Election Observer Arrested – Taken Away In Handcuffs

Update 4/16/2009: Brad Friedman has the story <read>

“The judge dismissed the case on motion of state’s evidence, because they hadn’t produced a prima faceia case,” Risner told The BRAD BLOG by phone just after the hearing. Moreover, the judge found “Nelson over-reached as he had deprived the Libertarian’s of an observer.”

Risner says the court found that Brakey’s actions had led to important improvements in the procedures implemented by the Pima County Department of Elections. The attorney also tells us that he plans to take civil action against Nelson. “We’ll probably be issuing a notice of claim that we’ll sue him for personal damages.”

Brakey was ecstatic. “We really won big,” he said today. “We didn’t even have to put up a defense” since the judge simply dismissed the county’s case after they’d heard it. He added that Nelson “really made a fool of himself” on the stand

***********Original Post:

This news video is the best way to understand the story <video>

Read the story from <The Election Defense Alliance> and <Brad Friedman>

Pima County (Tucson), Arizona’s Election Integrity advocate and expert, John Brakey was arrested last night while performing his job as an election supervisor, on behalf of both the Democratic and Libertarian parties, during a post-election hand-count audit of ballots…

The problem erupted after Brakey had noticed a number of ballot bags being counted in the post-election audit were missing their proper security seals. He began to ask questions about those bags, which eventually led to his arrest at the demand of Pima County’s Brad “Election Director Gone Wild” Nelson, a man with whom Brakey has had a number of unfortunate (for Nelson) run-ins over the years…
In one bag, instead of the signed official certification sheets, there was instead a slip of white paper with what Brakey said were “two illegible, scrawled signatures.”

Arizona vs. Connecticut – you decide:

  • Arizona is in the West
  • Connecticut Election management has been characterized as the Wild West
  • Arizona Recounts are hand counts of the paper
  • Secretary Bysiewicz recently changed Connecticut back to machine recounts based on requests from Registrars to make their jobs easier
  • In Puma Arizona they keep the ballots under video surveillance and guard
  • In many Connecticut towns the ballots are kept in vaults, rooms, or cabinets without servalence and 24×7 access by either Registrar. In some towns access is available to each member of the Registrar’s staff.
  • We have yet to hear of any observer in Connecticut being arrested

You’ll note in the KGUN video, that Brad Nelson admits the ballot bags that Brakey was concerned about were, indeed, unsealed.

“All of these bags have been under 24 hour video surveillance, as well as a deputy sherrif have been watching these bags since they’ve come in on election night. So we have protected the bags,” Nelson is quoted as saying.

Why do hand counts? Why keep the ballots under seal, with real security, and surveillance?

In the Puma race, the Democrat won on the original reported count. With the hand count incomplete, currently the Republican candidate is in the lead. Without complete integrity, no matter who is eventually declared a winner, there will be a cloud over Arizona and the office holder.

Some argue for illusion over integrity – That we would be better off without paper records so that the original count provided by election officials, touch screen machines, or lever machines would always have to be accepted and the public never disturbed by the knowledge that people make errors or do fraud with and without computers.


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