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'Green News Report' 12/18/14
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Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
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'Green News Report' 12/16/14
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Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
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The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
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'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
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Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
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'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
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'Green News Report' 11/25/14
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Another Election Integrity Organization Joins Drumbeat Hoping to Mitigate Disaster this November With Last Chance Common Sense Legislation!
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2006 12:45am PT  

This from an email tonight from VoteTrustUSA.org email list, from their Executive Director, Joan Krawitz, urging citizens to call Congress NOW to demand passage of the Emergency Paper Ballot bills just filed in both the Senate and the House!

URGENT ACTION ALERT!
TELL CONGRESS TO PASS EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT BILLS NOW!

...

It All Comes Down to You! Your Calls Make a Difference. Call Your Representative NOW!

A flood of phone calls from constituents could be all it will take to break the roadblock at this critical moment. Pick up the phone NOW and call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Tell your Representative that Congress must pass HR 6187 before they adjourn, to make sure that every vote will count when voting machines malfunction or count votes incorrectly as they have in every primary this year.

If you don't know your Representative's name, click here and enter your zip code to find out. You can also use this link to find your Representative's direct telephone number on Capitol Hill by clicking on his or her photo, which will appear once you've entered your zip code.

Then Immediately Call Both of Your Senators

As soon as you hang up with your Representative's office, call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 to speak with both of your Senators' offices. Tell them to pass S. 3943 before Congress adjourns to ensure that every vote will count in November. If you don't know both your Senators' names, click here and enter your zip code to find out. You can also use this link to find your Senator's direct telephone number on Capitol Hill by clicking on his or her photo, which will appear once you've entered your zip code.

Every moment counts, so please don't delay. Make those phone calls as if our democracy depended on it --- because that's what it comes down to today.

Joan asks that you forward this to everyone you know. We ask the same. (The URL for this item is: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3544)

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UPDATED: Complete Video Now Linked! Also, Complete Text Transcript!
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2006 1:28pm PT  

Heard from Bobby an hour or so ago, that he's going to be on MSNBC's HARDBALL with Chris Matthews tonight at 5:10pm ET (2:10pm PT).

He'll be discussing his recent Rolling Stone piece on Diebold's duplicity in their voting systems, and our elections from 2002 on up to now. At least, that's what he's been told.

As well, we're hoping he'll put out the words calling on folks to demand that Congress pass legislation for Emergency Paper Ballots this November.

UPDATE 3:35pm PT: Full video now linked below! Kennedy spoke about how easy it now is to steal an election on an E-Voting Machine ("in just 60 seconds") as based on recent studies by Princeton, NYU's Brennan Center and the non-partisan GAO office.

He also discussed the new congressional Emergency Paper Ballot legislation, and even recommended your friendly neighborhood BRAD BLOG as a good source for information on all of the above.

Video links now below. Thanks to Bobby for the kind plug. Thanks to Chris Matthews for letting him get out a sentence or two in a row. (Thanks to HotPotatoMash for the video links!)


-- Video in Flash Format is now here...
-- Video QuickTime format is here...

UPDATE: A Complete text transcript of the interview now follows in full...

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

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Kerry Joins Original Senate Bill as Co-Sponsor, Joins with Feingold in Filing New Senate Resolution as Well!
Feingold Says, 'Back-up Paper Ballots Essential to Preventing Disasters', Kerry Calls Situation 'Disgrace, National Scandal, Requiring Emergency Action Now'!
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2006 1:14pm PT  

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) has now filed a U.S. House version of the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation introduced yesterday by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) in the Senate.

Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined the Senate legislation as co-sponsors late last evening.

Additionally, Kerry and Feingold both have now co-sponsored and introduced a new "Sense of the Senate Resolution" calling on States around the country to act immediately to put back-up plans in place to have "Emergency Paper Ballots" at the polling places this November to avoid voters being turned away when voting machines fail to work. Thousands, so far this year, have been turned away in one state primary after another due to machine malfunction or unavailability.

The language in the Holt bill filed in the House late last night is identical to the bill filed by Boxer, except that it notes, explicitly, that the "contigency paper ballots" the Federal government will reimburse states for are to be counted as regular ballots --- not as provisional ballots which often go completely uncounted, and must be vetted first to determine a voter's registration status.

