EIC Commissioner Mickey Duniho responds to the mendacity of ‘Chuckelberry’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

David Safier commented on this Arizona Daily Star report earlier, Vote-count auditing reforms urged on county supervisors. The article refers to Pima County Election Integrity Commission commissioner Mickey Duniho, who has prepared the Memo below for the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. David focused on the mendacity of Pima County Elections Director Brad Nelson, but Nelson is protected by his boss, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, whose mendacity is legendary in Tucson.

Memo

November 19, 2012

To: The Pima
County Board of Supervisors

From: Michael A.
Duniho, Member of Pima County Election Integrity Commission

Subject:
Corrections of Factual Errors in Mr. Huckelberry’s November
20 (sic) Memo on the Election Integrity Commission’s
Recommendation Concerning the Sorting of Early Ballots for
Audit

The attached three
pages contain a detailed discussion of factual errors,
errors of omission, and distortions of fact contained in Mr.
Huckelberry’s memorandum which was sent to you on Friday,
November 16, 2012. The memo recommended against your
adopting your Election Integrity Commission’s unanimous
recommendation that you order the sorting of early ballots
by precinct for a hand count audit of a few precincts to
demonstrate to the public that computerized vote counting in
Pima County was honestly done.

It is unfortunate
that Mr. Huckelberry’s memo contained so many errors that I
cannot address them all in a three minute speech at your
public hearing tomorrow. I hope that you will take the time
to review these corrections before tomorrow’s meeting. I
plan to be available to respond to any of your questions at
tomorrow’s meeting.

Thank you for your
interest in election integrity.

 

Michael A. Duniho

County Board of
Supervisors Comment for 11-20-2012

It is troublesome
that Mr. Huckelberry feels it necessary to resort to factual
errors, errors of omission, and distortions of fact to
defend an indefensible position. The state Election
Procedures Manual requires that counties sort early ballots
by precinct or legislative district to do a hand count
audit; Pima County has chosen not to comply with that
requirement. Pima County’s policy is also contrary to your
Election Integrity Commission’s October 26 recommendation
that you require your election department to sort early
ballots by precinct and perform a precinct-level hand count
audit to confirm the integrity of the machine count.

Mr. Huckelberry
says there is not enough time remaining to comply with the
Election Integrity Commission proposal, but it was Mr.
Huckelberry who delayed your consideration of the proposal
from last week’s meeting on specious grounds and without any
consultation with your Election Integrity Commission, a
Commission which serves you but not Mr. Huckelberry. Mr.
Huckelberry would have you believe that sorting the early
ballots is an impossible task but it is not. I have provided
you with a paper detailing the factual errors, errors of
omission, and factual distortions in Mr. Huckelberry’s memo,
because going over each of them in a 3-minute talk would be
impossible.

In Humboldt
County, California, the Elections Director chose to audit
all the machine-counted ballots in every race, using a
graphical scanning system employing open-source software
(similar to the recommendation by your Election Integrity
Commission). Public confidence in Humboldt County elections
has soared, and in 2011 the United States Election
Assistance Commission awarded Humboldt County a $25,000 grant to
further develop their election auditing software. This
system could be used in Pima County to improve transparency.

The King County,
Washington, Election Director purchased two Pitney Bowes
high-speed sorting machines that not only sort ballots but
also weigh them to make sure each envelope has one and only
one ballot; they also slit the envelopes for removal of the
ballots, and they also digitally photograph the voter
signatures and feed them directly to computers for signature
checkers to use without having to handle paper. The
Elections Director told me that they have saved more than
the cost of the sorting machines by improving the efficiency
of their operation, and they have eliminated lost ballots in
their system. Pitney Bowes told me that these sorting
machines cost a small fraction of the amount touted by Mr.
Huckelberry.

