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Summary of the opening statement by the Pima County Deputy Attorney Christopher Straub:
The database files requested by the Democratic Party contain procedural programming as it is defined in Arizona legislation and the rules that originate with the Secretary of State.
Both sides agree on the point that the files created by the GEMS election software gives instructions used by memory cards used in election machines, which indicates that they contain sensitive computer programming.
In their depositions, the experts for the Pima County Democratic Party agree that the files the party wants contain code. That makes them computer programs in terms of legislative definitions of the term.
He agreed with the Democratic Party that the GEMS election software has significant security flaws, that the databases are not secure, and that they can be altered using Microsoft Access without using GEMS software. That is the reason he doesn’t want this database to be in the public domain, because it can be so easily hacked into.
According to one of the depositions, the real purpose of the lawsuit is to change the software used in elections, and that should be done through legislation, not in the courts.
The Democratic Party should not be allowed to look at database files from past elections because they will reveal a pattern of how the county sets up elections, which could be used by someone wanting to manipulate the election from the outside. There might be enough information in the databases to allow someone to create ballots that could be used to stuff the ballot boxes. Also, if the databases were released and their results were called into question, that could cast doubt in people’s minds of the trustworthiness of our elections.
Hackers are very imaginative people, and no one can predict the methods they might use to manipulate data, which makes the system very vulnerable. If the judge rules that the database files are public record, the county would have to give anyone in the public access.
Since the databases are so easily manipulated and it can be done without revealing any trace of the manipulation, it would be of very little value to the Democratic Party to have access to the databases. Anyone with the intent and skill to manipulate the data would also have the skill to do it without leaving any traces.
Arizona has a law that requires hand count audits of random precincts after the election to verify the results. This is a far better system than checking the databases.
The Democratic Party has seen audit logs from the elections and other records, and it has found no evidence of fraud. Their allegations are based on innuendo, not facts. The company that the Attorney General hired to look at the results of an election the Democratic Party said might have been manipulated (the Regional Transit Authority election) stated in its report that it found no evidence of fraud.
If it is true that Bryan Crane, a computer technician with the Elections Division, took home a CD backup of the election results, there is no evidence that he manipulated the results. And if early summary reports were printed revealing the vote counts in the various races before the polls closed, again, there is not evidence this affected the outcomes of the elections. There are innocent explanations for these things.
Though the Director of Elections and the computer technician have been spoken badly of by the Democratic Party, they have both done excellent jobs. The Division of Elections has been a much tighter ship since Brad Nelson, the current head of the Elections Division, was hired.
Finally, though there are admittedly flaws with the elections machines used in Pima County, there are also flaws with all the other machines certified in Arizona, so the most important thing is to create the necessary physical security around the machines themselves instead of questioning the software