Feingold and Kerry issued a press release today (posted in full at the end of this article) calling on Congress to act immediately in the face of what they describe as "a national disgrace," in reference to voters being turned away at the polling place for lack of voting system on which to vote.

Holt's bill, which can be downloaded here [PDF], differs from the Senate bill by stating that jurisdictions who wish to reimbursed by the Federal government for such contingency paper ballots must treat "each such contingency paper ballot cast by a voter as a regular ballot cast in the election and counts it accordingly, and does not treat it as a provisional ballot."

Kerry and Feingold, who are now co-sponsors of the Boxer/Dodd Senate bill filed yesterday, also issued a non-binding "Sense of the Senate" resolution this morning. Pamela Leavy originally reported the news earlier today at Democratic Daily.

In a press release issued earlier along with that resolution today, Feingold said, "We cannot allow the American people to lose faith in the most fundamental aspect of our democratic system ­the right to vote."

He added, "Some of the problems we saw this year, like voters in Maryland being told to come back later because the machines weren’t working, are simply unacceptable. A back-up plan as simple as having emergency paper ballots on hand is essential to preventing election day disasters."

Kerry, who has been criticized for not taking enough action to ensure that votes were counted accurately, or at all, in Ohio after the 2004 Presidential Election, had even stronger words, calling the lack of action by Congress and the White House on these matters, "a disgrace" and a "national scandal".

"It’s a disgrace that a Congress and an Administration which talks about exporting democracy around the world ignores the challenges of our own democracy right here at home," says Kerry in this morning's news release. "We have seen American citizens disenfranchised in our elections for the simple reason that no effective back up system was in place. That’s a national scandal."

Kerry called for "emergency action" and points to the recent meltdown in Maryland's September 12th primary election, which resulted in the Republican Governor there, calling for a similar measure to scrap the machines, and allow all voters in the state to use paper ballots this November.

"[H]ere we are, 42 days away from another election," Kerry said, "and Congress has again dragged its feet even after we mobilized 35,000 citizens to demand a hearing for our Count Every Vote Act, even after what we saw just this month in Montgomery County [Maryland]. We need emergency action now. That is why I am co-sponsoring the Dodd-Boxer legislation to provide emergency paper ballots and that is why Russ Feingold and I are introducing our resolution today demanding election day back-up plans."

"We have a duty to ensure that no citizen will be denied the right to vote in 2006," Kerry concluded.

The BRAD BLOG began the call for Emergency Paper Ballot legislation just over a week ago.

The SoS Project has set up a page where citizens can contact Congress Members to demand they pass this legislation in the few days left before breaking for the Election Recess.

We urge citizens to use this link and contact Congress immediately.

The full text of the Feingold/Kerry press release follows...

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

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Your Friendly Neighborhood BRAD BLOGGER Quoted as Part of Coverage...
[UPDATE: NYTimes Late Edition, Russ Feingold Joins as Co-Sponsor!]
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2006 6:09pm PT  

In an article by Ian Urbina, The New York Times' now has their story up about the Senate's Emergency Paper Ballot legislation as filed earlier today by Senators Boxer and Dodd.

UPDATE: An updated version of the NYTimes article, now linked above, has added Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as a co-sponsor of the legislation as well!

The BRAD BLOG broke the story earlier today in a bit more detail, and along with the actual bill filed. We originally called on Congress in article published here a week ago today, to introduce and pass such a bill before their Election Recess coming up at the end of this week.

Urbina offers several additional points worth checking out in his Times coverage. Including this quote from Boxer concerning her reasons for not making the paper ballot initiative mandatory, but rather allowing it to remain optional to states and local jurisdictions [emphasis ours]:

"I think Big Brother dictating something to local jurisdictions is a big mistake, because they will balk at it," she said. "What we’re saying here is that you run your own elections, and we are going to help you run it properly. If local officials don’t take advantage of the option to take precautions, then they’re the ones on the line."

...As well, "Brad Friedman, a liberal blogger" is mentioned in the Times article.

