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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 23, 2014
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Veterans' Affairs ID can be used to vote under new GOP voting restrictions in TX. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
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Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
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VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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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
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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
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CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
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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
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


A 'BRAD BLOG Intellectually Honest Conservative Award' winner!
By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2012 4:52pm PT  

Wow! We've got a new winner of the much sought, if incredibly rarely bestowed "BRAD BLOG Intellectually Honest Conservative Award!" It's so rarely bestowed, in fact, that it seems like several years since we've found anyone to bestow one upon for some odd reason...

Via Tal Kopan at Politico...

Former John McCain 2008 presidential campaign adviser Steve Schmidt said in an interview Monday that voter fraud is not a serious problem in U.S. elections, despite conservatives' extensive talk of such a threat.

"It's part of the mythology now in the Republican Party that there's widespread voter fraud all across the country. In fact, there's not," Schmidt said on MSNBC
...
"And, so, I think that all of this stuff that has transpired over the last two years is in search of a solution to a problem --- voting fraud --- that doesn't really exist, when you look deeply at that question," Schmidt said.

Here's the short clip. Try to ignore the remarkably daft Chuck Todd when you watch it...


Might have been nice if Schmidt had said something about this earlier, for example when his old boss, during a 2008 Presidential Debate falsely claimed that ACORN was "perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." Or when his party was on a tear passing purposely disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws in advance of this year's Presidential election.

Nonetheless, so desperate are we to find an Intellectually Honest Conservative out there somewhere, anywhere, that we'll even generously overlook all of that today and simply say: Congratulations, Mr. Schmidt! And thank you!

P.S. For those new to The BRAD BLOG, please note that "voter fraud", which is exceedingly rare, especially by voters at the polling place, is not the same as "election fraud" by insiders who are able to game the system via manipulation of things like voter rolls and electronic vote tabulation systems which can be manipulated in a matter of seconds to flip the results of an entire election with little possibility of ever being detected. You're welcome.

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2012 2:41pm PT  

Here come the dirty tricks. This one courtesy of Ohio's Plunderbund...

An Obama volunteer in Greene County reports some mysterious canvassing activity whereby people are coming by asking if the resident has voted and if not offering them the fraudulent ability to vote in their doorway via an iPad.

The story was relayed to us by Obama campaign volunteer Anita Dobrzelecki, who says she was calling committed Obama supporters to confirm they had voted. She reached a woman who said she had not, but that she “wanted to vote like my fiancée voted.”

When asked, the young woman said that a man came to her fiancée’s door and asked if he had voted. When he answered no, he was asked who he wanted to vote for. He answered Obama. The man at the door says “Great! You can do that right now” and presented an iPad with what looked like an electronic ballot. He made a selection and was told his vote was counted and he did not need to submit an absentee ballot or go to the polls.

We had heard a rumor of this kind of activity also happening in the Youngstown area, but there were very little details on that story and we’ve been unable to find anyone to talk to about it. The Youngstown story wasn’t fully consistent with this Greene County report as it included the marking of a paper type ballot and also included an “I Voted” sticker.

Plunderbund also offers additional smart advice on what to do in the event this may happen to you, including "getting as much information as possible about the person at your door. Ask for their identification and get a picture with your cell phone if you can."

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 11/5/2012 5:35am PT  

[This article has been cross-posted by Salon...]

Last week, Bob Fitrakis and Gerry Bello at FreePress.org reported an important story concerning what they described as "uncertified 'experimental' software patches" being installed at the last minute on electronic vote tabulation systems in 39 Ohio counties which service more than 4 million voters Buckeye State voters.

The story included a copy of the contract [PDF] between Republican Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted's office and ES&S, the nation's largest e-voting system manufacturer, for a new, last minute piece of software created to the custom specifications of the Sec. of State. The contract itself describes the software as "High-level enhancements to ES&S' election reporting software that extend beyond the current features and functionality of the software to facilitate a custom-developed State Election Results Reporting File."

A subsequent story at The Free Press the following day included text said to be from a November 1 memo sent from the OH SoS Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske to a number of state election officials confirming the use of the new, uncertified software on Ohio's tabulator systems. The memo claims that "its function is to aid in the reporting of results" by converting them "into a format that can be read by the Secretary of State's election night reporting system."

