[Now UPDATED with audio archives below! Enjoy 'em!]
Mike has the night off! So we're back tonight guest-hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show! And it's primary night in MI and AZ and we'll have not one, but two Presidential candidates as guests tonight!
We'll be BradCasting, as usual, LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
Scheduled tonight (so far):
MI & AZ PRIMARY RESULTS, or what they are reported to be, anyway. Also, just some of the reasons why you should be concerned that those reported results may not be what they are reported to be!
GOV. BUDDY ROEMER, who is on GOP Presidential ballot both MI & AZ tonight, but who has recently left the party for a Reform Party candidacy and a run for the Americans Elect nomination.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Maybe someone had a bit too much caffeine today. Well, in any case, it led to a pretty high energy show! And lots of circus music! You can check it all out now for yourself, sans commercials, in the high-octane archives now posted below. Enjoy!...
And it also looks like the old adage --- It's Okay If You're a Republican (IOKIYAR) --- continues to ring true in the Hoosier State. Despite being the top election official in the very first state in the union to institute disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions, Charlie White has gotten off with a slap on the wrist, essentially, for three intentional voter fraud felonies, and the three others he was found guilty of as well.
His sentencing hearing was held last week. He pretended to be contrite before the judge (unlike when he appeared days earlier on Fox "News"), so it turns out he'll serve just one year in home detention for all of his crimes. The sentencing, naturally, has left him "elated."
The fates of other, less Republican, less high-ranking folks however, such as those who were prosecuted with the full force of the federal government during the George W. Bush Administration's unprecedented, if failed attempt to ferret out "voter fraud" crimes, were not quite as lucky. Unfortunately, they were used as fodder to help Republicans push for those polling place Photo ID laws (which would have failed to deter either them or White from committing voter fraud) by Bush's wholly politicized Dept. of Justice.
For folks like Wisconsin's Kimberly Prude and Florida's Usman Ali, to name just two examples of those who were caught in that buzz-saw, and who each committed far less egregious --- far far far less egregious --- crimes than those intentionally committed by White, the legal system was not nearly as kind.
Prude, who tried to rescind her own absentee vote before the 2004 election, immediately after learning from her probation officer that she was not allowed to vote --- despite never having served time in jail and being on felony probation for having passed a bad check four years earlier --- was forced to serve more than a year in prison. Ali, who never even voted at all, had it even worse. He was deported to Pakistan where he hadn't live in more than 10 years, destroying his life in this country for not just himself, but for his American wife and daughter as well.
I tell the whole story --- of White's virtually scot-free sentencing, as compared to Prude's and Ali's --- in my story today at Salon. Please give it a read.
As you might expect, the moral, once again, is: IOKIYAR.
While the GOP and its operatives have been on a tear over the last year (and many more), falsely claiming an epidemic of Democratic "voter fraud" meriting the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal (and mostly Democratic) voters through polling place Photo ID restriction laws in order stop it, the recent spate of actual voter fraud by high profile Republicans --- both alleged-with-much-evidence and actually-proven-in-a-court-of-law --- continues apace.
And, like White, those draconian laws did absolutely nothing to stop Lugar from apparently committing voter fraud under the law, since the only type of voter fraud potentially deterred by polling place Photo ID laws are the incredibly rare cases of in-person polling place impersonation. Where voter fraud occurs to any measurable extent, it is in cases like Lugar's, White's, and all of the GOP superstars we'll remind you of again below.
The allegations against Lugar, who has been registered to vote at a house he has not lived in since 1977, were detailed quickly Tuesday night on the Rachel Maddow Show. A complaint against Lugar has been filed by a group of Indiana "Tea Partiers" challenging his eligibility for office, as publicized last week by Lugar's primary opponent in the 2012 election, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
Maddow's report, embedded below, was the prelude to her interview with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders is one of four non-Republican U.S. Senators who have now requested a study by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the problem of "voter fraud" in this nation, particularly in the 14 states where Republican legislatures have recently passed polling place Photo ID restrictions under the pretense of stopping it. If that study finds what all of the other legitimate ones have found to date, we'll learn yet again how extraordinarily rare in-person voter fraud is and, at the same time, how many thousands and/or millions of Americans stand to be disenfranchised by the very laws that Republicans pretend are meant to deter it.
Here's her report...
And, by way of service to those who may yet to have noticed, here again is an update of our quick summary of the recent (and quickly growing!) spate of serious fraud allegations and convictions of a number of very high-profile Republicans other than Lugar. The list, please note, also includes several of this year's GOP candidates currently vying for the party's nomination for President of the United States...
[Late tonight, after promising not to do so, and then changing their minds under pressure, the Maine GOP has finally released updated results. Those new results are linked and examined in the UPDATE now added to the bottom of this article.]
