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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, December 27, 2014
The 'Very Special BradCast Holiday Special' Returns
Join The 'BradCast' Radio Theatre Players for some of our favorite episodes from the 1930s & 40s in what is now, officially, a beloved annual holiday tradition for two years running!...
'Green News Report' 12/23/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
2014 on track for hottest year on record; Washington governor proposes carbon cap & trade; Plastic in oceans worse than previously known; PLUS: Solar energy breakthrough...
Previous GNRs: 12/18/14 - 12/16/14 - Archives...
'A Terrible Idea': E-Voting, E-Counting, 'Open Source' and Internet Voting
Computerphile's Tom Scott understands and explains what too many -- even most opponents of 'e-voting' -- don't fully appreciate...
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
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...


Paul Bishop, one of six Clay County Election Board officials arrested in March, may now be cooperating with federal prosecutors
NEW DETAILS: Rush Limbaugh's 'Hillbilly Heroin' said used as part of vote-buying scheme | LATE UPDATE: Many new details following today's guilty plea...
By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2009 11:35am PT  

[Now updated with a load of new details on the election conspiracy, how it worked, and who the candidates were that allegedly benefited from it, following today's guilty plea entered in court. See bottom of article for that new information.]

A Republican election official, one of six allegedly bi-partisan [ed note: see update below for more on that] Clay County, KY, Board of Elections officials arrested last March and charged with a long-term conspiracy to rig elections, buy votes, and manipulate vote-selections on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, has asked to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, according to local news reports...

The attorney for Paul E. Bishop filed a motion Thursday seeking a hearing for him to plead guilty to one count of racketeering.

That charge alleges that members of the conspiracy used the county Board of Elections as a vehicle to corrupt voting between 2002 and 2007 so they could hold on to power and enrich themselves and others.

According to the indictment [PDF], Bishop was a Republican election judge at precincts in 2002 and 2004, and hosted meetings at his house where candidates pooled money to be used for buying votes. The latest report also notes that Bishop, and some of the other conspirators, even employed Rush Limbaugh's illicit drug of choice, OxyContin, as part of their scheme...

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

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Paul DeGregorio's 'Everyone Counts' was paid to carry out fully unverifiable, unsecure Internet, phone election in Honolulu
Voter participation plummets 83% to boot...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2009 12:20pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

As if the former U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio hadn't done enough damage to our nation's electoral system during his disastrous reign as a commissioner from 2003 to 2007, it looks like he's now more than happy to cash in on his Bush-appointed public post in the private sector as Chief Operating Officer for a dubious Internet voting operation.

Everyone Counts (E1C) is the San Diego-based firm which ran "America's first all-digital online and telephone election" in Honolulu, which was completed last week. That's the way it was described by Aaron Contorer, the company's Chief of Products and Partnership, in a very thinly disguised press release, sadly posted, as if a news article, recently by Huffington Post. [Full Disclosure: We also contribute articles to HuffPo, though we try to offer news, rather than press releases.]

As COO of Everyone Counts, DeGregorio has posted a video commercial (and a bad one at that, see the bottom of this article where it's re-posted) on his bio page at the company website. His face is also featured on the front page of their site. In the short video, DeGregorio crows about his 22 years in the election "business" while posing in front of the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument in D.C.

Trading on his former self-proclaimed status as "America's chief election official," DeGregorio endorses the private company for which he now works, noting in the video: "I've been involved in this business for 22 years, having risen to the, America's Chief election official. And I have found that Everyone Counts is the place for me to be, because it's the only organization that provides transparency, accessibility, security and choice. And I think that's the most important thing for any election official, anywhere in the world."

While evidently accuracy doesn't even make DeGregorio's list of "most important thing[s] for any election official" --- not surprising, given his oversight, during his tenure at the EAC, of federal approval for myriad electronic voting systems that fail to meet federal accuracy standards --- the idea that EC's Internet voting schemes provide "transparency" seems to be entirely without evidence, as The BRAD BLOG confirmed with a representative of the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office which sponsored last week's election.

