Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
"...[W]ithout full transparency of results, this fraud would not have been uncovered." - Markos Moulitsas, Daily Kos founder, 6/29/10
There's an interesting bit of news today --- ironically enough, from Daily Kos --- which underscores the importance of citizen access to, and transparency of, election data, at least if anyone ever hopes to be able to root out and/or discover fraud, be it in elections or virtually anything else.
I say "ironically enough," because Daily Kos --- including both its founder Markos Moulitsas and a number of its front-page writers --- have, for years at their site, poo-pooed concerns about election fraud and e-voting by disinforming their readers about the very serious concerns presented by the disastrous election system used in most of the U.S. By marginalizing such concerns as little more than "conspiracy theory," they have continued to ill-serve both their readers' and their own self-interest (that of electing Democrats to office) in the bargain.
More, in a moment, on today's news from Kos himself, accidentally underscoring the long disservice his site has offered to readers on the e-voting front. But first, a personal incident involving hamburgers yesterday also serves to underscore, yet again, a related issue, and why hand-marked paper ballots --- and actually bothering to count them --- is an absolute imperative for Election Integrity...
PRATTVILLE --- District Attorney Randall Houston is investigating possible voting improprieties in Autauga County after someone allegedly gained improper access to the circuit clerk's computer.
At issue is a vote cast in the name of a Prattville man. His name wasn't on the list of final absentee voters Circuit Clerk Whit Moncrief produced the night before the primary election. After the election, the man's name was on the list as having voted absentee.
Houston said he is confident the veracity of the countywide vote tally hasn't been compromised. Autauga County is a strong Republican county, and news of the recount of the GOP nomination for governor has been front page news for the past two weeks.
[Houston said,] "[W]e are in the early stages of the investigation. We have to go where the evidence takes us. We may find other problems as we go forward with this matter."
"I ran a final report of all absentee voters the night before the election and this man's name was not on the list," Moncrief said. "From my recollection and the records at my disposal, this man didn't vote absentee. How his name got on the absentee list following the election is beyond me.
"The only thing I can think of is someone tapped into the computer used for absentees from outside my office."
The computer that records absentee information sits beside Moncrief's desk in his courthouse office. Access is double-password protected, and Moncrief said he hasn't given his passwords to anyone. When the problem regarding the security of the system came to light about mid-week, he said that he changed both of his passwords.
Judge Vic Rawl just released a public statement on the heels of the SC Democratic Party Executive Board's insane rejection yesterday of his protest to the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen system's announced "victory" of Alvin Greene to be the state's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. Rawl's statement reads in part:
I wanted you to hear from me that we will not be appealing last night’s decision by the Democratic Executive Committee to reject our protest of the election results. My campaign for the United States Senate has ended.
The issues we raised about the lack of election integrity in South Carolina are real, and they are not going away unless people act. I assure you that I will continue to speak out about our frail and vulnerable election system in the months to come.
Rawl's comments follow on both his own impromptu remarks after yesterday's protest was rejected, and his Campaign Manager Walter Ludwig's barely-contained on-the-record comments following the hearing: "We're certainly disappointed, but the unique circumstances of this election gave us an opportunity to put the specter of voting machines in front of the national public in the strongest way since Bush v. Gore."
As we'll be guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show again for the first week of July, hopefully Rawl and/or Ludwig will be able to join us to explain what the hell happened, what they intend to do about it, and what the hell is wrong with SC's shameful, apparently democracy-hating, Democratic Party Executive Board. (See yesterday's report & live blog of the hearings for all the insane details.)
The South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Board rejected Judge Vic Rawl's official protest to the results of last week's U.S. Senate primary, despite no evidence presented that the results were accurate, and despite Alvin Greene having not even shown up to the protest hearing. Rawl had originally filed his protest based, in large part, on the "well-documented unreliability and unverifiability of the voting machines used in South Carolina."
Greene's election as the Democratic party nominee for the U.S. Senate, to run against incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, stands. The vote of the Executive Board was 38.5 to 7.5 in favor of rejecting Rawl's protest and upholding the results. Not kidding.
