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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, January 17, 2017
'Green News Report' 1/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian PM admits oil sands' days numbered; 2016 extreme weather very costly for US; NY to nix nukes; WI 'deletes' climate change (again); PLUS: CA gets break in drought (sort of)...
Previous GNRs: 1/12/17 - 1/10/17 - Archives...
The Trump Twilight Zone: 'BradCast' 1/16/2017
Shame, scandal, now resignation before new Admin sworn in; Plus: Guest Fred Karger, activist and former GOP Prez candidate, on Comcast blocking new anti-Mormon ad in UT...
Sunday Toons of the Shift Change Moment
Out with the old, in with the bizarre, corrupt, perverse, disgraced... etc., in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'You Are Fake News!': 'BradCast' 1/13/17
Guest: Matt Gertz on Trump's marginalization of media and their failure to push back; Also: Dismantling health care for millions; What's up with Tillerson?; And an Inauguration cover-up...
Reality vs. GOP; Larry Flynt vs. Trump and the Media: 'BradCast' 1/12/17
Hustler publisher joins us to explain why he blames U.S. media for Trump; Also: Repubs face reality on Iran, ObamaCare; Senate confirmation hearings continue...
Shower of News: 'BradCast' 1/11/17
On one of the most insane news days ever, we cover Obama's Farewell, Day 1 of Tillerson's hearing; Day 2 of Sessions' hearing, and Trump's insane press conference...
Senators Press Trump's AG Nom on Civil Rights Record: 'BradCast' 1/10/17
Sessions responds to colleagues on voting rights, climate, lying about record, on Day 1 of confirmation hearing...
'Green News Report' 1/10/17
Unresolved conflicts for Trump's SoS nom; SoS Kerry warns time running out; China's huge investment in renewables; PLUS: Obama says move away from fossil fuels now irreversible...
SEC Filing: Still Exxon Conflicts for Trump SoS Nom Tillerson: 'BradCast' 1/9/17
Guest: David Arkush of Public Citizen; Plus: Hollywood versus Trump...
Sunday Toons of the Transitioning Moments
With control all three branches of Govet, who will GOP blame for failures? PDiddie takes a look in his latest toon collection...
'Will One US Senator Join Me?':
'BradCast' 1/6/17
Dem Senators fail to act, Trump becomes Prez-Elect; Journo Steve Horn on Koch Brothers' triumph w/ House passage of REINS Act; AG nom Jeff Sessions is a liar...
'Green News Report' 1/5/17
Obama creates nat'l monuments; WI 'solves' climate change; OH Guv reinstates renewables standards; MI bans bag bans; PLUS: Dakota Access activists get high...
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...


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...

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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...




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?" ...

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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...

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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...

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EAC Exec. Dir. Tom Wilkey Lends CIBER 'Test' Lab a Hand, As 'Confidential' Secrets about Their Failures Continue to Ooze Out...
By Michael Richardson on 2/9/2007 12:34pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director (bio [PDF]) of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), has now extended the deadline for CIBER, Inc. to qualify for interim accreditation to test the nation’s voting machines, despite previously reported disastrous testing conditions over several years discovered at the lab.

Wilkey previously kept problems at the CIBER test lab hidden behind a wall of secrecy including the non-accreditation of the controversial “independent testing authority” (ITA) laboratory as discovered and revealed by The New York Times last month.

CIBER, the nation’s most prodigious voting machine test lab, was banned from testing last summer when accreditation responsibilities shifted from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to the EAC. However, the public and election officials relying on CIBER’s testing where not informed of the ban until the Times disclosed the lab shutdown in January 2007, long after the elections in 2006 were allowed to move forward on CIBER's "tested" voting machines.

Even after the Times exposé, the EAC head kept the assessment reports [PDF], which detailed lab problems, secret until a subpoena threat by the New York State Board of Elections forced release of the reports. The assessments that Wilkey kept hidden from the public revealed a shocking history of sloppy, incomplete and non-existent testing.

Only after increasing pressure, including from Senator Diane Feinstein, to come clean about CIBER’s failures, Wilkey wrote to the company on January 26, 2007 [PDF] giving them 30 days to correct the identified deficiencies. Now, as the deadline approaches, Wilkey has itemized the problems in need of correction by CIBER and extended the deadline [PDF] for them until March 5, 2007.

