Transparency is the Solution

Transparency is the Solution

Please read and share: Hope is alive in Arizona House Bill “HB2780”. It would Make Elections in AZ, Transparent, Trackable, and Publicly Verified with a Ballot Library: Video Senate GOV Committee on 3.21.22
To My Fellow Democrats: Attorney Bill Risner and I (John Brakey) are lifelong Democrats. In 2005, I was runner-up for Arizona Democrat of the Year for my work in election integrity. Please help us with HB 2780 by supporting it. Before I explain House Bill 2780, you need to know that it’s basically the same as in Arizona State Democratic Party Resolution in 2010, proposed by Bill Risner, myself, and others, which became a plank in the Arizona Democratic Party platform: https://bit.ly/34ydGh3
The importance of this bill, and the basic ideas behind it are most clearly explained in a letter drafted by Ken Bennett, me, and Ken presented to the Republican Senate Caucus: https://bit.ly/3u6hCA6
This bill is nonpartisan in the truest sense of the word. They help the Democratic Party just as much as they help the Republican Party, for the simple reason that it will do wonders to restore faith in our election process and increase voter confidence in election results.
Yet at this time this bill is not supported by any Democratic legislators in 2022, perhaps because they are being proposed by Republicans and therefore assumed to be bad? Or simply because their benefits are not yet understood, and amendments do need to be made. I cannot stress strongly enough how important this bill is to lift Arizona’s already good elections to a level of excellence that will make them a model for the nation in transparency, accuracy, and verifiability.
I was deputy liaison under Ken Bennett, whom I have known since 2009. Although Ken Bennett and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, we worked side-by-side for months at the Maricopa County “Fraudit,” fighting in the same foxhole. I found Ken to be a very principled republican and a man of his word. We developed a close friendship during that time and discovered we had a common interest; we love our family, our country and understand the need to make elections transparent, trackable, and publicly verified for our democracy to thrive.
Our country needs elections in which we all can believe in. Maybe more people might vote if they knew it was real. Perhaps get better candidates. The reality is in the last presidential election 80-million people did not vote, who could have voted in this country. I don’t think I need to go on any further to explain why. It’s not healthy for people to walk away from an election wondering if it’s real or not. Lack of belief in election results has already caused civil unrest and could cause more in the near future.
As to my work at the Fraudit. Award-winning journalist Steven Rosenfeld wrote: “What’s clear is that without your presence on the inside, much of the mainstream media in Arizona and nationally would not have had access to underlying information to report on the shortcomings of the Ninja’s review.”
We also work in Florida. Please read this Press Release that clearly shows the Florida State Democratic Party (FDP) is 100% behind ballot images, to the extent that the FDP and five Florida Democratic legislators are Plaintiffs in a current Florida lawsuit to force the preservation of ballot images as a vital public record: https://bit.ly/32PzBPT
A brief explanation: The voting systems used in Arizona take a picture of every ballot, and this picture is called a ballot image. The votes are counted from the images, not from the paper ballots themselves. A lawsuit initiated by our organization in 2016 resulted in Arizona preserving ballot images. The proposed bills would make them public records. They would also allow each ballot image to be matched up with its corresponding paper ballot by imprinting an identifying number on each ballot that comes in through an envelope as it is scanned in the high-speed scanners used for early ballots.
Maybe something really good can come out of the Fraudit, such as a simple system that makes elections transparent, trackable, and publicly verified. How? First, by making ballot images a public record, which they are. Second, by changing ‘ballot storage’ into a ‘ballot library,’ meaning that all ballots that come in through an envelope and are counted on digital high-speed scanners will have their imprinter turned on, which will print a serialized number on every anonymous ballot that came in through in envelope. In Maricopa that was 91% of all ballots cast. This will allow ballot images to be validated by comparing them with their corresponding paper ballots if needed.
The redundancy provided by the ballot library system protects both the original paper ballots and the ballot images from fraud. It allows both election officials and the public to verify election results in a meaningful way.
Precinct voting machines are not capable of printing a number on each ballot. Precinct ballots should be saved by precinct, voting center with the poll tape, as is done at this time.
One of the things that distinguishes Ballot Images from hand-marked paper ballots is that the images can be sorted any way you want to look at them — by batch, precinct, district, or candidate race. This cannot be done with the original paper ballots.
Ballot images may be an answer to this problem that threatens to destroy our democracy. I’ve been doing this for 18 years, and I can see daylight at the end of the tunnel (hope) with this system, which proposes transparency as a solution.
What we are trying to do here is good for all in Arizona and a model for other states.
Question: Are things so bad that if the Right were to say left, The Left would say right. In Florida same issue (digital ballot images) we are working with Democrats, in AZ working with Republicans.
JohnBrakey@gmail.com

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