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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 23, 2014
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Optical-scan computer woes, runoff date leave Mayor Bloomberg, others, pining for city's old reliable mechanical voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2013 4:16pm PT  

We have yet another potential mess concerning elections in New York City on the new optical-scan computer tabulation systems which recently replaced the mechanical lever machines used by the city for decades.

This time, the problem relates to the upcoming citywide elections in September which, if no candidate wins more than 40% in any of the primary races, a runoff will be required by state law, just two weeks later.

This is now a huge problem for the city, since there is concern that it could be all but impossible to re-prepare and fully re-test the computer optical-scan systems in the short time after the primary and before the runoff elections. It has left some, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as the NYC Board of Elections, seemingly regretting the move away from lever machines and considering bringing them out of mothballs for this year's runoffs.

"The computers just can't be programmed and readied in time for a runoff," ABC7's Dave Evans notes in his video report on Monday (posted below). "The old machines can be."

Further adding to the problems, says State Board of Elections Commissioner Doug Kellner "If there is a very close primary election, it may not be possible to determine the candidates in the runoff election in the time frame available."

Since New York state was the last in the nation to "upgrade" their voting systems from the old lever systems to new proprietary computer optical-scan systems over the last several years, the move has caused nothing but headaches in New York City and across the state...

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

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...and that the new 'Presidential Commission on Election Administration' does not currently plan to even consider it...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2013 11:26am PT  

The good folks at Right About Now have decided to immortalize a quote from this September, 2009 op-ed of mine detailing my call for pilot projects around the country to develop much-needed data and benchmarks for what we describe around here as "Democracy's Gold Standard": Hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted by hand at the precinct on Election Night, with the public, all political parties and even video cameras rolling, and results posted at the precinct before ballots are moved anywhere...

You can click on the cool graphic to enlarge it if you have any trouble reading it. And, about that quote, I totally agree! :-)

Unfortunately, the supposedly "non-partisan" commission being convened [PDF] at the behest of the President --- and being co-chaired by an incredibly partisan former "Swift Boat" GOP operative --- in order to "fix" some of the problems which reared their ugly heads again during the 2012 election, such as long lines, difficulty in registration or casting overseas absentees ballots, is not currently set to review the extraordinary problems (here's just one recent example) that our nation has with vote tabulation in this country, much less explore the need for fully public, fully transparent, fully citizen-overseeable election result tabulation in a nation that supposedly prides itself on government of the people, by the people and for the people.

* * *
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 --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- 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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By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2013 6:35am PT  

Yesterday on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's BradCast I was joined by Tom Courbat, longtime Election Integrity advocate and 25-year former CA county fiscal manager, and Dr. John Maa, who initiated and paid for the first "recount" of a statewide initiative in California (Prop 29).

Courbat helped lead the coalition who recently attempted a "recount" of Prop 37, which would have required Genetically Engineered Foods to be labeled as such. Maa unofficially advised the group, until the entire process was blocked by the outrageous, and seemingly illegal, pricing set for hand-counting paper ballots in Fresno County by their Registrar of Voters Brandi Orth, as we detailed in our exclusive Special Report on Monday.

One election official, Orth, effectively stopped the attempted confirmation of the computer-tabulated results of the election dead in its tracks, and once again put the lie to the notion that secretly-tallied paper ballots are just fine because "we can always count them after an election if there are any questions about the results."

Unfortunately, both Orth and CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen declined to join us on the show today to discuss the disturbing facts we uncovered in our special report, which UC Irvine election law professor and nationally-recognized elections expert Rick Hasen linked to Tuesday night, along with his assessment that the seemingly "arbitrary" pricing of attempts to oversee our own elections "calls for a legislative response."

