Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org
Election Fraud in Florida? Ohio? Chicago? Not this time…How about Maricopa County, Arizona, the fourth most populous county in the United States. Yes, sunny, laid back Arizona seems to be a hotbed of electoral intrigue, dispute and possible malfeasance.
It seems that the results of the September 7, 2004 Republican Primary now has Republicans turning on and challenging fellow Republicans in both the state legislature and in the media. Also emerging are stunning reports that county jail inmates --- some of whom have admitted to ballot tampering! --- were being used to handle ballots in the county in exchange for early release!
In an article in the Phoenix New Times out today --- headlined "Pandora's Box - Is Arizona's Speaker of the House afraid of what might happen if the truth is learned about a local election?" --- reporter John Dougherty tells a tale of apparent election fraud, a quid pro quo offer, new votes that appear like magic, failure by an assistant county attorney to serve a subpoena, political pressure, and one hell of a mess.
The story covers the strange tale of Maricopa County District 20 Republican Primary state Representative candidate, John McComish who went from four votes behind rival Anton Orlich, after the primary votes were counted, to 13 votes ahead after a recount held on September 21, 2004. In between those two counts 489 new votes mysteriously appeared in the totals.
The incident led to a date in court (that's what Republicans do when they don't like the results of elections…too bad more Democrats don't take the cue) for which the Assistant County Attorney neglected to serve a subpoena on the Election System and Software (ES&S) representative who has an office in the county elections offices. The lack of a witness from the major American Voting Machine company to answer questions about potential machine malfunctions that resulted in the unexplained new votes forced the judge to go ahead and certify results of the election according to the recount. The county Election Director could provide no explanation that made any sense as to where those 489 additional votes came from. Freedom of Information Act requests for records from the County Sheriff --- who was supposed to provide guards for the ballots --- have been ignored…