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'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
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Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring the GOP's Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin? Let us catch you up quickly with the latest...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become; Plus: another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
OR nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Rep. Brad Sherman Tells Us He'll Drop Support For HR 811 If CA SoS Debra Bowen Won't Support It
In a Recent Radio Interview, She Said She Does Not...
By Alan Breslauer on 8/30/2007 7:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Last Thursday we had the opportunity to speak briefly with California U.S. House Rep. Brad Sherman about election integrity reform during one of his appearances here. Sherman, who had nothing but praise for the election integrity efforts of CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen, is a cosponsor of Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) controversial “Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007,” otherwise infamously known as HR 811.

Sherman stated that he believed that Bowen's landmark, independent “Top-to-Bottom Review” of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems --- which resulted in the near-decertification of all but one California voting system after it was found they were all vulnerable to hackers and manipulation and failed to meet even marginal federal disabled voter accessibility standards --- was consistent with the Holt Bill that relies so heavily on the use of the same DRE voting systems.

That Sherman was apparently confused about the difference between what Bowen's study revealed (DREs are not safe to use in elections) and what Holt's bill allows (DREs, as long as they have so-called paper trails of the type Bowen's study found could not guarantee secure, accurate elections), is little surprise. Even in the wake of findings which undermine his own bill, Holt has been using Bowen's study, disingenuously, to tout his own exceedingly flawed bill as The BRAD BLOG reported some weeks ago.

However, to Sherman's credit, he agreed to withdraw his co-sponsorship of HR 811 if he learned that Bowen did not support it.

With this in mind, we direct the Congressman to radio talk show host Peter B. Collins's interview with Bowen on June 27, 2007 (audio below, appx 3 mins). Responding to a direct question from Collins about whether she supports the Holt bill, Bowen responded, "I have not. I have worked with the author to try to strengthen the bill, but have not taken a position of support."

We have sent on this information to the Congressman's office, per his instructions, and await his reply.

The BRAD BLOG has previously reported on several other HR 811 co-sponsors, including Reps. Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich, who have indicated their intent to withdraw from the bill in the wake of strong opposition to a number of the bill's provisions by many advocates in the Election Integrity community.

UPDATE: Congressman Sherman responds through staffer Esther Azal:

Alan,

According to the conversation you had with the Congressman, he stated that he would withdraw his support of the Holt Bill if Debra Bowen were to "oppose" it. I spoke to Debra Bowen's office and her legislative staff informed me that she has not taken an official position on this piece of legislation.

Thank you for the link.

Esther

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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Previous Administration's Accessibility Testing Did Not Exist For Computerized DRE Voting Systems and Was Unfair for Vote-PAD, a Non-Computerized Accessibility Solution...
By John Gideon on 7/31/2007 9:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org with input from Ellen Theisen, also of VotersUnite.Org

Now that the California Secretary of State's "Top-To-Bottom Review" testing is complete and the reports have been submitted, nearly everyone is falling over themselves to read and talk about the many startling vulnerabilities easily found by the "Red Teams" who performed hack testing on the systems.

However, there is another report that has been overlooked, for the most part, by the media and the public. That is the "Accessibility Review" which examined whether the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems meet federal requirements to allow voters with disabilities to cast their votes privately and independently as required by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Maybe it's because, as some have pointed out, accessibility issues are not as "sexy" as hacking into voting machines. Or maybe it's because this report is 155 pages long as compared to less than 20 pages for the "Red Team" reports. Either way, the failures found in the accessibility report may pack more dynamite and leave more questions unanswered than the security reports.

The "Executive Summary" of that report says it all:

Three voting systems, the Diebold AccuVote TSx, Hart eSlate and Sequoia Edge I and II, were evaluated for usability and accessibility for voters with disabilities and voters with alternate language needs, using both heuristic and user testing techniques. Although each of the tested voting systems included some accessibility accommodations, none met the accessibility requirements of current law and none performed satisfactorily in test voting by persons with a range of disabilities and alternate language needs. In some cases the accessibility or usability deficits could be partially or wholly mitigated. Some of these mitigations would not require new federal and state certification testing.

