by David Safier
It's hard to say where Pima County Director of Elections Brad Nelson's incompetence ends and his deceptiveness begins. His survival in that position given the number of examples of his incompetence and mendacity we've seen over recent years defies logic. It makes you wonder whether he knows where some County skeletons are buried and people in high places worry what would happen if he ran his motor mouth outside the employ of the County.
Here's the latest. Pima County has an active Election Integrity Commission that advises the County Supes about elections. It has advocated for years that early ballots be sorted either by precinct or legislative district when they're received, which would make for a more reliable audit to assure careless or purposeful counting errors are detected. It turns out the updated Elections Procedures manual from the SOS demands exactly that. But Nelson got a waiver for Pima County, then neglected to tell the commission what he'd done.
Why didn't he tell them? According to Nelson,
"I have always been telling the EIC about changes coming down the pike. In my mind, I was thinking that all we're doing is maintaining the status quo," Nelson said in explanation.
Nelson's statement is so bold, so mind boggling, it's hard to wrap your mind around. He's saying, since the SOS changed the rules and he changed them back, that's not a change, so he doesn't have to tell the Commission about it.
Pima County complains the pre-sort would be too difficult and costly. The problem with that argument is, most counties are already doing it, which is why the SOS updated the rules.
Anyone who has been following the Election Integrity controversy in Pima County knows the battles have been going on for years, and they've been loud and fierce. We have one of the most organized and dogged EI groups in the country which has managed to get some important changes made in the way elections are handled, improving the ballot chain of custody and the transparency of the counting process. So this slap in the face on the issue of pre-sorting early ballots, where Nelson went behind the back of the Election Integrity Commission to get a waiver, then didn't inform the Commission of the waiver, is jaw dropping.
Let Brad Nelson go already. He lacks the personality or the integrity to run a complex organization effectively, let alone one charged with assuring an accurate, efficient vote count. Enough is enough.