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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in Town of Long Island, reverse results of very close state contest, leaving officials baffled...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gov. Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank issue's dire warning...
Previous GNRs: 11/20/14 - 11/18/14 - Archives...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting of Michael Brown
A few early thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice on the night of his announcement...
'Recount' Ahead for Oregon's GMO Labeling Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'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
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: 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
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from 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, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes 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...
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...
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...


VIDEO - Hannity Begins to Carry Disingenuous Buckets of Anti-Democracy Water
Jennings May Have to Play the Congressional Constitutional Card to Gain the House Seat Which Obviously Should Belong to Her...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2006 3:11pm PT  

It's a lovely change of pace when some of the other "big boy bloggers" beat me to the punch on Election Integrity-related stories. Perhaps I can start sleeping in for a while. I could use it.

That said, TPMMuckraker gives us a fine update on the FL-13 sitch, and Sean Hannity's virtuoso performance in what is likely his most disingenuous performance to date last night on Hannity & Colmes, where Republican Vern Buchanan spouted off with neither a Democratic nor a non-partisan Election Integrity advocate to counter his nonsense.

In addition to TPMM's points, it should also be pointed out that Hannity stated incorrectly --- twice --- that Sarasota is the strongest Republican stronghold in the contest. That, despite, his later admission that the Democratic Christine Jennings won the area by 7%.

As well, Hannity (again unchecked) is allowed to rant about how Republicans don't challenge elections when they lose, they accept defeat gracefully. Guess Sean doesn't read The BRAD BLOG and thus doesn't know about the Conservative TX Supreme Court Justice Steven Smith, or the mess in Maricopa County, AZ, still percolating from back in 2004, or the fact that Rick Santorum and the PA Republican party demanded that touch-screen systems where votes reportedly flipped be impounded in 27 counties on Election Day, just to name a few instances.

But we'd expect nothing less from water boy Hannity.

Most of note in the video, perhaps, is Buchanan's un-checked (and by now, expected) outrageous claim that Jennings is "destroying democracy" by calling for a revote. A funny turn of phrase from a guy who is doing everything he can to ensure that the rather clear voices of the voters are ignored in favor of a 369 vote "victory" gained only due to faulty, paperless touch-screen voting machines.

Even Buchanan is unable, in the clip, to explain why 18,000 votes in Jennings's strongest county simply disappeared. Of course, he'd have to admit he lost if forced to come up with an answer to that mystery. So he avoids the question twice by explaining only that "there's a lot of speculation out there you can read."

Got nothing, Vern? But don't give a damn anyway? We thought so. Now that's what we call "destroying democracy"!

In other FL-13 coverage around the 'sphere, both the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and a group of political scientists [PDF] are averring that it was bad ballot design which caused the problem (The BRAD BLOG earlier posted a photo of the way in which the race was displayed on the touch-screen systems, such that it would have been very easy for voters not to see the race at all on Sarasota's ES&S touch-screen machines.)

The "bad ballot design" explanation, however --- that voters didn't notice the race --- fails to account for all of the affidavits from voters claiming they tried and tried to vote in the race, but couldn't get their vote to register properly for Jennings, as one of the attorneys representing the voter lawsuit calling for a revote recently told us.

Finally, DailyKos (of all places) has some decent front page coverage of the rather conservative (we've found) Election Law professor Rick Hasen's explanation [PDF] of the Constitutional card that can be played by the U.S. House to settle the matter. At this point, it's looking more and more like that will be the way this thing is ultimately settled...

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

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Information on Sunday's 'Revote Rally' and Video Testimony from Voters Who Had Trouble in Sarasota on November 7th
ALSO: Lead Attorney on Lawsuit Says Court-Allowed Testing Will Corrupt the Voting Machines...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2006 3:15pm PT  

People for the American Way (PFAW) just released the following update on the latest goings on in the FL-13 battle where their lawsuit (filed along with several Election Integrity organizations) has now been joined by the court with Democratic candidate Christine Jennings's own suit. Both are calling for a revote.

The press release (posted in full below) says that the state-run audit testing of a few of the machines in use on Election Day is an "excercise in futility" due to the small sampling size of the tests and the fact that the commission chosen to carry it out has reasons to ensure that nothing is actually found to be "wrong" with the paperless ES&S voting machines on which some 18,000 votes disappeared in the U.S. House race down there.