Plus, in the second part of the show, a few quick news items and, as usual, a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2013 11:51am PT  

THIS) UC Irvine election law professor and nationally recognized expert Rick Hasen links today to our exclusive special report from Monday which called out the Fresno County, CA Registrar of Voters for illegally overcharging for the citizen-attempted oversight "recount" of last November's Prop 37 initiative (which would have required Genetically Modified Foods to be labeled as such.) As we reported in that investigative report, her actions effectively stopped the attempted "recount" dead in its tracks, highlighted the possibilities for abuse by a single election official and the county-by-county disparities in "recount" pricing.

Our report also puts the lie to the notion that paper ballots, secretly-tabulated by computers, are just fine because if there are any concerns about the results of elections, we can always just count them by hand later. As our report detailed: no, we can't.

When linking to our report today, Hasen added: "This calls for a legislative response." Of course, we concur and thank the professor for noticing.

THAT) We'll be discussing that report today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast at 3pm PT, when I'll be joined by Tom Courbat, who helped lead the attempted Prop 37 "recount", and Dr. John Maa who helped advise the effort after he, himself, requested and paid for the first statewide initiative "recount" ever after last June's failed Prop 29 initiative (which would have added a $1-per-pack cigarette tax to fund cancer research). Unfortunately, Fresno's Registrar Brandi Orth declined my invitation to join us on the show today to explain her position, while CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office has so far failed to respond at all to several invitations to do so. I'll hope that changes between now and showtime. You can listen LIVE from 3p to 4p PT right here.

THE OTHER THING) I'd been so busy over the past week or three working on that report that I haven't really had much opportunity to enjoy the fact that The BRAD BLOG is now, officially, in our tenth year of trouble-making and muckraking. I was, however, able to take some time to discuss it, and reminisce a bit, with our friend Angie Coiro of In Deep Radio up in San Francisco. You can listen to that interview right here. Long-time BRAD BLOGGERS may particularly enjoy it.

Relatedly, though I made a fairly impassioned pitch for support of The BRAD BLOG in my 9th Anniversary posting, and offered a very cool premium for those who may wish to purchase it, I've had astoundingly few folks willing to contribute or purchase the premium. :-( Given the thousands who read this site every day, it's disappointing to be able to count those who have answered my plea on two hands.

If you've gotten anything of value from this site over the years, please consider supporting us with a donation, so we can try to make it through year number 10. We are truly reader supporter (that means you), and do not rely on foundational or corporate support. You are the only thing that gives us a chance to keep going. Please consider donating a little something, if you can.

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And why secretly tallied paper ballots undermine U.S. democracy
A Special Report by The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2013 6:35am PT  

What happened last November in California's Prop 37? Is it really possible that progressive California doesn't want Genetically Engineered Foods to be labeled as such? According to the reported results of that election, that would seem to be the case. But did Californians really vote against such labeling?

Unfortunately, thanks to a lack of overseeable public hand-counts on Election Night, and a gaping weakness in the state's otherwise liberal "recount" law, we're unlikely to ever know for certain.

A weeks-long investigation by The BRAD BLOG into the months-long attempted effort to confirm the results of the Prop 37 ballot initiative last November, serves to highlight not just the weakness in California "recount" law, but also the notion that paper ballots, secretly tallied by optical-scan computers, are just fine, since, as the knee-jerk saying goes, "we can always count the paper ballots by hand afterwards if there are any questions about the results."

The fact is: no we can't. As our investigation reveals, election officials have the ability to stop an attempted "recount" dead in its tracks, by simply charging contestants anything they like for the effort. They are able to price such oversight beyond the means of most citizens, and are even doing so in apparent violation of state election code and regulations, as we found in Fresno County, CA last month during an attempted citizen oversight campaign of Prop 37 results.

But that election was not the only one where an attempt to examine paper ballots to assure accuracy of the secret computer tallies has been stymied by officials in the Golden State. The matter is rife for abuse and continues to frustrate Election Integrity advocates, even as both the CA legislature and the CA Secretary of State have done little to correct the situation...

