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Kochs' Chris Christie; Wingnut Meltdown; 'Most Important Climate Law Ruling':
'BradCast' 6/30/15
Guest: Michael B. Gerrard of Columbia's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law...
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Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Vote Caging Schemes, Plans to Challenge Voters Part of High-Level Bush/Cheney 'Voter Fraud Strategy'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2007 2:16pm PT  

Blogged by Brad...breaking as I must head over to the studio to the Peter B. Collins Show today...

Bad news for the RNC. New emails reveal their "Voter Fraud Strategy Conference Call" just prior to the 2004 Presidential elections, with plans to use Vote Caging lists to challenge voters in swings states from OH to PA to FL to NM. The effort seems to have been spearheaded by Tim Griffin.

Truthout gets the scoop and the collections of emails, as based on a report from PBS's NOW to air tomorrow night. Here's the skinny...

Previously undisclosed documents detail how Republican operatives, with the knowledge of several White House officials, engaged in an illegal, racially-motivated effort to suppress tens of thousands of votes during the 2004 presidential campaign in a state where George W. Bush was trailing his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry.

The documents also contain details describing how Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign officials, and at least one individual who worked for White House political adviser Karl Rove, planned to stop minorities residing in Cuyahoga County from voting on election day.

The efforts to purge voters from registration rolls was spearheaded by Tim Griffin, a former Republican National Committee opposition researcher. Griffin recently resigned from his post as interim US attorney for Little Rock Arkansas. His predecessor, Bud Cummins, was forced out to make way for Griffin.

Another set of documents, 43 pages of emails, provided to Truthout by the PBS news program "NOW," contains blueprints for a massive effort undertaken by RNC operatives in 2004, to challenge the eligibility of voters expected to support Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Pennsylvania.

One email, dated September 30, 2004, and sent to a dozen or so staffers on the Bush-Cheney campaign and the RNC, under the subject line "voter fraud strategy conference call," describes how campaign staffers planned to challenge the veracity of votes in a handful of battleground states in the event of a Democratic victory.

Furthermore, the emails show the Bush-Cheney campaign and RNC staffers compiled voter-challenge lists that targeted probable Democratic voters in at least five states: New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Voting rights lawyers have made allegations of so called "vote caging," against Republicans previously. These emails provide more evidence. One Republican operative involved in the planning wrote "we can do this in NV, FL, PA and NM because we have a list to run against the Absentee Ballot requests, and should."

Truthout has a bevy of emails that I haven't been able to review, but we'll have the producer of tomorrow's NOW story on the Peter B. Collins Show tomorrow (which I'm still Guest Hosting through the end of the week) to discuss this story.

And yes, Bush/Cheney '04 Inc's national general counsel, who would later go on to create the phony "grassroots" GOP front-group, American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), was right there in the thick of it all...

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

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Asst. Attorney General Alex Acosta Sent Letter to Federal Judge Backing Republican Effort to Challenge Democratic, Minority Voters Just Prior to Presidential Election
Investigation into Illegal RNC Effort Spreads from Florida to the Buckeye State...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2007 9:37am PT  

Blogged quickly by Brad Friedman from Alabama (with a laptop on my knee)...

McClatchy's excellent Greg Gordon reports that the DoJ had written a letter in support of vote caging by Republicans in Ohio in 2004...

Ex-Justice official accused of aiding scheme to scratch minority voters

WASHINGTON - Four days before the 2004 election, the Justice Department’s civil rights chief sent an unusual letter to a federal judge in Ohio who was weighing whether to let Republicans challenge the credentials of 23,000 mostly African-American voters.

The case was triggered by allegations that Republicans had sent a mass mailing to mostly Democratic-leaning minorities and used undeliverable letters to compile a list of voters potentially vulnerable to eligibility challenges.

In his letter to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott of Cincinnati, Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta argued that it would "undermine" the enforcement of state and federal election laws if citizens could not challenge voters’ credentials.

Former Justice Department civil rights officials and election watchdog groups charge that his letter sided with Republicans engaging in an illegal, racially motivated tactic known as "vote-caging" in a state that would be pivotal in delivering President Bush a second term in the White House.
...
But Robert Kengle, former deputy chief of the department’s Voting Rights Section who served under Acosta, said the letter amounted to "cheerleading for the Republican defendants."

