Huckelberry claims that on May 9th the PCEIC broke the opening meeting law. This after Richard Hernandez Chairman of Sunnyside Unified School District recall committee addressed the PCEIC, Hernandez, three candidates and others were asking them for their assistance to ensure a fair, honest, transparent and verifiable vote count in the Sunnyside Unified School. As seen in the video of the May 9th meeting, Hernandez and others pleaded with the commission not to count the votes five days out, but count it on Election Day
By John R Brakey AUDITAZ@cox.net
The Pima County Election Integrity Commission (PCEIC) was formed as a result of litigation surrounding the RTA election. In what appears to be a move intended to intimidate the commission and retaliate for their watchdog efforts, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry filed a complaint with Attorney General Tom Horne to subvert his group’s efforts. Then Huckelberry moved to have the attorney of record (who represented the RTA in election integrity trials) put on the agenda, and schedule an “executive session” for the upcoming July 11 commission meeting in an effort to discourage transparency. What an amazing show of arrogance by Huckelberry.
If a bureaucrat like Huckelberry wants to stop something from happening in Pima County, he forms a committee that lets some of his opposition participate. Ultimately, he controls the agenda with his team while pushing an extreme interpretation of the open meeting laws. After a while, it seems members are worried more about what you can’t say than what you can say. Many have stated to me that they lost their voice. Sometimes, however, Pima County does not get its way. Outside observers can tell when this happens by watching member Benny White’s reactions. He will usually have a temper tantrum or walk out when a majority of votes contradict the county’s intentions (like in the video above).
Pima County has a history of counting early ballots a week or two before election day, and has been accused of using early results to alter the election. That was the subject of the long-running lawsuit concerning the RTA election of 2006.
After the May PCEIC meeting, and thanks to Ally Miller, a member of the BOS, and the Arizona Daily Independent, the count was done on Election Day in only took 69 minutes to count.
Pima County administrator Chuck Huckelberry along with Pima County supervisors Ray Carroll, Sharon Bronson, Richard Elias, and Ramon Valadez have all been previously accused in four open meeting law complaints in a four month period currently being investigated by the Arizona Attorney General’s office.
Hernandez explained in the July 11th meeting that as an “individual – someone who lives in the city and the county,” and as a voter, he appreciated the work of the commission. Hernandez said, “The most fundamental right we Americans have is the right to vote and I’m really glad to see both sides,” engage in a robust conversation. “I don’t know who’s side you are on, or who has appointed you, because personally, it does not make a difference.”
“I wish there were forty more Joe Q. Publics here, standing behind me to tell you that you are doing well,” said Hernandez. “We want you to protect us. To make sure that the process is fair.”
Hernandez urged commissioners to resist the efforts by Huckelberry to force them into an executive session and out of the public’s view at last week’s PCEIC public meeting. Some commissioners believed that Huckelberry was trying to force them into executive session backrooms away from public scrutiny, so that he could scare them into inactivity.
Pima County is the only county in the state where an unelected county administrator oversees completely the election department rather than the duly per the Arizona Revised Statutes delegates the responsibility to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) simply because these boards are partisan and made up of 3 to 5 persons. In Title 16 over 75 times it referees to the BOS.
Hernandez reminded the commissioners that they were the only entity the citizens had to protect their vote. “This it really upsets me,” he told the commissioners, “because I’m a voter, the one that you are representing and it’s very important to me that you understand how what you do is so important.”