Notice that the researchers say, "none met the accessibility requirements of current law." That's federal and state law. The machines have been sold for years --- and, in fact, the use of DRE machines as a whole has been jammed down America's polling places --- on the basis that they meet federal HAVA mandates for an accessible means of voting in every polling place. And yet, the California analysts found, they are not accessible at all...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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A Leading Election Integrity Advocate Speaks Out Against 7 Serious Failures in the Latest Holt Election Reform Bill ...
By Ellen Theisen on 6/10/2007 9:22pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, Co-Director of VotersUnite.Org

(This is the first of a two-part series. Tomorrow: An excerpt from the author's companion article, “Senator Feinstein’s Election Reform Bill: A Constitutional Heresy,” describing even graver concerns about S. 1487, a bill recently introduced in the Senate.)

In September of 2003, when I was working with VerifiedVoting, Greg Dinger, Keone Kealoha, and I coordinated the first national activist effort in the current grassroots election integrity movement. We had a calling campaign to get more co-sponsors for Representative Rush Holt’s (D-NJ) election reform bill, then called HR 2239. In two months, the number of co-sponsors more than doubled — from 29 to 61. After the disastrous November 2003 Fairfax, Virginia, election, we rejoiced when Republican Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) signed on and the bill became bipartisan. By the end of 2003, there were 94 co-sponsors.

But Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) was chairman of the House Administration Committee, and the bill never even got a hearing. Nor did Holt’s subsequent version of the bill in the 109th Congress, HR 550. But this year’s bill in the 110th, HR 811, has been marked up in committee and is expected to soon come to the House floor for a vote. This should be a time for celebration for me, but it’s not.

After more than three years of supporting election reform bills introduced by Representative Rush Holt, I am saddened to see the many severe flaws in the version of HR 811 as it was passed out of committee last month. This year’s bill had serious flaws when it was introduced in January. Primarily, it failed to accommodate a nearly unanimous agreement among citizen activists and computer scientists who have watched election disasters over the past three years — the agreement that electronic voting machines (DREs) should not be used in U.S. elections. I worked with many people to try to get an amendment requiring a paper ballot, one that was actually to be counted, for every vote cast. To my mind, that one significant improvement would have been worth tolerating the other flaws.

But the bill that was passed out of committee still allows for invisible, unverifiable, electronic ballots on DRE touch-screens as the official ballot for the all-important initial count where electronic voting systems are used. Adding a "paper trail" to those machines makes no real difference. Voters still can’t verify the electrical charges that make up the ballots that are counted on Election Night by the DRE.

In addition to other flaws that remained in the bill as it came out of committee, some changes removed valuable safeguards from the bill, and other changes introduced new problems. (Both versions of the bill can be viewed by inputting "HR 811" at the government's legislation search engine, Thomas.gov. The complete text of the current version is here. )

In my opinion, HR 811 will cause more problems than it will solve.

My primary objection is the extreme shift in the concept of “democracy” that the bill institutes legally. Specifically, it gives a federal stamp of approval to “ballots” that will never be counted, and it endorses secret vote-counting.

Let me explain seven of the bill's severe failures....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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The Holt Election Reform Propaganda Machine Has Said a Ban on DRE Touch-Screen Voting Machines Couldn't Pass in Congress, But Has Yet to Name a Single Supporter Who Would Vote Against Such a Ban
Looking for a Single Name Here...Anybody?...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2007 1:09pm PT  

For months, supporters of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR 811) - from computer scientists such as David Dill and Avi Rubin to extremely powerful advocacy groups such as People for the American Way (PFAW) and VoteTrustUSA --- have been telling critics who believe that Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen systems are antithetical to democracy that an amendment to his bill, requiring a ban on such systems, could not be passed by Congress.

They appear to have accepted the talking point as gospel, and thus have argued that any attempt to amend the current bill (and the matching one in the Senate) is a fruitless endeavor, and we should therefore support the bill as is because something is better than nothing.

In the case of PFAW, they've actually been responsible, in no small part, from selling that line to the public.

Never mind that if the many respected Election Integrity advocates and computer scientists repeating that unsubstantiated argument actually announced they would not support any federal Election Reform legislation that failed to include such a ban --- one which most of them have said they'd support (PFAW not included) --- we might actually get such a ban added to the bill.

Nonetheless, despite my best efforts, I have yet to be able to find a single congress member who supports the bill as currently written, without such a ban, who will go on record --- or even admit off-record --- that they would vote against the Election Reform bill if it included a ban on DREs.

I have yet to be able to find one.

Anyone have a name for me? Even just one?

