- Special Report by Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG
The 400 previously rejected absentee ballots in the Coleman/Franken U.S. Senate race in Minnesota won't be the only ballots being carefully counted next week. Neither will the more than 5,000 being counted in the NY-20 U.S. House special election where (fewer than) 25 votes, out of 150,000 cast, currently separate the winner from the loser.
A hand count of thousands of paper ballots that could trump all of the above, at least in regards to national importance, will quietly occur next week in a highly-secured Maricopa County, AZ, facility, as part of a years-long criminal investigation. Ironically, coming as late as it does, three years after the election, the results of the count, no matter what they may be, will not affect the actual outcome of that election --- even if it is found that the results were originally rigged by elections officials.
After almost three years; hundreds of legal documents; scores of hours in courtrooms; precedent-setting legal findings forcing the public release of Diebold computer databases supposedly recording how citizens voted in their own elections; allegations of potential hacking and fraud believed to have been possibly carried out by election official insiders; indications of tampering described as the result of "human error" by a report commissioned by the state AG, as part of a criminal investigation subsequently described by critics as a "whitewash"; arrests of local election integrity advocates; and lord knows how many articles documenting it at all here at The BRAD BLOG over those years, the paper ballots from the curious 2006 Regional Transit Authority (RTA) election in Pima County (Tucson), AZ, will finally be counted, beginning next Monday, as part of a criminal investigation being carried out by the state's Attorney General.
The hand-count of all 120,821 ballots from that special election will be carried out not in Pima, but under the supervision of "certified professionals who work for the Maricopa County (Phoenix) Elections Department," according to a 2-page letter [PDF] sent by the AG's office to the chairman of the Democratic Party of Pima County. The "strictly-monitored" count will either settle, once and for all, the matter of whether that election was conducted fraudulently by election insiders manipulating the vulnerable electronic Diebold tabulation system --- or it won't...