Brad - I'm watching elderly voters, with canes, who can barely stand, waiting for up up 7 hours to early vote in Florida. It's breaking my heart. PLEASE WRITE ABOUT IT AND DEMAND AARP TO MONITOR THIS. I really hope people are not getting hurt in their attempt to exercise their voting rights. This is either voter disenfranchisement or elder abuse - neither is acceptable.
And we continue to hear from other sources that the bottleneck in Florida is at check-in with the state's new, computerized voter registration system, not with the new paper ballot op-scan system which is used after a voter votes. (Though there have been reported problems with the state's new Diebold print-on-demand system for printing ballots for voters to fill out as well.)
Rachel Maddow correctly noted (see video below) that these waits in FL, GA, and elsewhere, amount to a "poll tax." She's right.
As I noted last week, we have just one early voting location in all of Los Angeles --- the largest voting jurisdiction in the country, larger than 41 states combined --- and at this point, I have no idea if I'll be able to vote myself if the lines are too long tomorrow, since I have to go on air LIVE, hell or highwater at 3pm PT to anchor the NovaM Radio Network's "Special Election Night Coverage."
Here's what the lines looked like this weekend at L.A.'s only early voting location, a 40-minute drive from where I live (photo: Margery Epstein)...
And here's Rachel making her case, and pointing to 10 hour lines in Atlanta and elsewhere...
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- Election officials scrutinizing absentee ballots in Duval County have rejected more than 500 ballots out of the 1,600 questionable ballots examined so far.
Most of those were rejected because they lack signatures or the signatures don't match the voter's signature on file.
Lisa Rigg was worried her signature didn't match and contacted the Supervisor of Elections office.
"It's that important to me. I want my vote to absolutely count for this election. It is very important," Rigg said.
She was right. Her absentee vote is one of those that was rejected.
"I was a little shocked," Rigg said. "But then again, my signature does not always match, from day to day. I said, 'What can I do to fix this? Can I come down and prove to you that I am who I am and I signed that ballot.'"
Unfortunately, the answer was no. Once a ballot is cast, it cannot be changed or replaced by a new ballot.
If the signature doesn't match the voter is not asked to provide proof of who they are? In Washington state if our signature does not match on our absentee ballot the county contacts you and gives you the opportunity to go to the county election office and provide ID and your ballot is then accepted.
This week, Broward County, Florida, Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said, with a straight face, "No one could have anticipated that this election would be so historic and draw as much attention as it has," and defended her choice to oppose expanding early voting hours next week due to "logistical problems."
In addition to the problems in Florida, there are now reports that longtime GOP "voter fraud" hoaxster Pat Rogers (also known for his involvement in the U.S., Attorney Purge Scandal for the bogus "voter fraud" allegations he filed in 2004, and as a board member of the now-defunct and fully-debunked GOP astro-turf group, "American Center for Voting Rights," or ACVR), is apparently using private investigators to intimidate voters in New Mexico.
Details on those stories and many more --- pre-election litigation over polling place photo I.D. restrictions in Georgia and Ohio, absentee military ballots in Virginia, GOP efforts to close early voting polling places in Indiana, GOP calls for the Dept. of Justice to investigate ACORN just days before a federal election --- from across the country, all follow in the detailed round-up below...
Everything we've been warning about for years here at The BRAD BLOG --- and that both the Obama and McCain campaigns continue to ignore --- seems to have been neatly wrapped up in a report by John Zarella of CNN in a report on his personal experience during early voting in Florida...
After an hour and a half, Zarella reported he was "almost inside the door." However, according to those coming out at that time, "it was a big mess" with "machines breaking."
It ultimately took Zarrella 3 hours and 15 minutes to get to the head of the line. "There are two machines that actually print out the ballots," Zarrella explained, "and both of the machines went down for a period of about 45 minutes."