"It was doubly outrageous," he said, "because the allegation in the litigation was that these were overwhelmingly African-American voters that were on the challenge list."

Joseph Rich, a former chief of the department's Voting Rights Section, called the Ohio scheme "vote caging."

As BRAD BLOG readers know, we've been reporting --- often far too exclusively --- on the Florida 2004 vote caging scheme by former GOP oppo-researcher turned Karl Rove assistant turned Arkansas US Attorney turned disgraced former US Attorney, Tim Griffin. As we're on the roll, we'll have to refer you to our "Vote Caging" category for our previous detailed coverage. Scroll through the articles on that page for much more background.

But here's a bit more from McClatchy's piece today...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2007 4:32pm PT  

From this week's San Diego Reader...

If you don't understand the above, a) You need to visit The BRAD BLOG more often, b) See this, and then c) See this, and then d) Pray for the good voters of the People's Republic of San Diego.

Thanks to artist Neal Obermeyer for paying attention! More good stuff from his own official site.

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Some Ballots Counted Twice, Others Not At All, Database Found Corrupted, Old, Not Recommended for Use by Microsoft
Raw Election Data Held as 'Diebold Trade Secret' by Registrar Michael Vu Who Was Forced to Resign...Though He's Now Been Hired by San Diego!
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2007 1:48pm PT  

There is new information on the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, November 2006 election that shows that voting results on more than 1 in 4 voting systems failed to match up with the results on the central tabulator. The election was held under the administration of Michael Vu, the county's now-resigned Election Director who has, incredibly enough, been immediately hired up by the People's Republic of San Diego County and their former Registrar Mikel Haas (along with Vu, one of America's worst, so he was promoted by the county, naturally!) as the new Assistant Registrar of Voters...

From AP:

CLEVELAND — Computer vote-memory card totals failed to match electronic voting machine ballot tallies in more than one quarter of the samples checked from the November election in the state’s most populous county, an independent audit showed Thursday.

In the 37 sample precincts where results didn’t match, there may have been corrupted memory cards, missing or torn reports, faulty printers or other problems, according to the independent audit commissioned by the Cuyahoga County elections board.
...
The audit committee found a match among 95 precincts out of 132 precincts in which three races were checked for discrepancies between vote-memory cards and paper records of ballots cast on electronic machines.

Amazing enough, but it gets much, much worse....

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

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Since the EAC Refuses to Notify Them, We Hope You Will...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2007 4:32pm PT  

A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.

Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.

Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:

The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • New jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.

The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).

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To Replace Promoted Mikel Haas, County Hires Riverside County, CA's Mischelle Townsend as 'Interim' Registrar, Who In Turn Hires Disgraced Cuyahoga County, OH Registrar Michael Vu as 'Assistant'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2007 12:00pm PT  

{Ed Note: This article was original to have been published at ComputerWorld on 4/12/07. Due to a technical problem there, it never ran, I'm running it here, back-dated to tje originally planned publication date so at least it's available here on the Internets, at least for the "historical record". --- BF, 5/22/07}}

Blogged by Brad from the road...in San Diego, of all places...

The latest news out of the People's Republic of San Diego brings to mind Scooter Libby's now infamous note, sent to former NY Times' administration plant Judith Miller, encouraging her to maintain her silence while she was in jail.

"Out West, where you vacation," the disgraced Libby wrote to the disgraced Miller, "the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

The same seems to be true for the Elections Officials, and their various operative/enablers around the country. Where ever you turn over the rock of a disastrously administered election in any part of the country --- such as in San Diego or Riverside County, CA or Cuyahoga County, OH --- it seems you also find the same band of recognizable folks slithering amongst the slime time and again. Turning in clusters, if you will, because their roots connect them.

Such seems to be the case now that one of America's worst Registrars of Voters, San Diego's Mikel Haas --- he of the infamous Busby/Bilbray debacle and voting machine "sleepover" fame --- has been promoted by the county. Failing up, if you will, like so many other 21st Century Wingnuts before him in Bush's America.

He's been replaced on an interim basis by Mischelle Townsend, the retired former Registrar of Voters in Riverside County, CA. She was responsible for bringing unverifiable, inaccurate, hackable touch-screen voting systems to America for the first time, as Riverside was the first in the nation to offer this "luxury" to voters. Riverside has been on a collision course with election integrity ever since.