The Rawl campaign presented an impressive five-hour case in Columbia today, including two computer scientists and security experts who both asserted that there was no reasonable explanation for election results other than some kind of voting system malfunction in either the hardware or software. Voters testified that they had trouble selecting Rawl on the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems, and that their votes were flipped to Greene. Campaign workers testified that they received calls all throughout Election Day concerning problems with the machines and reports that pollworkers were swapping out sensitive memory cartridges.
Despite the historical record of failure of the ES&S voting system, and numerous state-sponsored studies (in state's other than SC) which all found that the systems are poorly coded and exceptionally vulnerable to malicious manipulation, Rawl's team of computer scientists were not allowed access to the voting system hardware and software in order to examine it for bugs or tampering.
Rawl's attorney instructed the Executive Board that they were required to vote on the protest on the basis of whether the evidence presented in the hearing demonstrated the results to be true and accurate or not. No evidence was presented that the results were accurate, only that they were not. Nonetheless, the SC Democratic Party's Executive Board voted resoundingly to reject Rawl's protest, which the candidate has said he will not appeal.
After the motion was rejected, and the meeting adjourned, Rawl quieted the crowd to say a few words (the following is now transcribed directly from the audio)...
First, some very good news just in: The hearing for the protest to the results of last week's SC Democratic U.S. Senate primary will be streamed live on Thursday at 3pm ET via Live.VicRawl.com.
The protest will be heard by the Executive Board of the South Carolina Democratic Party to consider Judge Vic Rawl's protest to last week's bizarre election.
Second, I'm happy to say that I have finally been able to make contact with the campaign of former state legislator and Circuit Court Judge Vic Rawl. I had a somewhat lengthy conversation earlier today with his campaign manager Walter Ludwig, and continue to be happy to report that it seems they have a very good grasp of the issues at stake --- in relation to the horrific ES&S e-voting system --- in their challenge to the 100% unverifiable election of Alvin Greene in SC's recent Democratic U.S. Senate primary race.
As I noted last night, in discussing Rawl's interview yesterday on Fox, given the sharp learning curve for those unfamiliar with the complex issues involved with e-voting and Election Integrity, they've done an excellent job of getting up to speed, at least inasmuch as possible in the short time they've been forced to become "experts" on the topic.
That, of course, is just another pitfall of using insanely complicated rocket science instead of common sense and eyeballs to add one plus one plus one in our current electoral system. Most candidates with questions about their election results simply can't afford the resources and computer scientists and time needed for the forensic investigation of these systems --- that's if they're even allowed access to the often proprietary trade-secret hardware and software --- following an election and prior to the date by which they must file and argue a legal challenge. That, as opposed to simply examining paper ballots and chain of custody procedures, as would be the case with sane, paper ballot elections.
Ludwig seems to understand just how bad the voting system is that voters were forced to use in SC's recent election, the same system used in dozens of other states despite The BRAD BLOG's best efforts over the past six years to warn of the dangers.
"These machines are incredibly frail and subject to manipulation. They don't work very well." In short, Ludwig told me, "They're crap."...
There are a number of points in Andreas Antonopoulos' article at Network World yesterday with which I respectfully disagree (eg. His assertion that counting paper ballots by hand might take longer than with machines, and nuances in regard to his belief that a federal standard for voting machines is the answer, etc.)
But for someone who doesn't cover the unique circumstances of e-voting exclusively or in great detail, he is essentially right on the money in his general assertions about the insane, 100% unverifiable nature of South Carolina's recent primary election. In regard to the questions about Alvin Greene's impossible-to-prove "win" over Judge Vic Rawl for the Democratic nomination to run for U.S. Senate, he writes, among other things:
How have we reached the point where the only way to audit an election is statistics? Why can't we get a robust, audited and validated election result? The simple answer is that we can, but we choose not to.
[T]he best solution is paper and pencil. It is auditable, secure, repeatable, easy and robust.
