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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, July 28, 2014
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
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'Green News Report' 7/24/14
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  w/ Brad & Desi
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Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
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HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
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CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
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'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?...

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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'
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Brad's Dad Again Holds Feet to the Fire at the Polling Place...This Time Over Unconstitutional Photo ID Restrictions...
By Harvey Friedman on 11/20/2006 10:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Harvey Friedman (Brad's father)

ED NOTE: My dad previously guest blogged his amusing experience at the polls in St. Louis County during their primary election in August held on new touch-screen and/or optical-scan systems made by ES&S. Prior to that, it was reported he that he was instrumental in encouraging the county to not choose Diebold systems (they chose ES&S instead, for good or bad). Today, he shares his anectodes of again holding election officials' feet to the fire during the recent general election there. As he's never been an activist, or even political in anyway prior to all of this, I couldn't be prouder.

As I reviewed the St. Louis Post Dispatch on the day after the November 7th election, I was drawn to an article titled "Secretary of State Blasts County on IDs". The article said, in part:

The Missouri secretary of state says St. Louis County election officials may have confused voters — even intimidated them — by asking for identification that went beyond what is required.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office notified the county as early as last week about her concerns and alerted the U.S. attorney's office, which handles voter obstruction cases.

The state Supreme Court last month threw out a law stating that a voter needed a photo identification to cast a ballot. But some county election workers still were asking voters on Tuesday whether they had a photo or signature ID.

The article went on to say that "The St. Louis County Board of Elections, which oversees the largest jurisdiction of voters in the state, is appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt."

As BRAD BLOG readers may know, Blunt's right-hand man for years on voting issues was none other than "Thor" Hearne, the self-declared "non-partisan" founder of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). The ACVR has been pushing for restrictive Photo ID requirement laws all across the country since the 2004 election. Most of those laws have been found to be unconstitutional, despite Hearne – the "non-partisan" who was the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. – and the ACVR's continuing attempt to convince America that there is a massive problem with voters voting twice and illegal aliens voting and so forth.

After reading the article and talking to Brad about my election day experience, it seems that perhaps others might be interested in my interesting personal experience while voting during the November 7th election here in St. Louis County....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2006 11:40am PT  

Missourians for Honest Elections reports more incoming reports of votes-flipping on touch-screen systems in the Show-Me State. All polls in MO should have paper ballots (we are told), so voters can choose to vote that way instead. Their news release, with specific details of where the reports are coming from, follows in full...

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

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...Despite Supreme Court Ruling Which Overturned Restrictive, Unconstitutional Photo ID Law!
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2006 3:05pm PT  

Incredible. Despite the Missouri Supreme Court having overturned the states unconstitional Photo ID law, a poll worker tried to force MO Sec. of State Robin Carnahan to show hers before she would be allowed to vote!

Carnahan told The Associated Press on Monday that a worker at the St. Louis Election Board asked her three times to show a photo identification when she voted absentee last Friday - despite a Missouri Supreme Court ruling striking down the photo requirement.

The poll worker apparently did not recognize that Carnahan was Missouri's chief elections official when Carnahan showed a paper voter card mailed out by the local election authority. The card does not have a picture but is an acceptable form of identification under Missouri law.

Carnahan said she tried to explain a photo ID was not necessary, but the election worker replied that she was instructed to ask for one anyway. Carnahan said she eventually was allowed to vote without displaying a photo identification.

Keep in mind, Missouri is "Thor" Hearne country. He's the high-level GOP operative, Bush/Cheney general counsel and overall democracy-hater whose been pushing the Photo ID efforts in every state around the country via his frontgroup, the "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights.

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ES&S iVotronic Machine Same as Those Reportedly Flipping Votes in Missouri Senate Race in St. Louis County...
[UPDATED: Another Report, from Tampa Bay Tribune, of Votes Hopping from Democratic Candidates to Republicans!]
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2006 9:20am PT  

ED NOTE: BRING YOUR VIDEO AND STILL CAMS WITH YOU TO VOTE, ESPECIALLY ON TOUCH-SCREEN, TO DOCUMENT THIS STUFF!

The Miami Herald is reporting that votes on touch-screen voting systems in in South Florida are flipping from Democrat to Republican candidates.

Not a single report of a vote flipping from a Republican to a Democrat so far. As usual.