Technical problems were also noted elsewhere in Florida on Monday. In Jacksonville, some of the vote scanning machines malfunctioned, and seven out of the fifteen had to be replaced because they were rejecting ballots. At Miami Beach City Hall, it was reported that "some of the computers used to check in voters weren't working, though there were no problems with the optical scan machines used to count ballots."
If you think that's bad, just wait for the Election Day meltdown. Why the Obama campaign and DNC are not raising holy hell --- and demanding paper ballots for every voter, in every precinct, in every state, along with back-up paper plans for the e-registration computers (as untested and unreliable as the e-voting machines, and made by the same failed private companies) --- I still cannot tell you. They have the most to lose, but still seem to be in a complete state of denial about these problems.
At best, it can be said that Obama and the DNC are (again) bringing a dull butter knife to a gun fight. Minus the knife.
The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system, 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 election integrity documentary films in return. Details on that right here...
Now comes the vote-flipping on touch-screen machines in Davidson County (Nashville), TN, where early voting has also begun. This time, the problems occurred for David and Patricia Earnhardt, the director and executive producer of the award-winning election integrity documentary, Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections which details the history of problems with electronic voting across the nation and some of the whistleblowers and EI advocates who've helped to bring the matter to light. [Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is prominently featured in the film.]
The Earnhardts' story of what happened to them last Friday when, among other things, Patricia's attempt to vote for Obama on the ES&S touch-screen wouldn't register at all, and at one point, with a poll-worker trying to help, had actually registered a vote for Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney --- five rows away from Obama on the screen --- follows below.
The machines in both TN and WV need to be taken out of use and impounded immediately. So far, it's been Democrats, again, who are being affected by these problems, while votes are flipping from Democratic candidates to others. While the DNC and the Obama campaign ought to be raising holy hell, so far they are not...
See below for a rather breathtaking "Round-up of Problems Facing Voters Nationwide", such as registration backlogs, illegal voting roll purges, deceptive practices and dirty tricks, etc., now plaguing American voters across the country with just 17 days left before our country's biggest election ever.
All of that, while Fox "News" (whose asked me to come on live tomorrow, Sunday, at 2:40pm PT, btw, along with my old friend John Fund "for balance") continues to misreport, alarm and deceive their viewers in regard to the GOP's phony ACORN "voter fraud" fraud. Unfortunately, it's not just Fox who is irresponsibly and dangerously misreporting that scam --- though they seem to have made a small cottage industry out of it of late --- CNN and MSNBC have been filed loads of equally inaccurate and misleading reports on it as well.
Hopefully, soon will come the GOP's ACORN "voter fraud" fraud backlash, though I realize that's still very much a hope given the continuous rightwing media's full-throated reporting attempt to punk American democracy in regards this issue.
Palm Beach Post, thankfully, bothered to do some actual reporting yesterday, and led with the following good news:
Republican National Committee officials are turning up the heat on a left-leaning organization linked with Sen. Barack Obama that tried to register "Mickey Mouse" to vote this summer, but state officials say accusations of voter fraud in Florida are mostly unfounded.
The story goes on to quote FL Secretary of State Kurt Browning who says: "'we have not seen a persistent problem across the state of Florida' with registration fraud by ACORN or other groups."
And FL's Republican Governor Charlie Crist who says: "There's some who sort of enjoy chaos. That's kind of what's going on more than fraud."
Bingo, Charlie. And rather ironic, given the outrageous statement John McCain made during last night's debate; the GOP's own far-worse-than-ACORN's record of registration form problems in California; Crist's own record of voter purges in his own state; and the Republican Party's dismal history of trying to use ACORN at the last minute, just before elections, in order to wreak the "chaos" that Crist was referring to...
Well, isn't this rich? Tom Feeney --- yes, that Tom Feeney, the one who is alleged to have commissioned vote-rigging software for touch-screen voting machines in 2000, as testified to by former Republican software programmer Clint Curtis in a sworn affidavit, sworn testimony to congress, and a successful polygraph test --- went on Fox "News" this week to decry unsubstantiated charges of "voter fraud" by the low-income voter registration community organization ACORN.