By the way, I recently spoke with Lowell Finley, the lead attorney from VoterAction.org, one of the groups filing the lawsuit on behalf of voters down there. He confirmed that the machines being used for today's testing --- two chosen by Buchanan, two by Jennings (from precincts with the highest undervote rate) --- will essentially be compromised by today's state-run audit testing. Though Finley and the others tried to make that point to the judge assigned to the matter, that testing these machines in this way would corrupt the original data, the court decided to allow the state to use them in this way nonetheless.

PFAW's news release, issued moments ago, also gives details and a link for more info concerning this Sunday's planned "Revote Rally" in Sarasota, as well as a link to video testimony from more than 50 voters who had trouble voting in the Jennings/Buchanan race on November 7th.

The PFAW press release follows in full below...

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

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State Officials Blame 'Human Error' of State Officials Who Performed Tests in the State's Official Testing...
...While County Commissioners Make Plans to Scrap Their $4.5 Million Dollar Touch-Screen System...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2006 1:11pm PT  

Yesterday Sarasota County, FL, began their state-run test audits of the paperless ES&S touch-screen systems used in Florida's 13th District House race where 18,000 votes disappeared, resulting in a 369 vote margin between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R) to fill the seat vacated by former Secretary of State of Katherine Harris.

The first day of testing revealed miscounting errors on all four of the machines used during the test, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and at least two citizen observers who blogged their account of the day's testing.

State officials who convened the panel blamed the miscounting on...wait for it...human error!

Of course they did. The panel itself has already been plagued with controversy after Election Integrity organizations criticized the selection of several members assigned to the commission, including the very partisan Alec Yasinsac, who appeared on the steps of Florida Supreme Court in 2000 wearing a "Bush Won" button, and David Drury, the state official who certified these particular systems in the first place for the state of Florida, declaring them safe and accurate for use in an election.

The first day of testing employed machines that were not actually used in the November 7th election (Friday's testing will include machines actually used that day) and were not performed under normal voting conditions (e.g., the machines were hung from the wall, instead of placed on stands to approximate the height they would be for most voters --- important, since these machines tend to register votes differently for tall voters than they do for other voters.)

Nonetheless, errors in the counting were registered by all of the machines used in testing. The results differed from the votes in "scripted" ballots that state testers had punched into them. Ironically, the errors ended up giving Jennings a higher vote total than she should have had according to the prepared voting scripts.

The Herald-Trib --- who, by the way, has reinstated its FL-13 Special Coverage page since we pointed out its removal a few days ago --- is reporting today that, "All four voting machines that officials used to simulate the Nov. 7 election had miscounts, and three of them had miscounts in the District 13 race."

A diarist over at DailyKos who has been on-site, covering the day-by-day details of the goings-on --- and who has a user name we well approve of --- "BeTheMedia" describes yesterday's results this way:

Some testers required two or three attempts to get a touch to register on the screen. Some appeared to have one in every three attempts to register a touch fail. So, even practiced test voters are having trouble with the touchscreens during the "audit." Not a good sign.
...
While today's procedure may have tested for a narrow range of possibilities, it failed to test broadly for a wider range of possibilities that could have been revealed by more rigorous and thorough testing. It is valid and reasonable for testing to try to make a system fail. That's what thorough testing is supposed to do.

The tests today did indeed revealed discrepancies. At least three votes recorded as undervotes in the election changed to Jennings votes in today's "audit." That's comes out to an approximate 7% shift in a race decided by less than two-tenths of one percent. It will be quite interesting to see how the State Division of Elections explains this shift.

And, of course, it is interesting to see how the State explained the shift, though their explanation is no longer much of a suprise...

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

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It's Time to End the So-Called 'Voter Verified Paper Trail' Nonsense
Even VotersUnite.org Now Agrees...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2006 9:35am PT  

Sunday's short NY Times editorial, titled "Déjà Vu in Florida," concerning the mess in Sarasota's FL-13 U.S. House race between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R) (369 votes difference, 18,000 missing votes on the paperless ES&S touch-screen systems in Jennings's strongest county) gets much right. But on one huge point, they get it completely wrong.

