The day after the second Presidential Debate, one of CNN's top online headlines was:
Ticker: Obama actions called 'not presidential'
Naturally, readers might think this refers to something Barack Obama did or said during last night's debate. That it's possibly a response from a cross-section of undecided voters in a new poll. Or readers might think, having nothing to do with the debate, the headline refers to something Obama has done in the past, or something he may have even done today.
Whatever readers might think, they would have no idea --- unless or until they clicked on it --- that this egregiously misleading headline was actually referring to a new John McCain attack ad...
Last Friday, we told you about the bogus challenges --- 6,000 of them --- made by the Montana GOP against voters in six Democratic-leaning counties in the state, based solely on the fact that the voters had filed change of address forms with the U.S. Postal Service within the last 18 months. The GOP claimed, with a straight face, they were fighting "voter fraud", even though there was indications of no such fraud, and the result was little more than chaos at the election offices, just 30 days out from a major election.
One of the GOP's challenged voters turned out to be an Army Reservist who would be unable to verify his authenticity --- and thus would lose his right to vote under the challenge --- since he was in New Jersey, about to ship out for his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Well, we've got some good news on this story, for a welcome change...
I had been intending to post an answer to the ongoing --- and quickly escalating --- ACORN smears being issued of late by the GOP enemies of democracy out there, who have decided to intensify their unsubstantiated assaults on the community organization, given its effectiveness at registering millions of low-income voters across the country.
Today's incredible raid of an ACORN office in Las Vegas --- in hotly contested Nevada, as coincidence would have it --- has forced me to push this to the top of the heap right now. I've also posted ACORN's statement on today's nonsense in Vegas at the end of this article. Note to corporate media: Be sure not to read or report on that part of the story!
With prospects looking bleak for the Republicans this November, pulling out the old ACORN lie --- in hopes of scaring people away from the polls, causing chaos in November by challenging voters when they show up to vote, and putting in place baseless grounds to contest close results later on (when the GOP become "sore losers") --- is just about all they have left at this point.
Doubtless you've heard the smears by now: that ACORN is committing "voter fraud," on behalf of Obama, in hotly contested swing states. The media have been all too happy to pass that garbage on, without bothering to note that, in fact, the organization attempts to authenticate every registration form its workers submit and by law they must turn in every form to election officials --- even if they find a registration to be fraudulent when they call the phone number submitted on the form, or if the forms are otherwise suspect or incomplete.
They do so, and they flag all questionable registration forms as being suspect before turning them in to officials.
The thanks they receive for registering millions of new voters that nobody else has bothered with, and for notifying officials about questionable registration forms when they turn them in, is that the GOP's democracy-hating propagandists and election officials run to the media shouting, "ACORN is committing voter fraud! They've turned in hundreds and thousands of fraudulent registration forms!"
Of course they have. They have to. By law. But what those GOP despots of democracy always forget to mention is that it was ACORN themselves who notified officials about the potentially fraudulent and/or incomplete forms in the first place!...
The base of the Republican Party — a dwindling but still significant group — clings to a handful of pseudo-facts that don’t hold up to serious scrutiny but that still occupy a central place in GOP ideology. Those include the assertion that Saddam Hussein represented a threat to the United States, that affirmative action in lending led to the mortgage crisis and that voter fraud is a serious problem in modern elections.
In campaign seasons such as this, when victory may turn on a handful of votes, none of those claims is more important to Republican activists than overhyped allegations of voter fraud.
She goes on to note the insidious and shameless GOP New Mexico operative, Patrick Rogers (yes, of the voter-suppresion front group "American Center for Voting Rights" and, yes, at the heart of the U.S. Attorney Purge in the state and, yes, a man willing to lie to fend off charges of vote-buying by his comrade, the disgraced, outgoing Rep. Heather Wilson), who was discovered in "a recently unearthed e-mail" to have spoken quite directly to the cynical and despicable issue of using phony claims of "voter fraud" to help keep bad voters (Dems) away from the polls, and encourage good voters (Repubs) to turn out if only to counter all those dirty, filthy, illegal aliens who are showing up (after giving their names and addresses to the federales, in order to register, presumably) to vote...
No, really. He did. So will the rightwing FNC "defenders of Jewish people against slime artists of all persuasions," such as Kristol, Krauthammer, Brooks, McCain or Palin condemn Hannity and company? Todd Gitlin seems to doubt it...
The second Mac-style "Paper Ballot v. Voting Machine" campaign ad from Jason Osgood, an election integrity advocate turned Democratic Secretary of State candidate in Washington state, has now been released.
We wrote, in some detail late last month, about Osgood and his reasons for running, as he released the first in a series of humorous 60-second spots that take off on the popular "PC v. Mac" television ads. In his first ad, the slick-looking, yet hapless "Voting Machine" character had lost a few ballots (see that video and the article with it, here). In Osgood's latest spot in the series, our friend "Voting Machine" is having just a bit of trouble due to the heat and humidity...