Wilkey, once again as expected, has been very kind to the company that he seems to have spent years protecting.

Meanwhile, in written testimony [PDF] Thursday to the EAC, David Alderman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) explained why CIBER thus far has failed to gain a favorable recommendation from the NIST for future accreditation—CIBER actually missed the application deadline...

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Thomas Wilkey Has Kept Problems at the Labs Hidden from the Public and Behind a Wall of Secrecy for Years...
By Michael Richardson on 2/6/2007 9:35am PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), seems to bear more direct responsibility for the growing voting machine test lab scandal than any other person. Let's connect a few dots and sift through a bit of murky alphabet soup.

For nearly a decade, Wilkey has overseen the testing process of electronic voting machines, keeping recently revealed problems with the so-called “Independent Testing Authorities” (ITA) a secret from public and elections officials alike. Wilkey also tried to prevent federal oversight of the testing process during the development of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and worked to keep the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) out of his hidden world.

The EAC inherited the responsibility of qualifying voting machine test laboratories from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), where Wilkey strategically positioned himself to control the test laboratories. When HAVA eventually assumed responsibility for the test laboratories from NASED and handed it to the EAC, Wilkey worked behind the scenes to try to keep control over the labs for himself.

Wilkey, formerly the director of the New York State Board of Elections, was appointed to his present position at the helm of the EAC on June 20, 2005. At the time of his appointment, Wilkey chaired the NASED Voting Standards Board, which oversaw the testing labs for voting machine qualification. Wilkey, a founder and past-president of NASED, also chaired the organization’s ITA Committee from 1998 until his departure to the EAC.

As well, Wilkey also served several tours of duty on the board of directors of The Election Center, a non-profit group of dubious (or at least mysterious) background headed by R. Doug Lewis, who is also one of the founders of NASED. The Election Center acted as technical consultants to NASED on voting machine testing. From 1998 until his move to the EAC then, Wilkey was in charge of every aspect of control, selection, and oversight of the voting machine test labs.

His involvement, therefore, in the entire process and the recently revealed failed accreditation of one of the previously-approved labs, CIBER, Inc., deserves close scrutiny --- particularly as one reads Wilkey's bio [PDF] as posted over at the EAC website which describes him as...

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'CIBER Has Absolutely No Idea What It's Talking About'
Testing Secrecy Has Allowed CIBER to Profit From Sloppy Work
By Michael Richardson on 2/1/2007 1:57pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

CIBER, Inc., the nation’s largest so-called “independent test authority” (ITA) of electronic voting machines, is at the center of a growing scandal about lax testing of voting equipment. The recent release of a long-kept secret assessment of the company by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) detailing a shocking record of sloppy, incomplete or non-existent testing by CIBER led the test lab’s CEO, Mac Slingerlend, to call the report “old news” in an interview with the Rocky Mountain News.

While CIBER’s shortcomings may be “old news” to Slingerlend, unaware election officials around the nation are angered at not being informed by the EAC prior to the November 2006 elections about voting machine models “tested” by CIBER in use by 68.5% of the registered voters in the country.

Last year the EAC took over testing responsibilities for electronic voting machines from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) and refused to grant CIBER interim accreditation because of numerous deficiencies at the test lab located in Huntsville, Alabama.

Slingerlend and CIBER founder Bobby Stevenson both took advantage of the “old news” to unload thousands of shares of stock

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Federal Voting Machine 'Oversight' Committee Finally Releases 'Soiled Laundry' on Banned Test Lab, CIBER, After Subpoena Threats...
By Michael Richardson on 1/29/2007 6:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Richardson

Hours after our report last week on threatened subpoenas against the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and its banned voting machine test laboratory, CIBER, Inc., by the New York State Board of Elections, the company supplied information concerning its lack of accreditation to New York officials. Enraged NY State Election Commissioner Doug Kellner called the secret reports “soiled laundry” that both the company and EAC had been trying to hide.

