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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, December 20, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Just in Time for Transition, Let Them Hear From You by Dec. 8th!...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2008 11:21am PT  

Here's your chance to offer helpful thoughts, advice and concerns to the federal commission tasked with overseeing U.S. election administration, testing and certification of voting machines and (theoretically) serving as a national "clearinghouse" for problems with such machines.

High-ranking sources within both the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and Obama transition team have indicated to The BRAD BLOG that changes are likely afoot for the executive branch commission as the new administration begins to take control of it. Now is likely a very good moment for you to speak up to them about it.

From an EAC press release just issued today...

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Chair Rosemary E. Rodriguez invites the public to submit written testimony for the EAC's December 8th public meeting, which includes a panel discussion about the 2008 Election Day Survey and voting system performance. The meeting agenda is available at www.eac.gov.

"Public interest in voting system performance has not waned since the November election, which is why I think it is important to include this topic in the December public meeting," said Chair Rodriguez. "I would like to invite the public to provide written testimony on this topic or any others on the meeting agenda, and will direct EAC staff to post all testimony received at www.eac.gov.
...
Written testimony for the public meeting should be submitted by e-mail to HAVAinfo@eac.gov. Deadline for receiving testimony is Monday, December 8, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. To ensure your e-mail is directed appropriately, please include "December 8 public meeting testimony" in the subject line. For further assistance, contact the EAC toll-free at 1-866-747-1471.

As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...
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Failure Discovered During Pre-Election Testing on Systems Used Widely Throughout U.S.; Company Failed to Perform Maintenance
Letter Sent from County to Federal Officials Last Week; Has EAC Notified Other Jurisdictions as Per Their Federal Mandate?...
By John Gideon on 11/3/2008 3:05pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) received this letter [PDF] well over a week ago from Oakland County, MI, concerning ES&S precinct-based optical-scan systems that "yielded different results each time" the "same ballots were run through the same machines"...

The issue is this - four of our communities or eight percent - reported inconsistent vote totals during their logic and accuracy testing with the ES&S machines. The same ballots, run through the same machines, yielded different results each time.
...
ES&S determined that the primary issue was dust and debris build-up on the sensors inside the M-100.
...
Unfortunately, they [local clerks] are prohibited from performing any maintenance/cleaning on the machines as it voids the warranties. ES&S has not performed any preventative maintenance under the state contract, since the machines were delivered three years ago.

This problem, discovered during pre-election "Logic & Accuracy" testing of the systems, would hardly be the first time that ES&S has failed to deliver on maintenance contracts, adversely affecting voters and election results in the bargain. We saw many similar problems during the 2006 primary election cycle. These precinct-based scanners are used throughout the nation, as ES&S is the nation's largest distributor of voting systems in the U.S.

The EAC received this letter a week ago, and we're trying to learn when it was finally posted to their website. But, more importantly, as they have a mandate via the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 to serve as a "clearinghouse" for such voting system problems, has the EAC sent a warning about this issue to any other jurisdictions where the same equipment or company is used?

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By John Gideon on 11/1/2008 4:21pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

3 days until Election Day.

Just a comment to those who want to dismiss ‘vote-flipping’ as voter error. All kinds of people go to the polls to vote. They are highly educated and high-school dropouts. Rich and poor. They have long fingernails and nails bitten to the quick. They have thin fingers and wide fingers. They are going to softly touch the screen or touch it hard. Vendors and election officials tend to blame vote-flipping on the voters. They touched the screen too hard; drug their finger; had long fingernails; or their fingers touched too large an area. So, is it the voters fault? NO! It is the vendors who designed, built and sold these machines that don’t work for all voters and it is the election officials who bought those machines.

A large majority of the ‘vote-flipping’ has been on older ES&S iVotronic DREs; those machines that were featured on last year’s Dan Rather Reports. The cheaply built, poorly tested touch screens that were used as components on those systems should have been scrapped long ago. It’s not the voters fault and this constant pointing of fingers is wrong. The vendors need to remember that when they point a finger at the voters they have three fingers pointing back at the real culprit, themselves; and it makes no difference what those fingers look like, they are the fingers of blame....

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

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By John Gideon on 9/19/2008 4:35pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

It is now a bit fun watching some previously silent news organizations fall all over themselves as they suddenly recognize that our election process is seriously flawed. Today CNN reported, and many smaller organizations picked up the report, that the GAO released a report this week on voting system testing that finds that the Election Assistance Commission [EAC] has not notified election officials across the country about electronic voting machine failures.

