Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook'...
Late last week, a federal court spanked Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, ordering him to restore tens of thousands of registered voters to the state's voting rolls and allow them to vote, requiring that officials count those ballots, and --- perhaps most importantly --- placing the onus on elections officials to justify the removal of voters from the rolls, rather than forcing the voters to prove they are who they say they are...
Jesus. This is what/who voters in Philadelphia are being forced to deal with, as per our Pennsylvania coverage this week (here and here), concerning the fight by the NAACP and a local Election Reform coalition to get paper ballots for citizens, so that they can be sure to cast a vote, from a Democratically-controlled state hell bent on fighting that.
Since she says in the video we should take care to spell her name right, the woman responsible for running elections in Philadelphia is Marge Tartaglione (D) and, as the video suggests, she's a horror. And not only for her indefensible statements against the distribution of paper ballots to the effect of "long lines are not a problem...Long lines are no justification for any thing but waiting...people wait in long lines overnight for baseball tickets...people wait in line all night for a new Ipod." Though I'm not aware of any 80 year olds who do either of those things, or anybody who does that in the middle of a word day, and I'm fairly sure anybody who does do that, does so by their own choice, not because they are forced to do so in hopes of exercising their right to cast a vote.
The video --- by citizen journalists Danielle Ivory and Lagan Sebert (more details and context here) --- is well-worth the 4:43 minutes of your life it'll take to view it. Good luck, Philly! Looks like you're gonna need it! Again...
[Comments turned back on, but the first 57 may have been lost when our server crashed under the straight of huge traffic on Saturday. We're trying to recover, but my apologies if we cannot get them back. Please repost as needed. - BF]
Well, now, finally we may be able to get rid of these damned things, now that it's actually happened to Oprah. Via Huff Po...
"When I voted yesterday electronically, the first vote that you vote for on the ballot is the presidential candidate. It was my first time doing electronic, so I didn't mark the X strong enough, or I held down too long. Because then when I went back to check it, it had not recorded my presidential vote," she said.
She then simulated her meltdown, shaking and breathing heavily while stuttering out the words, "It didn't record my presidential vote."
Here she is explaining what happened on video, followed by me explaining that it's not her fault (as she suggests in the video), and what both she, and every other voter in America needs to know about what happened to her, and how to keep it from happening to them...
The Republican IT guru, recently described as a "high tech Forrest Gump" for his proclivity to be "at the scene" of so many troubling elections since 2000, and even at the heart of the "lost" White House email scandal, has been ordered by a federal judge to appear for an under-oath deposition next Monday in Ohio.
The BRAD BLOG has learned that Mike Connell, the Republican IT guru whose company, GovTech Solutions, created Ohio's 2004 election results computer network, appeared in federal court today, as compelled, and has been ordered to appear for his deposition on Monday, November 3, just 24 hours before Election Day 2008.
Though Connell's attorneys have fought to quash the subpoena, recently issued after the judge lifted a stay on the case several weeks ago, it looks like his options to avoid testimony, or at least jail for avoiding it, may have come to an end. The attorneys in the case have said that Connell's testimony may well lead to the subpoenaing and under-oath questioning of Karl Rove, who, they say, would be unable to use Executive Privilege as an excuse to avoid such a subpoena in a civil RICO case...
In the suburban county of Montgomery, just outside of Philadelphia, election officials have, inexcusably, been caught off guard by a new, court-mandated directive by PA's Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes.
The directive requires that counties have enough emergency paper ballots (EPBs) on hand at polling places to ensure that voters can vote if half, or more, of a precinct's voting machines break down. County officials admit today that they were completely unprepared for the directive, and even for the likelihood of serious machine failure, despite known problems with the touch-screen voting systems they use, or the extraordinary voter turnout long-predicted for next Tuesday.
Cortes' original directive, and even the one issued yesterday, has been seen at odds with a PA statutory provision that allowed counties to offer paper ballots in the event that just one machine has failed. PA uses Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems across most of the state, and is a key battleground for John McCain's attempt to win the White House this year...
Georgia has, again, had problems with their voter registration database. This time there were between 500 and 1000 voters, depending on reports, who were left standing in line for two hours while they waited for Fulton Co. officials to reestablish connection with the state’s computer system. This will be a huge problem on election day and may cause thousands of voters to give-up and go home. Let’s hope not.
I never imagined that I would find myself agreeing with anything that John Fund had to say but in our ‘Featured’ article Fund wrote one graf that gives me hope for the guy. He said, “Independent, nonpartisan groups, as well as candidates and parties, should be authorized to appoint poll watchers to observe the election and the vote tabulation. All vendors who supply voting machines and computer software should be required to undergo investigation for financial security and integrity. Clear rules for identifying what constitutes a vote and procedures for contesting an election result must be developed by each state”....
We've got two shameful situations with early and absentee voting. Well, there are many more, no doubt, but for purposes of this article, we'll focus on the outrage in D.C., where thousands of voters are not receiving their absentee ballots, so they're being forced to go vote at county headquarters. And out here in Los Angeles, the world's largest voting jurisdiction, with just one, single early voting location.
News on both of those scandals --- and the response we received from our inquiry about the L.A. situation from L.A. County Registrar Dean Logan --- follow below...
A county clerk in Colorado has finally done the right thing for the voters by removing a touch-screen voting machine from service, and quarantining it, after it was discovered to be flipping votes from one candidate to another. The failed machine in this case was a Diebold Accu-Vote, a frequent flipper.
