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Recounting all ballots will end the RTA doubts

Citizen Staff Writer
Our Opinion

There are a handful of people – the true conspiracy theorists who see evildoers skulking around every corner – who will never be persuaded.

But a move this week by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard to take control of ballots cast in the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority election should end doubt about whether votes were accurately counted.

There is one thing Goddard should do to put this matter to rest: count every ballot in a process observed by interested parties. End the doubts.

There already are some who are squealing that Goddard is not to be trusted and that the ballots should be under the control of local political parties or some other Tucson entity.

But as the chief law enforcement officer of Arizona, Goddard has the ultimate responsibility to decide if the votes were correctly counted or if there was some criminal act that led to the election results being “flipped” as some have theorized.

In announcing Monday that a judge had given Goddard permission to take control of the ballots, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said “strict security measures” will be taken to ensure the ballots are not tampered with.

That is what most people involved in this case have wanted all along – a complete investigation by someone not connected with the election or with Pima County.

A previous investigation of electronic databases found no provable wrongdoing in the election. But that investigation also could not rule out wrongdoing, either. And that has been the problem ever since the election.

Doubts were raised after some – but not all – polls indicated voters would reject the RTA plan and a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for it. But the plan and the tax were approved.

A lawsuit filed by the Pima County Democratic Party uncovered abnormal computer activity that was not easily explained. But it would be a huge leap to conclude that meant the election was deliberately fixed.

Although there are nothing more than doubts and suspicions, when it comes to the cherished right of voting, every step must be taken to banish those doubts and suspicions.

The sanctity of secure elections is the right that sets our democratic form of government apart from dictatorships and monarchies. Anything that taints that right is a threat to the very freedoms that distinguish our society.

Until now, examinations of the RTA election have dealt only with electronic records. Now Goddard will have the actual ballots to examine and recount, allowing a definitive answer to the questions.

That is needed. And that should put this matter to rest.

There has been no proof of wrongdoing in the 2006 election. But this action will resolve any lingering suspicions.

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