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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, November 21, 2014
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
That's not a news flash, but, as this segment makes clear once again, it's very very sad that The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic US-China climate agreement: The deal Repubs said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l climate treaty; Repubs freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but a very good start...
Previous GNRs: 11/11/14 - 11/6/14 - Archives...
Crucial Moment for the FCC and 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Thom Hartmann TV: More Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
Previous GNRs: 11/6/14 - 10/30/14 - Archives...
IN MEMORIAM:
Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, we're sad to report that America has lost another casualty of the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled and turnout was down by more than a quarter-million voters, despite larger population, contested governor's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for popular paper ballot computer tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes cast in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Day After...
Important re-re-re-reminder about when it is that probs in elections usually come to light, and a few more Election Day prob reports out of VA, NC, MI, IN & CT...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
Paper Ballots Ran Out in Ferguson, MO
Long lines at e-voting systems as St. Louis County offers both touch-screens and paper ballots. County said printing more ballots throughout day, night...
Electronic Voter ID System Fails in FL
Failure results in emergency court filing by state Democrats as Gubernatorial race between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott is deadlocked in Sunshine State...
AR Voters Illegally Asked for Photo ID
Arkansas Times reports some poll workers attempting to enforce GOP Photo ID restriction found by state Supreme Court to violate constitutional 'right to vote'...
Round-up of Reported Election Failures (So Far) in CT, NC, GA, TX, AL
'Serious problems' reported at the polls in a number of states. Here is a quick summary of just a few of them...
Touch-Screen Votes Flip in VA [VIDEO]
RWers finally become 'believers' in those 'liberal conspiracy theories' about votes flipping on 100% unverifiable voting systems...now that it affects them...
AL Bars Use of Public Housing IDs for Voting
Last minute change of rules may further disenfranchise (certain) voters in state where bloody civil rights march gave rise to the Voting Rights Act in 1965...
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...


Federal Oversight Agency Continues Refusal to Notify Election Administrators About Known Failures in E-Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2007 11:57am PT  

By Brad Friedman from Richfield, Utah...

If there's a more ineffective federal agency than the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), we're unaware of it.

The EAC was created in 2002 by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), in large part to oversee federal certification and maintenance of e-voting systems for the entire country. One of their key mandates was to be a "clearinghouse" for information concerning such systems. Though they have been twice reprimanded by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) for their failure to set up such a clearinghouse of information concerning known problems with voting systems, another news report over the weekend confirms that they are more determined than ever to avoid any such responsibility.

Incredible comments given by EAC spokesperson Jeannie Layson and EAC Chairwoman Donnetta Davidson to the Daytona Beach News-Journal underscore the agency's hellbent efforts to avoid any and all responsibility for alerting election officials to known failures of electronic voting systems made by private corporations such as Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, and others.

The BRAD BLOG has chronicled the short, but storied, history of the EAC's failures, compromised nature, and unwillingness to do their job over the years, but the latest comments --- and subsequent lack of action --- as reported yesterday by M.C. Moewe in the News-Journal are nothing short of astonishing...

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

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With Elections Impending Next Week, Company Downplays, Hides Failure Rate
Will The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission Take Action?...
By John Gideon on 11/4/2007 12:35pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

Saturday's Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that Diebold Election Systems, now having renamed itself Premier Election Solutions, has admitted that some of its 25,000 optical scan voting machines used in Florida and elsewhere across the nation may have a problem that causes memory card failures during elections.

As we would expect, Florida election officials and Diebold/Premier have downplayed the problem as they say that the problem does not threaten the integrity of U.S. elections. However, the Volusia County, FL Supervisor of Elections, Ann McFall, said [emphasis ours], "I don't think votes are lost". Her office has also admitted that the problem has caused problems and adds to the cost of elections.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has yet to take action on this matter, despite impending elections, the commission's statutory mission as the oversight body for certification of electronic voting systems their mandated mission to be a "national clearinghouse" for information on them and two GAO reports critical of their failure to do any of the above. If they follow previous patterns, they will do absolutely nothing to alert other states and counties who use the same system, about this problem.

Diebold/Premier, of course, and again, is attempting to downplay the severity of their failures in Florida and refusing to release their own information gathered on it, characterizing the true extent of the failure as "proprietary business information"...

In Volusia County during the November 2006 election, 11 of 249 optical scan memory cards had to be replaced, according to a county report. In Flagler County, one of 51 cards failed.