An electronic voting machine in Adams County repeatedly failed to accept a vote for a Democratic state Senate candidate — instead registering the vote for her Republican opponent — at an early voting site last week and has been removed from service, the Aurora Sentinel reports Wednesday. Adams County Clerk and Recorder Karen Long told the newspaper the error doesn’t reflect wider problems in the county’s voting systems, but the candidate said the incident could lead to a lawsuit.
“I always just trusted the machines, and it opened my eyes,” said state Rep. Mary Hodge. “The way it works now, I’m told … is that those votes throw it to Mr. Hadfield that we’ll probably have a lawsuit and a court decision. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Hodge, the Democratic nominee, faces Republican Robert John Hadfield in the race to represent state Senate District 25.
“I have quarantined the machine,” Long told the newspaper. “It’s removed and it’s sealed up and it’s in a bag.” She said she is awaiting instructions from the secretary of state’s office.
Long is to be lauded for being the first election official in the country so far during the general election (that we're aware of) to have taken the correct action in such a vote-flipping case. And now that Hodge's eyes are "opened" we hope that both she and her Republican opponent, Hadfield will stand up for their voters by signing the StandingForVoters.org "no concessions" pledge immediately!
Late last night VelvetRevolution.us (a non-partisan, non-profit election watchdog co-founded by The BRAD BLOG) issued a press release calling on election officials to not recalibrate systems mid-election, but rather remove and impound them, and offer voters paper ballots as needed instead. The complete press release is posted at the end of this article.
Colorado has a troubling history with electronic voting, even as the Secretary of State found all of the state's machines to be faulty and easily hackable in late 2007, but has capitulated to pressure from election officials to allow them to be used by voters again this year anyway...
A deal was struck last evening in Colorado with the Secretary of State. 20,000 voters who were illegally purged from the state’s voter rolls will now be allowed to vote using provisional ballots and those ballots will get priority handling and a presumption of validity by Colorado counties.
The Reform Institute, a non-partisan public policy organization, today released a checklist to assist voters in casting their ballots. The checklist provides helpful tips for voters, especially those going to the polls for the first time, to facilitate a voting process free of complications....
After all these years, believe it or not, it was my first appearance on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! this morning. I was happy to appear along with my friend Harvey Wasserman of the great Columbus Free Press to discuss our many concerns about Election Day 2008, touch-screen vote-flipping, voter roll purging, and the woeful effort by the DNC and Obama Campaign to take steps to correct these enormous problems. So happy, in fact, that I almost didn't mind waking up at 4am to do the show. Almost. I hope you'll not mind the fuzzy webcam I had to use from my dark, pre-dawn cave this morning during my appearance.
The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system, 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 election integrity documentary films in return. Details on that right here...
[The new, court-ordered directive from Secretary Cortes has now been issued. It's linked below, in the last update at the bottom of this article. - BF]
[Please note several important UPDATES added to the bottom of this article. - BF]
This just in from Pennsylvania... a federal court has found in favor of the NAACP and the 866-MYVOTE1 Election Reform Network, which were forced to sue the state's Democratic Secretary of the Commonwealth, Pedro A. Cortes, after his recent directive that emergency paper ballots need to be given to the voters only in the event that all of a precinct's touch-screen voting machines fail.
Most of PA uses 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems, and many of them broke down across the state during last April's Primary Election, leaving untold numbers of voters unable to cast votes.
As we reported when the lawsuit was filed last week, state law allows county clerks to give out paper ballots if just one machine breaks down on Election Day; Cortes' stunning decree, issued last month, went unchallenged by both the DNC and the Barack Obama campaign...
We've been reporting for the last week or so on the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines which are flipping votes from Democratic candidates to others in, so far, at least four states. We've showed you actual footage of it and how even after being "recalibrated" these machines still continue to flip votes.
(See our special coverage page here for links to our many recent stories on this issue, and advice on what to do if the problem happens to you.)
Unfortunately, it's not just the error-prone, hackable, wholly unverifiable iVotronics from ES&S which are failing. Error-prone, hackable, and wholly unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by Hart InterCivic, Diebold, and Sequoia Voting Systems are also having the same problems across the country. And the Democrats, who have the most to lose, continue to do nothing about it...
Wait times of four to six hours were not uncommon Monday. In some places, the lines clipped along at 45 minutes to three hours.
Elections officials in Fulton, Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cobb counties said the state's computer system crashed at times and was very slow, bogging down the process.
The computer system allows poll workers to verify whether voters are properly registered and whether they have already voted.
High voter turnout was one of the reasons for the slowdown, said Matt Carrothers, a spokesman for Secretary of State Karen Handel's office.
This is early voting. Not all polling places are open so there are only a limited number of polling sites checking in voters. The slow-down and crashing of that system has little to do with high voter turnout. It is once again, as it was during the primary in GA, the ironically-named Diebold "ExpressPollbook" registration check-in computer that is slowing things up.
If the system is already not working with only a limited number of poll sites open, what will happen when all polls are open on November 4th?
UPDATE: All of that comes on top of late news that GA has illegally purged and/or flagged nearly 5,000 voters from their registration databases, incorrectly identifying them as "non-citizens".
UPDATE FROM BRAD: In our continuing desire to try and help bring a smile, even during these difficult times, we offer the ironic, related, very short (appx 1 minute) and amusing "Early Voting" video, as posted at right, just out from our friends who made the great Election Integrity documentary Free For All. Enjoy!
UPDATE FROM BRAD 10/29/08:RAW STORY has video of voters waiting 8 hours to vote in GA. Thank you to those voters who were willing to hang in there! Shame on you to those officials who set up this system that can't even accommodate the limited numbers of early voters! God save us all next Tuesday. Stay strong and brave people!