Moreover, Everyone Counts' virtual election in Hawaii, according to late news reports this week, seems to have been a dismal failure, at least if the 83% plummet in voter participation might be taken as any indication, in addition to the election's lack of transparency and verifiability.

Numerous commenters, including us, left responses to Contorer's misleading and disinformative HuffPo item, noting serious concerns about E1C's "all-digital" voting scheme. Concerns were expressed by many posters about citizens' lack of ability to verify the accuracy of votes cast, and of transparency and security in the system which, Contorer claims, employs "military-grade encryption technology." He goes on to try to convince readers that it's also "faster, more reliable, and more secure than if they had voted on paper." He failed to answer to any of our critical comments, however, and neither did he offer evidence to back up his claims about his company's superior reliability and security over fully-transparent, paper-ballot voting.

Despite his shameless promotion, and an offer in his video to contact him with any questions, DeGregorio himself did no better in responding to our request for comment in regard to our concerns...

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

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'It's hard not to believe there was something deliberate about it'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2009 12:04pm PT  

A few developments this week in the case of Mike Connell, the GOP IT guru who died in a single-engine plane craft last December, just after being forced to testify in a long-standing OH 2004 voting rights case, but before the case could come to trial. As The BRAD BLOG has long covered both the lawsuit, and Connell's central role, I wanted to make sure the new developments were noted here. Forgive my quick copy and paste, necessarily, given the circumstances of the week which still have me otherwise distracted in many ways. Background links on the entire Connell story are included at the end of this item...

First via RAW:

The sisters of Michael Connell, a GOP IT consultant and former associate of Karl Rove who died in a plane crash last December, are now questioning the circumstances surrounding his death.

“Shannon Connell of Madison says her brother Michael rarely talked about work,” a local Wisconsin paper reported Thursday. “She knew he ran an Ohio company called New Media Communications that set up websites for Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But it wasn’t until after he died last December, when the small plane he was piloting crashed, that she learned via the Internet of his tie to a voter fraud case and to allegations that presidential adviser Karl Rove had made threats against him.

“‘At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead,” the paper quoted Shannon as saying. “But as time goes on, it’s hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it.”

“A native of Illinois, Shannon moved to Madison in 2002,” the paper adds, “the same year as her sister, Mary Jo Walker. Walker, a former Dane County Humane Society employee, has similar concerns about their brother’s death: ‘It doesn’t seem right to me at all.’”

There were a few other notable tidbits from Bill Lueders' original report in Wisconsin's The Daily Page...

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

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State AG: 'These [Diebold] systems are very, very bad'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2009 12:05am PT  

The AP has finally noticed the long-sought criminal investigation ballot count of the 2006 Pima County (Tucson), AZ, special election. State Attorney General Terry Goddard's hand-count of the disputed Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election was concluded, at least for now, in Phoenix on Wednesday. That's when AP filed its report on the matter that we've been covering here at The BRAD BLOG in a number of special reports and exclusives, in great detail, this week, last week, and for several years prior.

AP's coverage was fairly cursory (recent inside joke: AP didn't report who the AG's office had found to be the "leading vote-getter"), but it hit a few points worth noting, including one of the key take-aways from the entire, epic morality tale still playing out on behalf of the entire U.S., in Arizona:

Maricopa County election workers have been hand counting ballots from a 2006 Pima County transportation election to determine if the vote was rigged by tampering with optical-scan polling machines and turning “no” votes into “yes” votes.
...
What may be of even greater concern is the voting machines in Pima County, which includes Tucson, are similar to those used in 12 of Arizona’s 15 counties and in hundreds of jurisdictions across the country.

If it turns out the election was rigged by manipulating Diebold Elections Systems (now Premier Election Solutions Inc.) computer election programs, as some fear, it will show weaknesses in electronic balloting that could endanger the democratic process.

