At today's hearing at the Pima Board of Supervisors, after a number of false starts, the Board voted unanimously to release the entire database series from the 2006 primary, general, and RTA elections and to drop the appeal of Judge Miller's ruling. The records release greatly exceeds the records required to be released by Judge Miller's ruling, demonstrating a great deal of leadership on election integrity by all the members of the Board.
A consortium of technical experts of the three recognized political parties will work with Pima County's technical advisor John Moffitt to provide the records to all the parties as soon as practicable. The parties should have access to the databases by the end of the week.
This decision by the Board to drop the appeal and release more records than required by court order is a major statement of openness and transparency by the county. Providing the entire series, rather than only the final election file as ordered by Judge Miller's ruling, allows forensic experts from the parties to verify that database contents that should not vary during the counting of an election have, in fact, not been altered. Such verification is a critical piece of evidence whether or not an election has been tampered with by insiders. It also allows further investigation of forensic methods by which to test and verify that elections insiders have not acted improperly in running the election.
The agenda item was originally disposed of by voting 4-1 not to appeal Judge Miller's ruling (with Ray Carroll the dissenting vote, after his amendment to release all database files the parties are requesting was rejected). Chairman Elias cut off public comment after 5 speakers with more than 30 citizens still waiting to speak.
After a near yuppie riot, Chairman Elias reversed himself by moving directly to public comment period at the urging of Ray Carroll. After a dozen or so citizens spoke to the issue of a full public release of election databases, Carroll urged a motion to reconsider the lawsuit issue, and Chairman Elias allowed it and it was passed unanimously. Chairman Elias then himself motioned that the RTA series of databases also be released. After some input from experts such as John Denker, John Moffitt, and Jim March about the proper scope of the motion, the motion was finalized as a release of all database files pertaining to the 2006 primary, general, and RTA elections. The motion passed unanimously.
This was a very contentious meeting with some very vocal citizens. John Brakey courted ejection or arrest several times in order to keep the Board focused on the issue and to vindicate the people's right to be heard. There were continual interruptions of the proceedings with applause, jeers, and chants. I gotta say, I didn't envy Chairman Elias the task of trying to keep order under the circumstances: angry constituents, leaders of both parties with the crowd, television camera rolling. I give him full credit for dealing with it with aplomb and ultimately steering the Board to the right decision.