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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Similarly failed systems set for use in all 50 states this November...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2012 11:33am PT  

By Ernest A. Canning and Brad Friedman

We now have yet another ominous sign of trouble that may be on the horizon for this November's election. As if we needed yet another sign. And, once again, the concerns come via failures on paper ballot-based optical-scan computer tally systems.

Election officials in Genessee County, Michigan have acknowledged failures by the county's M-100 model optical-scan system, made by Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), during its Aug. 7 primary.

According to the county's Supervisor of Elections and Vital Records, Doreen D. Fulcher, the system experienced paper jams that resulted in ballots being fed through the system more than once. Fulcher, who also noted that there were a "number of ballots cast" that "didn't initially match poll book numbers," downplayed the scope of the problem. Flint's MLive, however, reported that the County Board of Canvassers were "still unraveling" the problem ten days after the election.

It is not the first time the M-100, set to be used in 32 different states again this November, has caused headaches for election officials and voters. The systems have a documented record of failing to count the same ballots the same way twice during pre-election testing. Nor is it the only optical-scan system made by ES&S, the largest e-voting vendor in the nation, that has failed time and again during elections.

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, ballots obtained by the New York Daily News through a public records request revealed that ES&S op-scan systems used in a South Bronx precinct in 2010 failed to count some 70% of the paper ballots correctly in that year's primary election. In November's general election that year, some 54% of the ballots were mistallied at the same precinct.

The South Bronx used the newer ES&S model DS200, which the company confirmed could overheat, causing anywhere from 30% to 70% of the votes scanned by the machines to be erroneously discarded or erroneously counted. Thus, in the case of New York, that meant that tens of thousands of perfectly valid votes went uncounted, while thousands of "phantom votes" in races that voters hadn't intended to vote in at all were counted as valid.

The confirmation of the New York failure came almost two years after the election, once the newspaper was finally able to review the paper ballots by hand, under public records laws.

While Genessee County used the earlier ES&S Model M100, as we previously reported, the unreliability of opaque optical-scan computer tallying systems are, by no means, confined to the DS200 or, for that matter, to ES&S systems. Similar systems will once again be used across the entire country this November, to tally the Presidential election and all the races below it...either accurately or not...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2012 10:58pm PT  

Some good-ish news late tonight for Florida voters, and more bad-ish news for Republican Gov. Rick Scott and friends, as reported by AP:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal court says a Florida law that restricts the number of early-voting days could result in a dramatic reduction in participation by blacks.

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature last year cut the number of early-voting days to 8 from 12.

But the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled late Thursday that because of the law's potential impact on minority voters, it would not allow Florida to put the changes in place in five Florida counties covered by federal voting laws.

The 119-page ruling did say there were ways that the state could ultimately come up with a plan to change early voting that would not adversely affect minority voting rights.

Still, the ruling raises the prospect that Florida will have two different types of early voting for this year's crucial presidential election.

To unpack this (without having looked at the actual ruling yet), while this is certainly positive news in general, it only applies to the five counties in Florida covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Those jurisdictions require pre-clearance from either the U.S. Dept. of Justice or a 3-judge panel from the U.S. District Court in D.C. for new election-related laws, thanks to the long history of racial discrimination in those jurisdictions.

Three of the counties, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe are fairly small, with fewer than 100,000 voters. Collier (home of Naples) has a population of more than 300,000 and the largest of the five, Hillsborough, is home to Tampa, with a population of about 1.2 million voters. It will also be the home of the upcoming Republican National Convention.

As AP notes, that could mean that only those five counties have 12 days of early voting, while the rest of the state (the other 62 counties), are still restricted to 8. Given that Republicans hung a hat on pretending to demand consistent rules across the state for vote counting during the Bush v. Gore fight in 2000, and that the state Supreme Court agreed, I imagine another fight may be in store on this matter, and how the Republican-run state will --- or won't --- enact consistent Early Voting hours across the state.

This case was decided by the U.S. District Court in D.C. because the state of Florida decided to bypass the DoJ, thinking they'd have better luck with the court system. They were wrong.

It's been a tough year for the state of Florida's attempt to game the voting system in their favor this year, so far, under the rule of their Tea Party Governor. Though, lord knows, they've tried.

