Arizona Libertarians sue over being excluded from counting of ballots


“You know, comrades,” says Stalin, “that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this —- who will count the votes, and how.”

From, by way of Next Free Voice:

Maricopa County officials’ decision to exclude the Libertarian Party from participating in verifying ballots after the Nov. 4 election has undermined voters’ confidence in the electoral process, a party attorney told a Maricopa County Superior Court judge Thursday.

“There are quite a number of people including many Libertarians, who feel the process in Maricopa County in terms of counting the votes is not an honest process, that there is not sufficient transparency,” attorney Michael Kielsky said in court Thursday.

The county Libertarian Party is suing election officials over their decision to bar the party from hand counting ballots, a process used to ensure that electronic machines tabulate votes correctly. Representatives from the Democratic and Republican parties were allowed to physically inspect ballots.

But county Elections Director Karen Osborne said Libertarians were left out because they didn’t fill out paperwork correctly, failing to designate on forms the names of party participants.

Osborne added that while Libertarians were not able to help randomly select which precincts and races would be scrutinized or handle ballots, they were able to observe the hand counting process.

“Had the Libertarian Party provided people, we would have welcomed them,” Osborne told The Arizona Republic. “We know that we did a good job. We know that we did a proper job.”

The party is requesting that Judge Edward Burke invalidate the recent hand count and order that a new count be undertaken that includes Libertarians. Testimony was expected to continue Thursday afternoon.

State elections law requires ballots from 2 percent of county precincts in at least four contested races to be hand checked against computer tabulations.

Kielsky said the Libertarians’ exclusion from that process was part of a systemic breakdown in election security.

He pointed out that the hand count began before 10 county precincts had reported their results. Hand counting did not take place at the Elections Department’s video-monitored tabulating center, but instead at a county sheriff’s building. And bags containing ballots appeared to have been tampered with.

But Burke seemed disturbed by the allegations in the case, pointedly asking Kielsky: “You’re not saying the Maricopa County Elections Department cheated?” Not satisfied by Kielsky’s answer, the judge followed up: “Are you saying that (Maricopa County Recorder Helen) Purcell, Ms. Osborne and their employees were dishonest in conducting this hand count?”

Colleen Conner, an attorney for the county Elections Department, said the intent of the Libertarians was to disrupt the electoral process. She compared the legal challenge to a recent case where political parties pressured Pima County to adopt new policies requiring ballots and election data to be transported by vehicles due to security concerns.

“This certainly was an honest and very transparent hand count process,” Conner said.

Out of Maricopa County’s 1.7 million registered voters, 10,500 identify themselves as Libertarians.

10 thoughts on “Arizona Libertarians sue over being excluded from counting of ballots

  1. JimDavidson

    Michael Kielsky is very cool. I’ve met him. The answer to the judge is, yes, I think the process is dishonest.

  2. paulie cannoli Post author

    By the way, I registered some of those self identified Libertarians, and left in March with the assurance that I would be welcome to return. However, Sean Haugh and/or other LP National employees (Kohlhaas, Kraus) have prevailed upon the Arizona LP not to hire petitioners/vote registrars that LPHQ does not green light, even though the AZ LP is using its own money, not national’s.

  3. JimDavidson

    Well, if you want, “we can just see about that.” I know bundles of people in the AZ LP. You going to

  4. Catholic Trotskyist

    I wasn’t going to comment on this thread, but your mentioning of Stalin has compelled me to mention that I have been communicating with his soul, which is still burning in hell, and he has entered into negotiations with his nemesis Trotsky, and may possibly endorse the ideology of Catholic Trotskyism soon. He admits that he should have become a priest instead of becoming political.

  5. HumbleTravis

    How recent of a phenomenon is it that LP National plays such a large role in state ballot access drives?

  6. paulie cannoli Post author

    Well, if you want, “we can just see about that.”

    That would be appreciated.

    I’d still have a problem, though: they have also banned Jake Witmer, and I would like to keep working with him on various projects – but he has said that he won’t work with anyone who takes the AZ job as long as AZ LP doesn’t want him.

    And then, he wants a thousand bucks payment (not advance) and an apology first.

    I have a hard time seeing that happen, so I’m sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one.

    Maybe we should just forget the LP, and do some BTP projects. NM might work. Maybe KY. We’ll think of something. I’m not making any money sitting here, that’s for sure.

    It would be nice to have them cave just for the sake of principle, if nothing else.

    You going to

    If I’m out that way. Can’t make plans this far our.

    How recent of a phenomenon is it that LP National plays such a large role in state ballot access drives?

    Brand new.

  7. JimDavidson

    It is a brand new thing, which is why it would be fun to challenge it. And what Jake doesn’t know can’t hurt him.

  8. paulie cannoli Post author

    OK, let’s challenge it.

    But I’m not under any illusion that Jake would not find out, and I don’t really want to do anything I can’t own up to anymore. I have had enough of that to fill a whole bunch of lifetimes. It doesn’t work for me, and I’ve had my fill of it.

    But like I said: I want to know I have the option.

    So, yes, it is worth pursuing.

    And thanks!

  9. cyrano3000

    I am surprised a judge would ask such a question as “Are you saying that (Maricopa County Recorder Helen) Purcell, Ms. Osborne and their employees were dishonest in conducting this hand count?”
    The complaint states that Purcell isn’t following the law. Purcell could be deviating from her performance due to incompetence, indifference or intent. How is Kielsky supposed to know what Purcell’s motivation is? She just isn’t following the law.

    I find it amazing to read the complaint where Osborne was given notice of the desired Libertarian observers which were rejected and what Osborn says is that Iannuzo (the LP county chair) never filled out a form.

    My brain just can’t understand the the chasm between what Osborne says happened and what Iannuzo says happened.

    Thane Eichenauer
    Phoenix, AZ

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