Diebold officials said the 4.4 percent error rate in Volusia was unusual, that the average was about 1 percent. The company conducted a survey of 27 Florida counties that use its machines but refused to release the results, calling them "proprietary business information."

But because the News-Journal could not get the percentages from Diebold/Premier, they submitted public records requests to all counties affected and found the results were not quite as rosy as the company would have us believe...

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

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Nelson and Co-Sponsor Whitehouse Rewrite Originally Introduced Bill to Do Away with Discredited Systems by 2012 and 'Any Subsequent Year'
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2007 11:07pm PT  

-- By Brad Friedman

After months of being told over and over by Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) office, People for the American Way (PFAW), and many of the other most ardent supporters of Holt's flawed Election Reform Bill (HR811) that "there is no support in Congress for a ban on DREs," it looks like they must have been wrong. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and co-sponsor Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) filed such a bill today.

Here's the complete bill [PDF] which we've yet to read in full. But note this item from page 41, Line 7:

RESTRICTION ON USE OF DIRECT RECORDING ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS -
A direct recording electronic voting system may not be used to administer any election for Federal office held in 2012 or any subsequent year.

A ban on such machines, finally? Yes! By 2012? Unfortunately, yes. But let's overlook that last point for a moment.

In a statement issued by Nelson today, pointing out that DRE (often referred to as "touch-screen") voting systems are "unreliable and vulnerable to error," the senator says, "The bottom line is we have to ensure every vote is counted – and, counted properly...Citizens must have confidence in the integrity of their elections.”

The new language banning DREs was added today to a previous version of the same bill which Nelson had introduced originally in early Summer. This version "would be the first [bill] to seek a ban on electronic touch-screen voting machines in federal elections nationwide," according to his statement, which adds that the language was updated after a recent meeting with Florida's Republican Secretary of State Kurt Browning, once an ardent support of DRE voting systems.

When Nelson's original version of the legislation was introduced some months ago, it was largely a "clone version" of Holt's original HR811 introduced in the House, but with a number of extra provisions addressing concerns of voter intimidation and suppression.

Little attention had been given to Nelson's bill at the time, since the Rules Committee was regarded as having jurisdiction for any Election Reform bills in the Senate, and the committee chair, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), had made clear she intended to introduce her own version of Election Reform as the Senate counterpart to Holt's. She eventually introduced S. 1487, which has been subsequently criticized by Election Integrity advocates as being even more flawed then Holt's much-criticized bill.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: We were invited to work on the Holt bill prior to its introduction, and succeeded in adding several much-improved provisions. Yet the bill, as currently written --- and far more so since being drastically watered down throughout the committee process --- has failed to garner our support.)

DREs: "Not a Reasonable Voting System"

Neither Feinstein's nor Holt's bill had called for a ban on DRE voting systems, however, despite an outcry among Election Integrity advocates and a host of computer scientists and security experts who argued that DREs were vulnerable to hacking, non-transparent, prone to error, antithetical to democracy, and thus simply could not be used safely in elections. With or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) printer attached.

Johns Hopkins computer professor Avi Rubin testified earlier this year that "after four years of studying the issue, I now believe that a DRE with a VVPAT is not a reasonable voting system."

Stanford professor and VerifiedVoting.org founder David Dill, arguing in favor of the Holt bill, admitted, "I would personally prefer to see optical scan machines used nationwide."

And former legislative director of VoteTrustUSA.org Warren Stewart, now also of VerifiedVoting, had told a Senate panel earlier this year that while there were disagreements among some in the EI movement, most had agreed that touch-screen systems must not not be used. "While this broad based movement embraces a wide range of proposals and positions," he testified, "it is unified in the conclusion that the direct electronic recording of votes to computer memory is inimical to democracy."

And yet, all three of the above advocates, along with many others, continued to argue --- while failing to offer any actual evidence for the claim --- that there was simply no support for the idea of a DRE ban in either house of the U.S. Congress.

All the while, The BRAD BLOG had maintained that they, and the other Holt supporters, had fallen victim to a hoax by People for the American Way (PFAW). The popular public advocacy group had long pushed the unsupported notion that there was no congressional support for such a ban, in order to see the bill passed specifically without such a ban. It was one of several false notions being forwarded by the group in favor of the bill, as we argued both here and at Alernet early in the year.