This has been no secret within the Election Integrity community and has been one of our main complaints about the EAC. Voting systems fail and the EAC does nothing about it. They argue instead that none of the voting systems were certified by the EAC so they have no right/mandate to do anything about them. The GAO recommends that congress step in with legislation to force this issue.

We agree but dislike the fact that we have to wait on a snail-slow congress to do anything. CNN also reports on the CommonCause/Century Foundation report that was also released this week and that points to 10 states that they believe will have problems in Nov. My guess is that the “ten states” will grow substantially to 40 or more by election day and on beyond.

Also in the news is that the re-re-recount of ballots in Palm Beach Co Florida is taking place today and tomorrow. One can only guess what they are going to find. Ballots from 2004? Punch cards with hanging chads?

And a member of the Washington DC council has subpoenaed Sequoia for records that may reveal what really happened in the recent primary. Could it be that the council will find that the Sequoia spokeswoman, Michelle Shafer’s, declaration that the company is not at fault; “No, no, no” is really “Yes, yes, yes”? ...

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

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No Official Explanation Yet for Holly Lowder's Sudden and Unexpected Departure, Just 60 Days Prior to Presidential Election in a Very Important 'Swing State'
...But We Have a Few Well-Informed Guesses...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2008 10:31pm PT  

From Rocky Mountain News today...

The director of elections at the secretary of state's office resigned suddenly Thursday.

The departure of Holly Lowder, former Alamosa County clerk, comes two months before what is expected to be one of the biggest elections in recent Colorado history. Lowder's work centered on the implementation of the new statewide voter registration system, said Richard Coolidge, spokesman for the agency.

Lowder could not be reached for comment.
...
Coolidge would not give details on why Lowder stepped down. He said Thursday was her last day.
...
Larimer County Clerk Scott Doyle said Lowder was more involved with the voter database early on but had become less involved in recent months.

AP reports that county officials were notified of Lowder's departure via email on Thursday, from the SoS office, which noted only that she had "retired and wanted to 'pursue other opportunities.'"

Sources in CO tell us there will be more coming, likely tomorrow, on this. We're also told that there may be a salacious aspect here that might just make the well-worn euphemism about "election officials being in bed with voting machine vendors," um, somewhat more than just a euphemism. (Talk about your voting machine "sleepovers"!)

[See update for more details on the above, now at bottom of article!]

Aside from the noteworthiness of Lowder's sudden exit, as pointed out in the article, in regard to the importance of Colorado in this year's elections --- the state's 9 electoral votes are thought to be very much up for grabs this year, despite going to Bush in the previous two elections --- BRAD BLOG readers will remember a bit of the background here concerning the utterly dysfunctional state of e-voting in the Centennial State under their current SoS, Mike Coffman...

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

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UPDATED WITH VIDEO: CNN's Lou Dobbs Covers Stunning Admission...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2008 5:17pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Boulder, CO...

If you didn't happen to pay close enough attention to Ellen Theisen's guest blog on Friday, now that I'm back on the grid (after a few blissful days in the mountains with family friends on the way to Denver here), let me re-iterate the main points of her article quite directly: Diebold has admitted that their tabulator software, known as GEMS, and used all across the country, in at least 34 states, does not count votes correctly.

In fact, it actually loses votes, by not counting them at all, yet gives the system administrator no indication that the votes were not counted. Instead, it tells them that all votes have been counted correctly. This bug has been in Diebold's software --- where it remains to this day-- for years. Diebold has only admitted it now that it's been found by someone else (a number of counties in Ohio, of all places) and with the 2008 Presidential election less than 80 days away. Washington Post's coverage here.

Coinciding with that startling admission, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)'s Gracia Hillman, one of the two Democratic-recommended appointees, has gone on public record stating that the federal certification testing process is too stringent.

While all of that was made clear in Ellen's blog item, I found both of the above points so remarkable that I wanted to underscore them now that I've finally made it to Denver (or at least Boulder, for the moment), since I was simply stunned to read it myself after getting back on the grid.

Is anybody there? Does anybody care?

UPDATE: CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight covered the stunning admission by Diebold on their show Friday. Here it is (thanks to Alan Breslauer, as usual!) ...


UPDATE 8:43pm PT: McClatchy's Greg Gordon picks up the ball, and advances it a bit, noting the failure in oversight by the feds which allowed for the failure, as we've been trying to get across here for years. He begins this way...

