Republican Lori Oien, head of the East Side Republican Club, invited democrat attorney Bill Risner to discuss election integrity in Pima County. The Election Division, under Brad nelson, has come under scrutiny since the RTA Bond election in 2006.
Oien, a former candidate for Tucson City Council, introduced Risner, Republican Election official Benny White, Democrat Election official Mickey Donohue, and a documentary film crew that has been following her and documenting her life for the past 11 months. She told the multi-partisan group, that she had heard Bill Risner on the radio and because election integrity is “not a Democrat or Republican issue, but a fairness issue,” she invited Risner to address the packed house.
Risner, White, and Donahue presented pending lawsuits, current practices, and continuing concerns. Risner explained that “the problem for people who care about democracy and whether your vote actually counts is that we using computers, and they are computers that are privatized and suing their software, and computers do what they are told.” It is exactly what the Pima County computers were told which is at the heart of the continuing legal battle between Risner and the Pima County government.
Pima County officials exempted County races from hand count audits, and have denied access to the ballots cast in the 2006 election, as well as refusing to use optical scanners in the County’s possession to account for all ballots cast in election subsequent to 2006.
Aside from the concerns about the computers’ accuracy and security is the manner in which early ballots are handled by the County. Currently, early ballots are tabulated over a week before General Election Day, which has triggered speculation in past races that the results were known to political operatives who used that information for unfair political advantage.
White, who is a staunch defender of Pima County’s system, conceded that in the past there was fraud, but he said that there is none now.
“It’s our contention base on facts and past history that by the morning of the 30th of October with approximately 25,000 plus vote counted they will know who’s winning and losing and if they need to HACK or STUFF any county races, they will have 7 days to do it, said John Brakey of Americans United for Democracy Intergrity and Transperency in election Arizona, (AUDIT-AZ).