A careful examination of PFAW's on-the-record statements, and numerous on and off-the-record conversations with their Executive Director and legislative leaders by The BRAD BLOG over many months, revealed that PFAW (almost inexplicably) has actually been advocating in favor of the use of dangerous DRE voting systems in American elections. It's fair to say that Holt's bill had thus been held hostage to ensure that such systems would not be banned.

But then came the fallout from the failed 13th Congressional District election last November in Nelson's home state, followed by California Sec. of State Debra Bowen's landmark scientific findings, Rep. Susan Davis's (D-CA) amendment this past summer, and a killer editorial from the New York Times as the tide began to slowly turn...

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

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From DREs to the ACVR to the DOJ, The Republican Alphabet Soup Blueprint for Disenfranchisement and Miscounting in Next Year's Election Has Been a Well-Crafted and Well-Funded Work, Long in the Planning...
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman on 10/21/2007 5:04pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Columbus Free Press

ED NOTE: The following feature was originally published in the Autumn '07 print version of the Columbus Free Press. The comprehensive aerial overview --- connecting dots from 2000 to 2004 to the outlook for 2008, as based on a wide body of years-long investigative reportage and exposés as collected from a variety of sources, including The BRAD BLOG and many others --- offers such a useful round-up of "our story until now" that we thought running the piece in its entirety here would be a very good idea. We hope you agree.

With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP's neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare?

Think again – the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election.

With his usual devious mastery, Rove has seized upon the national outrage sparked by his electoral larceny and used it as smokescreen while he makes the American electoral system even MORE unfair, and even EASIER to rig. Thus the administration has fired federal attorneys when they would not participate in a nationwide campaign to deny minorities and the poor their access to the polls. It has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to install electronic voting machines that can be "flipped" with a few keystrokes. And under the guise of "reforming" our busted electoral system, it is setting us up for another presidential theft in 2008.

Thus it should come as no surprise that our exclusive investigations into the firings of eight federal prosecutors who refused to execute Rove’s plans for massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters reveal a pattern of illegalities and fraud aimed at reducing the number of minority, poor and young voters at the core of Democratic support. In the wake of major news breaks, two felony convictions have come from the rigging of the illegal Ohio 2004 vote count and recount that gave George W. Bush a second illegitimate term. Stunning new admissions from county election boards that illegally destroyed voter records will almost certainly lead to new convictions. And the multi-million-dollar electronic voting machine scam that made possible the biggest electoral frauds in US history is under massive new attack, with key states moving to scrap the machines altogether in a desperate attempt to restore American democracy – but with the job far from done.

Rove, Ney and the Undead

Indeed, the Rovian theft engine is far from dead. The media groundwork has already been laid out for the Republicans to claim that hordes of illegal aliens have registered to vote. The Bush administration has been caught ordering public agencies – possibly in violation of the law – to cease registering voters. In an April, 2006 speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association, Rove openly alluded to the strategy of demanding photo ID and purging voter roles of poor, minority voters just as had been done in 2000 and 2004. And, as always with Bush/Rove, there is much more beneath the surface.

All that has happened to challenge the GOP death grip on the American vote count has been reported in the pages of Hustler and on the internet at FreePress.org, The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and is being seized upon by a national grassroots movement determined to restore American democracy next year.

Nowhere has that movement been more in evidence than with the high profile firestorm surrounding Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ firing of eight federal prosecutors without legitimate cause.

Evidence continues to surface from throughout the United States about this blatant Bush abuse of executive power. But we have traced the roots of the firings to an obscure Congressional hearing held at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 21, 2005, and to a shadowy GOP operative named Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.

The hearing was conducted by none other than former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-18th OH). The once-powerful Ohio Congressman (who is now behind bars) was the godfather of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the national boondoggle that mandated electronic voting machines for the American electoral process.

That the machines would cost taxpayers billions was a big plus for Ney. They would come from Diebold and other companies that poured money into Republican coffers. Thanks largely to the manipulations of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, these e-voting machine companies would help guarantee the GOP’s ability to steal elections.

Ney’s hearing featured a marquee appearance by J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State responsible for delivering Ohio’s decisive 2004 electoral votes to Bush. Blackwell was a key operative for the Bush election campaign in Florida in 2000 and co-chaired the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign in Ohio...

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

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Second Attempt Was Successful for the AUSA From Florida Who Flew to Detroit to Have Sex With 5-Year Old
PLUS: A Note on Our Reporting on the Political Affiliation of Atchison...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2007 6:15pm PT  

To close a loop (something we don't often get to do) on a story we picked up on a few weeks ago, the Assistant U.S. Attorney from northern Florida, John David R. Atchison, who was arrested in a sting in September for attempting to have sex with a 5-year old girl, has committed suicide in federal prison.

