RTA election fraud suit under advisement

Pima County Superior Court Judge Kyle Bryson has taken under advisement the matter of whether Pima County’s alleged voter fraud in the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election on May 16, 2006 will be heard in Court. The Arizona Court of Appeals overturned a previous decision by Judge Harrington that his court did not have jurisdiction and remanded the case. Judge Bryson was assigned the case late last year.

A packed courtroom listened as attorney Bill Risner respectfully told the Judge Bryson that the previous judge had made a mistake, and “now is your chance to fix it.” The judge will most likely decide whether to fix the mistake or not within the next 30 days. Plaintiffs do not expect a ruling before the current Primary Election is over.

At the time of the RTA bond election, questions arose regarding the election results almost immediately. They persist in this lawsuit in Arizona Superior Court.

County races, including large bond elections are currently exempted from a hand count of the votes, which increases the concern about election fraud.

The stated goal of a lawsuit filed in Arizona Superior Court by Tucson attorney Bill Risner on behalf of the Libertarian Party is “to protect the “purity of elections” in the future, starting with the 2012 elections. According to attorney Bill Risner, the lawsuit is based on two facts; “At the present time it is easy to cheat using our election computers and impossible to challenge a rigged election.”

The lawsuit alleges that “Pima County, through the direction and control of its county administrator C.H. “Chuck” Huckleberry, has systematically subverted critical controls required to protect the purity of elections. The elimination of those controls has permitted county management to take advantage of the ability to cheat presented by defects in our computerized election system.”

The central allegation in the suit is that “county management fraudulently rigged the Regional Transportation Authority election.”

The Pima County Democratic Party had previously taken on the issue. It was through the Discovery process in that effort, that the current suit bases its allegations. In papers filed with the court, lawyers claim that from “three other lawsuits involving the Pima County Democratic Party and Pima County,” a path was provided “for future discovery that must be followed in this lawsuit.”

The Libertarian Party argues that “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.” They cite three Arizona Constitution sections as the basis of their claim, including Arizona Constitution Art. 2 § 21, which requires all elections to be “free and equal.”

Plaintiffs say that the most important legal and factual building block of this lawsuit is the agreed upon fact that it is very easy to cheat with our election computer software. In the suit, it is alleged that “the ease of cheating may be counterintuitive, especially among those least familiar with computers, but it is a fact. The ease of cheating may be a surprise even to those who are familiar with computers but whose familiarity was derived from securely developed programs. Our election computer system has quite simply been built to cheat and, at least for that goal, it has succeeded.”

Both conservative and liberal activists hold that the goal of the lawsuit is to make elections a transparent process by removing Pima County’s ability to cheat undetected. They have fought for over six years of litigation for the courts to decide they indeed have jurisdiction to ensure clean elections.

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