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You have the right to fight back! Here's how?
By John Gideon on 4/25/2006 3:48pm PT  

Did you know that if your state took any funds from the federal government to purchase voting machines you have the legal right to file a complaint? And that you must be given a public hearing in the bargain if you ask for one?

According to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Section 402 any person who believes that there is a violation of any provision of HAVA Title III (including a violation which has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur) may file a complaint which must then be dealt with in 90 days time.

Title III of HAVA is the section that includes such things as the accessibility mandates of voting devices for disabled-voters, the ability to verify the votes selected by the voter on the ballot before the ballot is cast and counted, the requirement for warning voters of overvotes, audit capacity of voting systems, provisional voting, computerized statewide voter registration lists, and other issues.

Part of this right to file a complaint is the right to request, and be granted, an on-the-record public hearing of your complaint. This cannot be denied to you according to federal law.

Realizing that I had this right, I spoke with some attorneys who are working on voting technology issues and I was told that actions that I took by filing a complaint would not hurt their work in any way and it might be helpful as it will help to build a public paper record. I then composed my complaint, which is now posted at VoteTrustUSA in full, and filed it yesterday.

We'll see where it goes, but I wanted to mention this to BRAD BLOG readers who might consider doing the same thing. HAVA mandates that every state must create a process for such complaints to be filed by voters. Check with your Secretary of State's office to see what might be required in your state.

If "6 or 7" of us do this in each state, who knows what might come of it? Since all the states have different procedures, please feel free to share your experiences for others here in comments, along with any tips for filing in your own state as you may find them.

Feel free to use my complaint as a template if you like, or drop me an email if you have any specific questions

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2006 10:17pm PT  

"These machines are a problem. This is not some Internet conspiracy; this is a serious problem that faces American democracy. These machines are not reliable and they shouldn't be used. We should not be using machines in this country where the results of the vote can't be verified after the fact. Period. Any machines."
-- DNC Chair, Gov. Howard Dean, 4/19/06

David Grossman (formerly of MediaMatters.org, currently of PoliticsTV.com) attended a breakfast with Howard Dean the other day. He asked Dean about his concern over Electronic Voting Machines. Dean's answer was interesting (transcript of complete answer is below.)

While I'm encouraged somewhat by Dean's response --- he seems to have a general grasp of the concerns --- it seems to me that he's still vastly "misunderestimating" the disastrous situation now afoot in the country in the wake of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). He just doesn't yet seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation and the extent of the problems and dangers posed to our democracy.

To that end --- in case there are any of Howard Dean's peeps reading this --- I will make the same offer I've previously made to people close to John Kerry, Wes Clark and, personally today, to Russ Feingold (more on that later). Namely, I'll be happy to brief Dean and/or his staffers by phone, in person, or any other way they might like to full explain what we are now dealing with in this country, and how incredibly important it is that they pay attention and take action now. They may feel free to contact me here, if interested in taking me up on the offer.

Dean also speaks, in his full response, about his experience a year or so ago in 2004 hacking a Diebold GEMS central tabulator with "someone" on "live TV". That "someone" was Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org and the live TV was a CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown which Dean was Guest Hosting. The clip of him hacking the machines with Harris is right here. He added, in his response, that he didn't know for sure, but it "could have been a program that was elaborately programmed to fool me into thinking I was doing something I really wasn't doing."

No, Dr. Dean. It wasn't anything of the kind. We'll assume you were kidding. But what you did on live TV was exploit a vulnerability allowing a malicious user to hack the Diebold GEMS central tabulator, in about 30 seconds, to change the reported results of a Diebold election.

That is, of course, precisely what the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT, a branch of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security) warned about in a "Cyber Security Bulletin", as published prior to the 2004 Election.

Of course, nobody reported the US-CERT "Cyber Security Bulletin", originally posted on August 31, 2004, anywhere in the media until The BRAD BLOG did so more than a year later on September 15, 2005. As far as we know, nobody in the Corporate Mainstream Media has bothered to report on the warning even since then.

A huge thanks to David for asking Dean his question about Diebold! David's full blog item is here. The complete transcript of his exchange with Dean on this matter follows...

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

ReddIt this story!



More MSM Coverage of BRAD BLOG Reporting...Same Lack of Appropriate Attribution...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2006 2:55pm PT  

Before I register my complaint here with Matt Taibbi's otherwise excellent article on the background of "Mr. Republican" Jack Abramoff and "The secret history of the most corrupt man in Washington," as published in the April 6th edition of Rolling Stone, I'll point to this smart graf amongst many such smart grafs in a very well-researched and informative piece:

One of the ugliest developments in American culture since Abramoff's obscure Cold Warrior days in the Eighties has been the raging but highly temporary success of various "smart guys" who upon closer examination aren't all that smart. There was BALCO steroid scum Victor Conte ("The smartest son of a bitch I ever met in my life," said one Olympian client), Enron's "smartest guys in the room" Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay, and, finally, "ingenious dealmaker" Jack Abramoff. Somewhere along the line, in the years since the Cold War, Americans as a whole became such craven, bum-licking, self-absorbed fat cats that they were willing to listen to these fifth-rate prophets who pretended that the idea that rules could be broken was some kind of earth-shattering revelation --- as though they had fucking invented fraud and cheating. But to a man, they all turned out to be dumb, incompetent fuckups, destined to bring us all down with them --- not even good at being criminals.