Several South Florida voters say the choices they touched on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review screen --- the final voting step.
...
Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.
...
Joan Marek, 60, a Democrat from Hollywood, was also stunned to see Charlie Crist on her ballot review page after voting on Thursday. "Am I on the voting screen again?" she wondered. "Well, this is too weird."

Marek corrected her ballot and alerted poll workers at the Hollywood satellite courthouse, who she said told her they'd had previous problems with the same machine.

Poll workers did some work on her machine when she finished voting, Marek said. But no report was made to the Supervisor of Elections office and the machine was not removed, [Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman Mary] Cooney said.
...
Mauricio Raponi wanted to vote for Democrats across the board at the Lemon City Library in Miami on Thursday. But each time he hit the button next to the candidate, the Republican choice showed up.

The Herald didn't mention it --- but we will --- the type of touch-screen voting machine reportedly failing in Broward was the ES&S iVotronic.

That's the same model of voting machine that was also reportedly flipping votes in St. Louis County from Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill to Republican Jim Talent in Missouri's extremely close U.S. Senate race as we reported late last week along with several similar incidents reported in both Texas and Arkansas as well.

Note in the Herald report linked above, the Broward Supervisor of Elections spokeswoman also admits that "it's not uncommon for screens on heavily used machines to slip out of sync, making votes register incorrectly. Poll workers are trained to recalibrate them on the spot --- essentially, to realign the video screen with the electronics inside. The 15-step process is outlined in the poll-workers manual."

A "15-step process" for recalibrating by poll workers with a few hours training? Brilliant.

And this...

Broward poll workers keep a log of all maintenance done on machines at each site. But the Supervisor of Elections office doesn't see that log until the early voting period ends. And a machine isn't taken out of service unless the poll clerk decides it's a chronic poor performer that can't be fixed.

Cooney said no machines have been removed during early voting, and she is not aware of any serious problems.

Relax, people. It's only democracy. Do you actually want it to be accurate too?! George Will's column on Sunday, --- which either supports electronic voting or doesn't, it's hard to tell --- seems to think you're probably asking way too much.

UPDATE 2:40pm PT: And more reports coming in now from Florida of votes hopping from Democratic candidates to Republicans. This one via Tampa Bay Tribune...

I twice selected the Democrat, and twice it indicated that I had voted for the Republican. I called that vote two times, and on the third attempt it accepted my vote correctly.

Upon leaving, I told the woman to whom I handed my voting card about the problem. She said, "Sometimes these things just don't work."

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[NOTE: Please Bring a Video Camera to the Polls To Document These Things This Year!!!]
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2006 1:15am PT  

We didn't much report on these incidents back in 2004 because they seemed anectodal at the time and couldn't be independently confirmed. After two years now of thousands of such reports from '04 --- almost always showing votes hopping to Republican candidates only --- and still the Voting Machine Companies and Elections Officials saying "it never happened," it seems appropriate to report a few of these incidencts as we hear of them before Election Day, during Early Voting, so folks can look into them.

Here are three different reports over the last day or two of touch-screen votes flipping from Democrats or Libertarians over to Republicans.

-- In Texas...
-- In Arkansas...
-- In Missouri... (via Email. See below.)

From: [redacted for privacy]
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 10:38 PM
Subject: Vote Miscount in MO

[snip]

A friend of our family’s went last Friday to early vote in Maplewood at Sunnen Park. He voted for Claire McCaskill, but each time he, the election worker, and the election supervisor pressed the screen for Claire, the screen said he had voted for Jim Talent.

I sent this info along to a friend that works in Claire’s campaign. I have the name and number of the guy this happened to if you are interested.

[snip]

PLEASE BRING A VIDEO CAMERA WHEN YOU GO TO VOTE THIS YEAR SO THESE INCIDENTS CAN BE DOCUMENTED! Spread the word...Thank you.

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Tells McCaskill it's 'Unfair' for Her to Run the Ad...
By Alan Breslauer on 10/25/2006 6:40pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Tucker Carlson speaking today to Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill about the Michael J. Fox stem cell research ad she is running in her effort to unseat Republican Jim Talent:

It's a form of moral blackmail. No matter where you stand on stem cell research, I look at this ad and say I can't disagree with Michael J. Fox. Because his illness is so sad it pulls on me emotionally so much that it feels immoral to me to disagree with him. And I think its unfair of you to run this ad for that reason...