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Announces Meeting to Discuss Florida...to be Held in Washington DC...
By John Gideon on 4/27/2007 8:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Yesterday the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced that "Special Circumstances" would require them to hold a public hearing next Tuesday, 1 May in Washington DC. The "Special Circumstances"?

It seems that the state of Florida asked the EAC if they could use funds provided under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to replace their present paperless touch-screen DRE voting systems and someone at the EAC told the state that they didn't think it would be alright for the state to spend their HAVA funds for anything like going to a paper based voting system. But, the EAC representative said that the Commissioners would have to get together and vote on the issue.

So, yesterday the commission announced when that vote would take place; May 1. That's three working days from now. That's three days for the state and the state's very active Election Integrity community to prepare their statements in favor of spending the states own funds for their own voting system.

And, this public meeting that is very important to the state of Florida --- will be convened in Washington DC to ensure that the commissioners make it as hard as possible for anyone to attend and voice their opinions.

The EACs "Sunshine Notice" announcement is for a meeting that is murky and as closed as the EAC can possibly make it without directly violating federal law.

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Issues reported by BRAD BLOG for last three years hit mainstream, are advanced several steps by NYTimes, McClatchy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2007 9:35am PT  

The most valuable takeaway from the entire U.S. Attorney Purge scandal will likely prove to have been the exposure of the long-perpetuated GOP "voter fraud" scam. The scheme has been been so pervasive for so long, but the coverage of it has been largely contained to blogs like ours.

In the interim, the MSM coverage of the issue had been given over to the well-funded Republican propaganda machine which had detailed the phony claims of "voter fraud" as if they were legitimate.

The result, as designed, were calls for restrictive Voter ID legislation at the polling place, an effort that was successful in a number of states. After all, as the Republican snakeoil salesmen oft-repeated, "you need an ID to get on a plane, to cash a check, why not to vote?"

It was a difficult line to refute on its face, but it was built on lies, disinformation, and attempts by this White House and this Republican party to wage an unprecedented effort to keep any portion of the 10 to 30 million Americans (mostly Dem-leaning) without photo ID's (many even without birth certificates!) from being able to cast a vote.

The U.S. Attorney Purge scandal has helped to reveal the insidious scheme, opening it up for everyone to see by helping to expose the slimy, well-funded campaign for what it really is: little more than a broadly-waged, party-funded, voter suppression ploy.

Scores of MSM articles and columns over the past week or two have finally helped expose this scam to the public, and the likes of vote-suppression operative Thor Hearne's well-financed, systematic, White House-run "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) has, for now, slithered back underground.

Much of the MSM coverage to date has repeated what BRAD BLOG readers already know since we've been covering it for so long. But there are a couple of notable must-read exceptions recently which move many of these inter-related stories forward several moves...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Scientific Report Finds 'Serious Security Vulnerability' Similar to 'Princeton Diebold Virus Hack' in Widely Used iVotronic System, Allowing a Single Person to Change Election Results Across Entire County Without Detection
Despite GAO Confirmed Mandate to Serve as Info 'Clearinghouse,' Embattled EAC Says They Will Take No Action to Alert Elections Officials, Public
By Michael Richardson on 4/16/2007 9:05am PT  

By Michael Richardson and Brad Friedman

While revelations surrounding the mysterious 18,000 "undervotes" in the November 2006 U.S. House election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan in Florida's 13th Congressional district continue to inform the nation about the dangers of electronic voting machines, new information has recently come to light exposing a shocking lack of responsible oversight by those entrusted with overseeing the certification of electronic voting systems at the federal level.

An investigation into what may have gone wrong in that election has revealed a serious security vulnerability on some, and possibly all, versions of the iVotronic touch-screen voting system widely used across the country. The iVotronic is a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machine manufactured by Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), the nation's largest distributor of such systems.

The vulnerability is said to allow for a single malicious user to introduce a virus into the system which "could potentially steal all the votes in that county, without being detected," according to a noted computer scientist and voting system expert who has reviewed the findings.

And yet, despite their federal mandate to serve as a "clearinghouse" to the nation for such information, a series of email exchanges between an Election Integrity advocate and officials at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) has revealed that the federal oversight body is refusing to notify states of the alarming security issue.

The recent email conversation shows that even in light of the EAC's review of the warning from the computer scientist who characterized the "security hole" as severe, needing to be "taken very seriously," and among the most serious ever discovered in a voting system, the EAC is unwilling to take action.

Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have taken the EAC to task for a failure to meet their legislated mandate for informing the public and elections officials about such matters. However, a review of the email communications to and from the EAC's Jeannie Layson shows that the federal body is steadfast in their refusal to take action to alert either elections officials or the public about the security risk recently discovered by a team of eight noted computer scientists.

The EAC's current Chairwoman, Executive Director, Director of Voting System Certification, and other top officials at both the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), and even the GAO, were included in the series of email communications, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

The vulnerability was initially discovered by a panel of scientists convened by the State of Florida to study the possible causes for the FL-13 election debacle. The team's discovery revealed that a design issue in the widely used iVotronic system could allow for a viral attack, by a single individual, which could then spread unnoticed throughout the electronic election infrastructure of an entire county.

A similar vulnerability was found in DRE touch-screen system made by Diebold last Summer by a team of computer scientists at Princeton University.

Attempts to seek information about EAC plans to notify other states and local jurisdictions that use the same vulnerable voting systems as the ones in FL-13 have been met with an astounding refusal, troubling denial, buck-passing, and a lack of accountability by the federal commission of Presidential-appointees. The agency has also come under fire in recent weeks for a number of questionably partisan decisions and other failures to perform as mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

Of late, the EAC has been forced to respond to a great deal of controversy, on a number of different operational matters and policies, as revealed by a series of articles on this site and in mainstream outlets such as the New York Times and USA Today. Several of those matters have drawn Congressional notice, questioning of EAC officials, and letters of inquiry. Thus, this latest revelation is likely to add to the rising concern of Congress members as new federal legislation introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), currently facing mark-up by a Congressional committee, would permanently fund the now-embattled EAC. Funding for the agency was originally mandated by HAVA only through 2005.

The new ES&S iVotronic vulnerability first emerged on February 23, 2007, when the Florida Dept. of State released a report detailing their findings from the investigation into what happened in Sarasota's still-contested Jennings/Buchanan race. That election was ultimately decided by just 369 votes. The state's official findings included a report [PDF] conducted by an eight-member computer science and technology team under the auspices of Florida State University (FSU). The report sought, unsuccessfully, to determine the cause of the unexplained "undervotes" reported by the iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used in Sarasota's portion of the FL-13 race on Election Day and in early voting.

Although the reason thousands of votes turned up missing from those systems remained unknown, the study team did discover a serious security flaw in the iVotronic system that is used in Sarasota and many other jurisdictions across the country (and even the world, as France is set to use the same systems in their upcoming Presidential Election.)

Election integrity watchdog John Gideon, a frequent BRAD BLOG contributer and the Co-Director and Information Manager for VotersUnite.org, says that the security flaw may pertain to "every ES&S iVotronic voting machine used in the US and overseas." A total of eight separate versions of the system --- without and without so-called "voter verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT)" printers --- are currently approved as qualified at the federal level, he explained. Three of those are definitely affected and it is likely that the others are as well.

The details, the dangers, and the denials are all described below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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New Computerized System was Rife with Bugs, Unexplained Errors and Party-Flipping According to Newly Revealed Documents...
By Michael Richardson on 4/12/2007 11:27am PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The 18,000 "undervotes" in Sarasota and other questionable elections in November 2006 election were not the only problems faced by Florida voters last year. Most of them, in fact, likely have no idea just how bad it really was.

Florida's statewide voter registration database, and election management systems designed to work with it, were plagued in early 2006 with a host of problems. Some of the details are now revealed by a raft of email messages sent recently by a source to the non-partisan election integrity watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org which posted them quietly on their site for public scrutiny.

Sixty-four email messages to election officials, spanning a four-month period from January to April 2006, from VR Systems, a Florida corporation, document a staggering series of serious problems with Florida's new computerized voter registration database during the early months of its implementation. The emails, from Jane Watson, a manager at VR Systems, provide a disturbing picture vis a vis a nearly day-by-day report from inside the software test lab.

The Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS) is statewide voter registration database described by Watson in the emails as a "home grown system" built by IBM to Florida specifications and maintained by Department of State staff. Voter Focus is a software system, unique to Florida, which provides election management functions to 60 Florida counties.