I note the above today, largely in response to the dead-enders, who I've begun to hear from yet again of late, who describe folks like me as "Luddites" or somehow "against progress". Those who believe that elections ought to be 100% verifiable by the citizenry --- and that any sort of concealed vote counting, electronic or otherwise, is a grave threat to democracy --- are not "Luddites". We are well-informed realists and patriots.
For the record, I spent some ten years of my life making my living as a computer programmer. Network World's Antonopoulos, author of the magazine's "Security: Risk and Reward" blog, is also senior vice president and founding partner at the the IT consulting and research firm, Nemertes Research. And the bulk of the science on which all of my reporting is based, comes directly from the top computer scientists and security experts in the world.
If anyone would like to call us "Luddites", after all of these years being proven right, again and again, on these issues, bring it on. You're only succeed in making yourself appear grossly ill-informed. Or worse.
[My thanks to "HeartlandLiberal" at dKos for bringing the Network World piece to my attention, and, for kicking back a bit at the many horribly dis-informed and mis-informed Kossacks who have been ignoring and/or poo-pooing these issues for years, to their own shame and disservice.]
Former Circuit Court Judge Vic Rawl's official protest against the results of South Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senate primary election last Tuesday --- when he was purportedly beaten by Alvin Greene, a jobless man who didn't campaign and didn't even have a campaign website --- will focus on what he describes as "systemic issues involving the software of the voting machine," according to the four-term, former state legislator in an interview with Fox "News" today.
The video and transcript of that interview --- in which Rawl displayed a very impressive command of the issues surrounding the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines used in the election --- are posted below. It's well worth reading and/or watching.
But first, Democratic House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) also appeared on Fox today where he said, "I believe there was hacking done into that computer." He later added, that because SC used the type of voting machines that have been decertified by so many other states, "maybe somebody wanted machines that were easily hacked into."
Take a look...
Clyburn's comments are remarkable --- certainly for a currently-serving Democratic official, much less one as high ranking as he is. Perhaps his comments will help change the way the bulk of the mainstream media has been covering this issue to date. They've been looking at everything but the obvious potential for computer failure or manipulation, even though Rawl has been going out of his way to point to it --- as we saw in his remarkable statement announcing his protest of the election results filed yesterday, due, in no small part, to "the well-documented unreliability and unverifiability of the voting machines used in South Carolina."
Since speculating on the accuracy of the results, or lack thereof, is all that most of us can do, given the nature of the type of e-voting system in use in SC which offer zero proof of actual winners and losers, there is certainly every reason to believe the election could have been hacked. The state's woeful ES&S system --- both its voting machines and its central tabulators --- has been shown time and again, in scientific report after scientific report, to be easily manipulated, particularly by a well-placed election insider.
That said, there still remain other less nefarious explanations for the results, and it should also be noted that Clyburn got quite a few of the details --- albeit fairly minor ones in the scope of his main point, if rather important to the rest of the country --- wrong...
The local Charleston, South Carolina, NBC affiliate, WCBD, was hoodwinked by someone; apparently it was the SC Election Commission. In the following report, WCBD's Larry Collins says that he has checked on the claim that "there is no independent paper back up from [South Carolina's] touch machines." He then goes on to inaccurately report, presumably from information given to him by the state election commission, that "there is a paper trail" on the state's ES&S iVotronic voting systems...
Collins' reporting is patently inaccurate.
The pieces of paper seen hanging in the background behind him are end of the day reports or possibly some "poll tapes," printed out after polls close, showing the purported tallies from each machine or precinct. They are not auditable "paper trail" records of voters' votes, and they are not verified in any way, shape, or form by the voter.
Those printouts can say absolutely anything, as printed, including the actual vote counts, erroneous vote counts due to machine malfunction or misprogramming, or, as seen in the following Fox "News" clip, vote counts that have been purposely manipulated by tampering and/or the inclusion of a virus implanted on one of the voting machines' memory cards...
Vic Rawl says inexplicable Democratic primary contest casts 'cloud' over state election; Notes 'irregularities', problem reports from voters, poll workers, vows 'electoral reform', calls for 'full and unblinking investigation of overall integrity' of state's ES&S voting system...