On Friday evening, at Huffington Post, journalist Art Levine followed up with a piece that, among other things, advanced the story by breaking the news that Fitrakis and his attorney Cliff Arnebeck were filing a lawsuit for an immediate injunction against Husted and ES&S to "halt the use of secretly installed, unauthorized 'experimental' software in 39 counties' tabulators". Levine also reported that Arnebeck had referred the matter to the Cincinnati FBI for criminal investigation of what the Ohio attorney describes as "a flagrant violation of the law."

[Update: Details and documents from that lawsuit now here...]

"Before you add new software, you need approval of a state board," says Arnebeck. "They are installing an uncertified, suspect software patch that interfaces between the county's vote tabulation equipment and state tabulators." Arnebeck's alarm is understandable.

Since the story initially broke, I've been trying to learn as much as I could about what is actually going on here. During that time, a few in the mainstream media have gotten wind of the story as well, including NBC News and CNN, and have been able to press Husted and other officials in his office into finally responding to the concerns publicly. The Ohio officials have attempted to downplay the concerns, though in doing so, they appear to have given misleading information which, at times, seems to conflict even with the contract itself.

I've also spoken to computer scientists and election integrity experts, in trying to make sense of all of this, though many of them seem to be scratching their heads as well. My own queries to the Sec. of State's office have gone unanswered, as had Fitrakis' and Bello's before they published their initial story, begging the question as to why, if this software is as benign as Ohio officials are suggesting, they didn't respond immediately to say as much. Furthermore, why did they keep the contract a secret? Why did they wait until just before the election to have this work done? And why did they feel it was appropriate to circumvent both federal and state testing and certification programs for the software in the bargain?

I'd like to have been able to learn much more before running anything on this at all, frankly. But the lack of time between now and Tuesday's election --- in which Ohio's results are universally believed to be key to determining the next President of the United States --- preclude that.

So, based on the information I've been able to glean so far, allow me to try to explain, in as simple terms as I can, what we current know and what we don't, and what the serious concerns are all about.

And, just to pre-respond to those supposed journalists who have shown a proclivity for reading comprehension issues, let me be clear: No, this does not mean I am charging that there is a conspiracy to rig or steal the Ohio election. While there certainly could be, if there is, I don't know about it, nor am I charging there is any such conspiracy at this time. The secretive, seemingly extra-legal way in which SoS Husted's office is going about whatever it is they are trying to do, however, at the very last minute before the election, along with the explanations they've given for it to date, and concerns about similar cases in the past, in both Ohio and elsewhere, are certainly cause for any reasonable skeptic or journalist to be suspect and investigate what could be going on. And so I am...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 4:12pm PT  

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its Civil Rights Division will be deploying "more than 780 federal observers and department personnel to 51 jurisdictions in 23 states for the Nov. 6, 2012, general election."

Their news release, posted in full below, notes that "The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group."

"The observers and department personnel will gather information on, among other things, whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group; whether jurisdictions are complying with the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act; whether jurisdictions permit voters to receive assistance by a person of his or her choice if the voter is blind, has a disability, or is unable to read or write; whether jurisdictions allow voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent ballot; whether jurisdictions comply with the voter registration list requirements of the National Voter Registration Act; and whether jurisdictions comply with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act."

The announcement also includes DoJ contact numbers and websites for voters who have problems on Election Day. It also specifies the county and state jurisdictions where DoJ monitors will be on hand across the country.

Please note, however, that no matter how many monitors and attorneys and poll watchers are on hand, none of them can see inside an electronic voting system --- either touch-screen system, or paper-based optical-scan system --- to determine whether those computers have accurately tabulated the intent of the voters.

The DoJ's Friday press release follows in full below...

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

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A rare case of actual voter fraud, though another one which would not have been deterred by GOP polling place Photo ID restrictions...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 2:46pm PT  

Hey, look! We may have an actual case of voter fraud at the polling place! An attempted case anyway...

Investigators today arrested a Southern Nevada woman suspected of trying to vote twice this week at two different polling locations.

Roxanne Rubin was taken into custody as she arrived for work at the Riviera hotel-casino, investigators said. Rubin, 56, is a registered Republican who lives in Henderson, according to the Clark County Registrar.

Rubin allegedly cast a vote Monday at the Anthem Community Center in Henderson. Later that day, she tried to vote a second time at an early voting location on Eastern Avenue, investigators said.

