The Curious Business of William E. Doyle

J.T. Waldron

In the past eight years of litigation over election transparency in Arizona, William E. Doye’s name has appeared only twice in court transcripts but Doyle and his company “Election Operations Services” play an unsettling role in most elections throughout the state.  Doyle’s career in public service appears to have begun with the earliest public record connecting him to elections in Arizona as Deputy Recorder for Maricopa County in 1976.  His formation of a limited liability corporation to assist with elections a decade later mirrors the eventual privatization of key functions in the electoral process throughout the nation.

Picture with text courtesy of the Kingman Daily Miner-Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1991

Proficient in accommodating new technology, Doyle was firmly established as an authority for evolving use of punchcards in the late nineties and “Elections Operations Services” was a name for a handy source of consultation and problem solving for election workers. In Kingman, Arizona, Doyle was tapped to conduct a recount of a city council election that had a margin of two votes. The local Kingman Daily Miner reports:

“The recount will be done with a different computer, which Doyle will program before the punch-card ballots are processed.”

In 2002, the year the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed into law ushering in our new found era of black box voting, Doyle decided to change his limited liability corporation to a sole proprietorship. Some remnants in the public archives enable us to grasp the size of these contracts along with the exorbitant profits they must yield. Various sites, articles and municipal public records indicate close to $900,000 worth of business in Mohave County alone with the highest individual contract at over $112,000. Records won in litigation for the latest primary election in Santa Cruz drew our attention to William Doyle through the discovery of one invoice billing over $30,000 for the printing of ballots, which is another function provided by Elections Operations Services. The common perception among those following elections is that Runbeck Graphics prints the official ballots for elections in Arizona. Runbeck devotes a webpage (Runbeck Election Services) to describe their advanced facilities and services, but “it also works with a pool of subcontractors that add local production capabilities.”

Two years ago, Pinal County awarded Doyle with a $425,000 contract to print election ballots. The county described their process for determining the award:

“Two responses to PC-120517 were received. Runbeck Election Services, Inc. submitted a “No-bid” letter as a response. As a “No-bid” is still a bid response, the bid submitted by Elections Operations Services is determined to be the lowest responsive bid. Elections Operations Services is responsible and the pricing submitted is fair and reasonable based upon previous/current contract pricing.

Try to imagine why a company so well equipped would turn away almost half a million dollars of business in such a finite market. Why would they bother going through the motion so the county can pretend to have a competitive bidding process? Perhaps Doyle is a member of that “pool of subcontractors”.

Three years ago in Gila County, a Board Supervisor insisted that her lesser qualified secretary (Linda Eastlick) replace Dixie Mundy as the new Elections Director. The Rim County Gazette reported the consequences:

“The county has also contracted William Doyle with Elections Operations Services to do much of the election director’s job through 2012. The county will pay $225,000 for his services, performing the same duties listed in the job description for the election director, a position that pays $51,000 a year. This means one consultant was hired to teach Eastlick the job, and now another is being paid a quarter million dollars to do the job.”

Taxpayer dollars paid into this one vendor may rival the sum squandered by Pima County to avoid meaningful scrutiny of the 2006 RTA ballots. What’s more distressing than monetary cost is the unique position and opportunity vendors like Elections Operations Services have in an election. Ironically, Dixie Mundy revealed this circumstance as she testified on behalf of Pima County in its effort to legally skirt the public records request brought by suspicion surrounding that 2006 RTA election. In the video below, she describes how Doyle programs and transmits the databases to Gila County’s elections computer through a telephone modem.

Stephen Spoonamore, a key expert I.T. witness for the ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, provides an excellent account of how a once trusted elections vendor Smart Tech was provided an opportunity to compromise the election.

Author Marta Steele writes about similar ‘man-in-the-middle structures’ in other swing states like Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico in her book, “Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement’s Rise and Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People’s Vote, 2000-2008”.

Unlike L.L.C.’s, sole proprietors can plead the 5th amendment and decline to give self incriminating information.  How sinister is this seemingly helpful vendor now entwined in the electronic voting process for most of the Arizona voting districts? It probably doesn’t matter. Transparent,verifiable elections are an inconceivable notion when a vendor has this kind of access and secrecy.

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