So as the good Senator B, doesn't get the idea we were dissing her bill to the NY Times (We weren't! Not by any means!) in the comments attributed to us in the piece, please us allow a clarification.

The statement they used from us, had originally preceded a full direct quote explaining that Election Directors from states like Florida had expressed concern that they might need a Federal mandate in order to take advantage of the this paper ballot legislation. State election code in Florida, we're told, does not have provisions allowing such elections officials to make paper ballots available, even if they wanted to.

In Florida's touch-screen-only counties, for example, which comprise some 50% of Sunshine State voters, even the Provisional Balloting is done electronically on touch-screen systems! Which means, as Leon County, FL Election Director Ion Sancho explained to us this morning, that without a Federal mandate, it's likely that those officials would not be able to take advantage of this legislation...even if it manages to get through the full Congress in the few days left before Congress breaks for their Election Recess.

UPDATE: Ah, proof, I'm not crazy! In this version of the Times article (how many do they release?!) there is this additional quote from yours truly:

"In the case of many states, such as Florida, there is simply nothing in the state code that allows election directors to provide emergency ballot in the event of machine failure," he said.

See? Phew...

Beyond that, given the short time left here, we're delighted to see this legislation move forward! Delighted to see the Times' coverage. And just delighted in general that someone in Washington D.C. is finally recognizing the dangers to democracy that we're facing in the upcoming mid-term election!

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Calls for 'Contingency Paper Ballots' in States, Counties this November to be Paid for by Feds!
Co-Author of HAVA is Co-Sponsor of New Bill Answering Our Call for a 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT', Makes Paper Ballots Optional to States Rather Than Mandated...But We'll Take it! Sources Say House Bill to Follow Soon!
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2006 12:36pm PT  

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced emergency legislation to amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) this afternoon to offer funding to states and counties who make 'contingency paper ballots' available to voters to be used at the voter's option instead of electronic voting systems.

The so-called contingency paper ballots are intended to be counted as normal ballots, as opposed to Provisional Ballots which must be vetted first to determine the integrity of the voter's registration. Provisional ballots are frequently counted only several days after Election Day, and often, not at all. The Senate legislation as filed, however, does not spell out the intended difference between "contingency" and "provisional" ballots specifically.

The BRAD BLOG has learned from a source currently working on similar legislation in the House, said to be filed there shortly, that the House version will include such specific language if possible to ensure such contingency ballots are counted as normal ballots on Election Night. Several Capitol Hill sources have confirmed that such legislation is currently in the works. We hope to have more details on the House version later today.

The inclusion of Dodd as a co-sponsor on the Senate legislation is no small coup, as he was one of the original co-sponsors of the HAVA legislation of 2002 which this bill would amend. Until now, he and the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of that original legislation have been reluctant to open HAVA to amendment.

The legislation, filed just after 4pm ET this afternoon, would refund state and county voting jurisdictions that offer paper ballots as an option to voters, and requires such jurisdictions post "in a conspicuous manner at the polling place, a notice stating that contingency paper ballots are available at the polling place and that a voter may request to use such a ballot at the voter's discretion."

Election integrity advocacy groups and citizens alike have been rallying members of both the U.S. House and Senate to pass such legislation since The BRAD BLOG initially called for what we had called, the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" last Tuesday. The act we called for would mandate emergency paper ballots at all polling places this November in light of thousands of voters having been sent away without having been able to cast a vote in primary after primary election so far this year when new electronic voting machines either malfunctioned or were otherwise unavailable.

The short Boxer/Dodd bill does not mandate the use of such ballots, but rather offers federal payment to local jurisdictions that choose to make such 'contingency paper ballots' available at either the voter's request or in the event of machine malfunction.

The bill is now being referred to informally as the "Confidence in Vote Act of 2006". It's a simple bill, three pages long in total, and is posted in full at the bottom this article. The final version of the bill to be filed momentarily (it may have already been) may be downloaded here in PDF format.