Aside from conflicts of interests she brought to the dubious transaction in 1998 --- her husband, was VP for a firm which directly benefited from the county's purchase of the Sequoia touch-screen voting systems --- Townsend is tellingly quoted during an interview on the DVD version of HBO's Hacking Democracy proudly declaring: "Electronic touch-screen ballots are 100% accurate. We've not seen a single example in which their accuracy can be disputed."

As if that's not a horrific enough punishment to subject the otherwise beleaguered and battered voters of San Diego to --- they deserve far far better, especially following in the carnage of the county's disastrous Reign of Haas --- she has now hired as her "assistant," the disgraced and recently resigned-by-force, Michael Vu, the Election Supervisor for Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Vu was pushed out of his job in the Buckeye State just weeks ago after two of his poll workers were convicted and sentenced to the maximum allowable time in prison for having rigged --- yes, rigged --- the 2004 President Recount in the county.

Vu oversaw the entire affair and reportedly admitted that county workers opened sealed ballot boxes to do a pre-count prior to the recount which was requested and paid for by the Green and Libertarian parties. As the trial revealed, the outrageous violation of law was carried out to ensure the mandated the 3% "randomly" selected precincts (which were not randomly selected after all) would match the previously reported results. Both the judge and the prosecutor made it clear that they believed the conspiracy went much higher up the food chain.

As well, Vu ran one of the worst election debacles of the 2006 cycle --- and that's saying quite a bit --- when absentee ballots couldn't be read by his Diebold optical scan system and his brand-spanking new Diebold DRE touch-screen voting systems failed to record votes properly, as determined by an independent analysis commissioned after the primary election meltdown in the county.

But that's not all. Another new criminal investigation is now underway in Cuyahoga looking into a number of troubling recent discoveries. Among them, computer audit logs have been discovered to reveal that early and absentee voting results were printed by someone at Vu's county headquarters prior to Election Day. (The same thing also was recently discovered to have occurred in Pima County, AZ where a law suit is currently underway to get to the bottom of it...just so you'll keep your eye out for what may well prove to be a concerted national conspiracy if the Aspens keep on turning in such remarkable clusters.) Oh, and a network cable was left in one of the tabulation computers overnight, and in violation of regulations, for some odd reason. But certainly that was just an accident, right?

Little surprise then, that San Diego's North County Times reported that Haas told them "the county immediately moved to contact Vu when he became available and felt lucky to hire him."

Of course they did.

Haas also continued his impressive, and growing track record as an accomplished liar of some reknown, by telling the paper that "Vu resigned for personal reasons and had family living on the West Coast."

Of course he did.

The BRAD BLOG has spoken at length with Vu in the past, and we've found him, like Haas the Horrible, to be a very affable fellow. Even if his actions, not his words, reveal him, like Haas, to have an extraordinary disdain for democracy and the voters who they supposedly serve.

We've been told that Vu has said he regards Townsend as "a mentor". So it comes as little surprise that he'd show up when beckoned by her, and littler surprise, after all we've come to learn about the County of San Diego, that their Board of Supervisors so despise their own voters that they'd allow Vu, despite all that's known about him, to be hired as an "assistant".

Rest assured, however, with Townsend --- who had previously been enjoying a quiet retirement from the madness that she had wrought on Riverside --- only committing to "interim" status at the Registrar's office, it won't be long before the full Reign of Vu commences. We believe you can bank on it. On a Diebold ATM if you wish.

America's Elections Officials, those who are most assiduously dedicated to subverting democracy with electricity, and those who time and again are found at the rotten core of virtually every bad election in the country, are indeed connected at the roots. And they continue turning in clusters.

And the voters continue to pay the price.

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New Charges Announced Against Chair of BoE Who Refused to Resign: He Allegedly Ordered $15k PR Contract Awarded to 'GOP Spokesperson'
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2007 9:36pm PT  

Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner cleaned out the last dead-ender from the Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) Board of Elections today. That would be the chairperson of the BoE and the head of Ohio's Republican Party, Bob Bennett (see previous coverage here.)