The emails tell the tale of software failures which began in January 2006 as programmers furiously work to solve program glitches and failures prior to the state's upcoming elections. The system went online before development was complete, in order to meet the January 1st deadline imposed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The source of the Florida emails, an insider familiar with the development and implementation of the database who has requested anonymity, tells The BRAD BLOG that, "The system should never have seen the light of day until the bugs were worked out. They used the voters and county election officials as guinea pigs to experiment on and test the program."

Documented failures include the software somehow, without apparent reason, switching the party registration for voters. As one of the emails describes: "We are seeing instances of voters being changed to a different party when there was no user activity. This is our top priority now." And the next day: "We worked this weekend on diagnosing voters whom we suspected as having had their party changed by Voter Focus...There were 3 counties with high numbers of suspected cases of this kind of inadvertent party change."

The emails remain unclear on whether the problems were completely found and fixed, and whether or not all voter files had been correctly restored. Later emails suggest that various related problems still existed months later when voters, whose registration should have been recorded in the system, were nowhere to be found. Votingindustry.com, a website which tracks the progress of the implementation of statewide registration databases, currently describes Florida's system as "Still working out kinks."

Jane Watson, the author of the memos, spoke with The BRAD BLOG and confirmed the authenticity of the emails. She explained that the federal government with its HAVA mandates "didn't understand the time it takes to develop programs."

While Watson stressed her confidence that no voter was disenfranchised in 2006 because of bugs in the statewide voter registration system, she admits that "party changes never have worked as well as they should" and that "there are still some things to work out..."

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Misrepresentation of the 'Opposition,' Fear of Failure, and a Bizarre, Unsubstantiated 'Civil Rights' Argument All Employed to Avoid Legitimate Debate on the Dangers of the Pending Legislation...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2007 1:01pm PT  

We've been discussing the pros and cons of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform bill (HR 811 [PDF]) since it dropped two weeks ago in the House.

There is, no doubt, much more to say about the specific pros and cons in detail here as we move forward. For the moment, allow me to first address three false dichotomies opportunistically and/or disingenuously and/or naively being used by supporters of Holt's legislation in order to help see it passed by Congress.

In doing so, I'll share some of what I've learned over the past several weeks via my personal investigations into why the Democrats who support the bill, along with their closely-allied public advocacy groups, are currently unable or unwilling to show the necessary courage to insist upon the banning of disenfranchising, failed DRE/touch-screen voting system technology from all American elections.

The inability, or unwillingness, of such groups to stand up and call for what most know to be the right thing is occurring despite the fact that most of those groups actually agree --- and will admit privately, if not always publicly --- that DRE technology has no place in our electoral system and is a grave menace to true Electoral Integrity.

Collectively, these three arguments are being used to shore up support for a bill which offers much good (DISCLOSURE: I participated in the drafting of the bill myself, and did what I could --- sometimes successfully, sometimes not --- to improve its language and provisions), yet ultimately may prove to be as dangerous as the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and risks becoming known as HAVA 2 by 2008. And, as I've pointed out before, this time the Democrats won't have the Republicans or Bob Ney to blame.

FALSE DICHOTOMY #1:
It's Either Holt or Hand-Counted Paper Ballots...

The first of the three false dichotomies being forwarded by some of the bill's supporters is to suggest that there are only two choices: Pass the Holt bill 'as is,' or continue an unwinnable campaign for all hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB).

The now oft-repeated intimation is the very definition of a strawman, a canard, and a truly disingenuous false dichotomy. ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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...Defends the Disastrous Help America Vote Act of 2002...Which He Co-Authored...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2007 11:25am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

New Hampshire Election Integrity advocates bird-dogged the prospective Presidential Candidate and co-author of the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), a couple of weeks ago concerning the failures of that bill. The short video follows.

We hope other folks will do same with Presidential Candidates from any and all parties and share their video tapes of responses. One of the things we learned in Arizona from Ted Downing, the chair of the Election Integrity Committee of the state's Democratic Party (the only state party in the union to have such a committee!), is that he plans to ask each and every Presidential Candidate to appoint an Election Integrity "Cabinet Member" to their campaign staff. We'll try to report back if and when any of those candidates take him up on that.

(Links to my radio interview with Downing and others in Arizona while Guest Hosting Mike Malloy and Peter B. Collin's shows are right here.)

We'll just add one comment in reply to the below video for the moment: Mr. Dodd, the system has not been "improved since 2000." It is far far worse.