When Rubin arrived at the second location, a poll worker conducted a routine database check and found Rubin had already voted. When confronted by the poll worker, Rubin denied having voted and claimed the database used by the poll worker was wrong.
...
Rubin was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on one felony count of voting twice in the same election.
...
While allegations of voter fraud or faulty voting machines are common during a busy election, Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax said this is the first time in his 15 years on the job that a voter has been arrested for trying to cast two ballots.

While NV election officials are crowing about safeguards in their system which they say worked to stop Rubin from being able to vote twice, in fairness, we'll note that she deserves a trial before anyone decides for certain that she, indeed, carried out the crime she is accused of. It could very well turn out to be true that she didn't try to vote twice, that somehow, someone else voted under her name in the first instance. But we'll see.

In either case, this points up once again just how rare it is that folks commit actual voter fraud at the polls. (Doing so via absentee ballot is far more common, and another reason why systems like Oregon's all Vote-by-Mail system --- where state officials are now investigating ballot tampering by a GOP election official after she allegedly filled in unvoted ballots with Republican candidates --- remains a terrible idea for democracy.)

Neither voting twice, as alleged in Nevada above, nor crimes via absentee ballot fraud, are deterred in any way by the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions enacted by Republicans in a dozen states recently, despite their wholly unsupported claims that such laws are needed to stop "voter fraud". The only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by those kinds of laws --- which study after study has found to disproportionately disenfranchise elderly, minority, student and poor (read: Democratic-leaning) voters --- is the incredibly rare crime of in person impersonation fraud.

A recent exhaustive study of all election fraud crimes in all 50 states since 2000, carried out by the investigative news consortium News21, found just ten (10) cases of in-person impersonation fraud out of hundreds of millions of votes cast across the nation during the same period.

Concerns about insider election fraud, however --- such as the gaming of voter registration rolls, or the ability of a single election insider to flip the results of an entire election with a few keystrokes in a matter of seconds, with little possibility of detection --- remain a very serious concern, as hundreds of computer scientists and security experts (as well as The BRAD BLOG) have been warning about now for years to little notice.

* * *
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Nathan Sproul's Strategic Allied Consulting may have violated state law with deceptive partisan registration scheme
GOP operative with checkered past blames 'liberal blogs' for bad reputation...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 3:58am PT  

A criminal investigation into voter registration fraud by a company hired by the Republican National Committee for some $3 million to sign up voters in at least five key battleground states this year is now widening, according to a new report by the Washington Post.

The reason for the expansion appears to relate to an overlooked aspect of the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal highlighted initially by The BRAD BLOG some weeks ago.

The probe by the office of Virginia's Attorney General began last week after the State Board of Elections voted unanimously to refer the matter to state law enforcement officials after 23-year old Colin Small was arrested in Harrisonburg and charged with 13 election fraud counts for allegedly dumping completed voter registration forms into a dumpster.

Small had been hired by Strategic Allied Consulting, a firm created over the summer by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and longtime GOP activist Nathan Sproul. Sproul has said the company was registered in Virginia, without his name on it, at the request of the RNC, due to myriad election registration fraud allegations in multiple states, in multiple elections, as long ago as 2004. An RNC spokesman has said he's unaware of the party's request, though Sproul has told The BRAD BLOG he stands by the claim. The issue resulted in a testy exchange with a Denver television reporter this week. (That video is posted at the end of this article.)

According to the Post, "state prosecutors canceled Colin Small’s grand jury testimony to gather more information, with their focus expanding to the firm that had employed Small, which is led by longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul."

"State authorities are seeking to learn whether any of Small’s supervisors instructed him or any of his 40 co-workers in Virginia to ask potential voters about their political leanings during registration drives," according to two unnamed sources cited by the paper. "Asking such questions could be a violation of state election law," WaPo reports.

Last month, in an investigative report by The BRAD BLOG, we highlighted video-taped and other evidence from half a dozen states, including Virginia, detailing how Sproul had trained his workers to misrepresent themselves as pollsters to potential registrants in order to determine their political leanings before offering to register them to vote. The ruse was meant as a way to register only Republican voters, while keeping Obama supporters from being able to register at all...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 5:01pm PT  

The Oregon Department of Justice is confirming today that it is investigating a case of ballot tampering by an elections official in Clackamas County, OR after it was discovered that she was allegedly filling in unvoted ballots for Republican candidates.

