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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, November 24, 2014
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Announces Meeting to Discuss Florida...to be Held in Washington DC...
By John Gideon on 4/27/2007 8:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Yesterday the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) announced that "Special Circumstances" would require them to hold a public hearing next Tuesday, 1 May in Washington DC. The "Special Circumstances"?

It seems that the state of Florida asked the EAC if they could use funds provided under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to replace their present paperless touch-screen DRE voting systems and someone at the EAC told the state that they didn't think it would be alright for the state to spend their HAVA funds for anything like going to a paper based voting system. But, the EAC representative said that the Commissioners would have to get together and vote on the issue.

So, yesterday the commission announced when that vote would take place; May 1. That's three working days from now. That's three days for the state and the state's very active Election Integrity community to prepare their statements in favor of spending the states own funds for their own voting system.

And, this public meeting that is very important to the state of Florida --- will be convened in Washington DC to ensure that the commissioners make it as hard as possible for anyone to attend and voice their opinions.

The EACs "Sunshine Notice" announcement is for a meeting that is murky and as closed as the EAC can possibly make it without directly violating federal law.

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Tova Andrea Wang, Co-Author of Bi-Partisan 'Voter Fraud and Voter Intimidation Report' for the Election Assistance Commission, Calls for an End to the Censorship in Wake of EAC's Altering of Her Report...
UPDATED
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007 12:10pm PT  

In a just released statement [PDF], Tova Andrea Wang, a Democracy Fellow at the Century Foundation --- co-author of a report that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) attempted to bury --- has announced that the federal commission of Presidential appointees has refused to allow her to speak directly about her report and the action taken by the EAC to alter its findings and hide her original report from public view.

Despite the controversy surrounding the bi-partisan report and Wang's desire to participate in the discussion as the report's co-author, the EAC --- at the heart of several controversies of late and increasing Congressional scrutiny --- has barred her from speaking about it.

"It has been my desire to participate in this discussion and share my experience as a researcher, expert and co-author of the report," Wang says in her statement. "Unfortunately, the EAC has barred me from speaking."

Her official legal requests have been ignored by the commission.

"Early last week, through my attorney, I sent a letter to the Commission requesting that they release me from this gag order. Despite repeated follow-up, the EAC has failed to respond to this simple request. In the meantime, not only can I not speak to the press or public --- it is unclear under the terms of my contract with the EAC whether I can even answer questions from members of Congress."

"As numerous press reports indicate, the conclusions that we found in our research and included in our report were revised by the EAC, without explanation or discussion with me, my co-author or the general public," Wang continues...

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

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Joseph Rich Discusses Politicization of DoJ Voting Rights Unit
ACORN Rep Discusses Vast Right Wing 'Voter Fraud' Conspiracy...
By Alan Breslauer on 4/24/2007 1:56pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Amy Goodman interviews (18:04) former Justice Department Attorney Joe Rich and Bertha Lewis of New York's ACORN on today's Democracy Now! Rich, who left Justice in 2005 after 36 years in the Civil Rights Division, was the head of the voting section from 1999 to 2005. He discusses the politicization of virtually all elements of the Justice Department including the administration's emphasis on voter fraud with aims at suppressing the vote....

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

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Two MSM Articles Today Detail Long Overdue Congressional Scrutiny Finally Coming to Bear Against the Agency of Presidential Appointees Responsible for Overseeing the Entire U.S. Election System
As well as a Newly Noted Connection Reported Between the EAC and the Politically Appointed Bush Players at DoJ...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2007 4:32pm PT  

Given all of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC)'s extraordinary failures of late, there's little time for the moment to review them all. See our EAC category page for the tip of the iceberg.

That said then, two notable articles are published today which go to town (and rightly so) on the EAC, detailing just some of their most recent failures --- namely, their withholding and/or rewriting of two important reports for clearly partisan reasons, but at whose direction? --- and the newly awakened Congressional response to those failures. As well, a few names are named that are names we've heard named before as being at the center of the politicization of the DoJ's Civil Rights voting unit, but popping up again over at the EAC. Whodathunkit?...

--- 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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Scientific Report Finds 'Serious Security Vulnerability' Similar to 'Princeton Diebold Virus Hack' in Widely Used iVotronic System, Allowing a Single Person to Change Election Results Across Entire County Without Detection
Despite GAO Confirmed Mandate to Serve as Info 'Clearinghouse,' Embattled EAC Says They Will Take No Action to Alert Elections Officials, Public
By Michael Richardson on 4/16/2007 9:05am PT  

By Michael Richardson and Brad Friedman

While revelations surrounding the mysterious 18,000 "undervotes" in the November 2006 U.S. House election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan in Florida's 13th Congressional district continue to inform the nation about the dangers of electronic voting machines, new information has recently come to light exposing a shocking lack of responsible oversight by those entrusted with overseeing the certification of electronic voting systems at the federal level.