The bill introduced today is notable in no small part in that it's co-sponsored by Dodd --- one of the original co-sponsors of HAVA along with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate and Reps. Bob Ney (R-OH) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the House. HAVA was the bill which had set in motion the nationwide implementation of electronic voting systems paid for by the federal government. That bill gave states and counties some $3 billion dollars for voting systems "upgrades" around the country, and has led to a panoply of problems at polls, criticism from computer scientists, security experts and non-partisan election integrity organizations.

Dodd, and the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of HAVA, including the now-disgraced lead author Ney (R-OH), have been reluctant up until now to modify the legislation in any way, despite repeated calls from Election Integrity advocates, and a host of bills filed in both the House and Senate which have not been allowed to move forward.

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Boxer and Dodd chose to make the use of "contingency paper ballots" an option to states, rather than a mandate, in hopes that it would make the bill less contentious and easier to pass in the few days left in this legislative session before the election recess.

Both touch-screen DRE's and paper based optical scan systems have spectacularly failed across the country so far this year as well, and contingency plans have been called from both Republicans and Democrats alike to have such contingency plans in place at local jurisdictions should such machines continue to fail this November.

The downside to offering these paper ballots as an option, instead of a mandate, is that some states --- such as Florida --- have provisions in place making it essentially illegal for elections directors to offer such paper ballots at the polling place. For those states, it may well be that only a federal mandate would do the job of ensuring that voters would be able to vote come hell or highwater this November.

The legendary Leon County, FL Election Director Ion Sancho had previously expressed hopes that such a bill would make it "illegal to send a properly registered voter away from the polls without allowing them to cast a vote."

The latest state to have had machine problems in their primary election, resulting in voters being turned away from the polls, or being given Provisional Ballots (which are frequently not counted at all after Election Day) was Maryland. The Republican Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, called for scrapping the state's Diebold paperless touch-screen voting systems after their September 12th primary, calling on the state to impliment Emergency Paper Balloting this November. Incidents similar to the now-infamous "Maryland Meltdown" have been occuring across the country all year in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and many others.

The Boxer/Dodd legislation cites a recent call from former Republican Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and former Democratic Governor Richard Celeste to have such "backup and contingency plans that anticipate a wide range of possible failures in their electronic voting systems" this November.

With just 4, or so, legislative days left in this Congress before they break for their Election Recess, it'll be no easy feat to see the bill passed by both the House and Senate before they leave. But given the stakes, and the bi-partisan call across the country for such a measure, we hope the Congress can act with the speed appropriate for a bill so important to, at least, helping to mitigate the train wreck that our democracy may be headed for this November 7th.

The BRAD BLOG would urge you to contact your Congress Members to demand they support this legislation immediately. You can send a message to your Congress Members here asking them to pass this legislation now!

You may otherwise contact local media to write in support of it, or ask to ask them to cover it, via this link.

UPDATE 6:17pm PT: New York Times coverage now linked here...

UPDATE 11:12pm PT: Late, final edition of the Times now lists Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as a co-sponsor of the legislation as well!

The complete text of the Boxer/Dodd legislation as filed this afternoon, follows in full...

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

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Blog Statement by V.P. Barbara Burt Refers to our 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' Legislation as 'The LEAVE NO VOTER BEHIND Act'
Contact Congress (Who We Hear May be About to Act!) Now!
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2006 3:56pm PT  

Barbara Burt, the Vice-President and Director of Election Reform at the non-partisan Common Cause, has posted a statement this morning on the organization's blog in support of the 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' (Emergency Paper Ballot legislation) that we proposed last week as an emergency measure that Congress could pass in their few legislative days left before the election recess.

The idea is to ensure that registered voters who bother to show up to the polls this November could at least cast their vote --- even if the voting machines are malfunctioning or unavailable, as has been the case in primary after primary election so far this year.

The measure should make it illegal to turn away a properly registered voter without allowing them to cast a vote. Giving them a Provisional Ballot is not an alternative, since those ballots are often not counted at all.

As Burt writes in her blog item in support of the initiative:

This is an initiative that would ensure that every precinct stock paper ballots for use in an emergency or, possibly, in case voters demand to vote on paper. It would be ideal to get this passed through Congress before the election, but Congress is leaving Washington at the end of this week. So chances of passage are slim (although they are capable of fast action on ocassion).