In May, a federal judge blocked the bulk of their new voter registration restrictions which had forced the League of Women Voters to call off their registration drive in the Sunshine State for the first time in 72 years, rather than face onerous new rules, fines and even jail time. Last month, after almost all of the state's Supervisors of Elections refused to carry out a hugely flawed voter roll purge of "potential non-citizen voters" (almost all of whom were not), Scott and his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner were forced to halt their purge (subsequently misreported by the corporate mainstream media), even after pretending the federal government was blocking the purge to keep non-citizen voters on the rolls (they weren't, and Florida knew it, as documents we published exclusively proved.)

Oh, and then there was the former state Republican Chair who admitted, under oath, in a 630-page deposition, that party officials "were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting," during his tenure.

Here's a thought, Florida Republicans: Come up with good ideas that help the citizens of the state by improving their general welfare and domestic tranquility and maybe they'll just vote for you all by themselves without you having to game the system and suppress the vote. Or, you can just keep doing what you're doing.

[Hat-tip @JeffersonObama on the Twitters.]

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Bi-partisan citizen effort to oversee completely unverified June 5th results 'illegally' blocked by Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 6:35am PT  

[LATE UPDATE:The recall ballots from Waukesha County have been saved from destruction, for now. Full details posted in our follow-up now here...]

One of the most notorious election officials in the nation may be mercifully retiring at the end of this year, but that hasn't stopped her from attempting to block citizens hoping to oversee the accuracy of their own elections in one of the most right-leaning counties in Wisconsin, following one of the most contentious elections of the year and certainly in state history.

Waukesha, WI County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus had, at one time, after the repeated controversies around her failed administration of several elections, promised to step aside and allow her deputy to administer the June 5th recall elections, only to reverse course weeks later. Now, clearly back in the saddle, she has notified an Election Integrity group which has organized hand-counts across the state, that she was preparing to "destroy" the paper ballots cast in the election before they can be hand-counted by the group, unless she receives a court order to do otherwise by noon today.

She had previously informed the group that she was denying them access to examine ballots on the basis that she found their request to be "overly burdensome" on her office. In her response she also added her personal opinion, for some reason, that she does not "believe the public records law should be utilized for the purpose of allowing citizens to conduct hand recounts of an election, especially one in which there was such a large quantity of votes cast."

Among reasons for concerns about the June 5th recall election results are recent failures by similar electronic tabulation systems, same-day Exit Poll results reported by all of the news networks indicating a much closer race in the contest between Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as well as discoveries that have been made by the group over the past several weeks during their examination of ballots and poll-tapes in several counties.

So far, according to group's organizer, they have been allowed to examine ballots in 10 other counties across the state, with another 15 counties already scheduled for examination in the coming weeks. In a number of those counties, the group has explained to The BRAD BLOG, hand-counted tallies "have differed, sometimes significantly, from the recorded numbers," tallied on Election Night by the computer tabulation systems.

But Nickolaus, as has been her practice during her controversial tenure, appears to be taking a different tack from many of her fellow County Clerks, by denying access to hand examinations of the ballots and, worse, she is now threatening to destroy them entirely, save for a court order and despite provisions in the state law requiring the retention of those public records for at least 60 days after the denial of the request.

Nickolaus' threat to destroy the paper ballots and other elections records, as sent to the organizers of Hand-Count Votes Now! (HCVN) coalition in a series of emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG, flies in the face of state statutes which apply to public records, according to contentions made in response to Nickolaus by the group and their legal advisers. HCVN has been working for several weeks, as have several other organizations, in their effort to count ballots by hand in each of the Badger State's 72 counties in an unprecedented statewide public records oversight project.

The effort, the groups charge, is necessary, given the lack of verification of Election Night computer tallies on systems which have reported incorrect "winners" in the past, as recently as March of this year, when the nearly-identical systems to those used in Waukesha named a number of losing candidates to be the "winners" in Palm Beach County, FL. In that case, it was only a partial post-election hand-count examination of paper ballots by the local Supervisor of Elections which revealed that the computers had gotten the results entirely wrong, leading to a complete hand-count and the results of several municipal elections being overturned as a result...

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

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Deposition recalls FL Republican whistleblower Clint Curtis' 2004 affidavit on 'reducing black vote' before 2000 election...
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2012 4:44pm PT  

Well, this sounds familiar, and for good reason...