There you have it. That's why this story matters, and why it's far more than simply a "local story."

It also matters on a still-broader level because, even if the 2006 Tucson RTA election wasn't rigged --- and it's three years on, and nobody yet actually seems to know for certain --- due to the god-awful, privatized, untested, hackable, oft-failed, secret vote-counting machines we now use in our public elections, it's become virtually impossible to know if any elections counted on such machines were accurately tabulated.

AP notes that Goddard seems to finally be understanding that larger point, at least:

No matter which way the recount goes, state Attorney General Terry Goddard said he is convinced the equipment jeopardizes election integrity.

“These (Premier) systems are very, very bad,” Goddard said. “(They) are not state of the art in terms of security. They are not state of the art in terms of transparency.”

The Arizona Republic's Dennis Wagner pulled some details from AP's cursory coverage and augmented it substantially for more lengthy, detailed coverage filed on Wednesday as well, which we're happy to see and recommend.

* * *

In a related note: Tucson election integrity advocate John Brakey saw charges against him dismissed by a judge today, following his arrest ordered by Pima County election officials last year during a state-mandated, post-election hand-count --- a statutory mandate that likely would not have existed were it not for Brakey's advocacy for such post-election "audits."

The county's case against him was so bad Brakey wasn't even required to put on his own defense before the judge dismissed the case entirely after hearing the county's testimony. The recent criminal investigation hand count carried out by Goddard, and all of the issues discussed above, would also likely never have come to light in Arizona, had it not been for the tenacity, courage, and tireless determination of Brakey. Exclusive details on today's dismissed charges against him posted earlier here...

As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...
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Democratic attorney sends letter to state AG detailing new concerns about Tucson's long-contested 2006 special election
AG's office: Examination may end today, says will 'examine all evidence seized, including poll tapes'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2009 1:32am PT  

-- Brad Friedman, A BRAD BLOG Special Report

In a letter written to the Arizona Attorney General's office on Monday, as obtained by The BRAD BLOG, the attorney for the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party has expressed a concern that thousands of ballots from a disputed 2006 special election, which should be in the AG's possession, may instead be "missing".

"Many thousands of ballots that should be in the ballot boxes in your possession don't exist," attorney Bill Risner writes in the 3-page letter [PDF] to Donald E. Conrad, Chief Counsel of the Criminal Division at the office of state Attorney General Terry Goddard. The alarming allegations come as the second week of an extraordinary hand-count of paper ballots, part of a criminal investigation into the '06 election, continued in Phoenix on Monday.

A spokesperson from the Attorney General's office says she believes the count will be concluded on Wednesday, though that could change. It was originally scheduled to conclude last week.

The AG is conducting a criminal investigation into allegations that that election may have been electronically manipulated by election official insiders. The special election created Tucson's Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) in May of 2006, and funded it with a joint bond measure to the tune of $2 billion over ten years. The Pima Democratic Party had endorsed the two RTA ballots questions in the election, but they now question the legitimate success of the measures. They've been bringing court cases to access ballot materials, and have been demanding a hand-count of the ballots for a number of years. Similar RTA initiatives had failed in four previous elections before they were finally passed in 2006.

"If we are correct," Risner wrote in his Monday letter to the Attorney General's office, concerning the absence of as many as 19,000 paper ballots, as estimated by observers of the counting in Phoenix, "the question arises as to what happened to those ballots." The latest mystery adds still more fuel to the already high-stakes, long-sought hand-count, and raises new questions in the nearly three-years long investigation into the 2006 election results.

If the ballots are indeed missing, did they ever actually exist? Was the Diebold electronic ballot box stuffed? Have ballots been surreptitiously removed by someone for some reason? Or have observers miscalculated the number of ballots being examined? The AG's Press Secretary Anne Titus Hilby tells The BRAD BLOG she's aware of the allegations of missing ballots but could not speak to that point in any more detail "until the examination is concluded"...