She also reports that the legendary Leon County, FL election director, Ion Sancho, "one of the voices of reason in the world of election officials...said that it should be illegal for a polling place to turn away any eligible voters without allowing them the opportunity to vote."

Common Cause joins election watchdog groups such as VotersUnite.org and VelvetRevolution.us in publicly calling for this common sense legislation.

As of this morning, we're hearing a number of hopeful reports about a number of legislators on Capitol Hill who are considering bringing this legislation forward soon. It would be similar to the emergency measure called for by Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich in Maryland recently, after his state's primary election was an utter disaster in the face of voting machines that couldn't be started up until hours after the polls had already opened.

The SoS Project has created a page where you can contact your congress members to urge them to pass this legislation with Terri Schiavo-like speed!

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UPDATE: Story Hints 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' Being 'Considered on the Federal Level'!
PLUS: Vermont's Sec. of State Makes Jerk of Herself...
By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2006 1:16pm PT  

New York Times set to report elections officials are getting "cold feet" about electronic voting. Gosh, what to 'em so long? (both the elections officials and NYTimes!)

From RAW STORY right now...

Electronic voting machines are making many election officials wary, according to an article slated for the front page of Sunday's edition of The New York Times, RAW STORY has learned.

"A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology, and many are making last-minute efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new machines in the November elections," reports Ian Urbina.
...
"Paperless touch-screen machines have been the biggest source of consternation, and with about 40 percent of registered voters nationally expected to cast their ballots on these machines in the midterm elections, many local officials fear that the lack of a paper trail will leave no way to verify votes in case of fraud or computer failure," reports the Times.
...
"Less than two months before voters head to the polls, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland this week became the most recent official to raise concerns publicly. Ehrlich, a Republican, said he lacked confidence in the state's new $106 million electronic voting system and suggested a return to paper ballots."
...
"But some election officials and voting experts say they fear that the new technology may have only swapped old problems for newer, more complicated ones. Their concerns became more urgent after widespread problems with the new technology were reported this year in primaries in Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and elsewhere."

Nice going waiting until it's pretty much too late to do a damned thing about it. NY Times has, once again, failed the American people. Jerks.

(Though there's still time to demand Congress mandate Emergency Paper Ballots!)

The full NYTimes story is now here.

UPDATE: Now that I've read the full story, it looks like the following graf refers to the buzz we've help generate on Capitol Hill for our proposed LET AMERICA VOTE ACT (Emergency Paper Ballot legislation)...[emphasis added]

In Pennsylvania, a state senator introduced a bill last week that would require every precinct to provide voters with the option to use paper ballots, which would involve printing extra absentee ballots and having them on site. A similar measure is being considered on the federal level.

Also worthy of condemnation is Vermont's Democratic Sec. of State Deborah Markowitz, president of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) who seems to be continuing the disingenously positive spin of too many state elections officials of late...

Deborah L. Markowitz, the Vermont secretary of state and the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said that while there might be some problems in November, she expected them to be limited and isolated.

“The real story of the recent primary races was how few problems there were, considering how new this technology is,” said Ms. Markowitz, a Democrat. “The failures we did see, like in Maryland, Ohio and Missouri, were small and most often from poll workers not being prepared.”

Though we like to encourage folks to be poll workers, we might recommend that those in Vermont simply stay home this year. Your Secretary of State, who is clearly not prepared to do her job, thinks it's all your fault! So why bother? Take the day off!

CORRECTION: We had originally reported Markowitz as being a member of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the group given the responsibility of certifying (and so far, rubber stamping on behalf of the voting machine companies) electronic voting machines at the federal level. Markowitz is President of NASS, not NASED. We regret the error.

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Demand Emergency Paper Ballots at the Polls This November!
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 1:14pm PT  

The good folks over at the Secretary of State Project have endorsed the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" (Emergency Paper Ballots this November) legislation and have created an easy web page where you can fill in your name and address, which will then send Email to Congress Members asking them to immediately propose and pass this important legislation!

If you only fill out one such online letter writing campaign between now and November 7th, please make it this one! Click here right now to send your letter!