In a 630-page deposition, released to the press yesterday, former Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer described a systemic effort by Republicans to suppress the black vote. Referring to a 2009 meeting with party officials, Greer said "I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting." He also said party officials discussed how "minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party." Florida is currently embroiled in a controversy surrounding Gov. Rick Scott's (R) voter purge program, which disproportionately affects voters of color. Fifty-eight percent of Scott's original list of voters who were supposedly ineligible to voter were Hispanic while Hispanics make up only 13 percent of Florida's eligible voters. Greer and the GOP cut ties in 2010, and he is currently facing felony corruption charges.

The summary above comes from ThinkProgress' Alex Brown who offer a hat-tip to Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald who opens his report this way:

In the debate over new laws meant to curb voter fraud in places like Florida, Democrats always charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote of liberal voting blocs like blacks and young people, while Republicans just laugh at such ludicrous and offensive accusations.

The entire matter echoes back to our initial 2004 exclusive on then Republican software programmer turned whistleblower Clint Curtis who had filed a sworn affidavit charging Florida Republican Tom Feeney had asked his company, Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), to create a vote-rigging software prototype in 2000.

At the time of his alleged meetings with Feeney, Curtis says the Congressman --- who had been Jeb Bush's Lt. Governor running mate in 1998 before becoming Speaker of the FL House and one of the most powerful elected officials in the state by 2000 --- discussed methods that he said the Republican Party had in place to "reduce the black vote" in the 2000 Presidential election.

According to the December 6, 2004 affidavit [PDF] filed by Curtis, just days before he would testify to a U.S. House Judiciary Committee panel...

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

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Yet mainstream media misreport easily verifiable facts, continue to fall for FL Governor, Secretary of State's deceptive spin...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/25/2012 1:22pm PT  

A BRAD BLOG investigation by Ernest A. Canning & Brad Friedman

Florida Governor Rick Scott's attempted purge of "potential non-citizen" voters --- a purge which Scott's Republican predecessor Gov. Charlie Crist described last week as a "shameless," "mean-spirited," "insidious" and "sweeping" effort to gain partisan advantage "under the guise of removing non-U.S. citizens" --- has been an abject failure.

Scott's claims of success in unearthing "non-citizens" said to be registered to vote in the Sunshine State, repeated by his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner and uncritically echoed by a compliant mainstream corporate media, have amounted to less --- far less --- than meets the eye.

Over the course of our months-long investigation, which included public records requests and interviews with state and county officials, The BRAD BLOG has discovered that the Scott/Detzner claim of having captured some 107 "non-citizens" on the Sunshine State voter rolls as a result of their purge is, at best, a reckless overstatement. Yet, that number (107), which Scott described as "alarming," has been uncritically accepted as fact by corporate mainstream media.

Even if it had been accurate, 107 would amount to an infinitesimal percentage of the original 182,000 who had initially been identified as "potential non-citizens" by Florida officials --- 107 as against Florida's 11.2 million legally registered voters, with an untold number of perfectly legal voters threatened with losing their right to vote as collateral damage of the state's attempted purge.

But the 107 number isn't even close to being accurate. To the contrary, Florida election officials have been unable to confirm that more than ten percent of those whom Scott and Detzner claim their purge captured were in fact non-citizens.

For example, in the two counties, Lee and Collier, where 92 of Scott and Detzner's claimed 107 have been removed, just nine (9) of them have actually been verified, to date, as "non-citizens" named by Scott and Detzner on their list of "potential non-citizens" sent to county election officials for purging earlier this year. The rest have either been removed from the rolls without independent verification of whether or not they are lawfully registered U.S. citizens, or they were removed after their names surfaced on a separate list that had nothing to do with the list compiled by Scott and Detzner. That separate list, as gathered by a local news outlet, similarly, may or may not accurately identify the named registered voters as "non-citizens".

Despite the extraordinary failure to date, Scott and Detzner have repeatedly proclaimed "victory" in their voter purge scheme. Making matters worse for the general populace trying to make sense of what is actually going on, numerous corporate-owned media outlets have compliantly echoed their extraordinarily misleading and deceptive spin...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 7/24/2012 3:14pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Deadly floods in China, drought in Europe - global food prices rise as extreme weather hammers crops across the planet; Germany warns time is running out to cut emissions; EPA to pull back on new mercury pollution standards?; PLUS: Mutants in Florida: pushing back against the Franken-skeeter! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): BC premiere criticizes tar sands pipeline; "Experts" wrong again on renewable energy predictions; "Perfect storm" on Gulf dolphin deaths; Michael Mann threatens to sue over conservative media's Sandusky comparison; Fukushima: workers' radiation levels faked? ... PLUS: Fossil fuels and global warming's terrifying new math ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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TONIGHT: All of your worst nightmares (& mine) come true...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2012 4:32pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with commercial-free audio archives below!...]