According to Willamette Week today...

A Clackamas County elections worker is under criminal investigation for tampering with ballots, WW has learned.

The underlying allegation is that the woman, whose name has not been released, filled in blanks on ballots turned into the county for the Nov. 6 general election.

Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters.

Elections law makes marking another person's ballot a class C felony.

The Oregonian reports, that the state Department of Justice spokesperson Jeff Manning says: "We can confirm we are currently investigating criminal felony violations of Oregon's elections laws, which allegedly took place in Clackamas County and allegedly involved a temporary county elections employee tampering with cast ballots."

Manning says it is currently unknown how many ballots may have been affected. "One of the primary goals of the investigation is to determine that," he said.

Oregon uses a state-wide Vote-by-Mail system which, as we hear every time we write about it, its voters seem to love a great deal. We don't, and, back in 2008, described just some of our reasons for that here: "Why 'Vote-by-Mail' Elections are a Terrible Idea for Democracy".

This case points to one of the reasons why we've long argued that voting by mail, either via Absentee ballot, or a full Vote-by-Mail system like Oregon's, is a bad idea. There are simply too many people in the chain of custody between your casting of the ballot (usually by dropping it into the ultimate "black box": a mail box) and the time that it is hopefully tabulated, usually on oft-failed, easily-manipulated, unoverseeable optical-scan computer systems which either count it accurately or inaccurately, there is no way to know.

When a hand-marked paper ballot is cast at the precinct --- at least where there are precinct-based optical-scanners or, better yet, public hand-counting --- the odds of someone being able to tamper with your ballot before it's actually tabulated, as has allegedly occurred in Clackamas County, OR, are greatly decreased.

* * *

UPDATE 11/29/12: The election official in question, Deanna Swenson, has now been indicted by a grand jury with six felony and two misdemeanor counts related to her alleged tampering with Vote-by-Mail ballots in Clackamas County. According to the Portland Tribune, "The first four charges are Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years imprisonment (as determined by applicable state felony sentencing guidelines,) and a $125,000 fine. The official misconduct charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine."

Oregon Public Broadcasting adds that "Investigators believe the ballots were marked in favor of Republican candidates."

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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PA, TN, IA Photo ID Messes; Early/Absentee Votes Lost in FL?; GOP Poll Watcher Lies in WI; CO Skullduggery; Votes Flipping R to D Says GOP; Voter Suppression Billboard Funder Unmasked...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 6:35am PT  

We're still having trouble, of late, keeping up with all the chicanery, dirty tricks and skullduggery now rolling across the country. So here, once again is our very quick take on just some of the most noteworthy items over the past few days that you'll want to keep in mind as we creep towards Election Day next Tuesday...

CBS Radio Affiliate in PA Inaccurate Says Photo ID Needed To Vote: "CBS Pittsburgh radio station KDKA...is running an ad claiming that voters will need photo identification to go to the polls on November 6th, despite the fact that while voters may be asked to show ID, it is not required to vote. The ad aired on October 26," despite the fact that it's been almost a month since the PA courts determined that no Photo ID will be necessary to vote this year in the Keystone State. The ad says: "The Voter ID law was just recently signed by the governor ... You're not going to be allowed to vote unless you present an acceptable photo identification. Get to a PennDOT licensing center and get a photo ID at the drivers' license center." The ad is completely inaccurate.

Broward County, FL Early Votes Disappearing?: Just one of the many reasons we advise against early voting, unless it's absolutely necessary: "An analysis of the unofficial totals by early voting location on the Broward Supervisor of Elections website from Saturday, compared to the tallies posted on Sunday, shows that in one location, the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Pompano Beach, the revised totals showed 1,003 fewer votes. The initial tally reported from the polling place in the heavily black neighborhood showed 2,945 votes, but the revised tally was 1,401. Across the 17 Broward polling locations, 15 saw their vote totals revised, mostly by minute amounts of between 1 and 7 votes. But the three more significant changes, including the addition of 398 votes in Tamarac (a racially mixed community) and adding 99 votes to the totals from Pompano Beach City Hall, whose demographic is majority white." ... Political consultant David Brown, who is working for three Broward candidates, "said that when he inquired about the numbers, he was told by the elections office that the changes had resulted from a 'computer glitch.'"

