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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 23, 2014
Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Veterans' Affairs ID can be used to vote under new GOP voting restrictions in TX. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
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...
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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?...

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...


In letter to federal Election Assistance Commission, investigators from CA's unprecedented e-vote review blast the approval of flawed protocols in certification tests for new Diebold e-voting system...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2009 4:25pm PT  

A group of computer scientists and security experts from California's 2007 landmark "Top-to-Bottom Review" (TTBR) of electronic voting systems have sent a two-page letter [PDF] of condemnation to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), taking the federal body to task for their approval of misused security findings from the TTBR in recent certification testing for a new e-voting system made by Diebold/Premier.

The voting system, Premier's Assure 1.2 --- made by Premier Election Solutions, Inc. (formerly named Diebold Election System, Inc. and recently purchased by Election System and Software, Inc.) --- was granted federal certification by the EAC last August under new test protocols which "should not have received the EAC's approval," according to the letter penned by Aaron Burstein and Joseph Lorenzo Hall, and signed by twelve other investigators and participants in the TTBR project.

The letter was addressed to the EAC's Director of Testing and Certification Brian Hancock, a longtime official at the commission with a disturbing background of helping to hedge test results for other electronic voting systems...

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

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Paul DeGregorio's 'Everyone Counts' was paid to carry out fully unverifiable, unsecure Internet, phone election in Honolulu
Voter participation plummets 83% to boot...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2009 12:20pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

As if the former U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio hadn't done enough damage to our nation's electoral system during his disastrous reign as a commissioner from 2003 to 2007, it looks like he's now more than happy to cash in on his Bush-appointed public post in the private sector as Chief Operating Officer for a dubious Internet voting operation.

Everyone Counts (E1C) is the San Diego-based firm which ran "America's first all-digital online and telephone election" in Honolulu, which was completed last week. That's the way it was described by Aaron Contorer, the company's Chief of Products and Partnership, in a very thinly disguised press release, sadly posted, as if a news article, recently by Huffington Post. [Full Disclosure: We also contribute articles to HuffPo, though we try to offer news, rather than press releases.]

As COO of Everyone Counts, DeGregorio has posted a video commercial (and a bad one at that, see the bottom of this article where it's re-posted) on his bio page at the company website. His face is also featured on the front page of their site. In the short video, DeGregorio crows about his 22 years in the election "business" while posing in front of the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument in D.C.

Trading on his former self-proclaimed status as "America's chief election official," DeGregorio endorses the private company for which he now works, noting in the video: "I've been involved in this business for 22 years, having risen to the, America's Chief election official. And I have found that Everyone Counts is the place for me to be, because it's the only organization that provides transparency, accessibility, security and choice. And I think that's the most important thing for any election official, anywhere in the world."

While evidently accuracy doesn't even make DeGregorio's list of "most important thing[s] for any election official" --- not surprising, given his oversight, during his tenure at the EAC, of federal approval for myriad electronic voting systems that fail to meet federal accuracy standards --- the idea that EC's Internet voting schemes provide "transparency" seems to be entirely without evidence, as The BRAD BLOG confirmed with a representative of the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office which sponsored last week's election.

Moreover, Everyone Counts' virtual election in Hawaii, according to late news reports this week, seems to have been a dismal failure, at least if the 83% plummet in voter participation might be taken as any indication, in addition to the election's lack of transparency and verifiability.

Numerous commenters, including us, left responses to Contorer's misleading and disinformative HuffPo item, noting serious concerns about E1C's "all-digital" voting scheme. Concerns were expressed by many posters about citizens' lack of ability to verify the accuracy of votes cast, and of transparency and security in the system which, Contorer claims, employs "military-grade encryption technology." He goes on to try to convince readers that it's also "faster, more reliable, and more secure than if they had voted on paper." He failed to answer to any of our critical comments, however, and neither did he offer evidence to back up his claims about his company's superior reliability and security over fully-transparent, paper-ballot voting.