First...Here's the highlight graf amongst the stuff they got right:

The campaign wants its experts to review the machines’ secret computer source code, the programming that runs the computer inside the machine, to look for problems. Election Systems and Software, the company that made the machines, is not saying whether it will allow this. If it resists, the courts should order the company to hand over the code — a requirement that should, in fact, be routine in all places where electronic voting machines are used.

Agreed. Wholeheartedly. 'Nuff said.

But here's the lowlight graf, in which they get it all wrong at the conclusion of the editorial:

As Ms. Jennings’s suit proceeds, we should learn more about what, if anything, went wrong, and what the options are if any remedies are needed. But one verdict is already in: electronic voting without the full array of protections, including a voter-verified paper trail, is unacceptable.

Wrong.

A so-called "voter-verified paper trail" on Sarasota's touch-screen systems would not have solved the problem in Florida. I'll have more on this issue in the coming days, but suffice it to say for now: Paper trails, such as they are used with DRE/Touch-Screen systems, do not work. Voters don't verify them, elections officials don't count them, they are not accurate, they can be gamed, they jam the printers which leads to voters being turned away without being able to vote...among just a few of the reasons.

VotersUnite.org has now come out with a complete statement on why even they are no longer willing to support voter verified paper audit trails (VVPAT) and thus, they will not support Rep. Rush Holt's otherwise well-intentioned HR550 legislation as long as it allows for VVPAT. Neither will we. More on all of that soon as well.

In the meantime, I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it...louder and louder each time if necessary: America needs a paper BALLOT for every vote cast.

Period.

I hope you'll join me in that call. I'll try to make it easier for you to do so in the coming days.

If there's one thing the events of Election 2006 have made crystal clear, it's that the VVPAT train wreck ahead needs to be derailed immediately. The New York Times (no suprise) is clueless there. But, at this point, there is no longer any excuse for any self-respecting Election Integrity organization to keep their heads in the sand on this one.

BREAKING UPDATE: Please note, since posting this story earlier this morning, a blockbuster has occured. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the federal body responsible for creating the federal Voting System Standards (such as we have any), has recommended that all touch-screen DRE voting systems should be decertified! Further, apropos of my story above, they've said that so-called VVPATs do not work and should not be used with touch-screen systems! Complete breaking story posted here...

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Other Than That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was the Play?
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2006 4:27pm PT  

Apropos of our previous piece --- in which we pointed out that nothing exists until the corporate mainstream media says it does --- Associated Press has now officially characterized the Florida 13th Congressional Race as a "meltdown" --- one which is "a microcosm of the 2000 Florida election fiasco that put George W. Bush in the White House."

Of course, simply calling it a "meltdown" (gosh, where have we heard that description before?), doesn't mean the corporate mainstream media will treat it as one. If it's really "a microcosm of 2000," one would think the issue would lead to banner headlines everywhere. It should, of course, since the only actual difference between Florida's Bush/Gore 2000 and Florida's Jennings/Buchanan 2006 is that, as good luck would have it, the balance of neither Congress nor the White House depends on the final outcome. But that's just a stroke of luck. One that --- one would think --- even the CMSM could connect the dots on.

But perhaps not.

Even Sarasota's Herald-Trib which, as we've previously pointed out, has been the bible of mainstream FL-13 coverage, has now disappeared their website link to, and apparently ceased updating, their FL-13 Special Coverage page.

We hope that will change since the story is, quite clearly, far from over down there and we've been closely following the Herald-Trib's excellent body of coverage and archives for reference.

But for now, at least, it's back to the blogs for the latest. Paul Kiel over at TPMMuckraker has the latest updates on this week's scheduled and controversial (some would say pre-discredited) state-run audit of the paperless ES&S touch-screen machines which caused 18,000 votes to disappear in the election.

UPDATE: We also meant to point you to this spot-on satire from H-T columnist Daryl Lease, by the way, when we originally published this article.

In case you missed it, over the Thanksgiving Weekend the Orlando Sentinel found that --- had the machines actually worked as well-advertised and promised --- the Democratic candidate Christine Jennings would have won the race that has since been certified by the state of Florida in favor of the Republican candidate Vern Buchanan.