Warning on voting machines reveals oversight failure

WASHINGTON — Disclosure of an election computer glitch that could drop ballot totals for entire precincts is stirring new worries that an unofficial laboratory testing system failed for years to detect an array of flaws in $1.5 billion worth of voting equipment sold nationwide since 2003.

Texas-based Premier Elections Solutions [Diebold] last week alerted at least 1,750 jurisdictions across the country that special precautions are needed to address the problem in tabulation software affecting all 19 of its models dating back a decade.

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Democratic Appointee Wants Fewer Safe Guards, Even as Diebold Admits Their Tabulator Software --- Used All Across the Country --- Loses Votes...
By Ellen Theisen on 8/22/2008 8:00am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org

Many jurisdictions are realizing their voting systems are horribly flawed and they want to get them fixed before November. But the new systems currently under test by the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) have so many defects that the manufacturers have to keep repairing them before testing can continue. Consequently the EAC has not certified anything yet.

Kudos to the EAC for this!

But Gracia Hillman, one of the EAC Commissioners, recommends a way around this “roadblock” for the jurisdictions using systems that are no good. She suggests a contingency plan that would allow the jurisdictions to use new and different systems that are no good, but at least they would comply with their state laws. Her ideas:

1) Emergency Certification of Voting System Modifications;

2) Waiver of EAC Certification;

Unbelievable.

The systems are so bad they can’t meet the federal standards, so to get around this “roadblock,” Commissioner Hillman proposes to bypass the testing process.

She wants the EAC to bless new, defective systems for the vendors to sell to replace the old, defective systems that are currently in use.

But that’s what NASED (National Association of State Election Directors) did when it oversaw the voting system testing process, and the decade-long, widespread use of Premier/Diebold’s vote-losing software is one of the results.

After ten years of use in election after election, all across the country, Premier/Diebold’s vote-dropping software flaw has finally come to light — thanks to Butler County, Ohio’s Elections Director Betty L. McGary and Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2008 3:53pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

A lot of voting zeitgeist in the media of late. What took ya so long, folks? Wanted to wait until it was largely too damned late to do anything about it? Same story. New year.

In any case, on the road to Denver right now, so time enough only to round up some of the most notable must-reads on everything from: The GOP "voter fraud" scam growing in intensity between here and November (a theme I'll also be discussing in my column for the UK's Guardian this week); Election officials finally acknowledging their machines don't work, but remaining unwilling to correctly place the blame or otherwise do much about it; Faint glimmers of actual improvement at the previously dreadful U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC); A bit of news from the "Rove Cybergate" election fraud case in OH, and; The one phrase you'll want to get very well familiar with between here and November 2 (hint: my name is in it, but it has nothing to do with me.)

Read on...

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

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Election Officials Finally Acknowledge Voting Machines Problems, But Seem Unwilling to do Much About It...
NYTimes Incorrectly Lays The Blame For A Lack of New Voting System Improvements On Federal Certification Process
By John Gideon on 8/17/2008 11:07am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

The New York Times has again given a platform to the voting machine vendors to voice their displeasure with a system that is forcing them to actually provide voting systems that are fully tested and certified. The vendors, and some election officials, seem to want to continue the old system of poorly tested and rubber-stamped voting systems counting our votes.

In his article, Ian Urbina, quotes Jennifer Brunner, who says:

“We need the federal oversight to create consistent standards and to hold the manufacturers to a certain level of quality, but we also have to be able to get the equipment when we need it. Right now, that equipment is not coming, and we’re left making contingency plans.”

If Brunner expects high quality and consistent standards, all she needs to do is look to the vendors and question them on why they put out a product that fails in testing. Her state's recent countersuit of Premier/Diebold was a start, but why did she wait until she was sued by the vendor before taking that step? As we asked recently, why did she ignore the pleadings of Election Integrity Attorneys and computer scientists who counseled her to file a suit against Premier/Diebold for breach of contract for so long?

Brunner also needs to question the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) qualification system (most often referred to as "federal certification" by most officials and vendors) and those involved in the process as to why they allowed non-compliant voting systems to be given their stamp of approval on behalf of the federal government in the first place. If the so-called federal Independent Test Authorities and NASED had done their jobs prior to 2007, the machines used in Ohio and the rest of the nation would not now be constantly failing, and the voters would have far more confidence in the electoral system.

Doug Chapin of the Pew Center project electionline.org must have just come from last week's Election Center conference, where election officials and vendor representatives gather and talk about issues of importance to the lucrative American Voting Industry. He is quoted in the Times with this remarkable comment...