"The fight for Maine is far from over," says Cincinnati's Fox19 reporter Ben Swann, as he reported new numbers for Maine's 2012 GOP Caucuses last night.
Swann says that he was able to ascertain results from several of the caucuses that had been reported by the GOP on Saturday as showing no votes at all having been cast. That, despite caucuses having been held in many of those towns last week, several of them a full week before Webster's apparent attempt to disenfranchise voters and steal the election for Romney last Saturday night.
Romney's lead, before the remaining 2 of 16 Maine counties vote tomorrow has now shrunk from 194 votes to just 157, according to new results obtained by Swann...
[Now UPDATED TWICE with new details at bottom of article.]
It figures. The one time we're on the road and unable to keep up with things on a minute-by-minute basis, a major election would be stolen outright. And there's not a disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction in the world that could have done a thing to stop the thieves.
Despite the reputation The BRAD BLOG has gained in some quarters over the years, I don't believe we have ever outright declared an election as "stolen." That has now changed as the Republican Party of Maine has blatantly stolen the 2012 GOP Caucuses in their state for Mitt Romney, as we detailed yesterday.
That fact is just the latest data point in a remarkable and rapidly expanding spate of GOP election fraud by very high profile Republicans across the nation, as we also detailed in yesterday's report.
The question now: Can it be "stolen back"?
Happily, even though we're on the road, the issue is being covered very well this time around by Rachel Maddow at MSNBC. Her coverage last night honed in on a few additional points in this remarkable story, underscoring the blatant theft and breathtaking hypocrisy in the entire embarrassing, if enlightening, affair.
Among the points she expanded on last night (several of which we'd flagged in our coverage yesterday): the call by a Maine county Republican committee for the immediate removal of the shameless and breathtakingly dishonest state GOP Chair Charlie Webster and how the state party leadership not only seems to have lied to voters about results from postponed caucuses to be held this Saturday in Washington County, but how new evidence from Waldo County suggests the party may have simply just made up "results" out of whole cloth --- and then tried to keep those fake numbers a secret from the public in order to award the race to Mitt Romney by 194 votes over Ron Paul.
All of that, remember, before an entire county --- Washington County, one of just 16 in the entire state --- has even managed to hold their caucuses and vote at all in the statewide contest.
This is remarkable stuff and perhaps made more remarkable by the fact that this isn't currently at the top of every news outlet in the nation...
The state GOP itself has stolen the state for Mitt Romney in Maine's 2012 Caucuses. Period.
Might Romney be the actual winner once all votes are actually cast and counted? Perhaps. But the fact is, the Maine Republican Party has purposely blocked that from happening and the apparent loser in all of this --- beside the voters of Maine --- is Congressman Ron Paul who, according to the official results reported by the state GOP last Saturday night, "lost" to Romney by just 194 votes.
Adding to the outrage, the election fraud was perpetrated by the Chairman of the state's Republican Party, Charlie Webster.
Federal law clearly states otherwise, allowing such students to vote in Maine. And even the Sec. of State there, Republican Charles E. Summers, Jr., who investigated Webster's "evidence" for his case, found it to be entirely baseless. (Though that didn't keep Summers himself from sending threatening letters to many of those perfectly legal student voters, in apparent hopes of intimidating them into not casting their votes in The Pine Tree State.)
While Webster was pretending that massive voter fraud was occurring in Maine, he has now, himself committed a massive case of election fraud by announcing the winner of last week's Maine Caucuses as Mitt Romney despite his full knowledge that voters in at least three different counties have been entirely disenfranchised, with their votes not included in his "final" results. Many of those voters haven't even been allowed to cast their votes yet at all.
But Webster was lying, and committing a massive act of knowing election fraud in the process as he made his announcement. His deceptive act was simply the latest in a grotesque and growing series of election fraud acts carried out this year by high-level GOP personalities and officials, including confirmed and alleged fraud by several of the party's Presidential contenders...
The chief election official in the very first state in the nation to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions --- under the guise of preventing "voter fraud" --- has been found guilty of three counts of felony voter fraud today.
In an early morning verdict following 12 hours of deliberation, a jury in Hamilton County found Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White guilty of three counts of voter fraud related to having voted in a precinct where he did not live and where he was illegally registered to vote. The Hoosier State's controversial first-in-the-nation Photo ID restrictions, originally implemented in 2008, did nothing to prevent either White's illegal registration or his unlawful vote for himself as Secretary of State in 2010 when he was elected to office.
White has vowed to appeal the decision in hopes of lowering the convictions to misdemeanor charges, rather than felonies.
Under Indiana law, a felony conviction makes White ineligible to serve in state office and would create a vacancy to be filled by Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. However, even if today's felony charges are upheld, the fight over who will replace White as Indiana's chief election official is likely to continue for some time, since a separate recent ruling against him in a related civil case could take precedence over today's verdict.