(Hat-tip Nancy Tobi and the folks at Democracy for New Hampshire)

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Bush-Appointed Chair Found Near Center of the Growing Scandal/Cover-Up Which Even Included a Stealth Attack on Election Integrity Advocate (and BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger) John Gideon...
By Michael Richardson on 2/13/2007 4:07pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The more we peel away the layers of the onion, the more we find that it seems to stink to to high heaven. The latest chapter in our continuing series on the hidden world exposed by the recent failures of voting machine test lab CIBER to receive "interim accreditation" from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), is no exception.

The EAC's current Chair, Donetta Davidson, seems to have a long, storied and increasingly well-documented history of silence concerning electronic voting machine test laboratory problems and has been an active partner with EAC Executive Director Tom Wilkey --- whose roll in this mess we've examined in detail in previous articles (here, here and here to link to just a few of our reports in this continuing series) --- in keeping the public uninformed about failures in the secret test labs.

Wilkey is at the center of the controversy surrounding a failure to disclose to both the public and election officials around the nation that CIBER, Inc.,, the country's largest so-called “Independent Test Authority” (ITA), was banned last summer from further testing of voting machines. As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG, Wilkey kept test lab problems hidden from public scrutiny for years in his earlier duties at the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) where he was in charge of monitoring and qualifying the labs.

Davidson is now Wilkey’s boss at the EAC where she landed after serving as Colorado’s Secretary of State since 1999 where she was later tied to significant failures by that state in properly certifying electronic voting systems. A judge last year condemned the state's practices and ordered the state, effectively, to start over from scratch after the debacle. Over the years, the paths of Davidson and Wilkey have crossed many times because of their mutual roles in the hidden world of voting machine testing.

Davidson and Wilkey both have served together on the board of The Election Center, a non-profit group of mysterious background headed by R. Doug Lewis, which provided technical assistance, training, and lobbying support to NASED members. Lewis, a key player in test lab secrecy, mentored Davidson and Wilkey as they gained control of the ITA testing infrastructure.

Davidson has also served on NASED’s Voting Standards Board, as chaired by Tom Wilkey, which qualified the test labs. The two kept in touch, Davidson in Colorado, Wilkey in New York, at conferences, via email, and over the phone. The conferences, often held in tourist destinations, were a special time for the two to get together...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Thomas Wilkey Has Kept Problems at the Labs Hidden from the Public and Behind a Wall of Secrecy for Years...
By Michael Richardson on 2/6/2007 9:35am PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), seems to bear more direct responsibility for the growing voting machine test lab scandal than any other person. Let's connect a few dots and sift through a bit of murky alphabet soup.

For nearly a decade, Wilkey has overseen the testing process of electronic voting machines, keeping recently revealed problems with the so-called “Independent Testing Authorities” (ITA) a secret from public and elections officials alike. Wilkey also tried to prevent federal oversight of the testing process during the development of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and worked to keep the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) out of his hidden world.

The EAC inherited the responsibility of qualifying voting machine test laboratories from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), where Wilkey strategically positioned himself to control the test laboratories. When HAVA eventually assumed responsibility for the test laboratories from NASED and handed it to the EAC, Wilkey worked behind the scenes to try to keep control over the labs for himself.

Wilkey, formerly the director of the New York State Board of Elections, was appointed to his present position at the helm of the EAC on June 20, 2005. At the time of his appointment, Wilkey chaired the NASED Voting Standards Board, which oversaw the testing labs for voting machine qualification. Wilkey, a founder and past-president of NASED, also chaired the organization’s ITA Committee from 1998 until his departure to the EAC.

As well, Wilkey also served several tours of duty on the board of directors of The Election Center, a non-profit group of dubious (or at least mysterious) background headed by R. Doug Lewis, who is also one of the founders of NASED. The Election Center acted as technical consultants to NASED on voting machine testing. From 1998 until his move to the EAC then, Wilkey was in charge of every aspect of control, selection, and oversight of the voting machine test labs.