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

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Roe to Rove: 'You guys wouldn't be in White House without Tom'
So what did he mean by that?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2009 2:08pm PT  

Late this week, Politico's Anne Schroeder ran details of a purported public showdown, in a D.C. steakhouse, between Karl Rove and Jason Roe, the former Chief of Staff to FL's former Republican U.S. House Rep (and alleged vote-rigging conspirator) Tom Feeney.

During the exchange between Rove and Roe, as reported by Schroeder, Rove tells Roe that he has a file on Feeney, and Roe, who was angry with Rove for cracks he'd made on Fox "News" at Feeney's expense just after the extremely corrupt FL Republican had lost his 2008 election, says angrily to Rove: "You guys wouldn't be in the White House without Tom."

Given the coverage we've offered over the years on Feeney, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis' allegations against him, several folks --- including our friends Marcy Wheeler of emptywheel and Patty Sharaf, filmmaker of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story --- sent us the link to the Politico article, asking our opinion on what Roe may have meant by that crack.

In the interest of keeping links to that story from continuing to pile up in our Inbox, here's our take on Roe's purported comment to Rove...

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AG-selected party observers barred from taking notes, or video-taping long-sought manual tabulation of paper ballots from disputed 2006 election...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2009 11:52am PT  

We wrote late last week, in some detail, about Arizona AG Terry Goddard's long overdue hand-count of paper ballots from the dubious 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) bond special election in Pima County (Tucson). The count of all 120,821 paper ballots from the election begins today in Phoenix as part of a criminal investigation, following years of allegations and court cases, in which a trans-partisan group of Election Integrity advocates in Tucson have sought transparency and public oversight following indications that Diebold tabulator databases may have been manipulated by election insiders.

Goddard's restrictions on political party observers --- just one per party, selected by the AG, not by the parties themselves --- was the cause of criticism by all of the involved parties (Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, etc.). But a letter [PDF] late last week from the AG's office indicated, at least, that a live, eight-camera video feed would be available on the Internet.

"Eight cameras will stream live video of the examination proceedings to the internet courtesy of the Maricopa County Elections Department," the AG promised. And, as the count began this morning, that feed is now up and running here.

Unfortunately, unlike Minnesota's recent, very transparent hand-count of 2.9 million ballots from the state's still-contested U.S. Senate race, the video from the Maricopa County Ballot Tabulation Center (BTC) is all but worthless, as critics had previously worried, in determining if counts are being carried out accurately.

Here are screen shots from this morning, as counting began, from all eight camera-views --- only two of which show any actual counting at all, while six of them are focused on different areas in the Phoenix counting facility (click a photo to see the live streaming shot)...

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Next week's long-demanded hand-count in Phoenix may confirm long-standing allegations of the electronic manipulation, on Diebold tabulators, of the 2006 Pima County RTA special election
And, then again, it may not...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2009 3:23pm PT  

- Special Report by Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

The 400 previously rejected absentee ballots in the Coleman/Franken U.S. Senate race in Minnesota won't be the only ballots being carefully counted next week. Neither will the more than 5,000 being counted in the NY-20 U.S. House special election where (fewer than) 25 votes, out of 150,000 cast, currently separate the winner from the loser.

A hand count of thousands of paper ballots that could trump all of the above, at least in regards to national importance, will quietly occur next week in a highly-secured Maricopa County, AZ, facility, as part of a years-long criminal investigation. Ironically, coming as late as it does, three years after the election, the results of the count, no matter what they may be, will not affect the actual outcome of that election --- even if it is found that the results were originally rigged by elections officials.

After almost three years; hundreds of legal documents; scores of hours in courtrooms; precedent-setting legal findings forcing the public release of Diebold computer databases supposedly recording how citizens voted in their own elections; allegations of potential hacking and fraud believed to have been possibly carried out by election official insiders; indications of tampering described as the result of "human error" by a report commissioned by the state AG, as part of a criminal investigation subsequently described by critics as a "whitewash"; arrests of local election integrity advocates; and lord knows how many articles documenting it at all here at The BRAD BLOG over those years, the paper ballots from the curious 2006 Regional Transit Authority (RTA) election in Pima County (Tucson), AZ, will finally be counted, beginning next Monday, as part of a criminal investigation being carried out by the state's Attorney General.