An investigation into what may have gone wrong in that election has revealed a serious security vulnerability on some, and possibly all, versions of the iVotronic touch-screen voting system widely used across the country. The iVotronic is a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machine manufactured by Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), the nation's largest distributor of such systems.

The vulnerability is said to allow for a single malicious user to introduce a virus into the system which "could potentially steal all the votes in that county, without being detected," according to a noted computer scientist and voting system expert who has reviewed the findings.

And yet, despite their federal mandate to serve as a "clearinghouse" to the nation for such information, a series of email exchanges between an Election Integrity advocate and officials at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) has revealed that the federal oversight body is refusing to notify states of the alarming security issue.

The recent email conversation shows that even in light of the EAC's review of the warning from the computer scientist who characterized the "security hole" as severe, needing to be "taken very seriously," and among the most serious ever discovered in a voting system, the EAC is unwilling to take action.

Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have taken the EAC to task for a failure to meet their legislated mandate for informing the public and elections officials about such matters. However, a review of the email communications to and from the EAC's Jeannie Layson shows that the federal body is steadfast in their refusal to take action to alert either elections officials or the public about the security risk recently discovered by a team of eight noted computer scientists.

The EAC's current Chairwoman, Executive Director, Director of Voting System Certification, and other top officials at both the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), and even the GAO, were included in the series of email communications, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

The vulnerability was initially discovered by a panel of scientists convened by the State of Florida to study the possible causes for the FL-13 election debacle. The team's discovery revealed that a design issue in the widely used iVotronic system could allow for a viral attack, by a single individual, which could then spread unnoticed throughout the electronic election infrastructure of an entire county.

A similar vulnerability was found in DRE touch-screen system made by Diebold last Summer by a team of computer scientists at Princeton University.

Attempts to seek information about EAC plans to notify other states and local jurisdictions that use the same vulnerable voting systems as the ones in FL-13 have been met with an astounding refusal, troubling denial, buck-passing, and a lack of accountability by the federal commission of Presidential-appointees. The agency has also come under fire in recent weeks for a number of questionably partisan decisions and other failures to perform as mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

Of late, the EAC has been forced to respond to a great deal of controversy, on a number of different operational matters and policies, as revealed by a series of articles on this site and in mainstream outlets such as the New York Times and USA Today. Several of those matters have drawn Congressional notice, questioning of EAC officials, and letters of inquiry. Thus, this latest revelation is likely to add to the rising concern of Congress members as new federal legislation introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), currently facing mark-up by a Congressional committee, would permanently fund the now-embattled EAC. Funding for the agency was originally mandated by HAVA only through 2005.

The new ES&S iVotronic vulnerability first emerged on February 23, 2007, when the Florida Dept. of State released a report detailing their findings from the investigation into what happened in Sarasota's still-contested Jennings/Buchanan race. That election was ultimately decided by just 369 votes. The state's official findings included a report [PDF] conducted by an eight-member computer science and technology team under the auspices of Florida State University (FSU). The report sought, unsuccessfully, to determine the cause of the unexplained "undervotes" reported by the iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used in Sarasota's portion of the FL-13 race on Election Day and in early voting.

Although the reason thousands of votes turned up missing from those systems remained unknown, the study team did discover a serious security flaw in the iVotronic system that is used in Sarasota and many other jurisdictions across the country (and even the world, as France is set to use the same systems in their upcoming Presidential Election.)

Election integrity watchdog John Gideon, a frequent BRAD BLOG contributer and the Co-Director and Information Manager for VotersUnite.org, says that the security flaw may pertain to "every ES&S iVotronic voting machine used in the US and overseas." A total of eight separate versions of the system --- without and without so-called "voter verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT)" printers --- are currently approved as qualified at the federal level, he explained. Three of those are definitely affected and it is likely that the others are as well.

The details, the dangers, and the denials are all described below...

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

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UPDATE: Feinstein Sends Letter of Inquiry on both Matters to the EAC...
By John Gideon on 4/13/2007 11:55am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG (here and here) the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is being accused of altering a report that they commissioned and that did not meet their expectations.