UPDATE: 'Burden of proof' on Rawls. Good luck with that.
A formal challenge to the announced results of South Carolina's Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate has now been filed by Judge Vic Rawl, the candidate who wasn't announced the winner by the state's oft-failed, easily-manipulated, 100% unverifiable ES&S e-voting system.
The statement points generally to a number of findings being made by the campaign as independent experts have analyzed the results, voting patterns and problems being reported by poll workers and voters on Election Day where the unknown, unemployed candidate Alvin Greene defeated Rawl on the unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems, performing 11 points better on those machines than he did in the paper-based absentee results. The oft-failed, easily-manipulated ES&S election results reporting system gave Greene a 59% to 41% "victory" over Rawl.
Greene did no campaigning, had no name recognition, had no campaign website, faces felony obscenity charges and managed, somehow, according to the electronic results, to best Rawl, a four-term state legislator to win the nomination to face incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in this November's general election.
We've covered details and analysis of this bizarre matter in two previous articles since last Tuesday's election:
As you'll see below, Rawl's official statement today reads as an indictment of the state's electronic voting system and, frankly, as a summary of years of The BRAD BLOG's oft-ignored reporting (and warnings) about the ES&S e-voting system's disastrously failed record...
This post is an update to our earlier one today, which highlighted early, unexplained disparities seen by academic experts working on behalf of South Carolina Democrats, between paper-ballot absentee voting results and those from the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems used on Election Day last Tuesday in South Carolina for the Democratic U.S. Senate primary race between the unheard of, jobless candidate Alvin Greene (who did absolutely no campaigning), and state legislator Vic Rawl (who did).
As we detailed in the previous post, Greene's "victory," thus far, seems to make absolutely no legitimate sense to state Democrats, or anybody else, in truth. The disparities in the voting patterns were described by experts quoted in Politico earlier today as "curious," "staggering," and "red flags," and by Election Integrity experts who we quoted as "clear signs of election fraud." Please read that post first for the full background on this story.
We've already included one update to our previous post, based on a post by Tom Schaller at FiveThirtyEight.com, a site which focuses on statistical analysis of elections. That post examined the possibility of the race factor in Greene's "win" over Rawl as the former is African American while the latter is white. Schaller's analysis of precinct data in the race, however, as compared to non-white registrants in each, found "no relationship between the race of a county's registrants and Greene's performance in that county," thus largely, but not entirely, ruling out race as an explanation for the bizarre results.
While Schaller had posited four existing possibilities for what "could have happened here" in his original article --- including the possibility of "systematic" election fraud --- he has now filed a follow-up report describing the matter as "getting weirder by the hour." His new piece includes a number of reports from other statistical experts which "suggest tampering, or at least machine malfunction, perhaps at the highest level"...
Nobody in the South Carolina Democratic Party had ever heard of Alvin Greene, the jobless candidate for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, before he reportedly defeated state legislator Vic Rawl last Tuesday. That, despite the jobless candidate's lack of actual campaigning, campaign website, or even spending any money on a campaign as far as anyone can tell. And there remain questions at this hour, as to where he even came up with the $10,440 filing fee to get on the ballot in the first place. Greene's interview on MSNBC last night is one of the most bizarre ever seen on television (full video posted at end of article).
Unless something changes between now and November, however, Greene's inexplicable victory will pit him against the state's often-controversial, and far-Rightwing Republican incumbent, Sen. Jim DeMint.
But where some have suggested Greene was a "plant" in the race, experts now examining the actual election result data from both SC's unverifiable Election Day touch-screen machines and its electronically counted paper-ballot absentee voting system are noting "curious" and even "staggering" disparities, suggesting what some Election Integrity experts are describing at this hour as "clear signs of ELECTION FRAUD in South Carolina"...
If you're in or near L.A., there will be a FREE screening tomorrow (Saturday, 5/22) at 1pm, of Murder, Spies and Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story at the Unurban Cafe, 3301 Pico Blvd in Santa Monica. I'll be there for a Q&A afterwards, and to sign DVDs, and would love to see ya there!