Atchison had previously tried to kill himself just days after being arrested at the Detroit airport where he had flown to a federal agent he had believed to be the little girl's mother.

"Just gotta go slow and very easy. I've done it plenty," Atchison reportedly told the "mother" before he left Florida, after the agent in the string operation had expressed concerns to Atchison about injury to the little girl.

In AP's report on the AUSA's death, they described him as a family man, whose attorney hopes he'll be remembered for "a lot of good in his life"...

Atchison, a married father of three, was an assistant U.S. attorney in northern Florida, based in Pensacola. Gulf Breeze, Fla., residents have described him as a respected figure who coached girls' softball and basketball in a park a few blocks from his home.

A statement released Friday by his lawyer, James Thomas, said Atchison had "done a lot of good in his life."

"Unfortunately, he is going to be judged by his most recent charges and what we have read in the media, and not by the goodness, hard work or by the love of his family," the statement read.

ED NOTE about the sub-headline, from our initial quick coverage of the arrest last month, intimating that Atchison was a Republican...

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

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Report Released Today Says More Testing Needed of ES&S Voting Machines to Determine Cause of Massive, Still Unexplained Undervote
One Year Later and Republican in Disputed Election Still Sitting, Voting in Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2007 7:36pm PT  

As we near the one year mark since some 18,000 votes inexplicably disappeared in Sarasota County, Florida, on the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines used in the U.S. House Election for the state's 13th Congressional District, more study is still needed to determine whether or not the voting machines were at fault, according to the report released today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Even with the additional testing, the GAO admits, it will be impossible to determine for certain whether the touch-screen machines caused the extraordinarily high undervote race in the election.

The GAO's report [PDF] was presented to a Congressional task force investigating the challenge brought by Democratic candidate Christine Jennings, under the Federal Contested Elections Act, after the certified tally between her and her Republican opponent, Vern Buchanan, was reported by the state to be a slim 369 vote margin.

No reasonable explanation for the massive undervote --- found only in that particular contest, only in the Sarasota portion of the race, and only on the touch-screen ballots there (as opposed to the paper-based absentee ballots) --- has yet been proven by anyone.

The GAO has asked the task force to allow them to conduct further testing of the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machines, in three specific areas, though they admit while "the proposed tests could help provide increased assurance, they would not provide absolute assurance that the iVotronic DREs did not cause the large undervote in Sarasota County."

Determining for certain whether the machines caused the problem would be "impossible," according to the GAO analysis, because they are "unable to recreate the conditions of the election in which the undervote occurred." Ah, the trouble with touch-screens.

As well, the report determined that "some of the prior tests and reviews conducted by the State of Florida and Sarasota County provide assurance that certain components of the voting systems in Sarasota County functioned correctly, but they are not enough to provide reasonable assurance that the iVotronic DREs did not contribute to the undervote."

While the Congressional task force has given permission for the GAO to proceed with their additional testing of the DREs, Jennings has already announced her intentions to run again in 2008 and Buchanan has voted for almost a full year with the Republican House caucus. And Democrats in the House prepare to vote on legislation which would allow the same faulty technology to be used in further elections.

QUESTIONS ABOUT ES&S CONTINUE

Among the unanswered questions in any of the FL-13 reports so far, is whether or not the source code reviewed in previous studies was the same as the code actually in use in the machines on Election Day. Recent news out of California demonstrates that ES&S has a prior history of playing fast and loose with different versions of hardware and software used on their machines in elections.

As well, reading past the summary section of the GAO report reveals another troubling disclosure by the nation's largest voting machine vendor...

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

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PLUS: Guest Hosting Tomorrow on San Francisco's Green 960am...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2007 2:26pm PT  

Whatever they have to do to win. And given the odds against them in '08, expect them to pull out every stop imaginable between now and the election in order to "win."

Add this to our "DoJ is the New ACVR" article last week, describing how the DoJ has now institutionalized "vote caging" at the federal level via, among other things, a recent letter sent to 10 states ordering them to purge their voter rolls. While Thor Hearne's ACVR is no more (at least officially) and the RNC is barred from minority-targeted caging by a court-ordered consent decree, state parties can do whatever the hell they damn well please, according to our friend Greg Gordon at McClatchy today...