Despite his shameless promotion, and an offer in his video to contact him with any questions, DeGregorio himself did no better in responding to our request for comment in regard to our concerns...

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

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Presentation to election officials underscores years of reporting at The BRAD BLOG, including dangers of voting machine 'sleepovers,' and Sequoia Voting Systems' continuing ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2009 4:02pm PT  

- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

"I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to...make bad things happen," CIA cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall explained, in a stunning presentation to a U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) field hearing held one month ago in Orlando.

As initially reported earlier this week by Greg Gordon at McClatchy, "Stigall said that voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said that election officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines."

"The CIA got interested in electronic systems a few years ago," Gordon reports Stigall as explaining at the EAC hearing, "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

But as disturbing as Stigall's presentation was, what's almost as disturbing is that it took more than 11 days, McClatchy's coverage, a number of FOIA requests from VotersUnite's John Gideon (a frequent guest blogger here), and a couple of articles from BRAD BLOG alum, Michael Richardson of the Examiner (his coverage is here and here), before the EAC finally released the complete transcript of the meeting [WORD], including Stigall's remarks.

"The presenter did not provide the presentation, 'Computers and Elections: The Growing Potential for Cyber Vote Fraud', to the EAC, so we have no materials responsive to your request," Gideon was told in response to his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the EAC, as reported by Richardson. "We received the transcript on March 16, 2009, and it will be publicly available in the next few days."

As of last night, 10 days since the EAC admits they received the transcript of their own event which had taken place 20 days earlier, they had neither sent it to Gideon in response to his request, nor posted it on their website. As of this morning, a month since the hearing, it's finally up on their website, thanks in part, no doubt, to the pressure brought on the EAC by the public to do so. Even then, Stigall's remarks are not posted separately, as other presentations are, but rather, one has to go looking for the full transcript of the actual event to find it. So why both the delay and obfuscation from the famously dysfunctional (a nice way to put it) federal agency? Make your own best guesses, since there is no official explanation for the moment.

Happily, there were others at the meeting who had transcribed the CIA cybersecurity expert's startling remarks --- decimating the idea of supposedly "secure" e-voting --- independently, who then helped to bring it to the public's attention. Clearly, the strongly pro-e-voting EAC had/has little intention of doing so themselves.

Stigall's presentation, and we've got much more of it excerpted below, include a passel of disturbing thoughts. Many of them we've tried to impart on these pages for years, including comments which point up the dangers we've tried to warn about concerning pre-election voting machine "sleepovers" at the houses of pollworkers, and more indications of the dangers of Sequoia Voting Systems clandestine, on-going relationship with the Hugo Chavez-tied Venezuelan e-voting firm Smartmatic, as we reported exclusively here one year ago --- to little interest from the corporate media, despite Sequoia's claims to federal investigators that they had severed all ties with the firm...

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

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Startling admission made during public hearing in CA to consider decertification of the company's voting and tabulation software...
By Mitch Trachtenberg on 3/17/2009 11:06pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Mitch Trachtenberg, with Brad Friedman

Even the audit log system on current versions of Premier Election Solutions' (formerly Diebold's) electronic voting and tabulating systems --- used in some 34 states across the nation --- fail to record the wholesale deletion of ballots. Even when ballots are deleted on the same day as an election. That's the shocking admission heard today from Justin Bales, Premier's Western Region manager, at a State of California public hearing on the possible decertification of Diebold/Premier's tabulator system, GEMS v. 1.18.19.

An election system's audit logs are meant to record all activity during the system's actual counting of ballots, so that later examiners may determine, with certainty, whether any fraudulent or mistaken activity had occurred during the count. Diebold's software fails to do that, as has recently been discovered by Election Integrity advocates in Humboldt County, CA, and then confirmed by the CA Secretary of State. The flaws, built into the system for more than a decade, are in serious violation of federal voting system certification standards.

The problems may lead to decertification of the company's voting systems, as well as an examination of voting systems made by other companies to determine if they too may have been able to sneak such violations past both federal and state testers...