By the way, since we ran our initial article on Osgood, he has signed the StandingForVoters.org pledge to not concede his election unless and until all votes are counted, counted accurately, and all serious election challenges have been adequately resolved. The BRAD BLOG, which is a co-founder of VelvetRevolution.us, the initial sponsor of the SFV campaign, thanks Osgood for his commitment to the voters. We'd similarly welcome his Republican opponent, incumbent Sam Reed, signing the pledge as well!
Also...we're happy to note that last week, the Green Party's Cynthia McKinney became the first Presidential candidate to sign the SFV pledge. In her case, she signed the "Super Pledge" which includes a few more commitments, such as speaking out about election integrity concerns, and working with SFV to educate voters on the issue.
While guest hosting Mike Malloy's nationally syndicate radio program last week, during an interview with McKinney, we discussed her signing of the pledge, and other issues related to election integrity in some detail. Earlier in the show, independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader also committed to signing the pledge, so we hope he'll do so soon. The interviews with both Nader and McKinney are posted online here.
Has your candidate signed the pledge yet? It's the least they can do. If they won't stand up for you, why should you stand up for them? Please demand your candidate takes the pledge, whoever, they may be, at StandingForVoters.org! Otherwise, donate to a candidate who has pledged to use their standing to stand up for you, or, hell, send The BRAD BLOG a donation, since we do pledge to stand up for the voters, every damned day!
No time to go into detail on this story, before what --- I promise --- will be a very lively appearance during my weekly 5pm PT (8pm ET) appearance on The Peter B. Collins Show today, where we'll have a very special guest joining us, and before Guest Hosting the Malloy Show from 6p-9p PT (9p-Midnight ET), so lemme just get this out here breifly and let you click for more details.
[T]he Republican Party of Montana is challenging the eligibility to vote of at least 6,000 residents of that state—mostly in key Democratic strongholds—based solely on the fact that the residents have filed change-of-address cards with the U.S. Postal Service. While state GOP executive director Jacob Eaton claims the challenges are an attempt to protect “the integrity of the voting process,” such massive challenges at this late date threaten to overwhelm election officials, suppress turnout of eligible voters, and create chaos at the polls.
As noted in the Missoulan's lede graf, the 6,000 challenged were voters are "in seven counties historically considered Democratic strongholds." They also report that, "Only twice in the past 15 years has [the] Missoula County election administrator [where 3,422 of the challenges are] had anyone try to challenge another voter's eligibility."
UPDATE 10/4/08:James Sample at HuffPo reports that one of those 6,000 challenged voters who may lose their right to vote is a former MT State Rep, and an Army Reservist, currently in New Jersey because he's about to leave for Iraq. Again. He won't be able to go to Montana to confirm his authenticity, unfortunately. First Lieutenant Kevin Furey (seen at right) has released this statement:
It is ironic that at the same time I am about to return to Iraq to help build a democracy that my own right to vote is being challenged at home for partisan purposes. These challenges are a blatant and offensive attempt to suppress the rights of voters.
Once again, Republicans continue to show that they hate both democracy and the troops!
John Gideon briefly noted what happened in Florida in yesterday's Daily Voting News, but it deserves a bit more attention. A lot more attention, actually.
A recent contested election for Circuit Judge in Palm Beach County, FL, where the initial results showed a 17 vote margin for one of the candidates, continues to reveal differing counts every time the same ballots are run through the county's new optical-scan paper ballot counters made by Sequoia Voting Systems.
Sequoia is one of America's largest private voting machine vendors, and one of its worst (even though we realize such judgements are akin to determing whether Mussolini was worse than Stalin.) Just 30-some days from America's next and likely-largest election ever, the desperate company is under fire today for recent voting system failures in Palm Beach, Washington D.C., and New Jersey.
For the moment, let's look at what was reported out of Palm Beach yesterday, where re-scans of 262 rejected ballots on Sequoia paper-ballot scanners revealed differing results each and every time they were scanned...
Tomorrow (Friday) there will be a hearing in Washington DC to discuss and take testimony about the failures in the DC primary election. How did one precinct have over a thousand more votes than it had voters? Again this seems to clearly be a machine issue.
The tie that binds Palm Beach Co and Washington DC together is that their voting machines were all supplied by Sequoia Voting Systems...
ADDENDUM FROM BRAD: More details on all of the above now here...
I'll be Guest Hosting a special "VP Debate" edition of the The Mike Malloy Show tonight. We'll carry the debate LIVE at 6pm PT (9pm ET), followed by an in-studio "Bloggers Roundtable" until 9pm PT (Midnight ET), featuring world class bloggers:
As always, "Agent 99" will be your rascible hostess here in our live Open Thread during the show. Hit comments below and give us your two-cents tonight! Maybe we'll read it on air!