(And if you're done laughing...)
Feeney --- the man who, as Speaker of the FL House in 2000, also promised to award all of the state's electoral votes to George W. Bush no matter what the ballots and Supreme Court had to say about it --- then went on to compare ACORN to the KKK...
Rady Ananda at OpEdNews opens her review of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story by declaring it "the most explosive documentary produced in recent memory, involving murder, espionage, cover-up, electoral cyber fraud and a United States Member of Congress with ties to the Bush Administration."
More details, pull-quotes from other reviews, and video preview here.
Haven't seen it yet? If you've got LinkTV, you can still check it out there. Otherwise, DVDs are available for prchase at the MSVL website, or better still, for a few dollars more, you can get one signed by both myself and the filmmaker Patty Sharaf with a $50 donation right here!
What more could you ask for? Collectors versions of great documentaries for you to watch and share, and all the while supporting the work we do here, so we can keep on doing it! And maybe by the time we're done, democracy gets saved somewhere in the bargain and everyone's a winner!
(Snail-mail works for all of the above as well. Send to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
John Gideon briefly noted what happened in Florida in yesterday's Daily Voting News, but it deserves a bit more attention. A lot more attention, actually.
A recent contested election for Circuit Judge in Palm Beach County, FL, where the initial results showed a 17 vote margin for one of the candidates, continues to reveal differing counts every time the same ballots are run through the county's new optical-scan paper ballot counters made by Sequoia Voting Systems.
Sequoia is one of America's largest private voting machine vendors, and one of its worst (even though we realize such judgements are akin to determing whether Mussolini was worse than Stalin.) Just 30-some days from America's next and likely-largest election ever, the desperate company is under fire today for recent voting system failures in Palm Beach, Washington D.C., and New Jersey.
For the moment, let's look at what was reported out of Palm Beach yesterday, where re-scans of 262 rejected ballots on Sequoia paper-ballot scanners revealed differing results each and every time they were scanned...
Tomorrow (Friday) there will be a hearing in Washington DC to discuss and take testimony about the failures in the DC primary election. How did one precinct have over a thousand more votes than it had voters? Again this seems to clearly be a machine issue.
The tie that binds Palm Beach Co and Washington DC together is that their voting machines were all supplied by Sequoia Voting Systems...
ADDENDUM FROM BRAD: More details on all of the above now here...
Congrats to David Earnhardt and company on winning "Best Documentary" at last weekend's San Diego Film Festival, for Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections! I'm quite sure the win was due to my appearance at the Q&A following the Saturday night screening down there.
And finally...if you'd like a copy of both great documentaries (I'm in both, but they're really good anyway!), a donation of $75 or more will get 'em both shipped straight to ya! (Snail mail also works for all of the above: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028)
Congrats and thanks all around! People are getting the message because you are making noise!
Kansas City Star is among the first out of the box to review the film, calling it a "Must See!" and declaring that it "plays like a high-tension political thriller."
The terrifying feature-length documentary, shot in high-definition video, details, for the first time, the complete Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises vote-rigging scandal, in all of its, yes, sometimes very gory detail. It also tells a tale of the media, as it details my attempts to tell the story over the last four years, to a corrupt, detached, and too-often frightened corporate media. The BRAD BLOG broke the Curtis story originally in late 2004, and we've been investigating and reporting on it ever since.
The DVD of MSVL is finally available for purchase at VotingLies.com and will also be premiering beginning this weekend on LinkTV, for those of you lucky enough to get the satellite TV channel. See LinkTV's main Murder, Spies page for air dates and times, as well as an extended five-minute preview of the film. Sharaf has been kind enough to offer the DVD --- signed by herself and myself --- available as our newest, and perhaps most appropriate, BRAD BLOG premium ever! An online donation of $50 or more gets you your own copy! (And just in time for Halloween!) Snail mail works as well, if you prefer to send a check to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028. The support is greatly appreciated and very much needed.