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

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PLUS: Whose Ox Got 'Gored'? Republicans and Democrats switch sides in the fight for election integrity...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2012 1:29pm PT  

It was a crazy weekend --- and that may be an understatement --- in St. Lucie County, Florida, as the fight continued over the questionable, completely unverified-by-humans, and extremely close computer-reported election results between Rep. Allen West (R) and Patrick Murphy (D) in the U.S. House race for Florida's 18th Congressional District.

Two things, if nothing else however, have become clear. 1) The Florida Democrats supporting the unverified computer-tallied results, which reportedly offer a slim margin in Murphy's favor, have become virtually indistinguishable from the Republicans who supported George W. Bush over Al Gore in the state during the 2000 Presidential Election debacle, and for the same, unjustifiable and partisan reasons. 2) Allen West has terrible and incompetent election attorneys.

Here's a recap of all that has happened --- and there has been quite a bit --- over the weekend, since we last covered the race on Friday, just after a St. Lucie Circuit Court judge denied West's motion demanding a retabulation of all eight days of Early Voting ballots in the county and just before the county's Canvassing Board took up the same issue shortly thereafter in what became a seven hour meeting of the board to determine how to proceed.

(And all of that in the wake of a previous partial retally of three out of eight days worth of early votes had resulted in the unexplained disappearance of some 800 votes when the same paper ballots were run through the same machines a second time due to unexplained "issues" with the electronic tabulation systems the first time around. That initial re-tally had resulted in a net gain of some 500 votes by West.)

The insane weekend events included a two-day machine "retabulation" of all Early Voting ballots in St. Lucie (one of three counties, along with Martin and Palm Beach, that make up FL-18); the discovery of more than 300 previously-untallied early ballots in the same county; new computer-reported tallies resulting in pick-ups by both candidates, for an overall gain of nearly 300 votes by the current leader Murphy; and a County Supervisor of Elections who ended up spending the weekend in the hospital...

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

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Supporters of controversial Repub and Dem opponent Patrick Murphy deserve full hand-count of all ballots in all FL-18 counties...
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2012 6:53pm PT  

A court hearing has been set for Friday in St. Lucie County, Florida, to hear arguments by Republican Rep. Allen West, who is now seeking a recount of all Early Voting ballots cast in the county.

Over the weekend, some 800 votes simply appear to have vanished from the tally in Florida's 18th District razor-thin U.S. House race between West and his Democratic opponent Patrick Murphy (D), after an unexplained partial re-tally of ballots cast during the last three days of Florida's eight days of Early Voting in the county, one of three that make up the new FL-18.

With very good reason, West is demanding that all Early Voting ballots be re-tallied in St. Lucie, on the heels of the unexplained "issues" with memory cards in the Diebold electronic optical-scan tabulators that county officials cited vaguely as the reason for Sunday's partial re-tally.

Where the extreme and extremely controversial West and his supporters have claimed the election is being "stolen" on behalf of Murphy --- a claim for which we are aware of no actual evidence --- The BRAD BLOG has now twice reported in great detail (first here and then here) on the oft-failed, easily-manipulated electronic systems, made by three different companies, in each of the three different counties (St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach) that now constitute FL-18.

Why West has failed to demand a full hand-count of all ballots, in all three counties, as opposed to just the Early Voting ballots in St. Lucie, is a question that West's campaign has yet to resolve for us. Our queries to the campaign, to date, have gone unanswered.

Whether a hand-count, versus another machine count by the same faulty machines, is even allowable in Florida, remains to be seen, since the state's Republican-majority legislature, following the 2000 Presidential Election debacle in the state, insanely mandated that paper ballots, once tallied by a computer, could not be examined by hand.

A mandatory "recount" (a re-tally by the same machines) is required in Florida when the margin between the two top candidates is 0.5% or less. The margin in FL-18 is now just 249 votes shy of that threshold.