The Board of
Supervisors of Pima County has a critical decision to make:
do you want to demonstrate to the voting public that there
is nothing to hide in Pima County’s vote counting system
through your support for election integrity as recommended
by a unanimous vote of your Election Integrity Commission;
or do you want the voting public to conclude that there is
something to hide in Pima County’s vote counting system
through your support for a continuing policy of unverified
black box vote counting in Pima County? Arizona law and the
voters of Pima County have entrusted you with this choice;
your individual and collective reputation for honesty will
be impacted by your decision.

Thank you for your
attention.

 

Michael A. Duniho

===================

(1)  Mr. Huckelberry stated that “one
member” of the Pima County Election Integrity Commission
“has championed the concept of sorting early ballots by
precinct,” implying that only one member of the Commission
really cares about such matters. He omitted the fact that
the October 26 EIC recommendation was approved by a 7-0 vote
of the EIC members.

(2)  In describing 300-400 staff hours
to sort early ballots as an impossible task, Mr. Huckelberry
omitted the fact that 300-400 hours of work by a dozen
people could be accomplished in three days, and that the
cost of 300-400 hours of work would be on the order of
$2,000-$3,000. Mr. Huckelberry’s estimate of time required
to sort the ballots also omitted any reference to F. Ann
Rodriguez’s offer to provide lists of precincts represented
in the various batches, which would enable workers to
extract ballots for a few precincts rather than sort all
precincts. After extracting ballots for the chosen precincts
from a batch, workers could move on to the next batch of
ballots. This could shorten the time and reduce the effort
required to select a small number of precincts for hand
counting. With Ms. Rodriguez’s assistance, the time required
might be only two days, since the three-day estimate is
based on sorting all 288 precincts instead of just selecting
a few precincts for the audit.

(3)  Mr. Huckelberry’s estimate of
$256,137 for hiring Runbeck to sort the ballots is factually
incorrect. First, he based his estimate on 261,364 ballots,
the total number of early ballots received at the time he
wrote his memo; the EIC recommendation only referred to less
than 200,000 early ballots received and processed by
Election Day. Second, Runbeck’s price of $.98 per ballot is
100 times what it should be; it would make no sense for Pima
County to pay Runbeck $200,000 to do a job that can be done
in-house for $2,000. For $200,000, Pima County could buy
several sorting machines.

(4)  Mr. Huckelberry’s estimate of
$300,000-$500,000 to buy a sorting machine is a multiple at
least five times too high. I asked Pitney Bowes about an
earlier estimate of $125,000 given out by John Moffatt and
was told that Pima County could buy a top-of-the-line Pitney
Bowes sorting machine for “significantly less” than
$125,000. The person I talked with, at Pitney Bowes Sales
Headquarters, said the cost would depend on which features
were included but that the cost would be on the order of
$65,000.

(5)  Mr. Huckelberry’s distinction of
sorting ballots in the envelopes versus out of the envelopes
is incorrect. The sorter can handle ballots either way with
equal ease.

(6)  Mr. Huckelberry disputed my report
last week that the EIC members were not informed of the
postponement of our proposal on the BOS agenda. He stated
that we were notified on Nov 9. In fact, the EIC was
informed only after we demanded an explanation of why the
agenda published on Nov 8 did not contain the EIC
recommendation. Mr. Huckelberry unilaterally postponed the
recommendation without consulting or informing the Election
Integrity Commission. This violated the Commission’s right
to advise the Board of Supervisors without interference, and
it also violated basic rules of courtesy.

(7)  Mr. Huckelberry’s statement that
sorting early ballots is “impossible” is incorrect. The task
is not impossible, merely tedious to do by hand. Mr.
Huckelberry gave six reasons (the second two were actually
the same reason, restated in different words) for avoiding
the sorting of early ballots. None of these reasons is
actually a valid argument for rejecting the EIC
recommendation.