...This is not a conversation about Michael J. Fox, his celebrity or his disease. It's a question about stem cell research and whether its moral or immoral.

So Tucker is a bit uncomfortable with the video because he feels like it makes his views appear immoral. But, since that cannot be the case, it must be McCaskill's fault for putting him in the awkward position in the first place. How dare she play on his emotions by showing a real person being ravaged by a horrible disease. Really, what does any of it have to do with the stem cell debate?

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DU Commenter Says 'Show Me' State Election Directors Encouraging Use of Paper, not Plastic...
Votes Will be Counted as NORMAL Ballots (Not Provisional!), According to Report
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2006 4:40pm PT  

Haven't had time to check into this (I welcome folks in Missouri to please do so themselves!) as too much rolling fast and furious now. Galloglas at DU reports that the Missouri Secretary of State's office may be encouraging use of paper ballots on Election Day. He reports that they may be available for "optional" use and will NOT be counted as Provisional Ballots.

That's good news. But, as with California's SoS announcement we reported last week, it sounds like the SoS office in the "Show Me" state (...pausing to ponder the irony...) could use a bit of a nudge to do the right thing and develop specific plans and procedures for use of optional and/or Emergency Paper Ballots in every precint. See Galloglas' report. Sounds like they are well aware of our efforts here at The BRAD BLOG, so be polite and give them our best wishes!

Contact info for Missouri SoS/Election Division here.

We recently sent a letter, along with more than 50 other Election Integrity organizations and notable individuals, calling on SoSs, Governors, and State Election Officials to develop immediate plans and procedures for the use of Emergency Paper Ballots this November 7th.

You can contact your own state officials via email here. We also encourage you to call them on the phone. They'd love to hear from you!

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Court Rulings (and Facts) Continue to Pile Up Against Those Who Hate Democracy (Like Thor Hearne and the ACVR), Who Want to Keep YOU From Being Able to Vote!
Decision Echoes Other Such Findings in Georgia and Arizona...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2006 3:16pm PT  

Good news for voters and democracy in Missouri!

Bad news for Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II, the democracy-hating, snake-oil selling, high-level GOP/Team Bush operative and the insidiously evil man behind the entire phony disenfranchising Photo ID legislation movement across the entire country through his phony "non-partisan" front group, "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), whom we exposed long ago.

The most satisfying part of this, perhaps, is that "Thor" is from our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, where's he's been pushing his powerful, behind-the-scenes buttons fighting in favor of this crap for years.

On calls and deadlines right now, so can't give much more info for the moment. Will try to update as needed later...Just out from AP...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --- The Missouri Supreme Court struck down the state's new voter identification law Monday that would have required voters to show a photo ID card at the polls starting this fall.

A lower judge ruled last month that the ID requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental right to vote. The state Supreme Court agreed in a 6-1 unsigned opinion.
...
The court found the requirement violated several provisions in the state constitution. The justices said requiring otherwise legitimate voters to obtain an appropriate ID imposed too great of a burden on their voting rights.

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Arizona's Scam Photo ID Laws Meet Similar Fate as Court Imposes Injunction for '06 Election!
And in Missouri, the Democracy-Haters Appeal the Overturned Laws to the State Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2006 5:50pm PT  

Restrictive and disenfranchising laws for Photo ID requirements at the polls are being pushed all over the country as part of a nationally orchestrated GOP scam that's been underway since at least the first few hours after the 2004 Election.

(For more details, see this series of BRAD BLOG articles exposing the phony GOP front group at the epicenter of this national effort. They are the "non-partisan" and ironically-named "American Center for Voting Rights". We discovered their onerous, ongoing scam early in their attempt to pull off this nationwide hoax with the direct aid and comfort of now-disgraced Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, and others even higher-up in the GOP.)

This week, news on the Photo ID scam front from Georgia, Arizona and Missouri, where the laws have been repeatedly struck down by courts as blatantly unconstitutional. Yet the democracy-haters in favor of these laws continue to leverage big-time GOP resources in their never-ending search for legal forums with friendly judges. If that doesn't work, as in Georgia, they're prepared to use the laws anyway, even if they've already been ordered not to.

The Associated Press is reporting that voters in Georgia have received letters stating they must show a photo ID to cast a ballot on Nov. 7th. In fact, that letter is wrong and the courts found it was wrong before many of the letters went into the mail...