Given that 800 votes seem to have simply disappeared without explanation --- Murphy lost 667 and West lost 132 votes during Sunday's partial re-tally, decreasing Murphy's lead over West by 535 votes in a race where just 1,907 votes (out of some 330,000 votes cast), or 0.58%, now separate the two --- and given that the different tally occurred while re-scanning the very same ballots on the very same machines, it's almost beyond comprehension that both parties, at this point, aren't calling for a full, public hand-count of all paper ballots in all three counties in hopes of determining who really won and who really lost the race.

At this point, who knows if the machines were right the first time they tallied the same ballots, or the second time they tallied the same ballots, or, for that matter, either of the times they tallied the same ballots? Anybody else without a partisan dog in this hunt, other than us, beginning to see the problem here?...

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

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Republican West gains 500 votes after memory card 'issue' on Diebold op-scan systems prompts partial re-tally in St. Lucie County
West and supporters cry foul, charge election being 'stolen'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2012 12:34pm PT  

On Sunday, election officials in St. Lucie County, Florida re-tallied votes from the last three days of Early Voting, citing what county officials described cryptically as "an issue with the memory cards that record the ballots when they're fed through the machines originally."

Among the races which saw a partial re-tally of paper ballots, as they were sent through the same optical-scan systems which scanned them the first time, was the contentious and very close U.S. House race in Florida's new 18th Congressional district. As The BRAD BLOG reported in detail late last week, Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy was said to have been leading Republican Rep. Allen West in the race by a very slim margin --- just .78% at the time --- after initial Election Day tallies in all three counties which comprise the new district. The extreme and often extremely controversial, far Rightwing West currently represents Florida's 22nd District, but is now running in the new, redistricted 18th.

Following Sunday's re-tally, both candidates reportedly lost votes. West lost 132 votes while Murphy lost an extraordinary 667, for an overall pickup by West of some 535 votes.

On Friday, Murphy was said to have been leading West --- whose attorneys have already been in court, unsuccessfully demanding that voting systems and paper ballots be immediately impounded --- by just 2,456 votes out of approximately 318,000 tallied at the time.

After Sunday's partial re-tally, Murphy is still said to be leading West, according to the Florida Division of Elections website, but by just 1,907 votes. The current .58% margin of difference puts West just barely outside of the .5% margin that would trigger an automatic "recount" (albeit by the same faulty machines) in the state of Florida.

In our report on Friday, supporting West's demand for a hand-count of all paper ballots in the race, we detailed the three different electronic tabulation systems used in each of the counties --- St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach --- which now comprise FL-18, and how each of those systems have a long track record for failure during elections, mistallies and the ability to be easily manipulated by both hackers and election insiders alike.

Following the partial re-tally on Sunday, West's attorneys and supporters were predictably outraged and claiming, without presenting any actual evidence to support them, that "liberals" and/or St. Lucie's Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker, a Democrat, was attempting to "steal" the race...

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

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ALSO: NY, CT, PA, VA and OH polling sites struggle to get back on line after Superstorm Sandy and in time for Election Day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 11:47pm PT  

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

Since both before Superstorm Sandy hit, and after, we've been reporting on concerns in states where voters are forced to vote on electronic voting systems on Election Day and, thus, could be kept from being able to cast a vote at all in this Tuesday's Presidential Election should power be unavailable at polling sites.

We've noted that voters simply cannot cast a vote at all on such systems when the power is out, and that it's just one more reason why no American should ever be forced to vote on the 100% unverifiable voting systems, incredibly, still in use across most of states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Ohio which were all hit hard by the storm, along with New York, Connecticut and elsewhere.

We've got a bit of good news to report today, for some of the voters whose ability to vote at all has been imperiled by this inexcusable, completely foreseeable failure by public officials who have long ago been warned about this possibility and yet refused to do the sensible thing and move to a verifiable paper ballot system to avoid it.