Bennett was the last of the four directors of the Board of Elections (supposedly two Democrats and two Republicans) to leave the board of the state's most Democratic-leaning county. The other three resigned after requested by Brunner in the wake of the convictions of two Cuyahoga Elections Officials for rigging the 2004 Presidential Election recount, a raft of disastrously run elections and a new criminal investigation into malfeasance at the county election board. The new investigation includes the early printing of absentee ballot results and an unexplained network cable left attached to the central tabulator overnight.

According to a statement posted to the SoS website, Brunner notified Bennett today about his suspension in writing, and has also announced yet another new charge against him:

"The Secretary of State's office will be working with the current and emerging leadership of the board to develop a plan improving, with the assistance of the Secretary of State's office, the board's operations and service to the citizens of Cuyahoga County. To further these efforts, I believe it to be in the best interests of all involved to suspend your participation as a member of the board," said Brunner. The notice of suspension pointed to the reasons addressed in the complaint filed against the Cuyahoga Board of Elections members by Brunner on March 23, 2007.

Brunner cites an additional reason for the suspension involving instructions to former Executive Director Michael Vu to award a contract to a consultant without Board approval.

Bennett instructed Vu to award a second contract to David Hopcraft in the amount of $14,750 on or about February 26, 2007, for public relations services to be paid for by public dollars by the board of elections. The Dayton Daily News on March 26, 2007 reported Mr. Hopcraft to be a "GOP spokesperson."

Accountability to continue in Ohio...

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Another Resignation Leaves Only the Chair of Both the Ohio Republican Party and Cuyahoga's Election Board After SoS Demands All Resign in State's Most Democratic County...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2007 7:36pm PT  

One more of the Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio, Board of Elections directors, Republican Sally Florkiewicz, has stepped down this afternoon. Her resignation leaves just one member, the board's chairman, Bob Bennett, left to fight the demand by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner that all board members resign in the wake of a years-long string of elections disasters, two criminal convictions related to the recount of the 2004 Presidential Election, and a new criminal investigation which was launched last week into newly-revealed administrative election improprieties and irregularities in the county.

The resignation of Florkiewicz from the board of Ohio's most Democratic county leaves only Bennett --- who is the chair of both the Election Board and the state's Republican party --- to fight the order by Brunner. A hearing will be held next Monday concerning the complaint filed along with the SoS's resignation demands, after which Brunner is free to fire Bennett directly, according to state law. As ever, the members of Ohio's supposedly "bi-partisan" boards of election have always served at the pleasure of the SoS, who, for years, was the highly partisan right-winger and co-chair of Ohio's Bush/Cheney 2004 committee, J. Kenneth Blackwell.

Brunner replaced Blackwell last November after the former SoS was thoroughly rejected by Ohio voters in his bid for Governor.

"Regrettably, the lone board member who has refused to resign will face removal," Brunner said in a statement posted to the SoS website late this afternoon. As to today's resignation, she added, "It's unfortunate that Ms. Florkiewicz was unable to resign until faced with a complaint to remove her from the board."

While the board's two Democratic members resigned last week not long after receiving Brunner's request, an official in Ohio closely following the matter has told The BRAD BLOG that Florkiewicz exited her post today with anything but grace.

"The Secretary of State has decided to use the Cuyahoga County Board of Election to advance a partisan agenda," Florkiewicz contended in her resignation letter, "and I am not willing to be used as a political statement."

But one of our sources wonders how the request to remove "2 D's and 2 R's demonstrates a partisan agenda"...

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

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They Were Warned To Resign or Come What May...And So It Shall Be...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2007 12:53am PT  

The Year of Accountability continues apace. In a statement released Thursday Ohio's new Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, lays out the case against the two remaining Cuyahoga County Board of Elections members.

On Wednesday, The BRAD BLOG reported that Brunner would be personally delivering termination notices to members of the board after she'd sent notice, asking for their resignations, on Monday. That came in the wake of the conviction and sentencing of two county elections works for rigging the 2004 Presidential Recount, and a subsequent, newly announced criminal investigation in the county this week.

One of the two Democrats on the board resigned Wednesday, as requested, and the other resigned Thursday. This leaves Bob Bennett, the state Republican Party chair and chairman of the board in Ohio's most Democratic-leaning county, as well as the board's other Republican member, Sally Florkiewicz. They're the only two remaining hangers-on. And as a witness to Bennett's public statement yesterday described it to us, he was "raving" and succeeded in even shocking many of the Republicans present by blaming everyone but himself for the county's string of failed elections.