WASHINGTON — Ohio and Florida, which provided the decisive electoral votes for President Bush's two razor-thin national election triumphs, have enacted laws that election experts say will help Republicans impede Democratic-leaning minorities from voting in 2008.

Backers of the new laws say they're aimed at curbing vote fraud. But the statutes also could facilitate a controversial Republican tactic known as "vote caging," which the GOP attempted in Ohio and Florida in 2004 before public disclosures foiled the efforts, said Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief in the Bush administration who's now with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Caging, used in the past to target poor minorities in heavily Democratic precincts, entails sending mass mailings to certain voters and then using the undelivered letters to compile lists of voters for eligibility challenges.
...
Asked whether they might employ vote caging in 2008, Executive Director Jason Mauk of the Ohio Republican Party and spokeswoman Erin Van Sickle of the Florida Republican Party said they couldn't discuss election strategy.

See Gordon's complete report for more details.

As well, we'll have more on all of this Thursday and Friday while Guest Hosting for "Progressive News with John Scott" on San Francisco's Air America affiliate Green 960am (formerly "The Quake"), where we'll be bringing these issues to drive-time listeners (4p-6p PT) in the Bay Area! Hope you'll tune in! (See "Media Appearances" box at top-right for more details.)

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Andrew Meyer Currently 'On Ice,' According to Investigate Journalist/NYTimes Best Selling Author of 'Mysterious Yellow Book'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2007 2:58pm PT  

We just spoke with Greg Palast, whose Armed Madhouse paperback (or "mysterious 'yellow book,'" as lazy Washington Post blogger, Emil Steiner "reported" it), was being waved and alluded to by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer just prior to his being Tasered by UF cops earlier this week.

Palast says he is offering the journalism student a job as a paid intern. Meyer had described Palast, in his question to Sen. John Kerry, asking why he conceded the 2004 Presidential Election so early, as "the top investigate journalist in America."

"Did you notice he never let the book touch the ground?" an impressed Palast wryly noted.

Meyers was Tasered by the authorities as the majority of the students in the crowd sat passively during their fellow student's pleas for help and shrieks of pain. He was then arrested and charged with a felony for "inciting a riot and disrupting a school function." (Police report here [PDF])

"His attorneys seem to be keeping him on ice," Palast told us, when we asked if he'd been able to officially offer the gig to Meyer.

Indeed, our note to Meyer sent Tuesday, inviting him to Guest Blog his experience here at The BRAD BLOG, has so far similarly gone unanswered.

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The Pacification of America...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2007 11:58am PT  

And thus, Stephen Colbert hits on precisely the most alarming issue at the heart of the Tasering incident: The students (and Kerry) stood by. Did nothing. America pacified...

As we wrote to some folks in a discussion list yesterday:

I should also add that, according to the Police Report [PDF], Meyer was arrested on an absurd felony charge of "inciting a riot and disrupting a school function."

If that was "inciting a riot" worthy of Tasering, I can only shudder at what the authorities' reaction would have been to someone who was actually inciting a riot.

And I believe my shudder is ultimately, and exactly, the point of such displays by the authorities.

As Naomi Wolf pointed out, such tactics have worked very effectively in the past.

Eternal Vigilance: More Than Just a Swell Bumpersticker Catch-Phrase.

Our initial coverage, and early thoughts on the incident, are posted here...

Related: Wheelchair Bound Woman Tasered to Death

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The BRAD BLOG Congratulates the Not-Yet-Indicted Florida Republican on His Latest Impressive Accomplishment!
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2007 2:34pm PT  

Congratulations to Florida's U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney (24th District) for being named one of Congress's "Most Corrupt Members" for the third consecutive year! The latest round of notables was posted today by the watchdogs at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Attaboy, Tom!

And all while staying out of jail --- so far --- for improprieties associated with disgraced GOP über lobbyist Jack Abramoff; being disgraced Tom Delay's #1 supporter in Congress; well-documented allegations of vote-rigging in 2000; all even while continuing to protect your enduring friendship with Communist China-associated, illegal-immigrant employing spies, business partners, and benefactors!

No easy feat, that! Especially since just staying alive while hanging around you has gotten so difficult for so many over the years!

We'd list more of your considerable accomplishments here, but we seem to have made a career of it already. So we continue to invite readers to peruse your impressive record on their own! Here's the short version, for those in a hurry.

Keep up the bad work, Tom!