Loophole in FL Law May Disenfranchise Absentee Voters: Not sure this is necessarily in the "War on Democracy" category, but Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith have found a very interesting, if troubling, quirk in FL law that could result in legal voters being disenfranchised if they cast their absentee ballot and then move to a different county and re-register there before Election Day. Best to read their take to fully appreciate it, though it makes us wonder how many other states around the country have a similar loophole in their absentee ballot and registration laws and how many voters could actually be affected by such a loophole.

Romney Campaign Training WI Poll Watchers to Lie: "One blatant falsehood occurs on page 5 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any 'person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery' isn't eligible to vote. This is not true." ... "The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 3 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a 'concerned citizen' instead." After the story was published, "the Romney campaign's schedule of poll watcher trainings was changed to private."

Update: Romney Poll Watchers also being mis-trained in Iowa, being told that Photo ID is required to vote there. It isn't.

Keep an Eye on Colorado: So recommends Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, and for very good reason. Not only is CO a key battleground this year, said to be a virtual tie in most of the polls, but "Colorado election integrity and transparency is now officially out the window, with a series of corruption protection rules and new laws." Among those laws? Ballots that can be tied back to the voter; A new law that makes ballots and other election materials no longer public records, at least not before 45 days after an election; Extreme Tea Party Rightwing Sec. of State Scott Gessler's new rules that "remove requirements for continuous video surveillance" under the guise of "cost-saving"; the reduction in the number of so-called tamper-evident seals on voting machines; and more...

GOP Says Votes Flipping From Romney to Obama on Touch-screens in 6 States [PDF]: We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.

Legal Voters With Library Cards Forced to Vote Provisionally in Shelby County (Memphis), TN: "A Shelby County election official said voters who are showing up at polls with only a Memphis library card as their photo identification are being given provisional ballots. ... Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said Monday that he's working to find out how many voters have been given provisional ballots after showing their Memphis library card during early voting ahead of the November 6 election. ... The state Court of Appeals ruled [last] Thursday that a new law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is constitutional but also said the library card qualifies as a government-issued photo ID. State election officials filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that the Memphis library ID should not be allowed because it wasn't issued by state government." This Thursday, the Supremes decided that library cards may be used as voting ID, but will review the case in full after the election.

Funder of Those Voter Suppression Billboards in WI and OH Identified: Last week, we told you about those "Voter Fraud" billboards placed throughout minority neighborhoods in OH in WI, by an unnamed family foundation, and that Clear Channel finally agreed to take them down. This week, the folks at theGrio and One Wisconsin Now figured out who paid for them. You'll be shocked to learn it was a Rightwing hedge fund manager who says he was only try to perform a "public service because voter fraud - whether by Republicans or Democrats - undermines our democratic process." He failed to explain why his "public service" billboards only appeared in minority neighborhoods.

One Wisconsin Now notes that "In 2010, [Reince] Priebus [who is from Wisconsin, but is now the RNC Chairman] was cited by name, in an aborted voter caging plot targeting minorities and college students involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin's Tea Party leaders, including documents that referenced 'billboards' as part of the scheme multiple times. ... That this anti-American garbage is turning up in other states now that Priebus is running the RNC is of no surprise to us in Wisconsin given his career of scheming to deny legal voters their right to the franchise."

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By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2012 9:19pm PT  

It's that time of year. I've been doing a lot of talking lately, on a bunch of media outlets. That means I haven't been able to write and report here as much as I might like of late. In any case, below is one of those appearances, from earlier today, on RT America with anchor Kristine Frazao, in reference to a Christian Science Monitor article from last Friday, by Mark Clayton, accurately headlined: "Could e-voting machines in Election 2012 be hacked? Yes."

It's nice to see stories we reported here at The BRAD BLOG as long as six years ago, many of them exclusively, finally covered in mainstream media outlets, as the CS Monitor piece does. It's also fun to see them quoting the term "sleepover" --- in regard to vulnerable voting machines being sent home with poll workers for days or weeks before Election Day --- a phrase that this blog has been credited with coining about six years ago as well.

I realize that sounds sarcastic, but I don't actually mean it that way. If it all leads to more public discussion and awareness of these concerns, even six years late and six days before a Presidential Election, when it is, by and large, too late to do a damned thing about any of it before the election, I'll take it --- no matter how late it comes...