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

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New CA SoS report confirms findings of 'Humboldt Transparency Project,' discovers even more egregious failures in widely-used Diebold voting counting system
One of the citizens who designed the software, responsible for the startling discoveries, offers his thoughts...
By Mitch Trachtenberg on 3/4/2009 1:40pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Mitch Trachtenberg of the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has released a remarkable 13-page report [PDF] of her office's investigation into how the Diebold/Premier GEMS software silently dropped all votes contained on 197 ballots from the Humboldt County, California, November 2008 general election.

The report shows that this version of GEMS not only deleted a batch of ballots without any request by --- or alert to --- the elections staff, but also failed to note the deletion in the system's audit log. The report also points to other startling deficiencies with Diebold/Premier's software: "Key audit trail logs in GEMS version 1.18.19 do not record important operator interventions such as deletion of decks of ballots, assign inaccurate date and time stamps to events that are recorded, and can be deleted by the operator."

That's right. The Diebold/Premier vote tabulation system in question not only fails to record all events accurately, and sometimes at all, it also allows anyone with access to the system to completely delete audit logs, covering the tracks of any tampering that may have occurred, at any time, on the system.

Any of these flaws, the report concludes, "appears to violate the 1990 Voting System Standards to an extent that would have warranted failure of the GEMS version 1.18.19 system had they been detected and reported by the [federal] Independent Testing Authority [ITA] that tested the system."...

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

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By John Gideon on 3/3/2009 4:10pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Yesterday, the California Secretary of State released a letter [PDF] to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and a report of their findings with regards to the problem discovered in early December, in Humboldt Co., with disappearing ballots on the Diebold GEMS v. 1.18.19 voting system.

The letter actually challenges the EAC to take action in “requiring that, for every voting system certified by the EAC, the voting system vendor report any and all flaws and problems with the system to the EAC and to the elections officials in the states where the system is used when such flaws are discovered.” And Secretary Bowen has taken the action herself by sponsoring legislation in California that will do what she has challenged the EAC to do.

The report is amazing in that it reveals why our voting systems are failing. The issues with the GEMS software go much deeper than just the fact that the system may lose votes. The state also found readily apparent violations of the federal voting system standards. These violations seem to have been ignored by federal test labs, by the National Assoc. of State Election Directors (NASED), and their consultants who qualified the voting system for use, and by-passed CA Secretaries of State and their consultants.

The big question is, will the EAC, staffed by people who were involved in the original NASED “rubber-stamp” of GEMS 1.18.19, take any action? Will they post the letter and report it in their “clearinghouse?” We certainly hope so. The present CA Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, and her staff deserve congratulations and appreciation for a job well done so far. It will be interesting to hear what follow-up actions will now be taken on the federal and state levels....

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

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Exclusive: Discredited federal E-voting oversight commission issued an incorrect 2005 'legal advisory' helping to keep NY on a collision course with democracy
But it's not too late to save the last transparent electoral system in the United States...
By Andi Novick on 3/2/2009 3:45pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Andi T. Novick, Esq.

New York is the last state in the nation to have a non-computerized, transparent voting system. We still use immutable, theft-deterring mechanical lever machines to count our votes. (* - Please seen bottom of this article for a quick explanation of how lever machines work, for those who may not know.)

New Yorkers are fighting to keep their current voting system, notwithstanding that New York's legislature passed a law in 2005 that says we should give up our observable, reliable levers in exchange for unreliable, concealed software-based vote counting machines. Nearly 1,800 New Yorkers have signed a petition, and three counties (Dutchess, Ulster, and Columbia, all PDFs), have passed resolutions to save New York's lever voting system.

The Association of Towns (half of New York's entire population lives in towns) recently passed a resolution to save the levers [PDF], and Nassau, Greene, and other counties are presently considering similar action to retain New York's lever voting system.