It'll take you 30 seconds, and it could be the difference between a mitigated success (where people are actually able to cast their vote!) and a complete disaster at the polls this November 7th! Click it, and then send that link everywhere!

We've got no more than 5 legislative days left before this Congress breaks for the Election Recess. So if 6 or 7 of you can act now, it may make the difference! My original proposal for the LAVA legislation is right here.

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Endorses LET AMERICA VOTE ACT!
Election Integrity Org Says 'It's Unacceptable to Turn Away Legal Voters Because Voting Machines Aren't Working'
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 12:26pm PT  

VotersUnite.org, an election integrity watchdog group led by Executive Director John Gideon (who is also the Information Manager of VoteTrustUSA.org and a frequent Guest Blogging contributor here at The BRAD BLOG) has issued a statement this morning in support of our demand that Congress immediately pass Emergency Paper Ballot legislation.

Our original proposal for the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" is posted here.

The complete news release from VotersUnite has been released to the wires, and is posted online here. The pertinent information from that release follows...

For Immediate Release:

This primary election season has provided evidence that computerized voting systems are not ready for use in our elections. Election melt-downs in states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and last week in Maryland prove that emergency steps must be taken for the November election. When poll site voting machines fail there must be a viable option that will allow every legal voter to vote.

"It is unacceptable to turn legal voters away from the polls just because the voting machines are not set-up, not set-up correctly, or not working at all. It is also not alright to use provisional ballots instead of a 'real' ballot that will be counted just the same as an electronic ballot cast on a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine. Emergency paper ballots must be in place in every polling place in the nation that uses DRE or touch-screen voting machines and those ballots must be used in the case of voting systems failure", said John Gideon, Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org.

VotersUnite.Org fully supports the implementation of the "Let America Vote Act" as presented at http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3502 and calls on Congressional leaders to do all they can to get this legislation through Congress and to the President for signature prior to Congress going on recess.

VotersUnite.Org is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides well-sourced information to those interested in voting machine issues.

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By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 2:21pm PT  

Much happening at the moment. Hopefully details to come later today/tonight.

For the moment, I'll point you to Kathy Gill's coverage at About.com of my proposal for the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" (LAVA), a call for a federal Emergency Paper Ballots mandate at all polling places this November. I originally proposed the idea, asking Congress to pass this measure immediately here. A follow-up, including suggested legislative language for the very simple act was posted here yesterday.

The LAVA legislation seems to be generating quite a bit of buzz right now in certain sectors on Capitol Hill. Hope to have more details for you later. But with just about 5 legislative days left before the pre-election recess, please continue to make noise about it, contact your Congress members and let's save whatever we can this November!

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Here's the Bill Calling for Emergency Paper Ballots at Every Polling Place in America this November!
[UPDATED WITH NEW SENATE LEGISLATION NOW FILED!]
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2006 12:44pm PT  

Yesterday I called on Congress to pass an emergency measure to require Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls during this November's general election. I spelled out several reasons for this last-ditch, "Hail Mary" attempt to try and mitigate just some of the myriad problems and disenfranchisment that will occur at polling places this year thanks to new, poorly designed, malfunctioning, unsecure electronic voting machines now deployed across the nation.

Never mind the electronic voting machine fraud that is likely to occur. Never mind the proven inaccuracies of these god-awful machines. Never mind the ease at which they are now proven to be hackable. My concern right now --- this late in the game --- is simply to assure that voters who show up at the polls and are legally registered to vote, may actually be able to cast a vote at all!

In primary after primary this year, voters have been told to "come back later" or, at best, given a provisional ballot (which may or may not ever be counted) when voting machines either failed to work or, frequently, weren't even present by the time voters showed up to vote. That is voter disenfranchisement, pure and simple, and it affects voters of any and all political stripes.

Common sense (one would think) would dictate that State and County Election Directors would mandate Emergency Paper Ballots for voters to use in the event of machine unavailability. Though the Secretaries of State in several states so far this year (Texas, Arkansas, etc.) have issued emergency orders for such Emergency Paper Ballots, remarkably, many states and counties didn't bother and thousands of legally registered voting citizens were sent home in the bargain.