With that, and the following statement from Katherine Harris (whose U.S. House seat, ironically, is the one at stake in FL-13) quoted by the AP article which kicked off this item --- "Now we're the national model instead of the national concern. There'll never be a hanging, dangling or pregnant chad again," she said in 2001 when Florida certified their "upgrade" to the machines they now use --- we might suggest the following new slogan for the Sunshine State...even if it's perhaps too long to fit on license plates:

Florida: Fucking up American Elections Since at Least 2000

For the record...AP also mentions that Florida's former and now-disgraced Secretary of State --- never one previously to let anything get between her and a press appearance --- seems to be taking a page from Diebold's Cut-and-Run PR Playbook at this point: "Harris, who lost her bid for U.S. Senate, did not respond to several messages left this week by The Associated Press."

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'Tens of Thousands Encountered Voting Machine Failures, Confusion over New ID Rules,' Reports Paper...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2006 2:35pm PT  

The New York Times' Ian Urbina (this time with Christopher Drew) continues to stay on point with his Electoral Failures coverage at the Grey Lady. Unlike Urbina's last report, this time he wasn't undermined by the Times headline writers. (Does anyone with a hard copy of the paper know what page this was reported on, btw?)

To his additional credit, he didn't use the word "glitch" even once. Thank you, Ian. Here are a few highlights from his piece in today's paper...

After six years of technological research, more than $4 billion spent by Washington on new machinery and a widespread overhaul of the nation’s voting system, this month’s midterm election revealed that the country is still far from able to ensure that every vote counts.

Tens of thousands of voters, scattered across more than 25 states, encountered serious problems at the polls, including failures in sophisticated new voting machines and confusion over new identification rules, according to interviews with election experts and officials.

Of course, BRAD BLOG readers will remember our desperate call for "Emergency Paper Ballots" here in the weeks prior to the election. On that, Urbina reports...

In many places, the difficulties led to shortages of substitute paper ballots and long lines that caused many voters to leave without casting ballots.

Wow. Who could have predicted that?!

And there's more...Of course, the "experts" (word used very cautiously!) are beginning to notice that things on Nov. 7th were worse than they had originally understood. "Voting problems may actually have been wider than initially estimated, with many malfunctions simply overlooked," reports the Times.

So how bad were they? How about 60,000 missing votes in Florida, bad. 20,000 voters who couldn't vote in Colorado, bad. Or in Arkansas, where "election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000," bad.

And then there's the erstwhile election "expert" Doug Chapin of Electionline.org whose "expert" opinion ensures his presence in just about any mainstream media coverage of these matters. Mr. Chapin continues, on schedule, working all sides of the street in Urbina's piece. It's a tricky juggling act for this "expert" --- mustn't offend the Voting Machine Companies or the Elections Officials who pay his bills, or even, to a lesser extent, the Election Integrity advocates who might just call him a phony if he's not careful --- but, as John Gideon pointed out in yesterday's DVN, even Chapin's having a difficult time avoiding the obvious:

"If the success of an election is to be measured according to whether each voter’s voice is heard, then we would have to conclude that this past election was not entirely a success," said Doug Chapin, director of Electionline.org, a nonpartisan election group that plans to release a report Wednesday with a state-by-state assessment of voting. "In places where the margin of victory was bigger than the margin of error, we looked away from the problems, but in 2008 we might not have that luxury."

And the award for "Understatment of the Year" goes to...

UPDATE 9:01pm PT: Reader Adele writes to tell us that Urbina's article was on "page 30 of 36 pages in the National section" of today's paper.

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While Scientists and Partisans Have Appropriate Concerns About the Team Florida Has Commissioned to Investigate
But We're Thankful, At Least, That the National Media is Beginning to Wake Up...Sorta...Kinda...Momentarily...Maybe...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2006 4:17pm PT  

Let's start with Krugman's "When Votes Disappear":

I've been shocked at how little national attention the mess in Sarasota has received. Here we have as clear a demonstration as we're ever likely to see that warnings from computer scientists about the dangers of paperless electronic voting are valid - and most Americans probably haven't even heard about it.

As far as I can tell, the reason Florida-13 hasn't become a major national story is that neither control of Congress nor control of the White House is on the line. But do we have to wait for a constitutional crisis to realize that we're in danger of becoming a digital-age banana republic?

"In danger of becoming..."?!! Okay, it's Thanksgiving weekend, so we'll just be thankful Krugman has decided to finally notice.