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

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AP Reports Republican Hand Count Request, Continues to Ignore Busby/Bilbray Election Challenge...
By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2006 10:26am PT  

Blogged by the road (from St. Louis, Missouri) by Brad...

As we wait for the results of the hearing today in the Busby/Bilbray CA50 Election Contest (see this story on the latest absurd claims from the defendants arguing that the U.S. House, not the voters of California get to decide who will be the "winner" of the election) and as I prepare to meet today with folks from the Missouri Honest Elections group, this story was brought to my attention.

No, it wasn't a "sore-loser" who requested the hand "recount" in Missouri's recent primary election for State Auditor. It was a Republican. As we know, only Democrats are "sore-losers" when they ask for such things.

To underscore that point, the following quotes are from an AP report on the matter. AP never bothered to report on the requested hand count in the Busby/Bilbray election, or even on the fact that a contest and lawsuit have now been filed in California Superior Court! We suppose that matter, since it was a Democrat who may have been screwed by the machines --- never mind that it was a federal race determing a new U.S. House member, versus a primary for a state election --- is just not to be considered newsworthy by the AP.

Anyway, Republican Jack Jackson reportedly came in second to Republican Sandra Thomas after the machine count of votes in the Missouri Republican Election to determine the Republican candidate for State Auditor. Jackson received a few reports of problems throughout the day, and so --- responsibly --- has asked for a full hand count and, according to AP says, "Whatever this recount shows, I will accept...[But] right now, I am still a candidate."

We agree.

Jackson said he had received about 15 calls from people who had trouble voting on the electronic equipment used for the first time at many polling places.

"It sent up enough signals that I thought a hand recount was appropriate, and it's so close," said Jackson, of Wildwood, who currently serves in the state House.

Does Jackson's opponent Thomas consider him a "sore-loser" for making the request? Of course not. Jackson's a Republican...

Thomas, currently the Platte County auditor, said she respects Jackson's right to seek a recount. Under state law, both Jackson and Thomas can submit names of people to help in the recount. The candidates or their attorneys can also be present for the recount, which will have to be done in each of Missouri's 116 voting jurisdictions.

Of course, Missouri has no idea what to do now. Does a recount mean they simply push the button to get the same numbers again from the same new electronic voting machines they used to get their numbers the first time? Or does it require a full manual hand count of the paper ballots and "paper trails" as the candidate has requested? Again, election officials find they have no laws for the new voting systems they have now irresponsibly decided to use.

The Democratic Secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, will decide. We hope she makes the right decision and allows for a full hand count. The voters of Missouri (my old hometown) deserve no less.

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Salon's Election Integrity Coverage Takes A Turn For The Better
but it couldn't have got much worse!
By Winter Patriot on 8/15/2006 7:55pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Art Levine's new piece at Salon raises their election integrity bar quite a bit --- not a difficult task considering where that bar has been lately.

Prior to the 2004 "election", Salon's coverage was generally quite good; since then it's been dismal, thanks mostly to some outrageous smear pieces from Farhad Manjoo. In fact, Salon's coverage has been so dreadful that the site has been referred to in some quarters as "Saloon", which of course rhymes with "buffoon", which gives me a good way to remember "Manjoo", whose name just wouldn't stick in my frozen brain any other way.

But let's not dwell on those sad times.

Levine's article, "Salon's shameful six", looks at six states --- Arizona, Indiana, California, Missouri, Ohio and Florida --- where vote suppression could cause serious problems in 2006.

If you're not a Salon subscriber, you'll have to watch a short ad to read the whole article. I did; it was well worth the time and effort. But just in case you don't believe me, we have a few short excerpts, below the fold.

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

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5 Counties in Show Me State Say Show Us How the Hell to Vote Starting Monday, ES&S!
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2006 7:54pm PT  

As Diebold implodes on the latest news that all of their touch-screen voting machines contain a perhaps-uncorrectable flaw being described as a "major national security threat," the largest of the country's Electronic Voting Machine Companies, ES&S continue to meltdown all across the nation.

On the heels of similar failures in Indiana, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia, Arkansas and elsewhere, Missouri now joins the crowd as the latest state to report failures by ES&S to deliver ballots, machines and software programming in time for elections this year.