The legislation required by Congress to mandate Emergency Paper Ballots (I call it the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT") is incredibly simple. In yesterday's article, I included a three-sentence piece of legislation. Below, is a more fully-formed draft legislation based on those three sentences as sent to me orginally by Bob Wilson of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.

Along with additional tweaks by myself and a few others, my complete suggested legislation can be read --- in it's entirety --- in about 30 seconds. It's posted in full below.

If Congress cares (and if you help them to do so!), I'm quite certain that this measure can be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by George W. Bush with Terri Schiavo-like speed.

I'd think our democracy is worth at least as much. And I know it's certainly worth trying for!

Some have responded to my call for this LAVA legislation ("Let democracy flow!") by pointing out that the method of counting and/or auditing these Emergency Paper Ballots must be included in the legislation. My answer to them is that I agree with their point! However, at this late in the game (with only some 5 or 6 legislative days left before Congress recesses prior to the election) I don't want to give any Congress member any reason to oppose this act!

In other words, with the time we have left, if all we can do is assure that at least there will be a piece of paper on which a registered voter may cast a vote this November --- if they bother to show up --- then we will be doing a service to democracy. It's an incredible fact, but even something as simple has that has not been the case in many places this year. Last week's Maryland primary, were thousands were forced to go without voting at all when the machines failed to work, was a prime example!

Some have said there is no time to get this bill passed. I don't care. Let's get it passed anyway. If it fails, at least we will have a "paper trail" to point back to on November 8th when everyone else is wondering what went wrong and if anybody had tried to do anything about it while there was still time. Those of us who give a damn will have done everything we could.

I continue to speak to folks in Congress about sponsorship of this bill, and I urge all American citizens to contact their Congress Members --- as well as their state and local officials --- to demand that non-provisional Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls this year!

You can contact your Congress person here (and you can contact local media here.)

(The URL for this article is: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3502. Feel free to point them to it!)

Let's get to work! This effort is about all we have left legislatively at this point! Please spread the word everywhere. My complete suggested language for the LET AMERICA VOTE ACT is posted below...

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

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CALL ON CONGRESS TO PASS 'EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT LEGISLATION' NOW!
Every Registered American Voter Must Be Allowed to Vote This November!
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2006 12:41pm PT  

Given this year's primary election meltdowns and train wrecks that we've been reporting since March 7th of this year, in which electronic voting machines have failed to start up and thousands of American voters have been turned away from the polls when they came to vote, but couldn't...

Given the fact that one such meltdown occurred last Tuesday in Maryland, where many of the DC media and politicos live...

Given VelvetRevolution's new Princeton Diebold Virus Hack report demonstrating conclusively that electronic voting machines may be hacked in a minute's time resulting in flipped elections without a trace left behind...

Giving that American democracy and the right to vote in that democracy ought to be a beacon to the world...

It is NOW time for Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation to be brought and passed immediately by both houses of the U.S. Congress, in order to at least mitigate the coming train wreck this November 7th.

Call it the Let America Vote Act (LAVA) of 2006...Let democracy flow!

The legislation can, and should be, as short as a single paragraph so that it can be read and passed quickly by every U.S. Congress member. It can apply only to this November's general election, if that is needed to get it passed and signed quickly.

It should read something like this...


LET AMERICA VOTE ACT
(EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT MANDATE OF 2006)

Emergency paper ballots shall be made available at every voting jurisdiction in the United States during the November 7th, 2006 General Election. These paper ballots shall be available in sufficient numbers for optional use by voters who prefer to use them, and by all voters in the event of voting machine failure or unavailability. These paper ballots are not to be provisional ballots, but regular paper ballots that shall be counted immediately upon the close of polls on election night along with all other votes cast by properly registered voters.

Note: At this point, I don't give a damn how the Emergency Paper Ballots will be counted; by hand, by optical scanner, whatever. So long as voters are not disenfranchised by the millions --- as thousands have already been so far in this year's primary elections across the country --- by showing up to the polling place only to be told they can't vote at all, or by being told they must vote provisionally (provisional ballots are not counted on election night, and frequently not at all) because the new voting machines are broken or otherwise unavailable.