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'In this book, it says five million votes were supressed. Didn't you want to be President?' Asks 21-Year-Old Prior to be Dragged Off by Security
'Kerry, true to character, stood immobile,' Notes the New York Times Best-Selling Author in Response...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2007 1:10pm PT  


Fortunately, it happened at a John Kerry event. So we'll likely hear a whole lot about this incident. Had it happened at a Republican event, Fox "News" and the rest of the news channels that receive their assignments from them would have made this a one-day story at best.

The blurry-ish video version of the incident seen at right shows the entire statement and questions asked by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer. He was waving the recently released paperback version of investigative journalist Greg Palast's Armed Madhouse and recommended the book to Kerry before asking him about his early concession to the 2004 Presidential Election.

"He says you won the 2004 Election, isn't that amazing?" proclaimed Meyer, referring to Palast's claims in the book. The 21-year-old student continued on to speak about "multiple reports of disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida and Ohio on the day of the election" and "electronic voting machines in Volusia County, Florida, that counted backwards."

"So amidst all of these reports of phony, bogus stuff going on, how could you concede the election on the day?" he asked as security guards surrounded him. "How could you concede the 2004 election on the day? In this book, it says there were five million votes that were suppressed. Didn't you want to be President?!"

Kerry is heard earlier in Meyer's statement acknowledging that he has the book and that he's "already read it." Though we've seen the incident now on all of the cable news channels, several times, we've not seen any of them show the actual statement and questions being asked by Meyer.

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

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What is It About Florida Republicans and Sex With Children?
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2007 4:30pm PT  

Unbelievable...

DETROIT --- A U.S. Justice Department official has been arrested on suspicion of traveling to Detroit over the weekend to have sex with a minor.

John David R. Atchison, 53, an assistant U.S. attorney from the northern district of Florida, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit Monday afternoon.

An undercover officer posed as a mother offering her child to Atchison for sex, according to police.

Prosecutors said Atchison flew from Pensacola, Fla., to Detroit on Sunday intending to have sex with the 5-year-old girl.
...
The undercover detective asked how Atchison can be certain of no injury. He responded, "Just gotta go slow and very easy. I've done it plenty," according to detectives.

Atchison, a member of the Florida bar association since 1984, lives in Gulf Breeze, Fla., near Pensacola.

He is president of the Gulf Breeze Sports Association, a youth athletics organization.

He described himself online as a family man.

UPDATE 10/6/07: On his second attempt, Atchison succeeded in killing himself in federal prison. Details on that, and our inference on his being a Republican right here...

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Three Smart Editorials Today Calling the Bad Guys Out and Demanding Accountability! Finally!
UPDATED: One More Smart Editorial Today Added, Calls Tom Feeney 'Shameless'!
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2007 9:18am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Boulder, CO...

Must get off the grid today very shortly (and will be gone until after Labor Day), so not much time for comment here. Rather, I'll give you quick pointers to three superb editorials in today's papers as the voices of the good guys return to counter the charlatans and propagandists who've been dominating the media pages for far too long.

Please read on, for some heroic cries for accountability --- finally --- from the hopelessly compromised U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Election Officials in general, and Sequoia Voting Systems in particular, all found in the op/ed pages today from Coast-to-Coast!...

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

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ALSO: More Feeney Lies, Ethical Problems Revealed as Florida 'Vote-Rigging' Software Firm Owner Contributes $5000 to the Corrupt Congressman's Abramoff Legal Defense Fund...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2007 8:05am PT  

By Brad Friedman from on the road in Burlington, CO...

The recent Dan Rather report (complete video here) on the gaming of the paper punchcard ballots by Sequoia Voting Systems in Florida, just prior to the 2000 election, plugs up at least one important "hole" in the Clint Curtis story. We first broke Curtis's story back in late 2004 and have been reporting on it ever since.

You'll recall that Curtis alleged --- in sworn affidavit [PDF], live video-taped testimony before a U.S. House Judiciary delegation, and via polygraph test --- that he was asked by Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) to create a touch-screen vote-rigging prototype program, just months prior to the 2000 election when they both worked at the same Florida software firm.

One of the main criticisms of Curtis's striking allegations at the time was that "nobody was even thinking about touch-screen voting systems in Florida prior to the 2000 Presidential Election debacle."