White's conviction is the latest in what is shaping up as spate of voter fraud convictions, allegations, and investigations of high profile GOP officials, including allegations against several of the party's 2012 Presidential candidates...
There are at least a dozen things in this story out of Indiana that make my head wanna explode. I don't have time to really detail any of them in depth for the moment, so check it out in full if you're inclined and might like your head to explode too.
But one graf in the piece is begging me to highlight it.
The story, as I say, is about Indiana where, apparently, votes cast during the Early Voting period are considered to be Absentee Votes for some reason. Voting during the Early Voting period takes place on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines (head, explode) in Indiana at Vote Centers. State law requires that Absentee Votes be identifiable --- in other words, that they can be tied to the person who cast them --- so that if a voter should die between the time they cast his/her vote and Election Day, officials are able to go in and remove the vote (kapow).
That is done --- with the Early/Absentee Votes cast on touch-screen machines --- by including an ID Number on each ballot which, some might accurately point out, robs the voter of a secret vote in the bargain (boom).
That's the background for the story. But then comes this remarkable comment, included as part of the explanation of what happens when/if a person dies before Election Day and their ballot must be removed [emphasis added]:
"There are checks and balances. The bipartisan [election] board would tell the vendor to cancel a number," [Wayne County Clerk Jo Ann] Stewart said. "The clerk can't individually go in and cancel a vote. I don't have the password. Only the vendor has it to protect the integrity of the election."
My suggestion for a new Indiana state motto: "In Vendors We Trust".
I joined Thom Hartmann on his Big Picture TV show last night to discuss The BRAD BLOG's exclusive report from earlier in the day confirming the Virginia State Attorney General's newly launched criminal investigation into the 1,500 allegedly fraudulent signatures turned in by the Gingrich Campaign in their failed attempt to be included on the VA GOP Primary ballot...
By the way, since we broke the news yesterday morning, several outlets have picked up and/or confirmed our report. Though, frankly, not as many as one would think given the nature and scope of the story. Certainly not as many who would have picked it up had either the now-defunct ACORN, or any Democrat been accused of doing the very same thing.
There were a few other mentions (Dave Weigel at Slate, for example) but, far and away, the greatest way our stories are spread are by you guys and others spreading the word yourselves through comments at other sites, email, and via Twitter and Reddit. (The comments on the posting at Reddit --- where a huge number of folks up-voted the story --- were very, um, enlightening, as you'll see if you bother to read them.)
Of course, Fox "News", who mentions, actually highlights, every time an ACORN worker is accused of farting over the years (whether they actually farted or not) has yet to say a word about this story. Wonder why.
Just thought you might be interested in how folks sometimes deal --- or don't --- with original, exclusive stories that we break here. Sometimes they pick them up, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they offer appropriate credit, quite often they don't. That, despite the hundreds of stories we've broken over the years, with an impeccable record for accuracy and independent verifiability in just about every damned one of them.
Had the same thing been carried out by a worker for the now-defunct ACORN, Republicans --- and even Newt Gingrich --- would have called it massive "voter fraud." But the 1,500 acts of fraud, by Gingrich's own admission, were carried out by a worker hired by his campaign, so it seems the media have barely noticed it.
Nonetheless, The BRAD BLOG has received confirmation from two different state agencies that the 1,500 alleged cases of ballot petition fraud said to have been carried out on behalf of the Gingrich campaign, in their unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the Republican primary ballot in Virginia, are now being carried out by the state Attorney General's office.
In late December, after Gingrich had failed to turn in enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, he was caught on video tape telling a supporter in Iowa that the reason for the failure was due to a campaign worker who created 1,500 fraudulent signatures.
"We turned in 11,100 --- we needed 10,000 --- 1,500 of them were by one guy who, frankly, committed fraud," Gingrich is seen and heard saying in video originally aired by CNN.
The former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives downplayed the incident, by explaining to the woman that the entire affair was "just a mistake," after they had "hired somebody who turned in false signatures."
Neither he nor his campaign, however, has made the name of the alleged "one guy" public, to our knowledge, despite the extraordinary number of fraudulent signatures created and turned in by that "one guy" in what an official at the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) described to us as "definitely an illegal act."
News of the embarrassing criminal investigation is confirmed today, even as voters go to the polls for Florida's 2012 GOP Primary, where Gingrich is facing off against front-runner Mitt Romney who, ironically --- and uncomfortably enough for Republicans --- may also find himself the subject of a criminal voter fraud investigation in the not-too-distant future...
Funny thing though. Upon closer examination, as is almost always the case in these matters, those 953 "dead voters" may not be so "dead" after all. That, according to SC State Election Commission (SEC) Executive Director Marci Andino who both testified [PDF] and released a statement on the matter last week.
