Judge Orders Division of Elections
To Preserve Copies of Election Records
November 08, 2006
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Stephanie Joannides ordered the
Alaska Division of Elections on Tuesday to preserve backup copies
of the state's 2006 electronic computer database and subsequent
tallies of the election results.
The Division of Elections had refused to make backup copies of
the Diebold computer GEMS database in response to a request from
the Alaska Democratic Party, which on Tuesday sought an emergency
court order requiring that copies be preserved of these election
"The people of Alaska have a right to have all the public
records related to our election. We are pleased that the court
has ordered the Division to preserve these records," said
Jake Metcalfe, chair of the Alaska Democratic Party.
"What conceivable reason could there be for failing to keep
copies of these important records?" asked Metcalfe.
The Division claims it did not keep copies of the 2004 electronic
databases as they were modified through the counting process,
and they did not maintain a correct copy of the final version
or an audit trail that could be verified to determine whether
the results are correct, Metcalfe said.
"Preserving public access to these important records is
the reason that the Democratic Party went to court. The action
we took is an attempt to prevent a repeat of the incompetence
that happened in counting the votes from Alaska's 2004 general
election," Metcalfe said.
The court issued a temporary restraining order stating that the
Division must make backup electronic copies on disk of the GEMS
database as it exists on election night and again at the conclusion
of each day in which the Division of Elections enters votes manually
into the system.
The Democrats want to receive those electronic records as the
changes are made and before the election is certified, which
is expected to occur by Dec. 7. The court has not yet ruled on
the issue of when the copies of the database will be released.
"It's important that we get the data before it is too late
to do anything about any problems that may come up. The databases
we are seeking are public records, and the law says they have
to give us those records as soon as practicable. The Division
of Elections didn't want to make back-up copies, and we had to
get a court order to force them to do so. They don't want to
provide the information to the public in a timely way - they
say they won't provide any of the electronic data until after
the election is certified. That is not acceptable," Metcalfe
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