Bennett's recalcitrance at leaving has led Brunner to begin spelling out precisely why they are being fired. The list of accusations against the two remaining members will be aired in full during an April 2 hearing and, according to the SoS's statement, includes "numerous instances of misfeasance, nonfeasance and violations of state election law." Among them:

· Failure to adopt adequate procedures for election recounts resulting in the felony convictions of two board employees.

· Failure to manage competently the board's financial affairs.

· Failure to ensure the efficient administration of elections in 2004 through 2006.

· Failure to ensure an acceptable level of performance of voting equipment.

· Election administration in Cuyahoga County has led to a lack of public confidence in elections in the county.

After the April 2 hearing, a report will be issued to Brunner by the appointed hearing officer, William Owen, the first assistant prosecuting attorney of Delaware County. According to the statement, she will then rule on the removal of Bennett and Florkiewicz, as "under state law, the secretary of state may 'summarily remove' board members for cause, upon complaint and hearing."

We'll note again here --- despite the claims of former SoS J. Kenneth Blackwell and other Buckeye State officials in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential Election disaster in the state who said nothing untoward could happen anywhere in Ohio due to their "bi-partisan elections boards" --- all such board members always served at the pleasure of the SoS. Many of them, therefore, were loath disobey or incur the wrath of Blackwell, who was also state co-chair for Bush/Cheney '04, in light of his horrendous, partisan oversight.

What goes around, comes around, Mr. Bennett. Consider the worm now turned.

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Election Results of Early Voting Found Printed Prior to Election Day
NATIONWIDE EFFORT? - Identical Situation Recently Discovered in Pima County, AZ...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2007 7:19pm PT  

Another criminal investigation has begun in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where two elections officials were found to have rigged the 2004 Presidential Election recount.

A special prosecutor has now been appointed to look into the early printing of absentee ballot and early voting election results prior to Election Day in 2006. As well, the investigators will be looking into a network cable which was left plugged into a tabulator computer overnight, allowing for unauthorized access all night long.

Fox 8's I-Team has a good video report.

As well, The BRAD BLOG has learned that Ohio's new Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, will be personally delivering termination notices to the county's four Board of Elections members tomorrow. On Monday, Brunner demanded the resignation of the entire board in Ohio's most Democratic-leaning county. The head of that election board, Bob Bennett, is also the chair of the Ohio Republican Party. He has vowed to fight Brunner in court, which, we're told by sources, she welcomes.

It should be noted that the illegal printing of election results prior to Election Day was recently discovered as well by Election Integrity advocate John Brakey, down in Pima County (Tucson), Arizona. That discovery has led to a lawsuit currently in hot progress down there.

Was a nationalized effort in place to print out election results prior to elections, to allow for the last-minute pinpointed targeting of Get Out the Vote efforts? We'll stay tuned...

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56 of 125 Machines Tested, after Voter Complaints, Incorrectly Registered Votes!
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2007 3:35pm PT  

Finally. Someone is actually bothering to test the voting machines which voters have been complaining about as flipping their votes for years. In Montgomery County, OH, where an official complaint was recently filed by 20 voters who claimed vote-flipping on their Diebold DRE touch-screen systems, comes this refreshing, if disturbing, report from today's Dayton Daily News...

DAYTON — After two days of tests, the results are in: About 2,500 people cast ballots in November on 56 malfunctioning electronic touch-screen voting machines in Montgomery County, said Steve Harsman, county board of elections director.

He said it is impossible to know how many people finalized their electronic ballots without realizing that the Diebold Elections Systems machines were inaccurately registering their votes.
...
"No other counties in Ohio have done this analysis yet," said Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. "My guess is now that we've done it here and found there were real problems, it will encourage boards of elections in other counties to do this same investigation."

From Jacobs' lips to God's ears.

Oh, and there's this little tidbit from the story:

Harsman said several malfunctioning machines were clustered at certain precincts, indicating they may have been damaged during delivery by a trucking company that hauls the machines to the polls.

Ah, yes. The trucking company dunnit! That's the ticket!

(Hat-tip again to BRAD BLOG reader "A Concerned Citizen" for the heads up!)