And Tonight (Friday, 5/21) at 5pm PT (8pm ET), I'll be live on Russian television's English language news network, RT (formerly "Russia Today") to discuss Rand Paul. Should be fun! If you don't have RT on your cable or satellite system, you can watch RT live online here. Otherwise, I'll try to add the video here later if they post it to YouTube as they often do.
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UPDATE 7:28pm PT: I wish they hadn't called me a "Liberal Blogger," which I find grossly inaccurate. I've corrected them for next time. In any case, had fun on RT. You'll let me know how I did!...
BTW, for those who had been paying attention, I predicted all of this Rand Paul fun earlier in the week, when I wrote in my "Super-ish Tuesday Backgrounder" on Monday:
The "Tea Party," however, may be in for a surprise should Paul win tomorrow and then in November, as he is an actual conservative candidate --- now otherwise known as a libertarian --- meaning he, like his father, calls for removing government entirely from all but those functions called for directly in the Constitution. For example, he supports an immediate pull out of U.S. troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan, an idea that, in truth, is largely anathema to the bulk of the grossly disinformed "Tea Baggers"/GOP base (versus the true "Tea Partiers" who first emerged in 2006 in support of Ron Paul, against George W. Bush, and who were consequently marginalized as wackos back then by the bulk of the GOP and its Bush-lovin' base.)
I just didn't think it was gonna happen on the Wednesday after his Tuesday election!
Tuesday's election are being called "Super Tuesday" by some in the media hoping to hype the four-state Election Day as a bellwether for the "anti-incumbency fever" predicted by the same media for this November.
But beyond the marquee races in each of the states holding elections tomorrow --- Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Oregon (and Hawaii is currently holding an all-mail special election which ends on Saturday) --- as usual, we'll be keeping our eyes on whether voters are actually able to cast their votes, and whether or not those votes are actually counted and counted accurately.
The mix of states holding elections tomorrow also offer a mix of electoral systems --- from a majority of voters using 100% unverifiable touch-screen machines in use in KY and PA, to a compilation of touch-screen and paper ballot systems run by a company with a disastrous reliability record in AR, to the black hole of all mail-in voting in OR (and in HI).
Remember, whatever happens or gets reported (or doesn't) on Tuesday, it's often the case that concerns about failures in the system don't necessarily become immediately apparent on Election Day itself. Sometimes problems in the system and in the tallies do not begin to emerge until days, weeks, and sometimes even months after Election Day. So whatever we see in the surface reports tomorrow, for good or bad (and, as usual, you can count on various reports of "glitches," "hiccups," "snags," and "snafus" which use those words to marginalize problems, instead of the correct word: "failures") may just be the tip of any electoral icebergs beneath the surface. As usual, eternal vigilance by the citizenry is the hallmark of the ongoing fight for electoral integrity and transparency in these United States.
Here then is a general BRAD BLOG backgrounder on each state heading to the polls, its marquee race or races, the electoral systems used in each, and what you can do to help keep an eye out for any election integrity issues as they could emerge...
After all these years, not much has changed for the denialist jurisdictions that still insult their voters by using 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines.
Pittsburgh's WTAE filed a report last week with a ring of exhausting familiarity --- at least to long time readers of The BRAD BLOG. This one stars, as usual, both an open, unsecured door to the warehouse, and an election official --- in this case, Allegheny County Pennsylvania's Election Division manager, Mark Wolosik --- claiming he's "seen" no problems before, so everything is just dandy, nothing to worry about when it comes to his support of the use of 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems by his county's voters...
On California's June ballot this year, a measure paid for and deceptively represented by one major corporate sponsor, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), purports to be a "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act." In truth, the initiative represents one corporation's attempt to pervert the "citizen's initiative" process by spending millions to deceive voters into believing they can push back against the vaguely socialist-sounding notion of "government-run electric service."
The measure is anything but a "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act," and that name itself has even been out-and-out rejected for use on the ballot by the state's Attorney General --- not that it has stopped PG&E from misleadingly selling it that way to the public in a multi-million dollar television ad buy and direct-mail propaganda campaign...