In this case the EAC was apparently hoping to show widespread voter fraud had taken place in recent elections but the report that they commissioned revealed just the opposite. The EAC buried the report and issued one of their own that came to no conclusion at all.

Today Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has oversight over the EAC, "expressing his concern over the revelations and asking her to examine the process by which the EAC report was produced. Menendez maintains that the use of the EAC to advance a political agenda is a blow to the integrity of the electoral system and that an investigation into the motivations behind the panel's report is warranted."

Mendendez's press release on the matter is now posted here...

LATE UPDATE: Feinstein sends letter of inquiry on these matters to EAC, demanding all communications and processes leading to the alteration and/or hiding of both the EAC's "Voter Fraud" report and the report showing that Voter ID laws depress voter turnout. Announcement and Letter to EAC posted here...

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The BRAD BLOG will have an EXCLUSIVE new report next week, on yet another recently discovered and astounding failure by the EAC on the heels of a few questions we had ourselves for them over the past week or two...

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The Mess We've Been Warning About for So Long, Concerning the EAC, Finally Makes it to Prime Time...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2007 3:31pm PT  

More on the EAC's "voter fraud" report boondoggle covered earlier today.

The New York Congressional delegation has sent us a statement (posted in full at the end of this article) in which Rep. Maurice Hinchey excoriates the behavior of the EAC in hiding, and then altering, the report's findings for political reasons.

"The draft report was commissioned with taxpayer dollars upon a mandate from Congress so that we could learn more about voter fraud and intimidation," says Hinchey. "The need for this report is even more clear when we see the way in which the Bush administration is carrying out the electoral process and how this system is sliding towards corruption."

"Slide towards" may be an understatement. Hinchey --- who requested that the original report be disclosed by EAC Chair Donetta Davidson, a Bush-appointee, during a recent Congressional hearing --- is a member of the House Administration Committee which is now considering Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NY) Election Reform bill, which will make the hopelessly partisan and haplessly incompetent EAC a permanent body for the first time in its short, controversial life.

New York's Rep. José E. Serrano, a member of the appropriations subcommittee which oversees the EAC, says he's concerned about the "partisan bias" apparent in the two different versions of the report.

"When you read the draft report side-by-side with the final version, it is clear that important conclusions of the experts who wrote the draft report were excluded from the final product. Among the excluded information is an analysis that undermines the notion that voter fraud is rampant," said Serrano.

Democrats, however, are not in the clear on this issue themselves...

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

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NY Times Finds Original Bi-Partisan Draft Report, Buried by the EAC, Concluded Fears of 'Voter Fraud' Were Overblown
Altered, Politicized Report Follows Familiar White House Pattern, Brings Additional New Concerns About Continuing Status of EAC...
By Arlen Parsa on 4/11/2007 1:12pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Arlen Parsa with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

The New York Times reports today that a governmental report on the so-called dangers of "voter fraud" was manipulated to reflect the Bush Administration's claims rather than their own panel's findings.

The Times obtained two copies of the report on voter fraud, the first of which [PDF] concluded that fears of voter fraud were overblown and exaggerated. The second --- and official version of the report --- however steps back and promotes ambiguity about the danger (or lack of danger) that voter fraud poses to American democracy.

The Times reports:

A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.

Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.

The revised version echoes complaints made by Republican politicians, who have long suggested that voter fraud is widespread and justifies the voter identification laws that have been passed in at least two dozen states.

Democrats say the threat is overstated and have opposed voter identification laws, which they say disenfranchise the poor, members of minority groups and the elderly, who are less likely to have photo IDs and are more likely to be Democrats.

Though the original report said that among experts “there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud,” the final version of the report released to the public concluded in its executive summary that “there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.”

The bi-partisan report had been buried for months by the supposedly bi-partisan U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), which has come under fire of late for partisanship and a failure to oversee the electronic voting systems and voting machine vendors they are supposed to be overseeing and testing for compliance with federal standards.

The two bi-partisan authors of the original report were bound, by contract, as reported by the Times, to keep quiet about their opinions on the final report. However, following the release of the EAC's edited final version, one of the two authors, Tova Andrea Wang, a Democracy Fellow at the The Century Foundation, telegraphed some of her opinions about it in a guest blog we ran at The BRAD BLOG titled "Where's the Voter Fraud?" Her editorial made clear that the Republican claims of a "voter fraud" epidemic in America were simply unfounded and being used as a political weapon to suppress Democratic voter turnout via the use of Draconian Photo ID restrictions at the polls.