Taibbi's piece covers in detail some of the many scams that Abramoff and the rest of the nationwide Republican Network of dishonest, opportunistic players who now comprise the power structure of the Republican party --- or the "vast rightwing conspiracy" as Hillary correctly described it. It's an ugly, but accurate portrait of those who have hijacked all that America was supposed to have stood for while an otherwise distracted and/or media-whipped public was trained to look the other way --- or otherwise give the benefit of the doubt to some very very bad guys who have earned no such benefit.

Those bad guys now run the country, its government, its corporations and its media virtually in its entirety. And more shamefull still, they've got goons played for suckers who are so daft and gullible that, to this day, they run around and play apologist for these people who --- I guess they don't realize it --- are fucking them hard up their own asses with their own hard-earned money and blindly offered good-will. You'll find many of those dopes repeating Fox "News" and Limbaugh-isms over Thanksgiving dinners everywhere, and otherwise plying their foolish and self-destructive trade wherever they can. A stroll through some of the most trollish comments left here at The BRAD BLOG reveals these people have left only the dimmest of connections to Reality as it exists in 2006 on the planet Earth.

With those accolades for Taibbi's work now out of the way, allow me to point to this earlier graf in his piece (emphasis added)...

All along, Abramoff was buying journalists, creating tax-exempt organizations to fund campaign activities and using charities to fund foreign conflicts. He spent the past twenty years doing business with everyone from James Dobson to the Gambino family, from Ralph Reed to Grover Norquist to Karl Rove to White House procurements chief David Safavian. He is even lurking in the background of the 2004 Ohio voting-irregularities scandal, having worked with the Diebold voting-machine company to defeat requirements for a paper trail in elections.

"Lurking in the background" must be MSM code for: Reported by BRAD BLOG but otherwise ignored.

We're glad to see Taibbi pick up on some of our reporting as he writes...

And now it comes out that Diebold, the notorious voting-machine company, paid some $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig, with the apparent aim of keeping legislation requiring paper trails in the voting process from getting into the Help America Vote Act. Conveniently, Abramoff pal Bob Ney, one of the HAVA architects, blocked every attempt to put paper trails into law, even after the controversial electoral debacles of 2000 and 2004.

...But it would certainly help to keep such bad guys from affecting so much corruption and damage for so many years before they actually get busted, if Taibbi would be kind enough to point out some of the sources --- independent, alternative, "blog" or otherwise --- who have been trying to blow such whistles for so long.

With appropriate credit and recognition from the mainstream, as we opined a several weeks ago, reporting such as ours and many others would likely have the effect of stopping the bad guys before they manage to wreak quite as much havoc on our once-great American democracy.

We'd hope that even the usually independent-minded Rolling Stone would keep such important points in mind by choosing to give appropriate attribution where possible in their future reporting. As we've said before: It matters.

ReddIt this story!



Our Elections are Now Officially 'A National Disaster in the Making'
A MUST READ GUEST EDITORIAL BY JOHN GIDEON OF VOTERSUNITE.ORG
By John Gideon on 4/9/2006 5:24pm PT  

By John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

Normally this space is taken with my ideas of what are the "Top 5" voting news stories for the week. Today I am going to use this space to talk about what I see as the beginning of a disaster in the making with our elections. This isn't the election fraud that some point to when they talk about the vendors and some elections officials. It's not about recounts or audits. This is a real, get your hands around it, happening problem that will disrupt our election process if we do not do something about it now. While we have been involved in all of our issues about Direct Recording Electronic (DRE or "touch-screen") voting machines or paper ballots the electronic voting machine vendors have been wreaking complete havoc across the country.

So far this year two states have conducted primary elections. In Texas there is at least one candidate who has stepped forward and has challenged the election because of anomalies in vote counts and known voting machine failures. One county's machines counted some votes up to 6 times which resulted in approximately 100,000 more votes being counted than were cast. Though the vendor, Hart Intercivic, initially blamed the problem on human error, they finally had to admit that it was a programming error and not poll workers or voters who had erred. In Illinois some county officials are threatening to withhold final payment of funds on contracts with Sequoia Voting Systems because of failures with their machines that ended with results in the primary not being known for over a week after the voters went to the polls. In both states the involved vendors were very successful in the media with deflecting the blame from their machines to "human errors" or "glitches". However, when you listen to people who were there and who saw and worked through the problems you get a very different picture...

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

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