He also notes the concerns about the very partisan (natch) Prof. Alec Yasinsac whose been placed in charge of Florida's state investigation despite having "made an appearance on the steps of the Florida Supreme Court during the 2000 recount battle wearing a 'Bush Won' sign," as Krugman reports.

We'll also note that Livermore Labs' Prof. David Jefferson, who spent the last two weeks in Sarasota himself writes in several comments here at The BRAD BLOG that he is more optimistic about Yasinsac and the state investigation over all. Johns-Hopkins computer scientist Avi Rubin reports a similar sentiment on his blog today, defending Yasinsac and concluding about Krugman:

Sadly, I think this incident illustrates that this columnist is willing to embrace whatever circumstances and appearances serve his message with no regard for whether they are legitimate.

While we certainly hope that the Jefferson/Rubin evaluation/hopes end up being the correct ones, we're not sure they are keeping in mind the necessity of even the appearance of impartiality here.

If Yasinsac's group finds trouble in the machines, great. It can be said that even a tream led by a Republican partisan agreed the machines were to blame. On the other hand, if Yasinsac's group concludes there was no problem with the machines, the analysis will receive no confidence from the general public...where such confidence is much needed right about now.

Yasinsac should recuse himself from the team of analysts for exactly that reason, even if the rest of his team at Florida State University --- whom Rubin regards as excellent --- stay on the job. The same is true, and for the same reason --- as we discussed the other day --- for David Drury, who is also on the team, even though he is the man responsible for certifying these paperless ES&S touch-screen systems in the first place for the state of Florida. A "machines worked fine" conclusion from the team, as long as both Drury and Yasinsac are on it, will be regarded as partisan and/or self-serving. Whether it actually is will be completely beside the point.

Moving on then...Even WaPo's E.J. Dionne is beginning to get it. Today, he writes something remarkably similar to what I wrote for ComputerWorld on the day after the election about the huge bullets that the nation just happened to dodge on November 7th. Here's Dionne this morning...

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

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And a Concession in New Mexico...Despite Our Own Personal Best Efforts...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2006 1:54pm PT  

Of course, we've been covering Christine Jennings's (D) refusal to concede and her stand in favor of the voters in the FL-13 fiasco. And though we haven't mentioned it lately, vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis (D), rather than conceding, is convening a group of volunteers to verify the reported "results" of his race against the corrupt Tom Feeney (R) in FL-24.

But several other House candidates, from North Carolina to Ohio (but not New Mexico), are still fighting to assure the voice of the voters is accurately heard...

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Second Member of State-Convened Investigative Panel Charged With Having 'Vested Interested' in Demonstrating That the Failed ES&S Touch-Screen Voting Systems 'Functioned Properly'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2006 1:19pm PT  

Sarasota's Herald-Tribune has emerged as the bible of local, and in-depth, coverage in the FL-13 undervote fiasco. Today, however, the Orlando Sentinel published the results of an audit of "records of 17,846 touch-screen ballots that included no vote in the tightly contested 13th District congressional race to determine whom voters selected in other major races." They find that those ballots strongly favored the Democrats:

The group of nearly 18,000 voters that registered no choice in Sarasota's disputed congressional election solidly backed Democratic candidates in all five of Florida's statewide races, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of ballot data shows.

Among these voters, even the weakest Democrat --- agriculture-commissioner candidate Eric Copeland --- outpaced a much-better-known Republican incumbent by 551 votes.

The trend, which continues up the ticket to the race for governor and U.S. Senate, suggests that if votes were truly cast and lost --- as Democrat Christine Jennings maintains --- they were votes that likely cost her the congressional election.

The Herald-Tribune editorial board today correctly writes that "Jennings Should Not Concede" as they argue there is "too much room for doubt about election's true outcome."

And finally, for the moment, one of the groups involved in the voter lawsuit --- which calls for an investigation and a revote in the election where 18,000 votes went "missing" with the margin between the two leading candidates at just below 400 votes --- charges that the state-convened audit committee is cooked (no suprise, this is Florida after all). In a news release sent to us moments ago, and posted in full below, People for the American Way reports that committee member David Drury, the man responsible for certifying voting machines for the state of Florida, clearly has "a vested interest in finding that the [paperless ES&S touchscreen machines used in FL-13, which] he certified functioned properly." Additionally, the PFAW release points out, Drury is also responsible for approving the shipment and "illegal distribution" of uncertified voting machines to the state of Florida.