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TONIGHT: One week until Election Day! With Ari Berman, Victoria Collier, Matt Pascarella, Hurricane Sandy and MUCH MORE!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2012 4:26pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with full audio archives below!]

One week until Election Day, so imagine what we'll be talking about on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show as I guest host while Mike and Kathy take another rare night off.

As usual, we're BradCasting 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):

  • ARI BERMAN of The Nation, on the voter suppression we'll be facing next Tuesday. (Weather and power permitting!)
  • VICTORIA COLLIER, author of Harper's November cover story: "How to Rig an Election" on the fight against corporations and their proprietary electronic voting systems having taken over our once-public elections. (And the pushback against her article from the left since it's publication.)
  • MATT PASCARELLA, Project Director at VideoTheVote.org on how you and your cell phone camera just might save Election 2012!
  • PLUS! Breaking Hurricane Sandy news, lots of updates from the War on Democracy, and as many of your calls as we can possible get to over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (tell them you're from "Minnesota" when asked). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Tonight's show flew by! Lots of good stuff (and a few rants) as Election Day, theoretically, is exactly one week away! Commercial free archives are below for your listening pleasure, as well as the chat room archives. Enjoy!...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2012 7:25pm PT  

'Anonymous' has a message for Karl Rove...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2012 5:48pm PT  

Now you can save time and be disenfranchised from anywhere!...

[Hat-tip longtime BRAD BLOG commenter "Floridiot".]

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Sequoia touch-screen systems, found vulnerable to failure and undetectable manipulation, to be used again in 13 states...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2012 2:47pm PT  

President Barack Obama may have voted for Mitt Romney yesterday when he cast his Early Vote at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago's 4th Ward. Nobody knows for sure. Even him.

He cast his vote on a 100% unverifiable touch-screen e-voting system made by Sequoia Voting Systems (which is now owned by a Canadian firm named Dominion Voting.) It is scientifically impossible to ever know if his vote was recorded accurately, as per his itent, or not on that type of voting system.

"I can't tell you who I voted for," the President joked, as noted by our colleague Mark Crispin Miller in a short blog item today wryly headlined "Obama votes for Romney". The President's joke may not have been nearly as funny as he had intended it.

We confirmed with the Chicago Board of Elections that Early Voters in the Windy City must do so on the oft-failed, incredibly-vulnerable, and easily-hacked (see below for details) Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting system which is still used according to VerifiedVoting.org's database for Early, Disabled-Accessible or Standard polling place voting in some 234 jurisdictions across all or part of some 13 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

On Election Day, the Board's Communication Director told The BRAD BLOG, voters are allowed to vote on their choice of either paper ballots (also tallied by Sequoia's incredibly faulty computer tabulators --- the same ones which announced losing candidates as "winners" in 3 different elections in Palm Beach County, FL earlier this year) or Sequoia's 100% unverifiable AVC Edge touch-screens.

The Intellectual Property of those Sequoia systems is still a proprietary trade secret owned by a Venezuelan firm named Smartmatic, which has been tied to the country's long-time President Hugo Chavez. That point was lied about by Sequoia's then CEO Jack Blaine when he was asked directly about it by a Chicago Alderman some years ago, as The BRAD BLOG detailed exclusively back in 2008.

Sequoia has since been purchased by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting, which also subsequently lied about the company's Intellectual Property being owned by the Chavez-tied company when they announced their takeover of Sequoia in 2010. Dominion confirmed as much when we called them on it after their announcement. And, yes, we are still the only ones to have reported that as well.

A few other quick points of note which should deeply concern every voter in the nation --- of any party, or none at all --- about the 100% unverifiable Sequoia touch-screen voting systems that the President foolishly entrusted yesterday to accurately record his vote...

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

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Wrong date in AZ; Purge in IN; Fake purge in FL; Vote-flipping in VA; Kochs team up with God; Voter suppression in TN?; TX AG hates U.N. observers; Really dumb election official in VA...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2012 6:05am PT  

Once again, as they're coming in too fast for us to fully dig in to most of these, but you should know about them, so here's our quick round-up, for now, of the latest...