Five counties in Missouri have announced they are going to "Plan B" (creating their own paper ballots, or returning to their old lever systems) in preparation for early voting which is to begin Monday in the Show Me state.

Problems are being reported in Boone, Carroll, Marion, Newton and Searcy Counties. Here's a sample of refrains that are starting to sound incredibly familiar:

"I'm just sick," longtime [Carroll County] Election Commission Chairman Levi Phillips said Tuesday. He said Election Systems and Software of Omaha, Neb., had not only failed to send the programmed parts for the touch-screen machines but it also failed to break down paper ballots so results could be reported by precinct. It also didn't put the candidates in the order drawn from a hat in a couple of races, he said.

"We're in hell with that," he said. "That wasn't a step forward. That's a step back."

The Election Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning to order paper ballots for early voting.
...
Searcy County plans to drag its old lever voting machines out for early voting and they will be used on Election Day May 23 if the fancy new touch-screen computer voting machines aren't ready.
...
"Searcy County is very upset and let down with ES&S," Smith said this morning. He said he and four retired school teachers who "burned their own gas" took the new touch screen voting machines all around the county training poll workers and demonstrating for voters and "now they say you've got to do something else." He noted that the lever machine invented in the 1800s was proving more reliable than the state-of-the-art computer machines.

Dear Washington D.C. and the National Mainstream Media: Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

(Thanks to BRAD BLOG reader Mark M. for the tip from my home state!)

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Citizen Activists, Increasing Concerns about Diebold Security, Company Integrity Said to Have Been Key to Decision!
ALSO: FOIA Requests Filed About Closed-Door Hearings, Concerns Emerge About ES&S, the Company Chosen Instead of Diebold, and a Diebold Lobbyist Reportedly Inquires About BRAD BLOG...And FAMILY!!!
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2005 3:23pm PT  

Add St. Louis County, Missouri to the growing list of Elections Boards around the country who have now rejected Diebold, Inc. voting machines in the last-minute scramble to select new election hardware, prior to the Jan. 1, 2006 Help America Vote Act deadline to have such "upgrades" paid for with Federal tax dollars.

The bad news for the once-great, now-disgraced Diebold, Inc. (stock symbol: DBD) of North Canton, Ohio, comes as the latest blow in a long string of disappointments for the company, which last week saw the resignation of its CEO, the filing of several Class Action Securities Fraud lawsuits, and the devasting revelation that their voting machines can be easily hacked, allowing the results of Diebold elections to be completely reversed.

The loss of the contract in St. Louis County, who chose to go instead with Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), is estimated by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to be at least $9.6 million.

The last minute decision came amid intense lobbying by both citizens' election integrity advocacy groups and paid Diebold lobbyists --- at least one of whom was reported to have inquired about both The BRAD BLOG itself and the financial background of the father of yours truly!

There are also growing concerns about the security of voting equipment sold by ES&S, as well, in light of various states and counties around the country selecting them, instead of Diebold, as the contractor to privatize their public elections.

The County's decision to go with ES&S, instead of Diebold, comes just days after the City of St. Louis (distinct from the county) decided unanimously to go with Diebold. The City's decision occurred even after Diebold's machines were exposed as completely insecure in a so-called "hack test" in Leon County, Florida that resulted in the tally of a test election being completely reversed. A few days later Volusia County, Florida decided against Diebold, and shortly thereafter the State of California "punted" the issue, for now, back to the Feds, stating there were "unresolved significant security concerns" with Diebold's voting machines. The California decision, though not yet definitive, is undoubtedly one of the biggest blows for Diebold, since it is regarded by the company as America's largest "voting market."

The City of St. Louis may come to regret their decision as much as they eventually came to regret allowing the County to split off from it, back in the days when the County was sparsely populated and seen as draining tax dollars from the City. Today, St. Louis County's population is over 1 million, while the City continues to stagnate at a population of just over 300 thousand.

According to reports from both grassroots organization Missourians for Honest Elections and Jo Mannies of The Post, information and concerns about about the latest failures of Diebold voting machines, brought to the County's Board of Election by citizens, was crucial to the BoE's decision. As reported by Mannies in a story on The Post website last night:

Board member Anita Yeckel acknowledged that the controversy surrounding one of the contenders, Diebold Election Systems, was a factor in her decision.

"There was a lot of publicity about Diebold that hadn't been resolved," she said.