Oh, and Sarasota County's Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent, has still not resigned. Just thought we'd mention that.

The complete PFAW press release follows in full below...

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Complaint and Press Release from Election Integrity Groups Posted Here in Full
PLUS VIDEO: Republican Election Supervisor Dent Failed to Take Corrective Action Before the Election, While Democrat Jennings --- and Her REPUBLICAN(!) Attorney --- Stand Very Tall...
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2006 1:51pm PT  
"The voters of Sarasota and of the entire country deserve answers about what went wrong with this voting system. This is not about Democrats, this is not about Republicans. It's about fixing a voting system that appears to be broken.

I believe we all feel strongly that our next representative to the U.S. Congress should be chosen by the will of the people and not by a problem in the voting machines.

I am committed to seeing that the will of the voters is carried out in this election of 2006. I will not rest until the intended votes are counted and every person's vote is counted and reflected accurately."

-- Christine Jennings (D), Press Conference, Sarasota Florida, 11/21/06

Details follow below the fold on the voters' lawsuit filed today calling for an investigation and full re-vote in the FL-13 U.S. House race between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R). There are currently 363 votes between the two of them, with more than 18,000 votes unaccounted for on the paperless ES&S touch-screen systems used in Sarasota County. We'd give more of a recap of our story so far, but the press release from the four non-partisan groups who filed the case --- Voter Action, Electronic Frontier Foundation, ACLU, and People for the American Way (Florida) --- does a great job in summarizing the issues. We recommend you give it a read.

For our complete FL-13 coverage, you may click here for all of our stories to date, in reverse order.

UPDATE: The full complaint is now available for download here [PDF].

One point, however, to make clear, especially in light of the many calls for Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent, to take responsbility for the disastrous administration of this election by resigning immediately: the press release notes that the legal complaint charges "misconduct by election officials" and "evidence that legal votes were rejected in sufficient numbers to place in doubt the outcome of the election.":

The voters’ lawsuit cites misconduct of election officials, including the failure of Sarasota Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent, to adequately investigate, identify or report equipment malfunctions, software malfunctions, or ballot layout errors in the ES&S iVotronic touch screen voting machines, even after receiving numerous complaints about the machines from voters and poll workers during the two week period of early voting.

Indeed, Dent knew about the problem well before Election Day, according to her statement on this video, and yet clearly failed to take appropriate remedial steps before 18,000+ votes were lost to the ether in her paperless ES&S touch-screen voting machines.

By the way, the Democratic candidate Jennings held a press conference herself yesterday (video here) --- along with her Republican(!) attorney --- and answered to Buchanan's obnoxious press conference held earlier in the day (we covered that here.)

As far as we're concerned, Jennings, in making her pledge that she "will not rest until the intended votes are counted and every person's vote is counted and reflected accurately" --- along with her courage in not allowing herself to be pushed around by the anti-democratic thuggery of her opponent --- has shown herself to be the model of what every candidate ought to look and sound like in the wake of such a horrendously administered election, in which the ability to determine the will of the people has been so clearly subverted.

The press release from the groups filing a lawsuit on behalf of Florida's voters follows in full...

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

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ALSO: Non-Partisan Election Integrity Groups To Sue for Revote in U.S. House Race, Announce Press Conference (News Release Posted Here in Full)
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2006 3:12pm PT  

Below are screenshots from the much-discussed first two pages of the Sarasota, Florida, ballot as seen on the paperless ES&S touch-screens on November 7th, 2006. Some 18,000 voters did not register a vote in the 13th Congressional district race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan. Or, at least, the ES&S voting machines failed to register their vote in any case.

When we first received these screenshots, it took us three or four times scrolling through them before we could even find the Jennings/Buchanan race. But see below and decide for yourselves.

Several non-partisan Election Integrity groups will be filing suit tomorrow in Florida to call for a re-vote in the election. The public-interest watchdog groups claim that voters were disenfranchised by the thousands in the race due to poor ballot design and a faulty voting system. A press conference tomorrow has been scheduled for Tuesday at 1pm ET on the steps of the Sarasota County Courthouse (the news release announcing the presser is posted in full at the end of this article).

