized person from having access to electronic voting equipment and ballots. The procedures in Arizona go above and beyond what is necessary to secure an election and it is for this reason that we have never had an election security breach in our state." 

I am waiting for a comment from Huckelberry and local election integrity activists.