Mike has the night off! So we're back guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, and that means it's the RETURN OF "Friday the 13th! Nightmare on Malloy Street!"...

We'll be BradCasting all the horrors, LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (use code 55447 when asked). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: It was a nightmare indeed! You'll not want to miss a single, terrifying second! Lucky for you, all of those seconds are now posted below, commercial-free! It was a jam-packed show, with a LOT of good stuff! And, Mike returns Monday! Enjoy 'em all below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2012 10:48pm PT  

We had a jam-packed hour on today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio. We covered this afternoon's latest breaking news from MS to TX to WI.

Then we spoke with Dr. Daniel A. Smith, political scientist and election expert from the University of Florida, and with our own legal analyst Ernest Canning about the latest revelations in Gov. Rick Scott's Florida Voter Purge Deception.

Next up was journalist Jason Leopold discussing his new Truthout.org exclusive today, written with Jeffrey Kaye, on the forced drugging of detainees held by the U.S. And, of course, as always, our own Desi Doyen checked in with the latest Green News Report.

And, if you listen closely, you'll get a heads up on who is likely to be our guest on next Wednesday's show. Yup. Him. Really.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

* * *

By the way...I'll be sitting in to guest host the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show again this Friday night. So you know what that means, dontcha?...

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

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Enabled by inaccurate coverage, state officials continue to mislead public about knowingly 'flawed' program...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/9/2012 1:19pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Only a handful of Americans understand what really took place inside a Tallahassee, FL federal courtroom on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, thanks to the skewed reality presented by mainstream corporate media coverage of the latest ruling to affect Florida's attempted purge of alleged "non-citizen" voters.

The extraordinary misreporting subsequently enabled top Florida officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Scott, to continue what has become a reliable pattern of public deception and disingenuous spin in its wake.

What happened, in short, on June 27, was this: The attorneys for FL Sec. of State Ken Detzner (R) walked into the federal courtroom, threw-up their hands and surrendered. There was no need for Judge Robert Hinkle to issue the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) sought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in order to stop what the DoJ described as an illegal, systematic purge of "potential non-citizen" voters. Detzner voluntarily suspended the purge and promised the court it would not resume.

Accepting Detzner's surrender, Judge Hinkle denied the federal government's motion for a TRO, finding it unnecessary, but cautioned that the DoJ could revisit the issue if Detzner or any of Florida's county Supervisors of Elections resumed what he described as a flawed voter removal program that "probably ran afoul" of the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA).

Subsequent misreporting by the corporate mainstream media succeeded, however, in turning that reality upside-down. The failure comes courtesy of an MSM that has not so much as mentioned Scott and Detzner's documented mendacity, revealed by The BRAD BLOG's exclusive investigation of public records last month, concerning the alleged "refusal" by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide FL with access to a federal immigration database for use in its attempted voter purge.

The headlines written in response to the June 27 court hearing expose a classic MSM failure. "Fla. Judge Won't Halt Voter Roll Purge", CBS Miami dutifully reported immediately after Judge Hinkle's bench ruling. Yes, concurred Fox "News", "Judge refuses to block Florida voter purge", in a headline that would be repeated by the Huffington Post and again at ABC. Agreed, wrote Bloomberg, "Federal Judge Rejects U.S. Bid to Block Voter-Roll Purge".

At the Chicago Tribune we find "Judge Rejects U.S. request to stop Florida voter purge". Indeed, from the Miami Herald, we learned "Judge halts federal attempt to block Florida's voter purge". In fact, in perhaps the most twisted headline of all, the Orlando Weekly (mis)informed its readers, "Federal judge OKs Florida voter purge".

Trouble is, each and every one of those news organizations got it wrong, just as CNN and Fox "News" got it wrong when they initially filed erroneous reports claiming that the Supreme Court had struck down the Affordable Care Act.

What the media and the Governor depicted as a FL victory, one that would permit his attempted purge to continue, was, in fact, an abject capitulation by the authors of an unlawful voter roll purge...