Friday, the EAC reacted to the disclosure by CIBER of confidential EAC documents by releasing the assessment reports upon which last summer’s decision for non-accreditation of CIBER was based. The documents, kept secret by the EAC for half a year, reveal a shocking level of incompetence and negligence by the “independent testing authority” (ITA) lab which tested electronic voting machines used by 68.5% of the registered voters in the November 2006 election.

By way of reminder, CIBER is one of three labs that had been testing all American voting machines as part of the ITA structure; the group of labs selected and paid for by the voting machine companies themselves to test their hardware and software --- in secret --- for Federal "authorities."

The EAC assessment report from July 2006 of the CIBER test lab in Huntsville, Alabama --- also kept secret until the matter was reported by the NY Times last month --- found “critical processes were not implemented nor procedures followed.”

The finally-released EAC documents reveal a mess at the lab which federal, state and local officials around the country had been relying on for assurance that voting machines actually worked for many years...

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Election Board Ire as EAC Fails to Disclose 'Soiled Laundry' on Failure to Accredit Voting System Test Lab
By Michael Richardson on 1/26/2007 9:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Richardson

Tom Wilkey, former executive director of the New York State Board of Elections, and now the executive director of the Election Assistance Commission, has refused to answer questions from New York election officials about the non-accreditation of voting machine test lab Ciber, Inc. A letter from a state election official describes the lack of response for requested information as "truly outrageous and scandalous." That refusal "to open the curtain that hides their soiled laundry," may lead to subpoenas by the State Board.

The ongoing secrecy, and apparent duplicity, of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) surrounding the failure of Ciber to be given federal accreditation to testing voting machines began last summer causing an unknown number of voters around the country to vote on improperly tested electronic voting machines in last November's election. The EAC failed to notify elections officials or the public about what they had already discovered concerning the poor state of testing conditions and procedures by the lab.

The EAC secrecy has been particularly troublesome in New York where Ciber has been testing equipment specifically under contract with the state. The EAC was created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002 and is charged with accrediting "independent testing authorities" to examine and certify electronic voting machines. Ciber failed to gain interim accreditation when the testing duties shifted from the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to the EAC last July.

As discussed in a report yesterday --- which included a series of 'very friendly' notes between Wilkey and the current chair of the EAC, Donetta Davidson --- Wilkey’s silence may stem from his role as chair of the Voting Systems Board at NASED prior to his position at the EAC. The failures of Ciber to properly conduct and document security testing of voting machines that led to the denial of interim accreditation occurred during Wilkey’s watch at NASED where he served with his "Sis", Davidson, as he referred to her in the emails between the two.

Davidson was on Wilkey’s NASED certification board along with "ex officio" member Shawn Southworth of Ciber, Inc. Wilkey and Davidson’s silence about the failures of Ciber has angered election officials around the nation who had relied on Ciber’s certification of their voting machines in the November 2006 election.

As also recently reported, the delay in the public disclosure of the problems at Ciber, conveniently allowed both the firm's founder and its CEO the time needed to unload $1.7 million of company stock before the news would eventually be reported by the New York Times earlier this month.

New York, unlike the rest of the states, did not rush into purchase of new, expensive voting machines without public hearings and more thorough testing and ended up being sued by the U.S. Justice Department for HAVA non-compliance. Commissioner Doug Kellner of the New York State Board of Elections has reacted to the EAC stonewalling about Ciber with a call for a subpoena in hopes of getting some answers.

In an email announcement on Wednesday, Kellner expressed his outrage in no uncertain terms...

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By Michael Richardson on 1/24/2007 10:56am PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Richardson

Election Assistance Commission Executive Director Thomas Wilkey moved to the EAC after serving on the National Association of State Election Directors Voting System Board, which he chaired.

Wilkey's current boss at the EAC is Donetta Davidson, Chair of the federal commission. Davidson is a former president of NASED and served with Wilkey on the Voting System Board, which was tasked with certifying "independent testing authorities" to perform tests on electronic voting machines used throughout America.