The news is more encouraging in states like NY and CT, where officials respect voters enough to allow them all to vote on paper ballots, even when natural disasters haven't struck...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2012 10:44am PT  

I'm in a TV studio all day today, so largely off grid. But I wanted to take a moment to at least point you towards Lambert Strether's very smart and very welcome piece on "What voting can look like", wherein he points to Canadian elections and German elections and, yes, The BRAD BLOG's own piece on "Democracy's Gold Standard", to make the case for hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted at the polling place, with results posted at the precinct before they are moved anywhere.

He gets it. So, thank you, sir. Please go read him and a show a little love for one of the few folks in a busy election season who has bothered to stop and take notice of the forest for the trees, and the effect that track-conditions can and will have on the horse races themselves (yes, races, as there are many more elections than just a Presidential one this year!), even as everyone else in the media is largely obsessed only with the latter.

* * *
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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Same vulnerable systems set for use in 24 states this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 12:42pm PT  

Apparently, they never learn. Or they just don't care.

It's Primary Election day in Alaska today, with voters heading to the polls to cast mostly paper ballots for U.S. House of Representative candidates, state House and Senate candidates and two ballot measures (one concerning property taxes and another concerning new Alaska Coastal Management Program standards for the review of projects in coastal areas.)

While turnout is expected to be low, at least the Diebold optical-scan machines are fully rested and ready to go after their lengthy "sleepovers" at poll workers' houses in the days prior to today's elections! Yes, the state of Alaska still sends their incredibly vulnerable Diebold optical-scan systems home with poll workers days before the election, where they can do whatever they like with them, so they can bring them to the polls on the morning of Election Day.

For example, here's a photo of one of those machines that will be in use today, as obtained from an Alaskan source over the weekend by The BRAD BLOG. The machine appears as if it has received a full going over at the workshop of one of the poll workers who enjoyed the time spent with their machine during the several days of "sleepover" over the past week...

Alaska, like some 24 states across the country, still uses the exact same system which was used to flip an entire mock election in Leon County, FL in such a way that only a manual hand-count of the paper ballots would have revealed that the results had been reversed after the machine's memory card was accessed and manipulated by a computer security expert. The haunting event was revealed in the climactic final scene of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. [The full scene is also embedded below.]

The photo above from an Alaskan poll worker is the same system seen being hacked in Leon County, FL in the HBO film. The only difference is that Diebold removed their name from many machines afterward, given the hit their company took when their then CEO promised to deliver the state of Ohio to George W. Bush in a Republican fund raising letter before the 2004 election.

Of course, there are "tamper-evident" security seals placed over some of the most vulnerable parts of the optical-scan systems, and those could never be defeated without leaving visual clues behind, right?

Well, funny thing. In Alaska, when a security seal is discovered broken on their tabulation computers --- if they are discovered broken --- poll workers are instructed to simply replace it with another one and start the voting, as both several poll workers, as well as an Alaska election official (who has now been fired) confirmed with The BRAD BLOG. Several seals, the now former Alaska election official told us when she still had a job, are provided to poll workers to make replacing broken seals very simple, as seen in this next photo...

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

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OH Sec. of State Husted quickly becoming more Blackwell than Brunner...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 6:35am PT  

Otherwise valid provisional ballots cast at the wrong precincts in Ohio, through no fault of the voters, must be counted, according to a ruling issued by a federal judge on Monday.

The decision, which otherwise seems like common sense, comes in the wake of tens of thousands of provisional ballots going uncounted after the 2008 Presidential election thanks to a provision in Ohio law which discards such ballots, even in the case where a poll worker has improperly instructed a voter to cast his or her ballot in the wrong place.

The ruling is a defeat for Ohio's Republican Sec. of State who, after working towards inclusiveness and voting rights earlier in his tenure, seems to have taken a hard right turn in many of his decisions of late, as the Presidential Election nears.

As we noted last month, an investigative report by the Cincinnati Enquirer's Barry M. Horstman found that some 40,000 provisional ballots cast in the 2008 general election were never tallied, even though many of them were cast in the right polling place, but at the wrong "precinct" table, as precincts have been combined into the same building over the years in the Buckeye State.