A lawsuit contesting the results and calling for a new election was filed this morning by Jennings and, as The BRAD BLOG reported earlier today, Buchanan held a press conference this morning in which he called on Jennings to "stop listening" to the Election Integrity groups which he says "have hijacked the election." (Full video, transcript here.)

Buchanan's call for Jennings to concede comes despite the 18,000 lost votes and the microscopic 367 vote margin between the two of them as reported in the now-officially certified results.

Full-sized screenshots of the complete ballot can be downloaded here [PDF, 7.5mb]. Screenshots of the first two pages, resized to fit on The BRAD BLOG --- where the Jennings/Buchanan race can be seen spilling over to the second page of the "ballot," above the more clearly defined "STATE" races follow...

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Transcript, Video of Buchanan's Morning Press Conference After Florida Certifies Race with 369 Vote Margin...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2006 1:57pm PT  

UPDATE: Screenshots from the paperless ES&S voting systems, showing the controversial placement of the Jennings/Buchanan race on the ballot in Sarasota County only, are now posted EXCLUSIVELY here.

In a press conference this morning, Vern Buchanan (R) called on Christine Jennings (D) to concede in the race for the U.S. House in Florida's 13th Congressional district. In a process right out of the Bush/Cheney 2000 Florida Election debacle, the state of Florida certified the race today despite a 369 vote difference between the two and more than 18,000 still-unexplained "undervotes" registered on the paperless ES&S touch-screen voting machines used in Sarasota County.

A video of Buchanan's press conference is here. A complete transcript of his obnoxious statement follows at the end of this article.

We've stayed out of the "politics" in this race up until now, arguing only that the voters of FL-13 should have their voice heard despite overwhelming evidence of voting machine malfunction. However, given Buchanan's regrettable despicable attack on Jennings in his news conference this morning and, even more so, his attack on the non-partisan groups currently fighting for electoral integrity in the race, we've little choice but to point out the emergence of Buchanan as yet another democracy hater in Florida following the Bush/Cheney 2000 playbook almost to the reprehensible letter.

Putting his own self-interest before that of the public's, Buchanan called on Jennings "to put the interest of the public before her own self-interest," and called on his Democratic opponent --- ironcially fighting for the old seat of outgoing Katherine Harris --- to concede.

Buchanan characterized the contest filed today in court by Jennings (as we reported yesterday would be "coming soon") as "baseless litigation" and said that it's time for her to "stop listening to high-priced lawyers and out of town special interest groups who have hijacked the process to advance their own agenda."

Hijacked the process to advance their own agenda?!

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Candidate, as well as Non-Partisan Groups, Lining up for Legal Action, Demanding Investigation, Re-Vote, Accountability
Election Supervisor Kathy Dent --- Directly Responsible for the Mess --- Has Yet to Resign...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2006 3:28pm PT  

The BRAD BLOG has learned that several lawsuits are likely to be launched this week in the Sarasota, Florida, election meltdown where some 18,000 votes failed to register on the county's paperless ES&S touch-screen voting systems on November 7th. Fewer than 400 votes currently divide candidates Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D), who are vying to fill disgraced former Sec. of State Katherine Harris's U.S. House seat in Florida's 13th congressional district.

A number of sources have confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that Jennings's legal team --- who previously filed court papers to impound voting machines and data for a possible investigation --- are preparing to file legal action to challenge the legitimacy of the race, perhaps as soon as this week.

As well, non-partisan legal election watchdog VoterAction.org has announced they will be filing suit this week along with People for the American Way Foundation, the ACLU of Florida, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Common Cause. Velvet Revolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) is also joining in support of the action. A plea to citizens by Voter Action, seeking help in funding the lawsuit, follows in full at the end of this article.

This graf, from Voter Action's announcement, is of particular note in light of our own previous call for the resignation of Sarasota's atrocious Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent --- the person responsible, perhaps more than any other, for leading her constituents into this otherwise avoidable debacle [emphasis in original]:

This is an unparalleled opportunity to shed light on the continuing election crisis that plagues Florida, to expose the problems inherent in electronic voting systems, and to demonstrate the harm that can be caused by elections officials with a pro-vendor and anti-voter bias.

Sarasota's Herald-Tribune has been doing a very good job of covering the mess since it happened (if not prior to its occurring when something might actually have been done to avoid it).