The hand-count of all 120,821 ballots from that special election will be carried out not in Pima, but under the supervision of "certified professionals who work for the Maricopa County (Phoenix) Elections Department," according to a 2-page letter [PDF] sent by the AG's office to the chairman of the Democratic Party of Pima County. The "strictly-monitored" count will either settle, once and for all, the matter of whether that election was conducted fraudulently by election insiders manipulating the vulnerable electronic Diebold tabulation system --- or it won't...

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

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Presentation to election officials underscores years of reporting at The BRAD BLOG, including dangers of voting machine 'sleepovers,' and Sequoia Voting Systems' continuing ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2009 4:02pm PT  

- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

"I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to...make bad things happen," CIA cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall explained, in a stunning presentation to a U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) field hearing held one month ago in Orlando.

As initially reported earlier this week by Greg Gordon at McClatchy, "Stigall said that voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said that election officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines."

"The CIA got interested in electronic systems a few years ago," Gordon reports Stigall as explaining at the EAC hearing, "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

But as disturbing as Stigall's presentation was, what's almost as disturbing is that it took more than 11 days, McClatchy's coverage, a number of FOIA requests from VotersUnite's John Gideon (a frequent guest blogger here), and a couple of articles from BRAD BLOG alum, Michael Richardson of the Examiner (his coverage is here and here), before the EAC finally released the complete transcript of the meeting [WORD], including Stigall's remarks.

"The presenter did not provide the presentation, 'Computers and Elections: The Growing Potential for Cyber Vote Fraud', to the EAC, so we have no materials responsive to your request," Gideon was told in response to his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the EAC, as reported by Richardson. "We received the transcript on March 16, 2009, and it will be publicly available in the next few days."

As of last night, 10 days since the EAC admits they received the transcript of their own event which had taken place 20 days earlier, they had neither sent it to Gideon in response to his request, nor posted it on their website. As of this morning, a month since the hearing, it's finally up on their website, thanks in part, no doubt, to the pressure brought on the EAC by the public to do so. Even then, Stigall's remarks are not posted separately, as other presentations are, but rather, one has to go looking for the full transcript of the actual event to find it. So why both the delay and obfuscation from the famously dysfunctional (a nice way to put it) federal agency? Make your own best guesses, since there is no official explanation for the moment.

Happily, there were others at the meeting who had transcribed the CIA cybersecurity expert's startling remarks --- decimating the idea of supposedly "secure" e-voting --- independently, who then helped to bring it to the public's attention. Clearly, the strongly pro-e-voting EAC had/has little intention of doing so themselves.

Stigall's presentation, and we've got much more of it excerpted below, include a passel of disturbing thoughts. Many of them we've tried to impart on these pages for years, including comments which point up the dangers we've tried to warn about concerning pre-election voting machine "sleepovers" at the houses of pollworkers, and more indications of the dangers of Sequoia Voting Systems clandestine, on-going relationship with the Hugo Chavez-tied Venezuelan e-voting firm Smartmatic, as we reported exclusively here one year ago --- to little interest from the corporate media, despite Sequoia's claims to federal investigators that they had severed all ties with the firm...

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Were the election officials who allegedly manipulated votes on e-voting machines in Clay County, KY, Republican or Democratic? And does it actually make any difference?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2009 4:09pm PT  

Since I first covered the story of the arrest of election officials (including a circuit court judge, the county clerk, the school superintendent and other members of the county elections board) in Clay County, KY, for buying and selling votes, as well as manipulating votes on electronic voting machines without the knowledge of voters, folks have been asking about the political affiliation of the conspirators and whether they were working on behalf of any particular political party.