A voter might line up to vote at the wrong table/precinct, for example, only to be told they weren't found on that precinct's voter rolls and, rather than be directed by the poll worker to the correct "precinct", instructed to cast a provisional ballot at that table instead. That vote, before Monday's ruling, under existing Ohio law, would go uncounted. Many of those provisional ballots were cast in predominantly Democratic-leaning counties.

The Enquirer warned in their report last month that "tens of thousands of ballots are likely to be disqualified" once again in the key swing-state, during the 2012 Presidential election unless the provision was changed, as recommended by state election officials after the 2008 election.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley, citing Bush v. Gore of all things, ruled against Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted (R), whose spokesman responded: "We respectfully disagree with the judge's ruling and will likely appeal."

Marbley found that Husted's belief that such ballots should not be counted "belies a fundamentally misguided view that the state need not protect the right to vote of individuals who, for any number of reasons, are required to cast a provisional ballot"...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2012 7:45am PT  

I actually feel sorry for Pat Kerby, the Republican delegate to the Republican National Convention from Nevada who attempted to add an amendment calling for paper ballots --- so nobody would have to trust in the "voter machine fairy" --- at the RNC's Platform Committee on Tuesday.

The poor fellow seemed to want the right thing, but by the time other members of the Committee amended the amendment, several times over, the original was completely gutted in favor of electronic computer tallies with no actual way to verify the accuracy of those tallies.

It seems the good-natured Kerby never knew what hit him, as he generously supported each change to his amendment, deferring to others who appeared to know more about voting, like fellow committee member Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (responsible for the state's polling place Photo ID restrictions to help curb non-existent polling place voter fraud in Kansas, as well as serving as the author of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant "Papers Please" law, most of which was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court recently.)

It was a good idea, but Kerby wasn't clear on the exact language he needed to use and that opened up the door for others on the committee --- who have more confidence in unverifiable electronic voting machines than in paper ballots --- to completely gut the original amendment, compared to the one originally introduced during the proceedings.

Kerby's initial amendment read as follows:

We recognize that paper ballots are the best way to insure [sic] a fair election. "Let ambition counter ambition," as Madison said. When all parties have representatives observing the counting of ballots in a transparent process, integrity is assured. We strongly suggest that all electronic voting systems have a printed paper ballot so that preliminary electronic results can be verified by a hard count of paper ballots.

While (most) electronic voting systems don't print "paper ballots" in general --- they print so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) which may or may not reflect the actual intent of the voter, may or may not be verified by the voter as accurate, and are not actually counted by anyone, in any case (the internally recorded electronic results are used instead) --- it seems as if Kerby had the right idea, in general. At least as he offered a perfect description of his reasons for wanting to add include the amendment in the party's platform...

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State and local officials confirm the public records have been moved to off-site storage, though they remain in the custody of County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 9:26pm PT  

The ballots cast in Waukesha County during the June 5th Gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin appear to be safe from destruction at the hands of one of the nation's most notorious election officials.

For now.

In our exclusive exposé earlier today, we detailed the threat made by the infamous Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to "destroy" the county's ballots from the historic recall election between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as early as noon today, in apparent contravention of state law. The threat to destroy the ballots was made even as they (and the rest of the ballots cast in the election across the state) are still subjects of public records requests by a number of citizen groups attempting to verify the otherwise completely unverified results of the race by examining the ballots by hand for the first time.

Nickolaus had denied the request by the largest group attempting to oversee the results of the election, and informed the requesters (see our previous article for her full responses): "Unless I receive a court order by noon on Monday, August 13, 2012 directing otherwise, I will proceed to retain or destroy the election materials from the June 5, 2012 Recall election according to state statute and GAB guidelines."