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

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Federal Commission is Told New Certification Process for E-Voting Systems Is Too Difficult for Vendors, Too Slow to Approve New Systems...
By John Gideon on 7/14/2008 7:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite

As set up by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) receives some advice from a Board of Advisors. The Board is made up of a set number of people representing groups like the National Association of Secretaries of State; National Governors Association; International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers; congressional leaders; and even two members of The Election Center, a vendor-sponsored group that promotes electronic voting. There are no voters groups and no one from the election integrity community on the Board. But then, who cares what the voters think?

The Board of Advisors is advising [PDF, pg 7] the EAC, via resolution, that they need to speed-up the certification process for voting systems. They want the system to be what it was under the old, rubber-stamp system headed by the National Association of State Elections Directors (NASED). They want the same system of testing and certification that has resulted in our voting systems failing in many elections and not even being compliant with federal standards.

Incredibly, the Board's recommendation to the EAC goes so far as to admit that a failed "common practice" of the past should, apparently, be re-instituted under the newer certification system. "The common practice since the introduction of electronic voting systems," they wrote, "has been to make hardware and software upgrades based on issues found in the most recent election in sufficient time to improve the voting systems for the next general election."

That is a stunning admission. That that is a system they'd like to return to is even more stunning.

The EAC is holding a public meeting in Phoenix later this month and the Board of Advisors' resolution is to be discussed by the commissioners. I sent the following email to the commissioners and staff of the EAC to voice my concerns about the resolution.

My letter to them follows in full below...

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

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A Concrete Example of Why the Voting System Test Standards are All Form and No Substance...
By John Washburn on 7/2/2008 7:03am PT  

Guest blogged by John Washburn

I have been a long time critic of the federal 2002 Voting System Standards (2002 VSS) and of the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (2005 VVSG). In fact, both sets of standards are virtually worthless. There are two reasons for this. First, the requirements enumerated in the standards are, in and of themselves, much too weak for something as vital as administering an election. Second, both sets of standards have an explicit loophole that allows almost all the requirements — weak as they are — to be ignored. This second objection was first brought to my attention two years ago by Howard Stanislevic.

We now have proof that this loophole is used by the labs in order to “pass” systems that don’t meet the standards. The proof is laid out clearly in the most recent certification test report submitted to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) by SysTest labs (one of the labs accredited by the EAC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology - NIST). SysTest recommended certification for the new voting system by Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold) even though the lab's findings listed 79 specific failures to meet the standards.

As you read this article, keep in mind that the standards actually allow 77 of these 79 failures to be ignored!...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2008 10:34am PT  

From the St. Petersburg Times...

Two pieces of malicious software detected Thursday have been removed from Pinellas County's voting tabulation system.

The two bugs, known as Flush.G and W32.SillyDC, work in tandem and go from computer to computer redirecting Internet browsers to sites the user hasn't selected, officials said. The worm is carried through removable media like USB drives, is easily detected and, officials say, rather harmless.

Pinellas Deputy Supervisor of Elections Rick Becker said the worm isn't the kind of Trojan horse that would be used to corrupt a computer voting system and was unsure just where it came from.

And yet, we're often told by voting machine companies that viruses can't get into these systems. Then there are the election officials who have bought into these systems, yet know nothing about them, who respond to the public and the media as if they do, regularly making ridiculous claims that such problems can't happen because "at no time are our systems connected to the Internet."

Whether they are or aren't, it's an absurd response. Malicious software can get into the system any number of ways, via non-Internet networking, USB thumb drives, etc. It can then undedectably affect an election without detection.

In the Summer of 2006, after my organization, VelvetRevolution.us, was given a Diebold touch-screen system from an insider source, we loaned it to Prinecton for testing and they were able to insert a vote-flipping virus via the memory card which could pass itself from machine to machine and flip an entire election without detection.

And, of course, on the first day of Early Voting in the now-infamous FL-13 Congressional race in 2006 where 18,000 votes mysteriously and still-inexplicably disappeared, a malicious viral worm took down a key part of the network infrastructure on which the registration system ran, grinding voting to a halt that day.

Similarly, exclusively reported thereafter, the scientists who studied the ES&S voting machines used in that FL-13 election discovered that the ES&S touchscreen systems --- used in some 16 different states --- were also vulnerable to the same type of virus that Prinecton was able to insert into the Diebold machines. To this day, despite being told about it by the scientists who discovered the problem, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) refuses to warn jurisdictions that use the same machine model about its vulnerability, even though it was described as potentially even more serious than the one discovered in the Diebold systems.

