Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pima County, AZ Election Director Launches Outburst When Questioned about DIEBOLD purchases!

I am beginning to suspect that there is more to Arizona's decision to purchase Diebold voting machines for the upcoming mid-term elections. . . A Republican is trying to keep his job. So, in order to ensure that he keeps it, he is installing intentionally flawed Diebold voting machines (which always err to the right.) Sometimes the guilty just get angry! Read on:

Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson Launches Outburst At Election Reform Advocate in Response to Question About New Touch-Screen Voting Machines
Letter Calls for Censure of Official as Onlookers Stunned by Encounter, Feared Violence Would Break Out...

The battle between Election Officials and Election Integrity Advocates has been simmering and intensifying for some time. Last week, in Arizona, one such confrontation boiled over briefly into an outburst...

The battle between Election Officials and Election Integrity Advocates has been simmering and intensifying for some time. Last week, in Arizona, one such confrontation boiled over briefly into an outburst at a public meeting which was documented on video tape. In what could be a preview for the Electoral Integrity fight still to come, Pima County, Arizona's Election Director Brad Nelson went into a short tirade last Tuesday as the video camera rolled during a local Democratic precinct council meeting in the state's 26th Legislative District.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained the exclusive video of the event which reveals the Republican Nelson flying off the handle and shouting as he confronts Election Integrity Advocate, John Brakey, "nose to nose" during a question about Diebold's DRE (touch-screen) voting machines. Before Brakey was able to get to his main question concerning Nelson's plans for Logic and Accuracy testing on the machines, he was interupted by Nelson's outburst over whether or not he had, in fact, signed a contract for use of the new voting machines in the county.

Diebold's hackable touch-screen machines have been recently approved for first-time use in the state by Arizona's Secretary of State Jan Brewer.

While Nelson's confrontational rant was just short of anarchic, it certainly sent a shockwave of concern throughout the room of stunned onlookers.

One of the witnesses present, Rev. Gerry Straatemeier, described the "intimidating behavior" displayed in the incident as "completely out of line for a public official". Straatemeier was so troubled by the display that she sent an open letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors calling for Nelson to be censured for the behavior. In the letter (posted in full at the end of this item, along with a text transcript of the event) Straatemeier says, "I really thought he was going to land a blow on Mr. Brakey and I was scared to death."

In the video, Nelson charges towards the camera at one point -- which Brakey was standing near -- coming so close that it's impossible to see anything but his chest in full camera's full frame.

Straatemeier, in her letter, suggests the tirade was an attempt to intimidate Brakey -- and other election integrity advocates -- from further inquiry into the controversial Diebold touch-screen voting equipment now coming into Arizona despite a Dept. of Homeland Security warning that their tabulator software is hackable, a non-partisan GAO report confirming the failures and loss of ballots via electronic voting, and a recent independent analysis [PDF] commissioned by the Sec. of State of California which warns about the hackable "interpeted code" used in Diebold voting machines despite a ban on such code by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines.

As we reported in May of last year, Brakey has for some time been closely investigating a number of troubling anomolies in recent Arizona elections. His intensive work auditing his own precinct in Pima County, where he says evidence suggest fraud occurred in the 2004 election, was covered in detail last year by The Tuscon Weekly. That work has brought him in contact many times in the past with Nelson -- without incident apparently, until last week.

Last Tuesday, as the following video shows, the simmering frustration and growing anger roiling up between many Election Officials and Election Reformers, has finally begun to make its way to the surface and into the public eye...

A complete text transcript of the incident, and a copy of Straatemeier's open letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors calling for censure of Nelson is located at http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00002473.htm!

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