The subject came up, as well, while I was on the Mike Malloy Show last Friday discussing these arrests, as they had just come to light.

You can download the MP3 of that interview, or listen to it online here (appx. 17 mins)...

While the federal indictment [PDF] notes that a number of those involved in the cabal appear to be members of the local Democratic Party, the scheme also involved at least one conspirator who served as the Republican Party's polling place judge at one of the precincts. Clay County is also a heavily Republican county.

On this point, a commenter who wrote in to respond to last week's article, who claims to be "from Clay County" and to know "each of the people arrested," writes that "ALL of the eight arrested this week" were actually Republican. "They registered as Democrat and took leadership roles in the local party to control precinct officer seats, ensuring all officers at the precinct were hand picked." I can't yet confirm that fact, but that reader's comment is posted in full below, with another one from a Kentucky writer, as both contain some helpful background.

Of course, it could still very well be the case that the crooks were Democrats at work. Either way, from what I'm able to understand about the scheme so far, it seems that it was more about personal power and financial enrichment than anything else. If they were Democrats, they don't seem to have been particularly successful in affecting Democratic wins in their county, even though their scheme was "successful" enough to be repeated election after election and year after year. At the heart of their scheme, after all, was bribing money out of candidates in order to be placed on a "slate" that the cabal would then help to get elected.

As the commenter suggests, it could well be that these "Democratic" officials were only signed up as such in order to affect primary elections (in order to ensure the weakest possible "D" candidate, for example) or even in hopes of adversely affecting general elections as "Democrats," secretly working on behalf of the Republican Party.

I've been unable to learn the party affiliations, yet, of the candidates who paid to be on their "slate," which, once we learn that, could be somewhat instructive. Maybe. But until then, a major point that I'd to make in any case: I don't really care what their party affiliations were.

Here's why...

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Circuit court judge, county clerk, and election officials among eight indicted for gaming elections in 2002, 2004, 2006
Used popular, unverifiable ES&S touch-screens to flip votes...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2009 4:59pm PT  

[Now updated at bottom with details from the indictments.]

Those of us who have demanded transparent voting systems because we understand that only the ability for complete citizen oversight and transparency can effectively counter those who would game elections, have been disingenuously criticized over the years as somehow questioning the integrity of the hard-working, honest election officials out there.

The fact is, those who know anything about computer security understand that it is the insiders who are, by far, the greatest threat to security on such systems, as even the phony, GOP-operative-created Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission determined in its final report: "There is no reason to trust insiders in the election industry any more than in other industries."

The best election officials in the country, however, will underscore that point, and agree that there is no reason any citizen should ever have to simply "trust" them.

Over the years, we've detailed the arrests and other unsavory behavior of many of the not-so-good election officials who, we were told, should simply have been trusted (our "favorite" has always been the case of Monterey CA's Tony Anchundo, who told us on air we should "trust" him, just a month or two before being arrested on 43 counts).

Well, now we've got a whole passel of still more crooked officials to add to the list. Moreover: The Kentucky officials arrested and indicted today, "including the circuit court judge, the county clerk, and election officers" of Clay County, have been charged with "chang[ing] votes at the voting machine" and showing others how to do it!

Hello?!...

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By John Gideon on 3/19/2009 4:19pm PT  

More bad news for a voting machine vendor. This time the California Secretary of State’s office has announced that they have settled their lawsuit against ES&S. It was back in 2007 that the state discovered that ES&S had ignored state laws and sold uncertified voting machines to some counties as if they were certified. CA filed a $15 million lawsuit against the company, and now ES&S has agreed to provide $3.2 M to the state’s coffers by way of settling the suit.

Will it make any difference in the long run? Probably not. ES&S will continue their past bad business practices and many of their customers will continue thinking they only have the choice provided by ES&S....