Dan Rather's remarkable investigative report, however, would seem to indicate otherwise: seven Sequoia company whistleblowers reveal on camera that, despite their objections, they were forced to use poor quality paper for the punchcards to be used in Florida in 2000. They also revealed that they had been instructed to deliberately misalign the chads for ballots going to Palm Beach County, FL, only.

Back in 2004, just after The BRAD BLOG broke the original story of Curtis' allegations, some in the media were skeptical. On 12/13/04, Kim Zetter picked up on the story for WIRED and wrote...

Some details of Curtis' statements don't check out. West Palm Beach city didn't use touch-screen machines in 2000, something Curtis didn't know when Wired News spoke to him. It was the pregnant chad controversy in that year's presidential election that led Palm Beach county, where West Palm Beach resides, to replace its much-maligned punch-card system with touch-screen machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems in December 2001.

Unknown to the dubious Zetter at the time, was that someone at Sequoia, as the Rather report now reveals, seems to have known what they were doing when they gamed those paper ballots in Florida in 2000, since the company had already had touch-screen voting machines in the pipe-line, and indeed, already in use since as early as 1999 in California. If someone at Sequoia was pushing towards a change to touch-screen voting for Florida in 2000, the charges that Feeney might well have been aware, and supporting such a move is not quite as absurd as Zetter seemed to suggest in her article.

As well, another recent revelation puts the lie to Feeney's claim, made years ago, that he no longer had anything to do with the owners of the Oviedo, Florida, firm where he was the general counsel and registered lobbyist in 2000 (even as he served as Speaker of the FL House at the same time). Curtis was employed as a computer programmer for the company, which had multi-million dollar contracts with both the state and NASA, where Feeney's wife has worked for several years.

New information reveals that the owners of the company remain personal friends with Feeney, and continue to funnel money to him even while they hope for further contracts from the U.S. House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics, in which Feeney has recently been promoted to ranking member.

TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING SYSTEMS AND PRE-2000 FLORIDA

Connecting a few dots here... Sequoia had already deployed its new touch-screen voting systems in several precincts in Riverside County, CA, back in 1999. In 2000 the systems were to be used county-wide for the first time. Sequoia knew damned well that they stood to make millions from the use of touch-screen voting systems long before the 2000 election, even as their paper ballot shop was preparing the flawed paper ballots for use in Florida's election that same year.

As reported by Rather, the company made just pennies per ballot on the punchcards and only a few hundred dollars on punchcard counting machines. But millions stood to be made on their newer technology, which sold for thousands of dollars per touch-screen machine. The stunning on-camera testimony from the seven company whistleblowers suggests that the company --- and/or someone else --- may have had a plan in place to speed the transition to touch-screens prior to the 2000 election in Florida. That, of course, is precisely the same moment in time that Curtis alleges Feeney asked him to create touch-screen vote-rigging software, when they both worked for Yang Enterprises, Inc....

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

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Papers Released by the Company Prove Nothing, May Be from 2000 Primary Election in Florida Instead of General Election Where Malfeasance Has Been Alleged...
By John Gideon on 8/28/2007 5:35am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org, with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

The latest set of documents released by Sequoia Voting Systems, in an attempt to clear its name after a recent damning news report, fail to answer any of the questions that the company had claimed that they would. Worse still, The BRAD BLOG has learned that the documents proffered by Sequoia may not even refer to the specific election about which new and alarming questions have been recently raised.

The day after damaging revelations about several touch-screen voting machine manufacturers was aired in a remarkable exposé on Dan Rather Reports, the Vice-President and lead spokeswoman for Sequoia Voting Systems, Michele Shafer, responded in a press release to the charges made, on camera, by seven company whistleblowers featured in the broadcast.

The charges included claims that the workers at Sequoia's paper punchcard ballot plant had been forced to use inferior paper stock for ballots that were created for the 2000 general election in Florida and, as well, they were instructed to misalign the chads for punchcards made specifically for Palm Beach County.

Nobody at Sequoia was willing to take credit for the use of the bad paper, even as the seven workers had, time and again, refused to accept delivery for the inferior stock which was ultimately used anyway. The company failed to provide documents to Rather's team, showing who it was who finally signed off on the delivery. And when pressed, Sequoia had given questionable "received" documents for the paper which didn't have anyone's signature, as the Sequoia Quality Control specialist interviewed said she would have expected.

Shafer responded in her statement by promising to deliver exculpatory documents to prove that Rather's report was all wrong. The documents finally produced late last week, do nothing of the kind...

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

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