POST-SHOW UPDATE: We had a very lively roundtable, with a lot of disagreements (the Rightwinger, Patrick Frey thought Palin dropped the ball, while the Progressives tended to think Palin did well, except for Danziger, and lord only knows what he is. My thanks to all of them, as well as the callers, including my father who offered an "Edward R. Murrow-esque" field report, live from St. Louis! Unfortunately, Pamela Leavy was not able to join us at the last second.
We ended the spirited discussion --- audio archive below --- with my request for a quick McClaughlin-style response to the following question: "Between now and the next debate on Tuesday, after tonight's debate, do the polls go up, down, or no change for Obama and McCain?" The answers from the bloggers...
Last week we told you aboutThe Simpsons' upcoming episode wherein Homer, attempting to vote for Barack Obama on a touch-screen voting machine, has a few problems in the process. Here's the very funny, were it not so very unfunny, clip from the upcoming show...
So The Simpsons now get it. Why don't Obama and the Dems? And why are they doing little or nothing to ensure that every voter in the nation is able to cast a vote on a hand-marked paper ballot this year?
Tell your favorite candidate(s) that you'll support them if they support you and your vote by pledging not to concede this year until all votes are counted, counted accurately, or challenged in a court of law. (See StandingForVoters.org more info, the pledge, and stuff you can hand to your favorite candidate to demand they stand up for you this time!)
Guest Editorial by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
The bailout of Wall Street is the rancid pickle on an economic crap sandwich that is a result of 30 years of conservative deregulation/trickle-down ideology. The fact that the Bush appointees who devised the original bailout plan are from the same gene pool as the neo-cons, cronies and heckuva-jobbers who turned America into a torture state, spied on Americans, drowned New Orleans, stole two national elections, corrupted the Department of Justice and took the country to war on the false pretext of bringing democracy to Iraq but then screwed up their true intent --- to steal its oil --- should have been reason enough to kill the plan on sight.
But that's not going to happen. As inept and ineffectual as they are at everything else, the Bush team is highly practiced at forcing Congress to act in haste. Six years ago this month, Karl Rove and the White House political shop "created a reality," as one of them has described it, that there was an urgent need to push the Iraq war resolution through Congress just days before the midterm elections. Now we know that the only urgency was Rove's need to get Senate Democrats who were potential Bush rivals in the 2004 presidential election on the record about the war before the election. Iraq post-invasion has been a disaster, but the vote on the resolution was stunningly successful in hobbling the campaigns of both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.
Now, in what is either a horrendous coincidence or the most elaborate (and apparently botched) October Surprise in presidential campaign history, as Bush prepares to slouch off to Crawford for good, he is pushing one last crisis down our throats. As with his invasion of Iraq, it will probably be years before we know if this latest crisis is "real," or if it was fumbled attempt by the White House to change the game in John McCain's favor.
It certainly feels like we're being played again...
By the our count, at least twelve Ohio counties have split the presidential contest over two columns on their paper ballots for this November's election. This "column split" often confuses voters and results in double voting in the presidential race and an uncounted vote. Today the Brennan Center urged election officials and advocates in Ohio to make sure that voters are aware of the split, and to make sure they vote only once for president.
As a quick glance will show, it's no surprise that many voters cast two votes for president when the contest is listed across two separate columns
A sample of the split ballot follows below, and looks like it could result in a lot of spoiled ballots from overvotes, and folks writing in their choice for President in addition to filling in the bubble on the first column. More details from Larry Norden at the Brennan Center here...
Tonight's CBS Evening News finally covered what may well be the November Surprise that we've been trying to warn about for months here at The BRAD BLOG: Massive voter roll purges being done in secret, with little or no oversight, and often under federal Justice Department cover, in states and counties around the country.
And the Democrats, who likely have the most to lose via such secret purges, are doing little or nothing about it.
The CBS story, posted below (appx 2 mins) starts with an elderly New Jersey voter who was suddenly removed from the voting rolls after thirty years, for apparently no reason whatsoever, before launching into findings from a new non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice study on "Voter Purges".
We've yet to read this Brennan report, but the brief coverage from tonight's Evening News notes 10,000 voters purged in Mississippi, 21,000 in Louisiana and "to top it off, another new study discovered 19 states are ignoring federal law (the National Voter Registration Act), banning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election."
Among those 19, are a number of battleground states. The report lists: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Masachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, as places where massive purges have recently taken place.
CBS ends by noting that their New Jersey voter has now been restored to the rolls, but they warn, "come Election Day, don't count on thousands of others being as fortunate"...
CBS' coverage doesn't even note that many states have now contracted the same private companies who did such a crappy job on their voting machines (companies like Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia) to manage, with the same lack of oversight, entire newly computerized state voting rolls. Names will be dropping from rolls this year by error or by evil...