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Robert Bennett, Ohio's GOP Chair and President of the Board of Elections in Ohio's Most Democratic County, Vows to Stay On
Growing Battle Underscores a Host of Other Myths, Disinfo Campaigns Concerning Buckeye State Election Administration...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2007 12:21pm PT  

Just out from AP...

CLEVELAND (AP) - All four election board members for Cuyahoga County, troubled by recount rigging charges and voting machine problems, have been told to resign or face being fired, a state official said Monday.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said she called the four board members of Ohio's most populous county late Sunday, asking them to leave by close of business Wednesday.
...
Brunner, a Democrat, said new leadership is needed in the county before the 2008 presidential election. She said that if the board members don't resign by her deadline, they would face public hearings and removal.

The board's chairman, Robert Bennett, is also chairman of the state GOP in Ohio. His term on the board ends in 2010. The other board members are two Democrats and one Republican.
...
Bennett said Monday he plans to finish his term.

"We are making progress on our major goal, which is to restore voter confidence in Cuyahoga County elections," he said at a news conference

The issue comes in the wake of two Cuyahoga County Election Officials recently found guilty of rigging the 2004 Presidential Election recount and subsequently sentenced to the maximum 18 months in prison after they refused to cooperate with the state's special prosecutor, Kevin Baxter.

Both Baxter and the district court judge, Peter J. Corrigan, indicated they believed the conspiracy to game the recount was part of a larger, higher-reaching conspiracy. "It seems unlikely that your superiors wouldn't know what you were doing," Corrigan declared during the sentencing.

Brunner told the Plain-Dealer this morning that the convictions were "so serious that I don't think I had any alternative" but to request the resignations of the entire board. "It has to do with public confidence and perception," she said.

In a news conference this morning, Bennett vowed to fight Brunner in court rather than leave on his own accord.

Cuyahoga County's then-Election Director, Michael Vu, who was not charged in the incident but has since resigned, had previously admitted that sealed ballot boxes were opened and secretly counted prior to the state-mandated recount in order to assure the recount would not reveal any inconsistencies with the officially reported results. He has since recanted his original story.

After the recent sentencing, Bennett, who was ultimately responsible for overseeing the convicted elections officials --- supposedly one Republican and one Democrat --- who rigged a presidential election recount in his county said, incredibly enough, "the convictions are a travesty of justice."

The issue also underscores an important point we've been trying to make for years: Despite the claims by disgraced former Buckeye State SoS J. Kenneth Blackwell and his operatives (including Bennett) for the travesty that occurred in 2004, which suggest that Ohio's supposedly "bi-partisan" structure of county elections boards --- theoretically all comprised of two Republicans and two Democrats each --- prevents any partisan malfeasance, those boards and the officials who work under them have always served ultimately at the pleasure of the state SoS. That power and pressure were wielded frequently by Blackwell during his tenure, resulting in a host of not-so-bipartisan decisions and oversight from Ohio elections officials in 2004 and beyond.

UPDATE: We heartily recommend "OhioRebel's" superb citizen journalist coverage at ePluribus Media, with many useful additional details. Would that the non-citizen journalists were as thorough!

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Judge Says He Believes the Conspiracy Goes Higher...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2007 6:20pm PT  

From AP...

CLEVELAND (AP) - Two county election workers were sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison for rigging a recount of 2004 presidential election ballots so they could avoid a longer, detailed review.

Jacqueline Maiden, 60, a Cuyahoga County election coordinator who was the board's third-highest ranking employee, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer, 40, each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter Corrigan allowed the women to remain free on bail pending appeal, but indicated he thought there was a more widespread conspiracy among election officials.

"I can't help but feel there's more to this story," Corrigan said.

And I can't help but feel the two election officials should have been sentenced to 18 years instead of months (though we understand that to be the max sentence), given the number of folks who have died in Bush's War since the 2004 Election and the fact that there were enough votes in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) alone to give the race to Kerry instead of Bush had the election been administered legitimately.

Just for the record, only 6 votes registered for Kerry instead of Bush in each of Ohio's precincts would have changed the result of that election.

Must run, so we'll refer you to our previous coverage when the two Ohio elections officials were found guilty in January for more details.

NOTE: Hat-Tip to "Ninepatch" over at DailyKos for tipping us off to the news of the sentencing. It's a rather sigh-inducing irony to get the news from dKos given it's proprietor Markos Moulitsas Zúniga had once shamefully banned all diarists, and purged their diaries, for daring to discuss and/or investigate the Ohio 2004 Presidential Election conspiracy. Thank you for continuing to make noise on these matters anyway those of you who have done so at dKos!