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

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PLUS: Florida 'an exact tie'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2012 2:09pm PT  

* * *

In completely related news...Yesterday, the NYTimes' statistical wunderkind Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight tweeted: "Our model currently projects ... an exact tie in Florida. #SignsOfMayanApocalypse".

Little wonder then that Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Sec. of State Ken Detzner are more than happy to blatantly mislead the public, the media and the federal court system, as The BRAD BLOG detailed exclusively last week, about their attempted purge of suspected "non-citizens" from the voting rolls.

And it's similarly no surprise that, as University of Florida political scientist and founder of ElectionSmith, Dr. Daniel A. Smith detailed on Friday, the "Failed Florida Secretary of State's Voter Purge" has, to date, earned a 98.4% failure rate in its initial list of 2,625 voters identified as "potential non-citizens."

That, of course, is if you take the Sec. of State's word for it that the 41 registered voters they claim to have confirmed as "non-citizens" actually are. (How many of them even knew they were registered or actually ever voted is another question.) To date, the state has provided no actual evidence to verify those 41 non-citizens voters they say they've identified. And given both Scott and Detzner's documented track record of blatant dishonesty, we see no reason to give either of them the benefit of the doubt.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2012 10:29pm PT  

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL-19) joined me live on today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio to discuss two things:

1) Our exclusive from earlier this week on FL Gov. Rick Scott's voter purge/DHS database deception (an issue which Deutch has been raising hell about for several weeks) and 2) His OCCUPIED Amendment to get corporate money the hell out of our electoral system, particularly in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Montana's 100-year old anti-corruption law on Monday.

I was delighted to hear the Congressman was nearly as furious about both as I was. He also confirmed that nobody has been able to verify the "100 or so" alleged "non-citizens" that Scott says have been found on the rolls (out of 182,000 identified in the initial purge list and out of 11.2 million voters), and also that there are still three FL counties --- Lee, Collier and Bay --- where the Supervisors of Elections may still be carrying out the faulty and disenfranchising systematic purge.

My rant explaining Scott's scam kicks off the show, before Deutch then joins us. Then, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report and we take a couple of quick amusing calls.

Oh, and though I mentioned it at the top of the show, I forgot to reiterate it again at the end of the show, so I'll do so now: FL Gov. Rick Scott, FL Secretary of State Ken Detzner and/or their spokesmen were invited to appear on the show to offer their response to our Monday exposé. They declined to even respond to the invitation.

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2012 11:50am PT  

I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture yesterday to discuss The BRAD BLOG's special exclusive report on Monday in which counselor Canning and I detailed how Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the state of Florida is attempting to deceive the media, the public, and apparently even the federal court system about this year's attempted voter purge in the Sunshine State. The Dept. of Justice has filed suit alleging that the systematic removal of voters within 90 days before Florida's federal primary is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

As documented in our investigative report, claims being made by Scott, his Sec. of State Ken Detzner and their surrogates in a recent media blitz, charging that the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security was purposely restricting them from access to a federal immigration database in order to keep the state from using it, appear to be baseless. FL had hoped to use the SAVE database to help purge some 182,000 "potential non-citizen" voters they claim are on the rolls.

But FL's claims (which is used to underscore a dark conspiracy the actions of the federal government are all being done to enhance President Obama's re-election prospects), are belied by documented email concessions from the FL Dept. of State's Asst. General Counsel Maria Matthews who acknowledged, as long ago as October of 2011, that the state simply didn't have the unique numeric identifiers required by DHS to check those "suspected non-citizens" against their immigration and citizenship database.

Here's my conversation with Hartmann last night about our story...

For more on all of the above, see our original investigative report, including email documentation from public records requests, etc., revealing Florida's attempted deception. We have now also added a Timeline page for the entire story right here.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be discussing all of the above and more with Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL-19) on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today (Wednesday) at 6p ET/3p PT. You can listen live at http://KPFK.org/listen-live.html.

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By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2012 11:38am PT  

-Special Report by Brad Friedman and Ernest A. Canning, The BRAD BLOG

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), his recently appointed Secretary of State Ken Detzner (R), and their surrogates are attempting to deceive the media, the public, and possibly even the federal court system about their state's effort to use a federal immigration database as part of a state program that could result in the purge up to 182,000 registered voters who, the state says, are "potential non-citizens".