His involvement, therefore, in the entire process and the recently revealed failed accreditation of one of the previously-approved labs, CIBER, Inc., deserves close scrutiny --- particularly as one reads Wilkey's bio [PDF] as posted over at the EAC website which describes him as...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Ohio's Former U.S. Congressman, Author of Help America Vote Act, Loses Voting Privileges as Felon, Keeps $29,000 Annual Congressional Pension...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2007 9:55am PT  

It's now just over a year to the day since we first described the now-disgraced and now-former Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) as the "Soon-to-be-Indicted Bob Ney" in our exposé connecting the dots between him, his former Chief of Staff turned Diebold's top lobbyist on Capitol Hill, David DiStefano, Jack Abramoff's Greenburg Traurig firm and the whole Help America Vote Act (HAVA) sham which Ney pushed through Congress via his crooked chairmanship of the U.S. House Administration Committee.

Back then, few had heard of him. But today, Ney was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in the federal pen after pleading guilty to "illegally accepting trips, meals, drinks, tickets to concerts and sporting events and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars in return for official acts performed for lobbyist Abramoff and his clients."

Ney's long-overdue trip up the river comes despite defense pleas for mercy and sentencing to rehab in light of their claims that it was the evil bottle that dunnit. As ever, Ney continues to avoid taking responsibility. Happily, the judge didn't buy it. Oh, well. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

As a felon, Ney will no longer be able to vote in the state of Ohio, even as America will be stuck with his disastrous and cynical HAVA legislation for years. And despite House Democrats' plans to remove pensions for convicted members, apparently the action will not be retroactive. So Ney will get to retain his $29,000 annual pension from the House. Forever. Nice work if you can get it.

Anyway, another one bites the dust. Now, about the soon-to-be-indicted George W. Bush...

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Diebold Disasters Leading to Self-Destruction As ES&S Continues to Meltdown and Miss One Contractual Obligation After Another?
By John Gideon on 5/15/2006 6:53am PT  

By John Gideon, www.VotersUnite.Org and www.VoteTrustUSA.Org May 15, 2006

Yes, the wheels are wobbling on the locomotives. The vendors --- ES&S, Diebold, and the rest --- attempt to keep a stiff upper lip as they both fail to perform, yet continue collecting tax-payer dollars from the county election coffers. Meanwhile some elections officials have just turned a blind-eye to what is happening while they continue to make excuses for their vendors: The private corporate American Electronic Voting Machine behemoths that are being paid to take over America's Public Electoral system.

And the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was put in place by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), theoretically, to keep all of this from occurring? Well, all they do is raise their hands and shrug and tell anyone who asks, that they don't do voting systems certification so they just don't know anything. The Sergeant Schultz Defense, perhaps?

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Embattled Incumbent, HAVA Author, Loses 32% of Vote to No-Show Primary Opponent
'Congressional Quarterly' Says Numbers Predict Trouble
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2006 12:00pm PT  

The soon-to-be-indicted lead pusher of the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) had his primary race in Ohio's 18th District tonight. While most congressmen named in four different criminal indictments and convictions would usually be toast, this is, after all, Ohio.

That said, Justin Rood over at TPM Muckraker, had this to say earlier this afternoon about the outlook for Ney tonight...

...Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) is expected to win his congressional primary, being held today. His competitor, James Broadbelt Harris, is an unknown who hasn't campaigned --- he hasn't even filed with the FEC, which indicates he has raised less than $5,000, [Congressional Quarterly's] Greg Giroux tells me.

I called Giroux to get his take on the election. While he expects Ney to win, he said, he's curious about what kind of "protest vote" Republicans in the district will cast for Harris, reacting to Ney's ethical troubles.

"I'd be surprised if Harris got more than 20 or 25 percent," Giroux told me. "That would be a sign that there is a chunk of the Republican base that's disenchanted with the incumbent."

"If Ney gets in the 80s --- and he very well may --- that'd show that at least Republican voters are behind him, and they weren't willing to look at this alternative candidate," Giroux said.

100% of the results are now in from all but 1 of the 16 counties which make up Ohio's fightin' 18th. (Belmont County's results have been stuck at 25.3% for the last several hours, about which I suspect we'll hear more tomorrow. Trouble with those pricey new op-scan machines, Belmont?)

As of 2:13am ET, these are the results from the Ohio SoS website:

If Giroux is correct, it looks like Ney may be in for a tough ride this fall...If he makes it that far without ending up in the slammer.

UPDATE 5/3/06: 100% of counties now reporting in full. Ney: 68.38% Harris: 31.62%

UPDATE 5/4/06: As expected, the reasons for the delayed reporting out of Belmont was due to all manners of mess in counting votes off of their new machines. Here's a description of the mess..

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