Maricopa County, AZ Gives Wrong Election Date to Hispanic Voters. Again.: The largest county in AZ, the one with Phoenix in it, admitted last week that materials for Hispanic voters had incorrectly given the date of the November 6 election as November 8. They said it was a small error that didn't affect a lot of voters. This week, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department admits that they did it again: "Yvonne Reed confirms to ABC15 that bookmarks distributed by the elections department incorrectly listed the date of the general election in Spanish as November 8. The flip side of the bookmark correctly lists the date in English as November 6. Reed tells ABC15 the bookmarks were distributed at the three election counters throughout Maricopa County and that the department has no way of knowing exactly how many people received the bookmarks."

13,000 La Porte County, IN Voters Wrongly Purged by GOP Officials: "Back in 2011, some 800 voters were supposed to be purged from the La Porte County voter registration system. Instead, more than 13,000 got the boot and now the voter registration office is scrambling to get them online before Nov. 6." La Porte Dems are calling for a federal investigation. Over at DailyKos, blogger Dan Briggs explains how it happened.

Fake Voter Purge Letters Sent to Florida Voters: The phony letters have shown up in 23 counties, so far, warning voters they have 15 days to show up at the local Supervisor of Elections office and prove their citizenship, or they'll be removed from the rolls. Unlike the very real letters sent in FL Gov. Rick Scott and Sec. of State Ken Detzner's failed "non-citizen" voter purge earlier this year, these letters are forgeries meant to look real. "The letters mimic notices that local election officials did send out to voters this past spring and summer when the state began a process of trying to purge the voter rolls of noncitizens who were illegally registered to vote. The original process, which identified 2,600 voters as noncitizens, was fraught with problems and incorrectly targeted hundreds of naturalized citizens. ... [FL State Dept. Spokesman Chris] Cate said that the department was still collecting information and has notified all the election supervisors of the problem. He urged Florida voters who receive anything similar to contact election officials immediately." On Wednesday, the FBI joined in the investigation.

As we've yet to see a copy of the fake letter or email warning about it sent to FL's county Supervisors of Elections on Monday posted online, we've posted both of them here, since we received a copy from a source earlier this week.

Touch-Screen Vote-flipping in VA: And so it begins again. Expect many more of these in the days ahead, as usual, particularly in states like VA which continue to have so little respect for voters that most are forced to cast their votes on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems. An email sent to Fairfax County, VA Democrats on Wednesday warns: "We have received several reports of touch screen voting machines switching the names on the ballot before the vote is cast." It goes on to advise voters who experience the problem to "Stop and alert the Election Officer - don't vote on that machine; Record the number of the voting machine; Record the name and phone number of the voter affected" and then to notify the local Democratic office immediately. We'd also add you should notify the Sec. of State, the local media and call 866-OUR-VOTE if this should happen to you.

The Fairfax Dems also offer this very sage advice: "Also, we encourage voters to use paper ballots (optical scan machine) where available." But good luck finding paper ballots in VA. (If you can still vote absentee there, please do, but deliver the paper ballot in person on Election Day, if possible!)

When touch-screen machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service immediately and quarantined. Unfortunately, most election officials allow technicians to try and re-calibrate the machines while they are in "Election Mode" and most vulnerable to manipulation. It's insane. We've been saying the same thing for years now, but few election officials seem to give a damn.

Kochs team up with religious groups to target voters: Our friend journalist Zach Roberts, part of Greg Palast's intrepid team, obtained audio recordings from a fundraiser at a Focus on the Family-related group in Alaska where the man who runs the Rightwing outfit there boasted of their new affiliation with the Koch Brothers, the million-dollar voter targeting database they'd acquired from them, and the fact that, in the wake of Citizens United, political and religious groups may now work together more seamlessly than ever. Said the Alaska Family Council and Alaska Family Action President Jim Minnery at the event: "And so, the organization Alaska Family Action has the same board; I'm still the person in charge of that organization. We literally have to switch the light switch off and on when [laughter from crowd] we have a board meeting, because we have to be a separate nonprofit corporation according to IRS regulations." Also in attendance at the event: former Alaska Lt. Gov. Loren Leman (R) and Alaskan Gov. Sean Parnell (R). Roberts also reports that "Thirty-eight states with 'family healthy councils' across the country are in the midst of forming action groups and working with the Koch brothers' Themis database to target voters." Minnery also told the crowd, when explaining how the Kochs pitched the database to him: "So, they introduced this project to us by basically saying, 'Listen, we know more about you guys than you could ever hope to know, but the good side is, we're going to be able to use this for the glory of God and to get conservatives in power'".