The EAC's approach in releasing their altered final version of the report --- spreading doubt when there is really a consensus among experts --- is a technique that the White House has used in several instances when expert agreement is not politically convenient. Perhaps the most famous case of this was when the Administration trumped up scientific doubt about climate change and used it to mis-portray findings of government scientists.

According to the originally submitted draft report [PDF], marked "NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION," voter fraud at polling places, which Republicans have frequently cited as part of a massive, insidious attempt to undermine democracy, is not nearly as frequent as is claimed.

As The BRAD BLOG has previously reported, debate about the report, and its initial origins, was highly politicized by members of a White House-connected GOP front-group organization whose founder, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, a St. Louis resident and White House operative, is closely associated with the EAC's Paul Degregorio, a fellow St. Louisan, who was chair of the federal body when the report was first commissioned.

An email obtained by the Times detailed the complaints of the lead Republican author of the report, Arkansas election attorney Job Serebrov, in response to pressure to alter the conclusions of the report's findings...

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

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One of Several Reports 'Buried' by EAC, Shows Drop in Voter Participation in Wake of Poll Restrictions, Is Shamelessly Described as 'Draft'
Election Law Professor Warns: 'Chance for EAC to be an Honest Broker Above Politics Are Fading'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2007 4:51pm PT  

After recent Congressional oversight questioning by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission's Bush-appointed chairwoman, Donetta Davidson, has finally relented and agreed to release the commission's bi-partisan report on "Voter ID" issues which has been held back for months. That report, and another not yet released on claims of "Voter Fraud" have been withheld by the EAC, as we reported here and here and in a guest blog by Tova Andrea Wang, one of the two original lead researchers of the still-withheld "Voter Fraud" report.

Hinchey's statement on today's release, including a call for the release of the other related reports, is posted here.

Finally having released the June 28, 2006, report [PDF] today, in the wake of Congressional pressure, and shamefully titling it as a "Draft Voter ID Report" (since it didn't show what they had wanted it to show), the EAC today announced the following:

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has voted unanimously to launch a comprehensive study focused on voter identification laws after concluding that initial research it received in a report, which focused on only one election cycle, was not sufficient to draw any conclusions. The Commission declined to adopt the report, but is releasing all of the data to the public.

In other words, they'll get the "facts" they want, no matter how many reports they need to commission!

The report details how voter participation in minority areas had, in fact, declined after restrictive "Photo ID" laws were enacted at the polls.

"It appears that politics remains the EAC's main priority," said Michael Slater, Deputy Director of Project Vote who claims the commission responsible for overseeing elections systems in the U.S. continues to "play politics." In a statement posted after the report was released today he said, "It's disappointing that the Commission is building a reputation for ignoring or suppressing research findings that don’t satisfy everyone’s ideological position."

He added that the commission's disassociation from the report is another example of their string of continuing failures. "The EAC should be embarrassed by its attempt to impeach the report's findings by insinuating its methodology is unsound."

Are supporters of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill paying attention?! His bill, HR811, as currently drafted, would reward the EAC by making them a permanent body, despite their notable and repeated failures...

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

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More Evidence that the Bush Administration Used the Dept. of Justice for Little More Than a Blunt Political Instrument
Even as Democrats Continue to Rubber Stamp Wildly Inappropriate White House Appointments to Oversee the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2007 1:47pm PT  

In an editorial today, the New York Times picks up on the phony 'voter fraud' scam at the heart of the U.S. Attorney purge that we discussed in detail yesterday...

Phony Fraud Charges

In its fumbling attempts to explain the purge of United States attorneys, the Bush administration has argued that the fired prosecutors were not aggressive enough about addressing voter fraud. It is a phony argument; there is no evidence that any of them ignored real instances of voter fraud. But more than that, it is a window on what may be a major reason for some of the firings.

In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people. By resisting pressure to crack down on “fraud,” the fired United States attorneys actually appear to have been standing up for the integrity of the election system.

John McKay, one of the fired attorneys, says he was pressured by Republicans to bring voter fraud charges after the 2004 Washington governor’s race, which a Democrat, Christine Gregoire, won after two recounts. Republicans were trying to overturn an election result they did not like, but Mr. McKay refused to go along. “There was no evidence,” he said, “and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury.”

It's becoming clearer and clearer that the Bush Administration used their Dept. of Justice for little more than a blunt political bludgeon. If all of this isn't grounds for Impeachment, we don't know what is. But we've felt that way at least a dozen times over the past four years.

