(Tucson, Ariz. – Sept. 14, 2007) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that his office did not find evidence that anyone tampered with a Regional Transportation Authority election in Pima County last year.
The Pima County Democratic Party requested the Attorney General’s Office investigate allegations that the RTA election results had been manipulated.
“We did not find any evidence that the computer technician at the center of this case manipulated this election,” Goddard said. “However, the consultant’s report reviewing the system did raise serious concerns about election security.”
The allegations were based on two summary reports that were run five days before the May 16, 2006 election. The summary reports provide the number of early ballots cast and the results to date. It is illegal to share any results from an election prior to the close of voting.
The technician, Bryan Crane, explained that he ran these reports to ensure the optical readers were reading the ballots correctly. Crane told investigators that for eight years or more he had run similar summary reports to ensure the ballots counted equaled the ballots cast.
“Our investigation concluded that Mr. Crane did not share with anyone the results from these summary reports,” Goddard said. “He ran the reports to make sure the election equipment was reading ballots correctly.”
In the election, voters in Pima County were asked to approve a $2.1 billion regional transportation plan and a half-cent sales tax to fund it. The plan was adopted with 60 percent of the vote, and the sales tax was approved with 58 percent of the vote.
In determining whether Crane or any other employee manipulated the election, the Attorney General’s Office contracted with iBeta, a Colorado-based company that provides software quality assurance testing services. The company is one of three in the country certified by the Federal Election Assistance Commission to test and evaluate election systems. The tests conducted by iBeta determined that no data was changed in this election.
Goddard noted that although iBeta found no tampering with the election results, its review did reveal election security weaknesses that need to be addressed by Pima County.