Other than that, everything's fine. Nothing to see here. Move along, folks.

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Retelling of Florida's 2000 Election Debacle Condenses 36 Days of Aborted Democracy into 2 Hours of Taut, Heartbreaking Political Suspense
...And Yet, the Lessons Continue to be Ignored...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2008 1:05am PT  

I don't mind admitting it. For an Election Integrity journalist, HBO's Recount is pure pornography. Anticipation for Sunday's Memorial Day premiere showing was at the top of last weekend's holiday agenda. And the excitement grew still more late Friday when the good folks of PDA Florida made my week (my month? my year? my last four eight years?) by sending me an actual Palm Beach County "CES Votomatic III" voting booth, one which they tell me was among the 24 used in HBO's film itself.

Since I have a very difficult time paying the bills around here --- contrary to popular opinion, election integrity blogging isn't the windfall it might otherwise appear --- perhaps I'll consider the kind gift a reward for my too-many years on this beat. Though perhaps my consolation prize would be a better way to look at it.

When I first opened it, actual chads (HBO's film advises the plural of "chad" is actually "chad") from the 2000 election spilled out of the machine all over the office floor. The gods of democracy and the goddess of the Butterfly Ballot were taunting me. I rather enjoyed it. I learned long ago that I'd have little choice.

So it was with great anticipation that I sat down on Sunday night to watch the film as it premiered, along with the "Diebold Document Whistleblower" (and my new colleague at VelvetRevolution.us) Steven Heller and his wife, and Robert Carillo Cohen, one of the filmmakers of HBO's landmark documentary, the Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy which enjoyed a re-airing earlier in the day, as the cable net set the stage for its newest democracy thriller/heart-breaker, Recount.

None of us, including Heller, who anticipated hating the fictionalized re-telling of America's crushing democratic abortion of 2000, would be disappointed...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2008 7:05am PT  

Earlier this week I posted my invitation to address the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), on behalf of The BRAD BLOG, at a roundtable of "Voter Advocates" to discuss the proposed 2007 federal Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG).

Given the primary in PA this week and other considerations, as I noted then, it seemed wiser for me to stay back here in LA rather than travel to and from DC this week. So I asked computer security expert and e-voting specialist Dr. Rebecca Mercuri to sit in for us. She did so yesterday, and will be joining Peter B. Collins and me tonight on his radio show, during my weekly Friday guest appearance (5pm PT, 8pm ET, listen online here) to report on how things went.

I was, at least, able to submit my own written statement to the EAC, with my fairly direct thoughts on the VVSG and the nightmare such federal certification standards have wrought. The statement is now posted [PDF] at the EAC website, along with some of the statements from some of the other participants, and it's also posted in full below.

I'll try to update this item with the audio from the PBC show later tonight, and Dr. Mercuri will likely post her own report in full here at The BRAD BLOG in the coming days.

Update: Audio from the PBC Show, with myself and Dr. Mercuri discussing the EAC roundtable, now available for download [MP3], or online listening here (commercials removed, appx 42 mins)...

My written testimony/statement to the EAC follows in full below. Please enjoy, and feel free to let me know what you think in comments...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2008 1:41pm PT  

We were both pleased and mildly surprised to see the invitation arrive from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) a few weeks back, asking us to come to DC, on their dime, to participate this coming Thursday in a one day "Voting Advocate Roundtable Discussion" on the proposed 2007 federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG).

Our invitation, from EAC Chair Rosemary Rodriguez, is posted at the end of this article.

Even while we've been nothing short of merciless in our criticism of the EAC, over the years here at The BRAD BLOG, the outreach is both welcome and appreciated, even as we are always very aware of all of the pitfalls associated with participating in such a process. Yet, with our eyes wide open, we see the opportunity to participate in the process, in hopes --- futile or otherwise --- of attempting to steer it back towards the rails which were jumped at the federal level long ago, as a hopefully positive one. Call us eternal optimists, but, as long time readers here likely recognize, we have never been one to slap down an olive branch offered, for whatever reason it may have been offered in the first place.

As you might suspect, we have some very strong opinions about the VVSG --- all 598 dizzying, yet wholly inadequate pages of it [PDF] --- and the disastrous course it will continue to enable for our election system, if accepted as currently proposed.

For a number of reasons, not the least of which was today's important primary in PA, we thought it better to be in or near the BRAD BLOG Anchor Desk this week, rather than in the air all day Wednesday, off the grid all day Thursday for the meeting, and back in the air all day Friday...

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