In 2002, the Help America Vote Act transferred testing responsibility from NASED to the EAC, which took over the duties in July 2006. When it came time to issue interim accreditation to the test labs, EAC technical specialists found that Ciber, Inc. had failed to adequately document security testing while under NASED's certification. Serving "ex officio" on the Voting Systems Board, headed by Wilkey, was Shawn Southworth of Ciber.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has since recommended to the EAC that two other test labs perform the work formerly done by Ciber. Davidson, who twice testified before Congressional hearings last year on voting machine certification, failed to disclose the problems with the Ciber test lab to members of Congress. Senator Diane Feinstein has since asked Wilkey to explain why Ciber was not issued interim accreditation and why the public and election officials around the country were not notified before the November 2006 elections.

During the six months of secrecy from the EAC about the test lab ban, Ciber founder Bobby Stevenson sold $1.6 million worth of stock in the company. Ciber CEO Mac Slinglend also did some insider trading unloading $115,000 worth of the stock while the public was unaware of the EAC action against the company.

The failures of Ciber testing that led to the denial of interim accreditation were not under the EAC watch but instead arose under certification by Wilkey's NASED's Voting Systems Board.

Can EAC Chair Davidson be counted on to properly supervise her new subordinate? Maybe not, according to emails obtained by BlackBoxVoting from 2004 when both served on the NASED certification panel. Email traffic between the pair raise questions about their relationship.

On July 15, 2004 at 2:21 pm, Wilkey emailed Davidson: "You are actually reading your emails...WOW!!! Yes I will see you on Saturday. I get in about 9 pm so we will have a nightcap if you are not out partying on Bourbon Street. Love, Your New York Brother."

Two weeks later on July 29, 2004, after the nightcaps in New Orleans, Davidson sent Wilkey an email: "My Dearest Brother, Life has not slowed down, but I am staying out of trouble. Hope to talk to you soon, on the PHONE. That way I get to hear your voice. Love your Sis."

Now the cozy relationship between the two former NASED regulators can blossom at EAC where Wilkey reports to Davidson.

Wilkey's role in certifying electronic voting machines goes back a long way. According to his official agency biography, Wilkey helped draft the first voting system standards in country back in 1983 while working with the Federal Elections Commission.

"An early proponent of the creation of the National Association of State Election Directors, Wilkey has served as secretary, treasurer, vice-president and was elected president for 1996-1997. In January, Wilkey was named chair of NASED's Independent Test Authority Accreditation Board, which reviews and approves laboratories and technical groups for the testing of voting systems under NASED's national accreditation program. He was reappointed chair in 2000."

Wilkey's watchdog role over voting system security also gained him appointment to an advisory board of the Department of Defense's Federal Voting Assistance Program, which assists six million military and overseas voters. Ciber, one of Wilkey's NASED approved test labs, since banned, conducted the security testing of the FVAP computer system.

Now "New York Brother" and "Sis" are tasked with protecting the voting machine security for the entire nation. The earlier role of the two EAC leaders in oversight of Ciber's lax work that led to non-accreditation may well be the subject of Congressional hearings before the year is out.




By Michael Richardson on 1/18/2007 12:44pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Richardson

The efforts of the Election Assistance Commission to accredit test laboratories for the nation's electronic voting machines have left the country with only two labs, SysTest and Wyle, operating on interim approval; and one laboratory, Ciber, left unaccredited since the National Association of State Election Directors got out of the certification business last year.

Published reports indicate the Ciber lab was denied interim accreditation last summer for a history of inadequate quality assurance and inability to document that critical tests were performed. The EAC is saying little about the matter to the media and has now been requested by Senator Diane Feinstein to explain why Ciber was not accredited and why disclosure of that fact was kept from election officials around the nation.

EAC regulatory staff might just want to peek at Ciber's website where they will discover that the banned Ciber lab has merged its testing division with EAC approved Wyle lab. Ciber boasts, "The CIBER-Wyle team is your single source for independent voting machine testing."

"With the growing demand for premier independent software/hardware testing of Voting Machines, CIBER and Wyle have joined forces are now offering the quality independent testing solutions needed for voting machine systems supporting the Election Assistance Commission standards."

"Our teams, co-located in Huntsville, Alabama, have now integrated best of breed testing solutions, CIBER for software testing and Wyle for their hardware testing capabilities. By teaming we now offer complete independent voting system testing solutions for voting system vendors and for state governments."

