Election integrity: Why does Pima Board of Supes tolerate ‘anti-transparency’ in elections?

by Pamela Powers Hannley

Two local election integrity advocates–Jim March and Mickey Duniho–addressed the Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, during the call to the audience. 

Pima, Maricopa, Cochise and other counties are still counting ballots from last Tuesday's presidential election. Hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots have caused delays in finalizing multiple races and ballot propositions. Main stream news sources and blogs have been on fire with stories about Arizona's election incompetence and stories of voter suppression– before and after the election. 

Let's face it. We have systemic election problems in Pima County, in Arizona, and nationwide. In the 2010 election, hundreds of thousands of ballots were counted throughout the week after the election. Why weren't these election problems addressed and fixed before the 2012 election? The Board of Supervisors needs to man up and face election integrity issues instead of stonwalling.

Read Election Integrity Commissioner Duniho's comments after the jump.

Duniho's comments:

County Board of Supervisors Comment for 11-13-2012

I have not spoken in this forum since I was appointed to your Election Integrity Commission four years ago. A sequence of events has brought me here today.

* * * * * * * *

The first event: In November 2011 the state added new election requirements, including one that counties must sort early ballots by precincts for the hand count audit. John Moffatt was involved, and reported to your commission on changes proposed and made – but did not report this new requirement to your commission.

The second event: In June and July 2012, Brad Nelson applied for and received a waiver from this requirement. Mr. Nelson neither consulted nor informed your commission of this action.

The third event: On October 26, with statistical evidence suggesting potential fraud nationally in computerized vote counting, an emergency meeting of your Election Integrity Commission unanimously approved a recommendation for today’s meeting that you order the sorting of early ballots and a precinct-based hand count audit to confirm the honesty of Pima County elections.

The fourth event: In response to a lawsuit the County included copies of two letters which revealed the existence of the new early ballot sorting requirement and Mr. Nelson’s successful request for a waiver of that requirement.

The fifth event: Without informing or consulting your Election Integrity Commission, your staff postponed your consideration of our recommendation to November 20.

The sixth event: In response to a query about why your Commission’s recommendation was missing from the November 13th agenda, Mr. Moffatt attributed the delay to ballot counting and possible recounts and challenges. The reasons given are clearly not relevant to delaying yourconsideration of our recommendation, and serve only to tighten the time frame in which to organize people to implement a precinct-based hand count audit before the ballots are moved to the Treasurer’s vault.

This sequence of events raises the question whether there is genuine importance or credence given to election integrity in our county. Your staff has been disrespectful to your Election Integrity Commission and by implication insubordinate to you.

The question now is whether you will take any action to address these acts of disrespect to you and the Election Integrity Commission you created four years ago, after listening to two years of public concern about the conduct of elections in Pima County, and after Pima County lost, at great taxpayer expense, a lawsuit having to do with election transparency.

If there is no election fraud to mask, there is no reason for Pima County’s continued tolerance of the obvious anti-transparency efforts demonstrated by your staff.

Thank you for your attention.

Michael A. Duniho

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