The legal fight to preserve election ballot images is ironically scheduled to commence on election day, this Tuesday, August 30th at 10:00 AM.
All are encouraged show support by attending the hearing in Courtroom #568, 110 W. Congress St., Tucson, AZ.
Federal and state laws should have kept Pima County from destroying key elections data, but it took a lawsuit by Richard Hernandez, Rocky De La Fuente and AUDIT AZ to keep them from continuing this practice, at least for the time being.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order:
“prohibiting Pima County from deleting or destroying any Ballot Image Files generated in tabulating early ballots submitted by voters in the August 30 Primary, and granting such other relief as the Court deems just under the circumstances.”
Last fall, new voting machines were introduced to a number of Arizona counties, including Pima. These machines are called ES&S DS850’s and they have a very helpful auditing feature that involves graphically scanning the ballots while they’re being counted. A ballot image is made from each physical ballot that is run through the machine.
The physical ballot is marked with a serial number and the resulting ballot image is encrypted with that same number. The ballot images are what the machine actually uses to count with, so it becomes an integral part of the ballot chain-of-custody.
The lawsuit was initiated after Pima County’s Election Integrity Commission learned that their eight months of deliberation over the predicament of ES&S ballot images was futile because Pima County Elections had already deleted the images, including those belonging to this year’s federal primary election.
Federal law requiring retention of election materials provides a penalty of up to $1,000 fine and one year in jail for premature destruction of that material, was formerly 42 U.S.C § 1974, is now 52 U.S.C § 20701.
As AUDIT AZ Co-Founder John Brakey says, “Have you ever seen any other public official other than an elections official destroy automatically created records and refuse to verify their work?
Approximately 40% of the voting machines used to count ballots in the United States generate ballot images. This lawsuit is important because it’s the first act in a growing movement advocating constructive use of ballot images as a means for verifying approximately 40% of the vote in the general election.
The Wisconsin Grassroots Network demonstrates how ballot images can be used to verify elections:
Complaint: Hernandez Vs Pima County Elections
Link to Public Records Request to Pima County Elections that started the suit:
Link to letter to Huckelberry from Chair of PCEIC Tom Ryan Ph.D sent 8.23.16:
To learn how you can help improve election transparency, please
Contact: John Brakey, Phone: 520-339-2696