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US Attorney said to have worked with state was installed after US Attorney firings; Strongly suggests DoJ violations...
By Brad Jacobson on 3/18/2009 2:40pm PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

Part of the reason I've been off the radar for so long --- my latest investigative report for RAW STORY:

Federal agencies were involved in the decision to raid the office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Nevada last October, just weeks before Election Day, the offices of Nevada’s Secretary of State and Attorney General say.

The allegations raise questions of whether politics played a part in the raid and calls into question assertions by the US Attorney’s office that they were uninvolved. Federal guidelines instruct agencies investigating election fraud to avoid action that might impact the elective process.

Bob Walsh, a spokesman for Nevada’s Secretary of State, and Edie Cartwright, a spokeswoman for Nevada’s Attorney General, said that not only were the Nevada US Attorney’s Office and the FBI involved in investigating Nevada ACORN on allegations of voter registration fraud but that all four agencies jointly made the decision to conduct the raid. Both the investigation and the raid were conducted as part of the joint federal-state Election Integrity Task Force announced last July, the spokespersons said.

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Oh, and about that ACORN voter fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2009 12:29pm PT  

In the Minnesota Independent's coverage of former Sen. Norm Coleman's latest push for a "do-over" election, they also point to our recent coverage of GOP chair Michael Steele's obnoxious and absurd fund raising email to GOP members:

Actually it’s surprising Republicans would even consider letting Franken off with a simple do-over when they’ve got the goods on him. According to a Monday fund-raising letter from RNC Chair Steele, Franken is “stealing Norm Coleman’s U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota.”

Well, that's a good point, isn't it? With Steele, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Republican National Lawyer's Association, and all of their affiliated wingnuts claiming over and over that Franken is "stealing" the election (as we detailed and linked in our report), why aren't the Republicanists calling for criminal charges to be brought against him?

It does seem rather gracious of them to allow Franken to compete in a "do-over" for a U.S. Senate seat which they claim to have evidence of him trying to "steal" in the first place, no?

Are the wingnuts just nice that way? Or are they just full of shit? Hmmm, tough call.

(BTW, with all of those charges by the Republicanists, before the election, of ACORN committing massive "voter fraud," shouldn't Coleman and the Republicanists have brought forward their evidence for that during this important election contest trial, since they seem to have lost by only about 250 votes? Especially in MN, where ACORN helped to register more than 42,000 new voters prior to last year's election? With all of those fraudulent ACORN voters, and with Coleman's team having gone over every single vote cast with a fine-tooth comb, you'd think the GOP could have offered evidence of at least one case of "voter fraud" committed by ACORN in MN, no? Apparently not.)

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New CA SoS report confirms findings of 'Humboldt Transparency Project,' discovers even more egregious failures in widely-used Diebold voting counting system
One of the citizens who designed the software, responsible for the startling discoveries, offers his thoughts...
By Mitch Trachtenberg on 3/4/2009 1:40pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Mitch Trachtenberg of the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has released a remarkable 13-page report [PDF] of her office's investigation into how the Diebold/Premier GEMS software silently dropped all votes contained on 197 ballots from the Humboldt County, California, November 2008 general election.

The report shows that this version of GEMS not only deleted a batch of ballots without any request by --- or alert to --- the elections staff, but also failed to note the deletion in the system's audit log. The report also points to other startling deficiencies with Diebold/Premier's software: "Key audit trail logs in GEMS version 1.18.19 do not record important operator interventions such as deletion of decks of ballots, assign inaccurate date and time stamps to events that are recorded, and can be deleted by the operator."

That's right. The Diebold/Premier vote tabulation system in question not only fails to record all events accurately, and sometimes at all, it also allows anyone with access to the system to completely delete audit logs, covering the tracks of any tampering that may have occurred, at any time, on the system.

Any of these flaws, the report concludes, "appears to violate the 1990 Voting System Standards to an extent that would have warranted failure of the GEMS version 1.18.19 system had they been detected and reported by the [federal] Independent Testing Authority [ITA] that tested the system."...

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