States such as Texas, Arkansas and other have already had to do this this year when Secretaries of State put out emergency notices to Elections Administrators to create such Emergency Paper Ballots after the voting machine companies failed to provide programmed ballots or working machines.

All states are already required by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to have such paper ballots available at every polling place as Provisional Ballots, so those can be copied NOW if need be for use as Emergency Paper Ballots (which is better than the scraps of paper some counties reportedly have tried to use in emergency situations so far this year!)

BOTTOM LINE: With the passage of this Emergency Legislation, at least properly registered American citizens will be able to vote on Election Day if they choose to!

Feel free to call it the "Hail Mary Emergency Election Protection Act" if you want. I don't much care, so long as it's passed by Congress in time to ensure that voters can actually vote this November!

I've spoken with a number of people on the Hill and within the Election Integrity movement...scientists, activists, politicians, in DC and around the country, and they have all been in favor of this legislation and have pledged their support.

I am attemping to find sponsorship for this bill in Congress, and I'm calling on all Election Integrity organizations and concerned citizens who may have better connections than I to help find such Congressional sponsorship immediately.

I am calling on these same people to then call on Congress to pass this legislation immediately!

I am hoping to have an official version/wording of the bill posted shortly. It will, of course, be available as a new item here at The BRAD BLOG no later than tomorrow. It will spell out, in official "bill-like" language, precisely what I've posted above. [UPDATE: A complete legislative language version of the bill is now posted here.]

Democracy is at stake. After at least two years of reporting in exhaustive details on these matters, and at this late stage of the game, I believe the above "reform" is, unfortunately, the most we can likely hope for in time to have any real impact in mitigating a full-on train wreck during this November's crucial excercise of the rite of democracy.

Please forward this item to everybody you know, cross-post it or link to it as you see fit (this is the URL: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3495)...And please contact your Congress person and ask them to support and/or sponsor this initiative today!

UPDATE 9/26/06: Boxer & Dodd introduce Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation in the Senate! House version to come soon! Details here...

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A First-hand Account from this Year's Annual Democratic National Party Gathering in Chicago
PLUS: 'Internet Voting' (Incredibly) Rears Its Ugly Head at the DNC and EXCLUSIVE Outtakes from Jesse Jackson's Address on the State of Our Elections at 'High National Security Risk'
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2006 1:32pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the still-long and still-winding (and still very hot) road...

"They're dumb as shit."
-- Donna Brazile to Rolling Stone for an article this week, discussing her frustration with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and making the party understand the need to be vigilant during Election 2006.

"Fuck you."
-- Donna Brazile to an Election Integrity Advocate at the annual DNC gathering last weekend in Chicago after being asked where the party was in Ohio after Election 2004.

Such were the contradictions and dysfunctions on parade last weekend in Chicago where I was invited to address a panel on Electoral Integrity at the DNC's annual gathering of state party chairs. What a mess.

The Rolling Stone piece referenced above, by the good Tim Dickinson, is not currently online. But it's from the Aug. 24 issue of RS on newsstands now. It asks "Will Democrats Fight Back?" The answer, as Dickinson reports, is a decisive maybe, probably not, things don't look so good, we hope so but kinda doubt it.

While it'd be nice to give you an encouraging report from the DNC meeting of how the Dems have finally figured out what the hell is going on here --- how they are going to get out in front of this electile dysfunction thing, take the offensive, become proactive and lead the way in becoming the party which stands for vigilance, Electoral Integrity and the assurance that every vote will be counted and counted accurately --- I can't give such a report.

Yes, there are some good things going on there. One of the most notable being Greg Moore who is now the Director of the DNC's Voting Rights Institute. He gets it. Moore was responsible for all of the Election Protection-related events over the weekend. It seems he's been fighting heroically from inside the power structure to wake the Dems up as to what is going on. He's the one responsible for the historic DNC statement a few weeks ago calling for a full handcount in the illegally administered Busby/Bilbray U.S. House Special Election in California's 50th congressional district. But it's clearly been a difficult fight. And last weekend's events made that crystal clear...

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

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