According to both her statement and testimony to the SC House Election Laws Subcommittee, Andino, the state's chief election official, said:
While the SEC has not yet been provided with all the information on which the claims are being made, the Attorney General's office has provided a small sample - six names from Abbeville County. A review of the voter registration lists and signatures on the poll lists from the elections in question revealed that of these six:
One was an absentee ballot cast by a voter who then died before election day;
Another was the result of an error by a poll worker who mistakenly marked the voter as Samuel Ferguson, Jr. when the voter was in fact Samuel Ferguson, III;
Two were the result of stray marks on the voter registration list detected by the scanner - again, a clerical error;
The final two were the result of poll managers incorrectly marking the name of the voter in question instead of the voter listed either above or below on the list.
Zounds! Who could have guessed that Republican claims of hordes of zombies voting in South Carolina's elections --- as first publicized in a short, evidence-free AP article trumpeted at Fox "News" --- were, um, "greatly exaggerated"?!
And that's not the only specious claim by the AG's office that Andino dismantled during her testimony last week...
The conventional wisdom is that Mitt Romney has been attempting to withhold his tax returns from public scrutiny so that we'll not learn just how small the percentage is that he pays on his enormous income (which is said to be largely reported as capital gains, and thus taxed at just 15%.)
But there's another interesting issue that could be revealed when he releases his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday, as promised.
Remember last June when little-known Republican candidate Fred Karger filed a complaint with the state of Massachusetts charging that Romney committed voter fraud by using the unfinished basement of his son's house in Belmont, MA as his address for voting purposes after he'd sold his own him there in 2008, rather than registering to vote at his $12.5 million ocean front home in La Jolla, California or at his $10 million compound in New Hampshire?
Voter registration fraud in MA is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to five years in jail. Residency requirements in MA are defined as "where a person dwells and which is the center of his domestic, social, and civil life." Yet, when Karger filed his complaint last Summer he noted that local residents in Belmont had told him at the time that the Romney's had "moved to California".
"I haven’t seen Mrs. Romney in over two years, and she used to come in here all the time," Karger says a local merchant told him. A member of the nearby Mormon Temple and Meetinghouse in Belmont, where Mitt and his wife Ann had attended weekly church services when they lived there, said she "hadn’t seen the Romneys since 2008."
If you don't recall all the specifics, here's our detailed coverage at the time, where the case didn't look good for Mittens, even while the state of Massachusetts seemed to be more interested in ignoring the allegations all together for some reason. The piece also includes details on some other recent apparent GOP voter fraud felons too.
The voting systems in use for the nation's first three all-important electoral contests in the 2012 primary --- from Iowa to New Hampshire to Saturday's South Carolina Primary --- go from pretty great to intolerably horrible. And then comes Florida, which deserves its very own special category, thereafter.
As of the "First-in-the-Nation" primary in New Hampshire, however, election transparency for voters and their ability to oversee their own elections began to disappear. While a lucky 10% of voters enjoyed hand-marked, publicly hand-counted paper ballots, the rest of the state's voters were allowed to vote on hand-marked paper ballots, but forced to tolerate secret tabulation on oft-failed, easily-manipulated Diebold optical-scan systems programmed by a company (LHS) with a history of criminal behavior and convictions. The results from those 90% of Granite State voters may have been tallied accurately by the Diebold op-scanners or, as seen in the disastrous 2008 Presidential Primary, not. Since NH doesn't bother to actually check to see if their machines tallied the hand-marked paper ballots correctly, we're unlikely to ever know if they did --- barring a recount request where, by then, the secure chain of custody of the paper ballots would be uncertain (to put it mildly.)
And now we come to the "First-in-the-South" Republican primary in South Carolina, where all evidence of how voters vote disappears entirely as the voters will be forced across the entire state to vote on easily-manipulated, oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems made by the nation's largest voting machine company, ES&S. When the machine-reported results are announced tomorrow night they will either be accurate or not. Either way, there will never be a way for anybody to know one way or the other as there will be nothing to prove how voters voted and nothing to "recount", even if anybody wanted to.
Appropriately enough, perhaps, Saturday's primary in the Palmetto State will offer 100% "faith-based" voting, since it will be scientifically impossible to prove that even a single vote for any candidate on the ballot has been recorded accurately by the ES&S iVotronic touch-screens as per any voter's intent. Known what we mean, Alvin Greene?...
As of today, I'm happy to say, my show on Pacifica Radio's KPFK here in Los Angeles has been expanded to a full hour. We made pretty good use of all of those minutes today, thanks in no small part to Rick Santorum (of all people) raising the issue of felon voting rights at Monday's GOP Presidential Debate in South Carolina. (And one heck of a largely unnoticed Freudian slip by Mitt Romney on that topic!)
P.P.S. Anybody wanna submit a suggestion for a cool logo for "The BradCast"? Happy to crowd source ideas, especially since you all actually came up with that name for the KPFK show in the first place! If so, here's a photo or two that may, or may not, come in handy.