Her arbitrary deadline, the citizen auditors charge is in contravention of state public records statutes requiring 60 days after a request has been denied, before action can be taken. The BRAD BLOG has been able to confirm the legal 60 day requirement with several state officials today. Nickolaus' July 17th denial to grant the requesters access to the ballots means that, by law, she is barred from destroying the public records until at least September 15th.

After our story was published this morning, folks in WI seem to have sprung into action, leading the County District Attorney, the Waukesha County Corporation Counsel (who serves as Nickolaus' attorney) and the state's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) to respond with confirmation that the ballots in question will not be destroyed at this time, and were, instead, being moved from the Clerk's office, where they have been since the election, to off-site storage as of this afternoon.

"It would not be proper to destroy such materials at this time," County D.A. Brad Schimel confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, noting that "no records would be destroyed today, nor would they be destroyed until at least 60 days after the denial of the public records request"...

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Bi-partisan citizen effort to oversee completely unverified June 5th results 'illegally' blocked by Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 6:35am PT  

[LATE UPDATE:The recall ballots from Waukesha County have been saved from destruction, for now. Full details posted in our follow-up now here...]

One of the most notorious election officials in the nation may be mercifully retiring at the end of this year, but that hasn't stopped her from attempting to block citizens hoping to oversee the accuracy of their own elections in one of the most right-leaning counties in Wisconsin, following one of the most contentious elections of the year and certainly in state history.

Waukesha, WI County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus had, at one time, after the repeated controversies around her failed administration of several elections, promised to step aside and allow her deputy to administer the June 5th recall elections, only to reverse course weeks later. Now, clearly back in the saddle, she has notified an Election Integrity group which has organized hand-counts across the state, that she was preparing to "destroy" the paper ballots cast in the election before they can be hand-counted by the group, unless she receives a court order to do otherwise by noon today.

She had previously informed the group that she was denying them access to examine ballots on the basis that she found their request to be "overly burdensome" on her office. In her response she also added her personal opinion, for some reason, that she does not "believe the public records law should be utilized for the purpose of allowing citizens to conduct hand recounts of an election, especially one in which there was such a large quantity of votes cast."

Among reasons for concerns about the June 5th recall election results are recent failures by similar electronic tabulation systems, same-day Exit Poll results reported by all of the news networks indicating a much closer race in the contest between Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as well as discoveries that have been made by the group over the past several weeks during their examination of ballots and poll-tapes in several counties.

So far, according to group's organizer, they have been allowed to examine ballots in 10 other counties across the state, with another 15 counties already scheduled for examination in the coming weeks. In a number of those counties, the group has explained to The BRAD BLOG, hand-counted tallies "have differed, sometimes significantly, from the recorded numbers," tallied on Election Night by the computer tabulation systems.

But Nickolaus, as has been her practice during her controversial tenure, appears to be taking a different tack from many of her fellow County Clerks, by denying access to hand examinations of the ballots and, worse, she is now threatening to destroy them entirely, save for a court order and despite provisions in the state law requiring the retention of those public records for at least 60 days after the denial of the request.

Nickolaus' threat to destroy the paper ballots and other elections records, as sent to the organizers of Hand-Count Votes Now! (HCVN) coalition in a series of emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG, flies in the face of state statutes which apply to public records, according to contentions made in response to Nickolaus by the group and their legal advisers. HCVN has been working for several weeks, as have several other organizations, in their effort to count ballots by hand in each of the Badger State's 72 counties in an unprecedented statewide public records oversight project.

The effort, the groups charge, is necessary, given the lack of verification of Election Night computer tallies on systems which have reported incorrect "winners" in the past, as recently as March of this year, when the nearly-identical systems to those used in Waukesha named a number of losing candidates to be the "winners" in Palm Beach County, FL. In that case, it was only a partial post-election hand-count examination of paper ballots by the local Supervisor of Elections which revealed that the computers had gotten the results entirely wrong, leading to a complete hand-count and the results of several municipal elections being overturned as a result...

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