In the version of the story which ran in today's paper, the following addition to the above was found:

She added that she personally thought Ohio-based Diebold was "a terrific company."

There was no explanation for that added quote and we have been unable to reach Mannies for comment today.

According to Virginia Harris, a volunteer with Missourians for Honest Elections, St. Louis county resident Harvey Friedman (father of this blogger) was instrumental, along with several others, in bringing the latest disturbing news about the Diebold company to the attention of the Board of Elections.

On a personal note; While my father has never shown a proclivity towards political activism in the past, to the knowledge of this exceedingly proud blogger, I couldn't be more impressed with his tenacious efforts to inform the St. Louis County BoE members of the many growing concerns about Diebold, and to hold their collective feet to the fire in the bargain. The tree, apparently, does not grow far from the fallen apple. Thank you, Dad. And congratulations for the positive effect of your good work in my old home town!

The activism of Friedman the Elder, and the reporting of The BRAD BLOG, apparently has not escaped the notice of at least one person, said to be a Diebold lobbyist present at the series of recent BoE hearings in St. Louis. After Mannies of The Post ran a short blog item highlighting both our hometown connection and our father --- whom she met and interviewed at the hearings --- Lou Hamilton, reportedly representing Diebold, was said to have "thanked" Mannies for "the outing of BRAD BLOG" (whatever that might mean) and to have asked her "Who is Brad's father? What does he do for a living?", according to a report of the incident.

Hamilton is apparently the CEO of "strategic communications consulting service" Hamilton & Company, and described in an article by Mannies as "a prominent Democratic consultant." More information on Hamilton and his company is available here. We have been unable to reach either Hamilton or Mannies for additional comment on the information reported above, which was emailed to us yesterday.

While attention to the many anti-democratic maneuvers of Diebold, whose former CEO Walden O'Dell infamously pledged his personal committment "to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes" to George W. Bush in a fundraising letter to Republicans prior to the 2004 election, has been increasingly well-publicized, ES&S has escaped the scrutiny of many Election Reform advocates.

The fact, however, is that ES&S' voting machines are not known to be any more secure than Diebold's, as reported in an eye-opening article yesterday by Wired News. In the report, adjunct computer science professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, Hugh Thompson, who also took part in the Leon County "hack test" last week, is concerned about the voting equipment being purchased from companies other than Diebold:

"Looking at these systems doesn't send off signals that ... if we just get rid of Diebold and go to another vendor we'll be safe," Thompson said. "We know the Diebold machines are vulnerable. As for ES&S, we don't know that they're bad but we don't know that they're (good) either."

Earlier this year, ES&S acquired distribution rights to the AutoMARK system, which has been described as far superior and far more secure than ES&S' own touch-screen and optical scan voting machines. As well, the AutoMARK system, which produces a paper ballot for every vote cast, is said to be accessible to disabled citizens in ways which ES&S and Diebold machines are not, according to a number of disabled citizen's advocacy groups. In Florida's Leon County, the Board of Elections has decided to contract with ES&S, with the intention of using the AutoMARK system once it becomes certified by the state.

St. Louis County's BoE has decided against the AutoMARK system, and instead will purchase 1,750 ES&S touch-screen machines for use in municipal races, along with 500 precinct-level optical-scan tabulators for use in Federal races, according to Harris, with whom we spoke by telephone earlier today. She suspects that ES&S is not dealing honestly with their newly acquired "partners" at AutoMARK, whom she contends ES&S is "defrauding" by over-pricing and under-representing their machines when dealing with potential clients on State and County elections boards.

"In my opinion, ES&S fraudulently priced the AutoMARK machines so high on their bid, that there was no way they could compete with ES&S's DRE [touch-screen] machines or anybody else's for that matter," she told us. Harris claims to have a copy of the bids submitted and hopes to share them with The BRAD BLOG soon.

The wrangling over which vendor to select in St. Louis County occurred shortly after several "closed door sessions" of the St. Louis County Board of Elections, who met privately with Voting Machine vendors and locked out the public and election integrity advocates. Those "closed door sessions" appear to be in violation of Missouri state law, and since then, The BRAD BLOG has learned, "Freedom of Information Act" (FOIA) requests have been filed with the County for the minutes of those closed door sessions. We will, as always, keep you up to date on details that may be revealed by those FOIA requests if and when the County complies with them.

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