A review of public documents and internal emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed against the state last week by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) --- charging that Florida's attempted purge of voter rolls violates federal law --- reveals that claims being repeatedly made by the Florida officials about both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DoJ are disingenuous at best.

Admissions made to DHS officials on at least two occasions, by a high-ranking attorney at the FL Dept. of State (FDOS), undermine the public assertions of both Scott and Detzner, who each claim that the federal government is purposely withholding access to a federal immigration database so that it cannot be used for scrubbing illegal voters off the state rolls.

The false allegation that the DHS has "refused" to provide access to the database, so as to prevent the state from lawfully removing illegally registered non-citizen voters, was also repeated in Florida's own federal complaint, which it recently filed against DHS.

In offering this deceptive claim, Scott and Detzner are knowingly inflaming an unsubstantiated conspiratorial scheme that the Obama Administration is working to keep illegal voters on the rolls in order to enhance the President's 2012 election prospects.

The first-hand evidence reviewed by The BRAD BLOG, obtained via public records requests under Florida's Sunshine Act, reveals that both Scott and Detzner are advancing the "refused access" canard --- echoed by both the Rightwing and non-Rightwing media --- in order to confuse the public and obscure the reality that the state's controversial purge could potentially disenfranchise thousands of perfectly legal citizen voters...

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

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'For whatever reason,' is not an answer, NPR!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/20/2012 2:24pm PT  

Perhaps we should call it the David Gregory Technique, since the dreadful Meet the Press host seems to use it, and little more, week in and week out during his usually useless interviews with public officials.

Here's how the David Gregory Technique works: Ask a public official for "your response to that charge?" Get that response. And then move on to the next question. No follow-up. No challenge. It's that simple. Just get their "response" on record --- like an in-person performance of the public official's already-published press release responding, either accurately or not, to the same issue.

Afterword, news consumers are no more informed or enlightened than before going in, other than to become familiar with the political talking points in play, whether they are based in fact or reality or not. Who knows?

Such was the treatment that Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) enjoyed last week from Michele Martin on the apparently ironically named TELL ME MORE program on National Public Radio concerning his spate of allegedly unlawful, attempted voter suppression programs in the Sunshine State. NBC's David Gregory couldn't have done it better himself...

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

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DOJ responds to FL claim that feds illegally withholding DHS immigrant database
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/18/2012 12:52pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last week, after notifying the state of Florida of its intention to do so, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit [PDF], seeking to halt what Asst. U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez described in his June 11, 2012 letter [PDF] to FL Sec. of State Ken Detzner (R), as "a new program for systematic voter removal, which may ultimately target more than 180,000 registered voters."

A longtime respected election official in the state went further, describing the attempted scrubbing of the rolls to be "un-American".

The lawsuit alleges that the ongoing, systematic voter removal program violates the provisions of the National Vote Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which "expressly forbids such removal programs during the 90-day period before an election for Federal office."

The complaint seeks not only an immediate federal court injunction to stop the purge, but an order directing FL officials "to take all steps necessary to ensure that no registered voter identified as potentially ineligible based on the [faulty FL Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles] database and voter verification procedures...is removed from the voter rolls within 90 days of a primary or general election for Federal office."

The injunction may prove to be necessary only in three of the Sunshine State's 67 counties --- Lee, Collier and Bay --- where election officials have signaled they intend to continue the allegedly unlawful voter roll purge, even after the actions taken by the DOJ.

When interviewed last week by Brad Friedman on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show, Leon County (Tallahassee), FL's legendary Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho --- the man placed in charge of the aborted 2000 Florida Presidential recount --- explained the reasons why most of the Supervisors of Elections (both Democratic and Republican) in each of the state's 67 counties have now refused to carry out the state-ordered purge. He described the ongoing effort by the Governor and Sec. of State as "shameful."

The DOJ's 6/11/12 letter also responded to, and seemed to debunk, the claim made by FL that it had been denied access to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration database. The state, in its own lawsuit filed against the DHS last week, has cited lack of access to that database as their reason for using the less reliable state Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) database for the basis of its voter purge.

The purge, to date, has identifies hundreds of perfectly legal citizen voters for removal from the rolls.

The state of FL, in its response to the DOJ, appears not to be offering the full facts about their attempt to use the DHS database and, as it turns out, Republican Gov. Rick Scott should, by now, be very well acquainted with the perils of voter purges based on inaccurate information...as an apparent victim of one such purge himself...

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

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