If that's how this bunch abused their power at the DoJ, one can only imagine the abuses they continue to wreak under the absurdly over-reaching powers of the PATRIOT Act.

One other point of note from the recommended Times editorial today, which leads, in turn, to a much larger point that everyone --- particularly Congress --- ought to be made aware of...

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

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And Another Reminder That 'Problems with Recent Elections Resulted in Loss and Miscount of Votes'
And Another Reminder that the both the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) and the Mainstream Media Alike Have Utterly Failed in their Missions...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2007 2:14pm PT  
"Election officials, computer security experts, citizen advocacy groups, and others have raised significant concerns about the security and reliability of electronic voting systems, citing vague or incomplete standards, weak security controls, system design flaws, incorrect system configuration, poor security management, and inadequate security testing, among other issues. These security and reliability concerns are legitimate and thus merit the combined and focused attention of federal, state, and local authorities responsible for election administration."
-- GAO Report on Elections, 3/3/07

Whaddaya know? Yet another confirmation by the non-partisan GAO on Wednesday, in yet another sure-to-be-ignored report, that our voting systems across the country are a hellish patchwork of un-overseen technological mayhem and disaster. This latest is entitled "ELECTIONS: All Levels of Government Are Needed to Address Electronic Voting System Challenges" [PDF] and was presented at a Congressional oversight hearing yesterday on "Ensuring the Integrity of Elections."

But what are the chances that anyone will bother to notice either the report or the hearing? (We're talking to you, Mainstream Media!)

So far this article, and the one I've published over at ComputerWorld this morning, are the only ones to have done so.

My report opinion piece over there today offers details and analysis of that new report, and how it underscores --- yet again --- that our increasingly complicated system of voting in America would be immeasurably and immediately simplified by doing away with all dangerously disenfranchising, demonstrably unreliable, historically inaccurate, and easily hackable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems.

(Sidenote: If you haven't already, take action to demand that Rep. Rush Holt's new, but dangerous, Election Reform bill be amended to ban all DRE voting systems by emailing Congress here and calling your legislative members here!)

My CW article today also points to earlier ignored GAO reports --- covered only by The BRAD BLOG when they were released --- but again referred to in the latest GAO report and worth underscoring here again, since few noticed the first time. To wit:

We concluded in 2005 that these concerns have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.

Hello? [Thump-thump] Is this thing on?...

One last point to recommend my piece over there today: It offers fresh criticism of the EAC's latest woeful claim ("We can't decertify something we didn't certify"), and a related hint or two at an upcoming long-in-the-work investigative report we've been working on at The BRAD BLOG.

There's your tease. My full ComputerWorld article is here...

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Calls for a Return to Paper Ballots During Commemorative MLK, Jr., Keynote Address in Santa Cruz!
California Congresswoman is First of Bill's 192 Co-Sponsors to Pull Support Amid Heavy Criticism of Legislation by Election Integrity Advocates...
By Emily Levy on 2/21/2007 2:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

During a question and answer period after a speech at a Black History Month event last night sponsored by the University of California Santa Cruz, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) announced that she plans to withdraw her co-sponsorship of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Legislation, (HR 811).

Citing the bill's failure to require paper ballots, allowing for uncounted "paper trails" instead, Waters replied to a question of mine that she would be "glad to withdraw [her] name from the bill" when she returns to Washington on Tuesday in the wake of recent conversations she's had in California with Election Integrity advocates. The announcement drew an enthusiastic round of applause from those in attendance at Tuesday night's 23rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Convocation at UCSC which was keynoted by Waters.

Waters would be the first of the bill's current 192 House co-sponsors to withdraw her support. (The full list of current co-sponsors is available here.) Given her leadership on civil rights and election-related issues over the years, Waters's move could be significant in the current debate which has seen Democrats and a number of their public-advocacy group supporters use the issue of civil rights, ironically enough, to support the continued use of DRE/touch-screen systems as allowed by the Holt legislation.

As The BRAD BLOG reported yesterday, "language minority" activists have contended that touch-screen systems are better able to serve voters whose first language is not English. That, despite any empirical evidence in support of the notion.

The Holt bill had received early support from a number of Democratic public-advocacy groups such as PFAW, MoveOn, Common Cause, and others, though the controversial bill has gone on to draw criticism, since it's filing, from Election Integrity advocates here at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for its failure to fully ban disenfranchising DRE/touch-screen voting systems and several other notable concerns.