LinkTV narrates their own 60-second preview of MSVL below...
For those who aren't familiar with the remarkable Curtis/Feeney story of the Florida software programmer who says he was asked by a powerful Republican to create vote-rigging software, where have you been? See this summary version for the quick details.
For those who are familiar with the story, you will learn details in MSVL you never knew, along with new interviews on the case from Gore Vidal, reporter Bob Fitrakis, computer security expert Harri Hursti, whistleblower Steve Heller, Curtis co-worker Mavis Georgalis, and many more!
While the Curtis story has been told, often beautifully, in a number of other documentaries, such as Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections and Stealing America: Vote-by-Vote, this is the first to go all the way into all of the frightening details underscoring this case, including the mysterious death of Florida's Inspector General Raymond Lemme while investigating the allegations, and the bizarre case of the convicted Chinese spy, Hai Lin "Henry" Nee, who worked at the firm with Curtis.
A few quotes from some of the early reviews:
"Must see!...Plays like a high-tension political thriller...Amazingly elaborate and detailed...Want to get hoppin' mad? This'll do it...Let's hear it for paper ballots." - Bob Butler, Kansas City Star
The film is also screening at a number of upcoming film-festivals around the country, including the New Jersey Film Festival this weekend. See the MSVL website for dates & times.
Four years later, I'm happy to still be here to see the release of the film, quite frankly. There were some pretty scary days back there. It's regrettable that nobody's yet gone to jail, but maybe we're getting closer. For many of you who found this blog because of the Curtis story back in 2004, thank you for all of the support throughout the years! I hope you'll get the film, enjoy it, and continue to spread the word.
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- cited for the third year in a row by a public interest watchdog as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" --- has finally decided to "apologize" for going on that $75,000 lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland in 2003, along with the disgraced, and convicted, Jack Abramoff. The "apology" comes in the form of a desperate, 30-second campaign ad (at left.)
Feeney is the last remaining member of Congress to have gone on one of those Abramoff-funded private jet trips to hit the links in St. Andrews. The other two, Tom Delay (R-TX), who went in 2001, and Bob Ney (R-OH), who went in 2002, have both left Congress in disgrace and under indictment.
You'll note that the ad --- in which Feeney never bothers to mention that he's a Republican --- ends, laughably, with: "Because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake."
That line might more appropriately, at least for Feeney, have been: "Public service is about admitting that you broke the law, five years after you took a huge favor from a corrupt lobbyist and were finally forced to admit it outloud in a desperate, last-ditch attempt, to save your Congressional meal ticket."
But he might have had trouble getting all of that into his :30 spot.
The ad also says, on screen: "Get the facts: Tom Feeney.com" Might we suggest if you really want the facts on Tom Feeney, one of the filthiest players remaining in Congress, that you see instead our special coverage page about him, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis worked at the same company as Feeney, back when Feeney was both the powerful Speaker of the Florida House and a lobbyist for the software firm with millions of dollars in state contracts. The same company also employed undocumented Chinese aliens working on systems for NASA and others, even as Feeney has continued to protect that company to this day (he was also their one-time general counsel) and has housed his campaign headquarters in their building.
A remarkable documentary film, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, covering that story, and The BRAD BLOG's attempts to tell it over the last four years, has just been released. If you'd rather learn the facts in movie form, please check out that film! NOTE: It's terrifying and includes untold details on at least two grizzly deaths related to the Curtis/Feeney scandal.
Curtis himself eventually switched to the Democratic Party following the incident and, after Congress refused to take action on Feeney, he ran unsuccessfully against him in 2006. His attempts to do so again this year were derailed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backed wealthy opponent Suzanne Kosmas in the primary. With polls showing the well-funded Kosmas in a tight race with Feeney, clearly, one of the dirtiest Republicans in America is now running very scared.