Moreover, reliable sources have confirmed for me that neither the Governor nor the Attorney General nor the State Legislature that passed the "Election Reform and Modernization Act" (ERMA) want to replace the levers anymore either (what politician would want to be responsible for choosing to cut essential programs for hungry children or the elderly, just to be able to replace our superior and affordable voting system with budget-breaking computers that are notoriously corruptible and defective?). But the State Legislature has not repealed ERMA and the Attorney General, to date, has supported the State (not the citizens).

So what is driving New York State to stick with a law that so many in New York believe to be such a bad idea? As a New Yorker who has been talking to many election commissioners, legislators and citizens, I was surprised to learn how many people believe the "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA) actually banned lever machines.

I read HAVA. It clearly does not ban levers. I recently discovered what has helped fuel this misinformed opinion in part: it is the discredited position of the discredited U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), as detailed in a newly-unearthed document prepared for the state of Pennsylvania, at their request, in regard to the legality of lever voting machines.

Although the agency is not a court of law, and not even an agency deserving of deference for its opinions --- its allegiance has clearly been shown to be not with either voters or democracy --- the "HAVA-banned-levers" rumor was given the imprimatur of the EAC through this little-noticed document...

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By John Gideon on 2/24/2009 4:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

EAC Commissioner Rosemary Rodriguez has tendered her resignation and will return to Colorado to be the State Director for Senator Michael Bennet. Commissioner Rodriguez joins ex-Commissioners Soaries and Martinez who resigned before their term was up and not, like ex-Commissioner Hunter, to take another job in DC.

Lawmakers in New Jersey have taken the state backwards as the State Senate agreed with the House that the state should scrap plans to provide any verifiability in their elections. A requirement signed into law a few years ago should have required a "Voter-verifiable Paper Audit Trail" [VVPAT] on all of the state’s Direct Recording Electronic [DRE] voting machines over a year ago. Instead the deadline has been a moving target and will now, with signature of the Governor, go away...

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

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Maddening chain of email, querying the status of the Diebold failure discovered in Humboldt County, CA, illustrates the EAC's continued protection of e-voting vendors, at the expense of the voters
ALSO: CA said likely to decertify the flawed Diebold system, while the EAC fails to take any action at all...
By John Gideon on 2/23/2009 12:13pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

"It is through the Constitution that we control the reins of government and insure that it remains the protector of individual, unalienable Rights - i.e., the servant of the People.

"Therefore, it behooves the People to show the Government that the People know what their Rights are and what Government's obligations are, that the People are watching Government as it exercises its delegated powers and that the People are prepared to act if the Government steps outside the boundaries drawn around its power by the Constitution." --- We The People Foundation

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) works for the People. It doesn't work for special interests. It doesn't work for the voting system vendors. The EAC has an obligation, spelled out in its past advisories, public statements and, most importantly, in federal law, to carry out oversight of the voting systems we, the People, use in our federal elections. It does not matter that the EAC commissioners are not elected to their positions. They are still servants of the People.

Not long after being created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, the EAC published, on June 8, 2004, "Chairman Soaries' Remarks about Electronic Voting Security Strategy for the November 2004 Presidential Election." The comments, by then EAC Chairman DeForest "Buster" Soaries included recommendations "to insure election integrity and promote voter confidence in the administration of the 2004 federal election," and stated, in part: "[The] EAC should solicit information about suspicious electronic voting system activity including software programming and should request aggressive investigative and prosecutorial responses from the U.S. Department of Justice Elections Crimes Branch in the Criminal Division."

The above was restated in a July 13, 2004 "Commission Advisory Letter" [PDF].

It's clear that if there is to be any federal body to recommend investigation and/or prosecution to the DoJ, in regards criminal violation of federal law concerning voting systems, it is to be the EAC, the body charged with testing, certifying, and performing as the "national clearinghouse...with respect to the administration of federal elections" (42 U.S.C. § 15322) and the electronic voting systems employed across the country.