  1. The first reason: The fact that
    Pima County had already counted 100,000 ballots when the EIC
    made its recommendation is true but logically irrelevant to
    the current discussion.
  2. Reasons two and three: The risk of
    handling ballots in the face of a possible recount is listed
    as a reason for not sorting ballots but is logically
    erroneous. At this point, we are reasonably certain there
    will be no recounts and no legal challenges. In any case, an
    accusation of mishandling ballots would not be allayed by
    the County claiming that it did not touch the ballots while
    in its custody. A charge could easily be made that County
    election personnel manipulated the ballots while they were
    “in storage.” Sorting the ballots and performing a hand
    count audit by precinct is the only way to positively
    demonstrate that the ballots were counted honestly and that
    no manipulation of votes took place while the ballots were
    in Election Department custody.
  3. Reason four: That the audit should
    take place between the Hand Count Audit and the Canvass is
    true but logically irrelevant to your decision unless your
    decision is delayed until the date of your approving the
    Canvass, which it appears has been Mr. Huckelberry’s
    strategy all along.
  4. Reason five: The difficulties
    encountered by counters in the Hand Count Audit are
    well-known but not logically relevant to this discussion;
    they are manageable problems.
  5. Reason six: The difficulties of
    extracting early ballots for a precinct-based audit are real
    but manageable, and were considered manageable by the
    Election Integrity Commission before its recommendation was
    submitted to you.

(8)  In describing the sequence of
events leading up to Pima County’s obtaining a waiver from
the state requirement to sort early ballots by precinct, Mr.
Huckelberry omitted the fact that Brad Nelson neither
consulted nor even informed the EIC of the requirement or
the waiver. In addition, Mr. Nelson’s arguments in his
letter to the state that sorting is impractical are
factually erroneous. Mr. Nelson claimed he could do a better
hand count audit by not sorting the ballots but, in fact,
the early ballot audit as currently performed is worthless
in terms of confirming a lack of fraud in vote counting. It
is also noteworthy that the Secretary of State’s Elections
Director granted the waiver BEFORE Mr. Nelson wrote his
justification letter, suggesting an improper sequence of
events.

(9)  Mr. Huckelberry cited a successful
hand count audit as proof that no further audit is needed,
another distortion of fact. He touted the fact that Pima
County counts four percent of polling place ballots; he
omitted the fact that polling place ballots in this election
made up only 27% of all the ballots cast; 70% of voters cast
early ballots, and therefore a proper hand count audit of
early ballots is needed to confirm the integrity of the
overall election. Mr. Huckelberry also omitted the
irrelevance of the current early ballot hand count audit to
confirming a lack of fraud. [I might point out that the law requires an
audit of 1% of all the early ballots issued (1% of 261,545
ballots would be 2,615 ballots) but Pima County only hand
counted 1,985 early ballots. Not that it makes any
difference, since the current early ballot hand count audit
is useless for confirming an election’s honesty.]

(10)    In his concluding recommendation:

  1. Mr. Huckelberry said the election
    tabulation “is expected to continue for another 4 to 7
    days.” In fact, processing of the ballots which your EIC
    recommended sorting and hand counting was completed by
    Election Day.
  2. Mr. Huckelberry referred to the
    physical impossibility of accurately selecting, sorting into
    precincts and auditing nearly 200,000 early ballots. In
    fact, the EIC’s recommendation could be satisfied by
    selecting and auditing approximately 2,000 ballots.
  3. Mr. Huckelberry reiterated the
    “risk of handling ballots when faced with possible
    recounts.” In fact, it appears there will be no recounts,
    and Pima County would be in a better position to defend
    itself against charges of malfeasance if it adopted a more
    transparent policy, following the state requirement to sort
    early ballots and audit by precinct instead of secretly
    obtaining a waiver from the state requirement.
  4. Mr. Huckelberry claimed the
    positive outcome of the present hand counts as a reason to
    not adopt the EIC recommendation, but the EIC took that into
    account when it made the recommendation. The present early
    ballot audit is worthless in terms of certifying the
    election’s integrity.

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