Santa Cruz Judge Kimberly Corsaro Rules in Favor of the Plaintiffs Seeking Election Records

J.T. Waldron

Yesterday morning, Sergio Arellanos, John Brakey, and a number of citizens concerned with elections in Santa Cruz County received a welcome judgment finding the Defendants (County of Santa Cruz) in violation of Arizona state public records laws.

“The court helped restore public confidence with this ruling because it upholds the laws that support transparency,” Brakey declared on his cell phone while driving home from his radio interview in Nogales, Arizona. Although two out of ten items requested are allegedly unfulfillable, the judge declared that the Plaintiffs substantially prevailed and are entitled to be compensated for their attorney’s fees.

One item the defendants claimed did not exist was invoices from any vendors who programmed the central count elections computers and the Accuvote memory cards. This pursuit is supposedly empty due to the dubious testimony by Santa Cruz Elections Director Melinda Meek who claimed under oath that all programming of elections databases are done “in house”.

On the second day of the hearing, Santa Cruz produced a CD containing a portion of the data requested by the Santa Cruz Elections Integrity Committee in conjunction with AUDITAZ (Americans United for Democracy, Integrity and Transparency in Elections). In the 2014 Primary audit log of Santa Cruz’s central tabulating computer, databases used previously for five other counties were displayed as backup files in alphabetical sequence prior to “Santa Cruz”. Below is a map of the counties this GEMS database was constructed for:

This has prompted a second records request from the County of Santa Cruz. Today members of AUDITAZ appeared at the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, who held an emergency meeting to discuss their predicament caused by refusing to abide by state records laws.

“They didn’t even allow for public input or a call to the audience,” says Brakey. “I approached one member to remind him of the deadline and ask when we’ll see it and he tells me to contact their lawyer.” Below is a video of today’s Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors’ exchange with Brakey:

The other excluded item involves the inspection of network settings key to determining whether the elections department is truthful when it claims its central tabulator is free of outside connections.  Plaintiffs believe that network settings are a form of metadata allowed by the same statute that provides for the remaining nine items to be promptly disclosed when requested.
Ironically, Judge Corsaro did not take the time to determine if this information qualifies as public record because “the Defendants have shown that the tabulators are not hooked up to any network”. The Plaintiffs are not so sure.
Brakey summarizes in his radio interview:

“We the people must have elections that are 100% transparent with a documented chain of custody and the elections verified. Nothing less. Government must not be the sole verifier of its own secret elections.”

And over his cell phone:

“They must give the candidates and public the due process that is their right under the law.  Yes, voting is a secret process.  However, counting is a public process.  It is our right under 16-621 and other statutes to to have observers in all processes where ballots are being handled.”

Adhering to this philosophy, the ever growing list of plaintiffs will join this transparency initiative in a mandamus action to be filed in the Santa Cruz courts this Thursday morning if the Board of Supervisors fails to order their elections department to follow the law as per A.R.S. Sec. 16-621.

Check out today’s Maxima 99.1 radio appearance by John Brakey as he discusses the state of elections with host Macho Martinez.  Tomorrow (Wednesday), Brakey will return with the Plaintiff’s Attorney Alex Kolodin and  Libertarian Candidate for Governor Barry Hess.

One thought on “Santa Cruz Judge Kimberly Corsaro Rules in Favor of the Plaintiffs Seeking Election Records

  • October 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    History teaches us that elections without public accountability are nothing more than vote-counting in the dark, controlled by a county government in the act of choosing itself and its cronies while picking our pockets. Our message is simple: “We the People” must have elections that are 100% transparent, with a documented ‘chain-of-custody’ and then, the election must be verified! Nothing less! Government can never be the sole verifier of its own secret elections.


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