And yet, the EAC has continued to utterly fail in those duties, as a particularly maddening chain of inquiries and emails --- back-and-forth and round-and-round --- that we'd sent to the EAC commissioners and their spokesperson over the past three months illustrates all too well. All we were trying to do was get a simple answer to a very simple question...

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

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'If someone has good ideas for me, then we're gonna do it.'
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2009 2:21pm PT  

President-elect Barack Obama said today that there is "no pride of authorship" on his economic stimulus package. For good or bad, in regard to that particular initiative, this seems to me what a President should sound like. Let's hope he means it, and that this m.o. extends to all aspects of his Presidency. (appx 3 mins)...


As I've recently been consulted by Obama's team overseeing transition review of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and have offered what I believe to be some good ideas about serious reform for the so-far dreadfully-failed commission, I'll hope he means what he says in the above about accepting such ideas and putting them into practice. We shall see, but the words said above sound very good to my ears.

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Move to delay required guidance for states continues violation of federal law...
By John Gideon on 1/5/2009 1:17pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon and Ellen Theisen, VotersUnite.Org

There can be little doubt that, of the issues springing from elections held since George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, two are among the most significant. Those issues are failures of voting systems to meet the HAVA mandates for accuracy and accessibility and the confusion over the proper use of provisional ballots.

The states should have been able to look to the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) for guidance on both issues, but the EAC has failed to give the necessary Assistance, thus failing to fulfill duties assigned to the agency by federal law.

Now the EAC is proposing to extend its dereliction of duty for another two years. The result will be the publication of these important guidelines a full eight years after HAVA was enacted. The delay is inexcusable and intolerable, and the cost to American elections, on many fronts, is nearly incalculable...

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The Failures Discovered in Diebold's Tabulation System Are Even Worse Than Previously Reported...
...And Never Would Have Been Found Were it Not for the 'Humboldt Transparency Project'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2008 1:17pm PT  

Following up on the latest monumental failure by Diebold/Premier --- whose voting system was recently found by a citizens' transparency project to have lost hundreds of ballots in a single precinct in Humboldt County, CA --- Wired's Kim Zetter covered the issue earlier this week.

Her article touched on a number of technical issues involved in the failure of the Diebold GEMS central tabulator which, though we hadn't noted them in our own coverage, are nonetheless important, even if somewhat down in the weeds, and perhaps most of note to technical election integrity geeks only.

As quoted below in some detail from Zetter's report, she advances the story by noting:

  • The problem, which Diebold admits has been in its system for years, likely wouldn't have been noticed at all were it not for the unique, experimental, citizen-led "Humboldt Transparency Project." Even CA's required 1% random post-election "audit" wouldn't have uncovered the problem, since absentee ballots are not included in that audit.
  • The chances of the problem occurring, which resulted in ballots being deleted without notice by the Diebold GEMS tabulator, are rather high, even if chances of discovery of the error by election officials are very low.
  • Diebold's explanation for the failure may or may not be legitimate.
  • The GEMS internal "audit logs" (the GEMS system was used in 34 states around the nation last November) aren't actually audit logs at all, and may not actually note the complete set of events which occurred on the voting system, even if anyone is allowed to review those logs in the first place.

Let's take a look at the details...

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Hundreds of Lost Ballots, Illegal Voting System, and the Boondoggle Behind Billions of Federal Dollars Spent on Voting Machines That Don't Work All Illustrated by Simple Citizen Oversight, Free Open-Source Voting System in One California County...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2008 3:28pm PT  

By John Gideon and Brad Friedman

"Some people have called those who have long decried our nation's move toward voting machines nuts or just sore losers," reads the editorial from yesterday's Eureka Times-Standard.

"They were loud, and they were strident in proclaiming that they didn't trust election technologies as much as they trust the ability of actual human beings to count votes," the paper continues in response to the citizen's "Transparency Project" in Humboldt County, CA which, as The BRAD BLOG reported last week, discovered some 200 ballots that the county's Diebold optical-scan system had deleted from the initially certified count. Humboldt registrar Carolyn Crnich --- who deserves much credit for working with local election integrity advocates to allow them to create a more transparent, open-source optical-scan system as a check on the buggy Diebold hardware and software --- was forced to to re-certify the November 4th election with new results after the findings.