"We combined the two most experienced labs and staffs in the country into one efficient organization. We provide a co-located testing facility on one campus for all your testing needs. Successfully tested and recommended for certification the industry leaders in voting systems. Specialized support for prequalification testing and anomaly resolution/verification."

The Ciber website also has a pitch for state business as well as electronic voting machines vendors but they should have used a grammar check. "The CIBER-Wyle team will help you to make sure that your election is run with little or no room for criticism. They will assist in areas such as assuring that you have the current certified copy of your voting vendor's hardware and software and that you will have implemented a set of state voting standards that will meet the [sic] with the majority of the voters' approval, taking into consideration the usability and accessibility of the voting system."

Ciber's role in testing of voting technology was more than issuing reports to vendors and states, like Florida, which rely upon Ciber reports for their technology advice to local election officials. Despite the growing number of reports about inadequate testing, now leaking out about Ciber's failures, which reveal long-standing problems of deficiency, the test lab also serviced the Department of Defense.

Ciber's self-promotional web page about the Federal Voting Assistance Program provides Senator Feinstein with new areas needing review for sloppy work on the voting system that assists military voters.

"The scope of the work included testing and validation of both the system's functionality and security....based on our certification as an Independent Test Authority, CIBER was awarded this work....Ciber performed system security penetration assessments....Based on this work, CIBER documented system exposures and vulnerabilities. Periodic penetration assessment continued during system operation."

The merger of the two "independent" test labs into one team raises red flags about Wyle's interim EAC accreditation status; while Ciber's voting security testing for the Defense Department, based on its earlier NASED certification, may soon be getting review by Congress.




The EAC and Its Outgoing Commissioner Paul DeGregorio's Campaign to Plant Misinformation in the American Media...
By John Gideon on 1/16/2007 6:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org

In the weeks following last November's mid-term election, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) sent retiring Commissioner Paul DeGregorio out to cheerlead and to make the voters feel warm and cozy about the election.

The Commissioner keeps telling the voters that we should have confidence in the election process. He constantly states that everything worked just fine except for isolated incidents. Meanwhile, he ignores the facts about failures that happened across the nation. He ignores data such as that which is reported in "E-Voting Failures in the 2006 Mid-Term Elections" written by VotersUnite, VoteTrustUSA, VoterAction and Pollworkers For Democracy.

Early last week Commissioner DeGregorio had an Op-Ed posted by a McClatchy-Tribune News Service newspaper in Mississippi. In this Op-Ed he opens with the following paragraph:

The 2006 election was a success: Most of the millions of Americans who cast their ballots did so with confidence. Despite some isolated problems, exit polls showed that in 98 percent of U.S. jurisdictions, the process worked so well that voter confidence rose to levels not seen since before Election 2000.

My immediate attention was brought to the mention of an exit poll which showed that 98 percent of voters had a confidence level not seen since before 'Election 2000'. This was news to me and I wanted to see this exit poll so I sent an email to the EAC's spokeswoman, Jeannie Layson:

To: jlayson
From: John Gideon
Subject: DeGregorio Op-Ed
Cc:

In the op-ed that Commissioner DeGregorio has written for the McClatchy-Tribune News Service he says, "Despite some isolated problems, exit polls showed that in 98 percent of U.S. jurisdictions, the process worked so well that voter confidence rose to levels not seen since before Election 2000."

Who conducted that national exit-poll and where are the results posted? I think that is an important piece of information and would like to discuss it with my colleagues and perhaps write an article on the results.

I'm a little surprised that the EAC considers over 18,000 under-votes in Sarasota Co., Florida as an isolated problem. Or over 18,000 voters walking away without voting in Denver, Colorado. Or the just revealed news that Sequoia and David Orr in Chicago/Cook Co. have admitted to failures, including using voting equipment that was never tested, that cost voters their voices. Or any of the 1022 incidents in over 300 jurisdictions in 36 state that were reported in the VotersUnite/VoteTrustUSA/VoterAction/Pollworkers For Democracy report on the recent election.

Thank you

Here is the remarkable response I received back from Ms. Layson...