Waters began her speech Tuesday Night by discussing the dire condition of our election system, asking, "What would Dr. Martin Luther King say" about the 2000 election in Florida, about the purging of supposed felons from voter rolls, about proposed voter ID cards, intimidation at the polls in Florida and Ohio, voting machines without "paper trails," and related issues. She did not discuss HR 811 during the course of her main address.

In the brief question and answer period following her speech, I asked Waters if she was aware that the Election Integrity movement --- the folks who have investigated, exposed, and challenged the horrors of electronic voting --- strongly opposed Holt's legislation.

"What would it take," I asked, "for you to withdraw your support?" ...

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

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Comprised Federal Election 'Oversight' Board Becomes Still More Unaccountable and Compromised as Senate Democrats Approve RNC's Civil Rights Foe as New Head Despite Illegal Lack of Election Administration Experience...
By John Gideon on 2/16/2007 11:38am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

As much as we may disagree with People for the American Way (PFAW) of late concerning their position fully supportive of the deeply flawed and potentially quite dangerous Holt Election Reform Bill (HR811), we think they're dead right on this issue, from a press release sent to The BRAD BLOG today (full release at end of this article)...

The Senate Did What?

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Senate confirmed last night by unanimous consent the nominations of Caroline Hunter and Rosemary Rodriguez to the Election Assistance Commission, approving the nominations without debate and without recorded roll call votes. The nomination of Hunter, a partisan operative with no experience in election administration, had been widely criticized by civil rights and voting rights advocacy groups.

The confirmations took place even though the Rules Committee had not yet considered the nominations, and no hearings were held.

And PFAW Director Ralph Neas had this to say:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate did not take to heart its responsibility to provide open, transparent oversight of the EAC through this confirmation process,” said PFAW President Ralph G. Neas. “Confirming these nominees under the cover of night sends exactly the wrong message to millions of Americans who are counting on Congress to improve our nation’s election system. It’s too late to get these confirmations right, but it is not too late to improve oversight of the EAC. We will strongly support congressional efforts to enact additional EAC oversight and reporting requirements.”

The full press release from PFAW is below, followed by details on just why the RNC's former White House liason, Ohio 2004 operative and White House employee, Caroline Hunter, should be a great concern to democracy lovers as well as Democrats in the Senate, who have failed here to perform their mandated oversight duties...

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

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Bush-Appointed Chair Found Near Center of the Growing Scandal/Cover-Up Which Even Included a Stealth Attack on Election Integrity Advocate (and BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger) John Gideon...
By Michael Richardson on 2/13/2007 4:07pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The more we peel away the layers of the onion, the more we find that it seems to stink to to high heaven. The latest chapter in our continuing series on the hidden world exposed by the recent failures of voting machine test lab CIBER to receive "interim accreditation" from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), is no exception.

The EAC's current Chair, Donetta Davidson, seems to have a long, storied and increasingly well-documented history of silence concerning electronic voting machine test laboratory problems and has been an active partner with EAC Executive Director Tom Wilkey --- whose roll in this mess we've examined in detail in previous articles (here, here and here to link to just a few of our reports in this continuing series) --- in keeping the public uninformed about failures in the secret test labs.

Wilkey is at the center of the controversy surrounding a failure to disclose to both the public and election officials around the nation that CIBER, Inc.,, the country's largest so-called “Independent Test Authority” (ITA), was banned last summer from further testing of voting machines. As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG, Wilkey kept test lab problems hidden from public scrutiny for years in his earlier duties at the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) where he was in charge of monitoring and qualifying the labs.

Davidson is now Wilkey’s boss at the EAC where she landed after serving as Colorado’s Secretary of State since 1999 where she was later tied to significant failures by that state in properly certifying electronic voting systems. A judge last year condemned the state's practices and ordered the state, effectively, to start over from scratch after the debacle. Over the years, the paths of Davidson and Wilkey have crossed many times because of their mutual roles in the hidden world of voting machine testing.

Davidson and Wilkey both have served together on the board of The Election Center, a non-profit group of mysterious background headed by R. Doug Lewis, which provided technical assistance, training, and lobbying support to NASED members. Lewis, a key player in test lab secrecy, mentored Davidson and Wilkey as they gained control of the ITA testing infrastructure.

Davidson has also served on NASED’s Voting Standards Board, as chaired by Tom Wilkey, which qualified the test labs. The two kept in touch, Davidson in Colorado, Wilkey in New York, at conferences, via email, and over the phone. The conferences, often held in tourist destinations, were a special time for the two to get together...

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

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