"The recent discovery, thanks to the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project, of a discrepancy in election results due to flawed software reveals that these activists were right to make noise, and right to complain about a company that has been less than responsible in dealing with the problem."

Thanks for noticing, Times-Standard. Now will the rest of the country notice? Specifically, will the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, responsible for testing and certifying these machines at the federal level, and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, responsible for enforcing federal laws --- which again seem to have been violated by Diebold (whose election division now calls themselves Premier) --- notice and take action?

Interviews with and responses from CA officials from Crnich to Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office indicate a serious problem, yet again, with Diebold's handling of the software failure which the company has known about for four years, even as they allowed election officials to continue using the same system in several states.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained a copy of Diebold's original terse, emailed notice of the software failure, sent to Crnich's predecessor in 2004, but never sent to CA's new Sec. of State, despite her "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all e-voting systems in the state which she undertook after taking office in 2007. (The Diebold email notice is posted below, in full.)

At the same time, local software programmer Mitch Trachtenberg, who developed the simple, transparent, open-source optical-scan software, using off-the-shelf hardware for the citizen's project --- including the ability to post all scanned ballots onto the web for citizen review --- may have inadvertently revealed the scam perpetuated by the nation's electronic voting machine vendor's who were allocated some $3.9 billion federal tax dollars for their efforts at creating proprietary systems, which don't even work as promised...or as required by federal law...

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

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Humboldt County's First-of-Its-Kind Citizen Oversight Program Finds 197 Ballots Dropped, Miscounted by Voting System in One Precinct
Company Knew About Software Flaw, Failed to Notify County...
By John Gideon on 12/5/2008 5:21am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

First I think congratulations are in order for Humboldt County California Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich. Crnich worked with local voters and began the "Humboldt Election Transparency Project". The Eureka Times-Standard describes the program like this:

The basic idea behind the first-of-its-kind transparency project is fairly simple: every ballot cast in an election is passed through an optical scanner after being officially counted and the images are then placed online and available for download.

Software, created by volunteer Mitch Trachtenberg, then allows viewers to sort the ballots by precinct or race to conduct recounts at their pleasure.

Crnich also deserves a big thank you, along with Trachtenberg, from the voters of Eureka Precinct 1E-45 because if not for the project and Trachtenberg's software their votes in the recent general election would not have been counted. The Times-Standard explains:

The first of its kind Humboldt Election Transparency Project has uncovered a glitch in the county election's software that resulted in almost 200 ballots not being counted and the county certifying inaccurate election results.

And this "glitch" in the Diebold/Premier GEMS central tabulator software has been known to the company since 2004, or so Crnich learned after exchanging several calls with the vendor...

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

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By John Gideon on 12/4/2008 4:30pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) was signed into law in Oct. 2002. Amongst other things HAVA required the formation of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and provided some mandates, in Title III of the law, for federal elections including some standards for voting systems. Those standards include, but are not limited to, accessibility for voters with disabilities and accuracy in the vote count. Testing by experts in accessibility has shown that none of the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems presently in use meet the requirements for accessibility for disabled voters. Failures in testing and vote counting in real elections have also proven that, at times, the voting systems presently being used across the country do not meet the federally mandated requirements for accuracy.

So what guidance has been provided by the EAC to the states with regards to Title III? Well, actually none. In fact even though voting systems presently in use do not meet federal law the EAC is just now getting around to issuing guidance to state and local election officials and, according to the draft of the plan ‘featured’ below, it is going to take another two years before the EAC can complete the guidance.

Why can’t they just tell the vendors and the states that the law is clear and, if they fail to follow that law, violations will be referred to the DoJ? The fact that the vendors misrepresent their products as being accessible is a clear violation of the law. It is time they are held responsible and it doesn’t take two years of studying Title III of HAVA to make that clear....

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

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