Today, Herald-Trib columnist Rich Brooks joins the drumbeat of those calling for a full re-vote, writing this weekend: "[I]t's clear that a special election is needed to ensure a fair process. That's preferable to sending the wrong representative to Washington."

In an article on the many phone calls received from Sarasota voters detailing their experiences in trying to vote in the 13th District race, the Herald-Tribune reports today:

The vast majority of voters interviewed by the Herald-Tribune reported one of two major problems.

Either they couldn't find the District 13 race as they scrolled through their voting screens (about 36 percent) or their votes for either candidate did not initially register on the ballot summary page (more than 62 percent).
...
[M]any of the voters interviewed bristled at the notion that they were somehow careless or clueless and thus missed the race. Most of them --- ranging in age from 19 to 91 --- were keenly interested in the race and were familiar with touch-screen technology.
...
The most prevalent problem callers reported encountering happened when they touched a candidate's name, only to find that their vote hadn't registered on the ballot review page

Clearly, had Dent simply chosen a voting technology that would have allowed voters to express their intent on a paper ballot, this mess could never have occurred. Dent has gone out of her way for years to ensure that Sarasota voters would have no way of avoiding the problem they now face. Hopefully the courts will offer a way for the voters to express their actual intent in this important House election.

And the most important hope of all: That this election underscores everything that is wrong with E-Voting in our country and that we must do away (at the very least) with touch-screen voting systems...with or without a "paper trail."

Voter Action's announcement of their intended legal action and a plea for support follows in full...

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

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MadCow Morning News Exposé on How Things Went South Down in Florida's 13th Congressional District...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2006 4:35pm PT  

In a nifty and well-sourced bit of investigative journalism that makes The BRAD BLOG's muckracking heart go pitter-patter, an outfit known as Madcow Morning News (we wish they were called Washington Post) filed a peach of an exposé last Wednesday on Sarasota County's Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent, and Gary L. Greenhalgh, the ES&S voting machine company Vice-President with the questionable past, who appears to have serviced her.

The detailed reporting underscores our previous call for Dent to resign in light of her egregious failures in Florida's 13th district U.S. House race, where the voters are still paying the price. Please do yourself a favor and read the report in full.

Here's a few Dent money shots:

Ironically, while lobbying Sarasota County Commissioners in a successful campaign to spend millions on new touch screen electronic voting machines in 2001, one of Dent's primary arguments was that the new machines would lower the rate of uncounted votes, which then stood at barely one percent, versus the 13% undervote in the election last week.

"I do think we're going to see those numbers drop," Dent told Commissioners. "We're looking more for accuracy and the confidence that the voters have in the system."

And this ironic plum from Greelhalgh --- whom Madcow reports as regularly being in perilously close proximity to those convicted of bribery and other kickbacks to elections officials --- from back in 1985:

"The problem with computer-assisted voting systems is that they centralize the opportunity for fraud," Greenhalgh said, in a July 29, 1985 story in the New York Times.

"There is a massive potential for problems."

Reported the Times: "Mr. Greenhalgh said that while lever-type voting machines could have their counts rigged only machine by machine, counting votes by computer was done at one central site in most counties."

(Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG perennial "Old Turk")

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BRAD BLOG: New Mexico's 1st Congressional District Should Be Re-Counted by Hand in Full!
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2006 3:50pm PT  

We hate to rely on such questionable fringe sources as Associated Press, but for lack of time today, we'll point to their coverage of the remaining "handful of close contests for the House" which are still undecided.

The races that AP describes as "still in dispute" are in NM, NC, FL, and two in OH (naturally).

In addition to the completely obvious and resignation-worthy mess in the FL-13 race, The BRAD BLOG would draw particular attention to the less-discussed contest in New Mexico's 1st Congressional district. We've been plowing through first-hand accounts sent our way detailing the disasterous state of conditions in the counting rooms out there where there's a very close race between incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson (R) and her opponent Patricia Madrid (D).

Based on the exceedingly detailed reports we've read so far of the (ahem) less-than-optimal-or-accurate initial tally of votes (yes, Bernalillo County, we're talking to you), we'd suggest any recount of that race must be done as a complete hand count of all ballots in order to assure the final result actually resembles the intention of New Mexico's voters.

But we just may be radical that way.

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