UPDATE: AP now has more on the sentencing and concerns by both the Judge and prosecutor that the conspiracy goes higher:

"I can't help but feel there's more to this story," said Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter Corrigan, who allowed the women to remain free on bond pending appeal. Some of their friends and relatives sobbed as the judge imposed the sentence.

The judge repeatedly asked Jacqueline Maiden, 60, an election coordinator who was the Cuyahoga County board's third-highest ranking employee, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer, 40, if higher-ups in the board had directed the recount rigging.

"It seems unlikely your supervisors wouldn't know," the judge prodded.
...
"This big conspiracy, it's not there," Dreamer said. She said she wasn't protecting anyone at the board and had been truthful in the investigation.

Maiden said she wouldn't lie, even to protect someone. "I've never tried to do anything underhanded," she said.

But the judge sounded skeptical. "Telling the whole truth, that's what's important," Corrigan said. "I'm not convinced you've done that."

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, appointed as an outside investigator to look into the election board in Cleveland, told that judge that the women had been uncooperative in the investigation and appealed for prison time for both.

"The defendants have never come clean," he said.
...
Baxter criticized the outspoken support for the women from Robert Bennett, the election board chairman and head of the Republican Party in Ohio. Endorsing such criminal behavior is "amazing, it's astounding," according to Baxter, who didn't indicate if the investigation might lead to more charges.

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County's Election Director, Steve Harsman, Wholly Clueless...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2007 11:35am PT  

And still another complaint registered against DRE/touch-screen voting systems. It's Diebold's turn again this time. According to the Dayton Daily News...

DAYTON — A legal rights advocacy group wants Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to investigate complaints from about 20 voters that Montgomery County's [Diebold] touch screen electronic voting machines changed their votes during the November election.

The avalanche of these types of complaints and lawsuits is just beginning, people. Will Congress and Elections Officials figure it out any time soon?

In any case, it doesn't look like Montgomery County's Election Director, Steve Harsman, has joined the rest of us here in Reality Land yet.

Even after the story linked above detailed a member of the board of elections who "said the machine he used would not record his vote" properly, Harsman told the paper that "he believes most of the problems can be explained by voters unfamiliarity with the new machines, rather than equipment failure."

The BRAD BLOG begs to respectfully disagree with Harsman. We believe most of the problems can instead be explained by Mr. Harsman's overfamiliarity with the bullshit he's been peddled by Diebold, in addition to a complete Election Director failure.

E-Voting - Game Over. We win. They lose. Move on. Get over it. The only question now is how long it takes them to get it and how many more elections jerks like Harsman are willing to see trashed (and how many voters he's willing to trash along the way.)

(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "A Concerned Citizen")

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Big Doings in the Buckeye Today...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2007 3:48pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

As is too often the case, the proverbial shit seems most likely to hit the erstwhile fan whenever we're on the road and unable to cover the splatter sufficiently. This week has been no exception.

There is much movement in Ohio today as Michael Vu, the Election Director for Cuyahoga County, where two Election Officials were convicted two weeks ago of having rigged the 2004 Presidential recount, has now finally resigned from the Board of Elections after what is hopefully his last failed election.

The official BoE statement generously says: "Michael Vu has chosen to pursue future career growth and will resign as director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections March 1 of this year."

In related news --- and speaking of failed elections and "future career growth" --- the office of the new Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, has now officially requested an audit of the SoS's office over the last two years as it was led by the corrupt former SoS and democracy-hater J. Kenneth Blackwell.

In addition to the $80,000 in bonuses given to employees on the way out the door, and the $250,000 settlement Blackwell agreed to concerning the 2004 Election last December (as we reported two weeks ago), Brunner expressed a new concern in her hand-delivered letter to the Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor: Shredded documents.

As reported today by the Columbus Dispatch:

Brunner cites five major concerns that prompted her request, including the revelation that a member of her transition team witnessed "many shredding machines in operation" while Blackwell was in office — and those machines are no longer in the office.

"We hope that this does not affect your ability to perform the complete and thorough audit that we request," Brunner wrote.

Blackwell shredding documents?! We're shocked! Shocked!

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