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




By Michael Richardson on 1/13/2007 8:35am PT  

Guest Logged By Michael Richardson

Last week Christopher Drew of the New York Times informed a shocked nation that the leading "independent testing authority" of electronic voting machines, Ciber, Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colorado had not been following its own quality-control procedures and could not document that it completed required tests for reliability and security.

The federal Election Assistance Commission, which accredited the Ciber testing lab, secretly pulled its interim accreditation last year, without informing the public or election officials relying on Ciber's results. Independent testing centers, including Ciber, are not really independent at all and are funded by voting machine vendors to whom they issue their testing reports and only recently have come under federal scrutiny.

The EAC has yet to explain why it withheld the accreditation of Ciber from the voting public and the omission has entangled the controversial election oversight panel in the growing national distrust of electronic voting machines and may threaten its continued existence.

How many voting machines might be affected by the lax security inspections of Ciber?

Respected electronic voting machine authority and self-described "politechnologist" Joseph Hall did some digging. "The answer was not something I would have predicted...I knew Ciber did a good deal of software ITA testing, but it looks like, in terms of voting system deployment, that Ciber qualified the voting systems used by 68.5% of the registered voters (67.9% of precincts) in the 2006 election."

Hall explained the difficulty he encountered to acquire his data. "Since the test reports are not public, it is difficult to find information about who tested what when."

Undeterred by the veil of secrecy surrounding the testing of electronic voting machines, Hall used old testing identifiers, called NASED numbers, to track the deployment of voting machines around the nation. Ciber tested any machine that had a NASED number beginning with the digit "1".

"With this key piece of information, we can use published lists of qualified voting systems to determine which models were qualified by Ciber." explains Hall. Discovering that Ciber tested the vast majority of machines in the country Hall says, "In fact, it is much more simple to list which systems were not qualified by Ciber."

Hall concludes, "I suppose it would have been completely impractical to decertify all these systems. Even decertifying those systems in which the qualification testing Ciber performed was specifically lacking would likely be a significant double-digit percentage of voting systems used by registered voters."

One thing the ITA laboratories, or any other testing agency, cannot determine is if an electronic voting machine has been rigged with malicious self-deleting software code. All voting machines and optical scan vote-counters are subject to being hacked with self-deleting code that cannot be detected with any test. Self-deleting software code does its dirty deeds, including flipping or erasing votes, and then deletes itself erasing any sign of tampering.

A growing number of election integrity advocates are realizing that software technology has no place in the election systems of our country because of the inability to even detect mischief. The solution that is emerging is both simple and obvious, a return to time-tested hand-counting of paper ballots.




Federal Commission Admits There is Paperwork on 'Barred' Voting Machine Testing Lab, Will Release 'When the Process is Complete'
Lab Was Secretly Refused Credentials in July, State and Local Voting Officials Were Kept in Dark Throughout November Elections Until NYTimes' Revelations...
By John Gideon on 1/9/2007 4:20pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org

Moving the ball forward a bit in regard to New York Times' stunning report last week that Ciber was refused interim accreditation last July. I've been able to learn a bit more about the existence of the paperwork concerning that denial of accreditation.

The refusal, according to the Times front page exclusive last week, was due to an inspection the Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) conducted at the lab. Ciber is one of the three e-voting test labs or Independent Testing Authoritys (ITAs) which are paid by the Voting Machine Companies themselves to test their hardware and software prior to federal certification.

But contradictions have been flowing from the EAC in the considerable fallout from the Times report which revealed the commission not only failed to accredit Ciber, they also failed to tell the public, or even state and local Elections Officials who used the systems approved by Ciber for last November's election. What nobody --- except the EAC knew --- was that, according to the Times Ciber "was not following its quality-control procedures and could not document that it was conducting all the required tests."

While at first the EAC had denied there was any paperwork documenting the reasons why they had denied interim accreditation to Ciber, I've now been able to learn from an EAC source that such paperwork actually exists. The EAC has simply, again, withheld it from the public. So far. I was then able to get confirmation about it from an EAC spokesperson, along with a hint as to when the world might get to see the actual reasons they withheld accreditation from the private testing lab...

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




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