Davidson County (Nashville), TN Poll Workers Being Trained to Turn Away Voters?: "'Poll workers have been trained by the election commission to judge them (voters) by how they sound and how they look to determine their citizenship,' explained Eben Cathy of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition. Cathy's claims are based on a Powerpoint slide shown to poll workers who were trained in Davidson County earlier this month. On the slide, one bullet point states that only US Citizens who are Tennessee residents may vote. Below that are the words 'naturalized citizenship require reading, writing, speaking basic English.'"

Davidson County is also the place where the Republican official in charge of the Board of Elections once told us to our face that "paper ballots are the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Funny. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) keeps saying it's Global Warming. These guys should have more meetings.

TX AG Threatens to Arrest U.N. Observers: We previously told you that U.N. monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE] were planning to observe this year's election, following a request last March by the NAACP and other groups who were (justifiably) concerned about voter suppression. Texas AG Greg Abbot has another idea: "'The OSCE representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE's representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance,' he said. 'Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE's representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.'" --- Um, "may be"? Isn't he the AG? The OSCE responded Wednesday in a letter to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton: "'The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections,' it said. 'The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable.'"

Either way, the U.S. Dept. of Justice is also planning to observe in Texas this year...Unless Abbot thinks they have no right to be there either. Why so worried about people observing at the polls? Got something you don't want them to see, cowboy?

VA County Registrar Incredible Dishonest or Just Stupid: The Washington Post joins the ranks of us "conspiracy theorists" by reporting on concerns about Mitt Romney's business associates and major supporters and their takeover of Hart Intercivic, the nation's third largest voting machine company. But it was the last line of the piece we found the most amusing: "Falls Church [,VA] registrar David Bjerke said that he was aware of the discussion surrounding Hart but that he regarded the system as completely secure. 'There’s no way for the count to be manipulated,' he said."

What a Bjerke.

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Photos show VA AG Ken Cuccinelli visiting with RNC employee days before arrest for destroying voter registration forms...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2012 6:05am PT  

[UPDATE 10/24/12: Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will now be investigating after all, following a unanimous vote today of the State Board of Elections to refer the matter for a statewide criminal probe. Our concerns about Cuccinelli's conflicts of interest, as partially detailed below, still stand.]

[This article cross-posted by Salon...]

Broader investigations are being sought, on a number of fronts, into the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal including, finally, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Over the weekend, a Democratic state legislator in Virginia asked the state's Republican Attorney General to open a statewide probe, though AG Ken Cuccinelli has said he has no plans to carry one out. Given the photographs recently posted of Cuccinelli on Twitter (see below), that's probably a good thing.

On Monday, however, a number of Democratic U.S. Congress members from Virginia sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder seeking a nationwide investigation. Also, the three ranking Democrats of the U.S. House Judiciary, Elections and Oversight committees are pressing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for answers as to why his party hired a shady GOP operative with a long history of voter registration fraud allegations against him, and whether the RNC intends to truly cut ties with him, and his many companies working for Republicans across the country.

All of this comes on the heels of the GOP Voter Registration Scandal widening to Virginia last week, when 23-year old Colin Small was arrested and charged with 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors after being seen allegedly dumping voter registration forms into a dumpster near a shopping mall in Harrisonburg.

Small, a Pennsylvania resident who claimed on his LinkedIn profile to be a "Grassroots Field Director" for the Republican National Committee, had been hired to do voter registration work by Strategic Allied Consulting, a company formed this summer at the request of the RNC and headed by Nathan Sproul, a shady GOP operative and paid political consultant for Mitt Romney's campaign.

The firm was supposedly fired by the RNC late last month after hundreds of apparently fraudulent registration forms collected by the company on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida were discovered by election officials in some twelve counties in the Sunshine State. The RNC had reportedly paid Sproul's firm at least $3 million since August to carry out voter registration efforts in five battleground states, including VA, despite many years of allegations that his companies had destroyed Democratic registration forms in a number of states.

The arrest of Small revealed that the supposed firing was a deception, as Sproul's employees and Republican voter registration machine were kept in place, but run by local GOP officials and paid by PinPoint Staffing, one of the employment agencies Sproul tells The BRAD BLOG he had used in a number of states...

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

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