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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, August 20, 2014
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Widely syndicated writer calls measure 'prominent entry in unofficial sweepstakes for year's worst new state law'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2013 6:09pm PT  

Too bad this wasn't published previously...before California's ill-considered and incredibly dangerous and deceptively sold SB 360 was signed by CA's Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend (despite our advocacy and warnings against it.)

In his syndicated "California Focus" column (appearing in 93 papers around the state), Thomas D. Elias opines today on the partisan-passed election reform bill we've been yelling about for months now here at The BRAD BLOG. He accurately describes SB 360 as "a prominent entry in the unofficial sweepstakes to determine this year's worst new state law".

From his column, "New law threatens vote-counting reliability", today...

Here's the possible threat: This measure will allow the California secretary of state to approve new electronic voting systems that have received no certification at all for use in actual elections. It also ends a long-standing requirement that all electronic voting systems be certified at the federal level before they're used here and allows counties to develop their own voting systems.

This bill cried out for a veto from Brown, considering the problems encountered by electronic voting systems during much of the last decade. Comprehensive testing demonstrated that many could be hacked, with the possibility that programming might be inserted so that - for one example - when a voter touched a screen favoring one candidate, the vote actually went into someone else's column.

Elias continues by pointing out the dishonest way in which the bill was represented to lawmakers and the public by its main sponsor, state Sen. Alex Padilla (D) who also happens to be a leading 2014 candidate for CA Secretary of State and, therefore, a potential main beneficiary of the unprecedented, sweeping new executive powers that the law will grant to the state's SoS.

As he writes...

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

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SB 360 will also allow the use of new systems in 'legally binding elections' as 'pilots' without any state certification at all
Clears way for full development, and then sale, of Los Angeles County's planned new 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2013 3:37pm PT  

Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed SB 360, a radical new election reform bill, that will, for the first time in decades, end all federal testing of new e-voting systems approved for use in the state of California.

The measure, sold dishonestly by its supporters to the public and lawmakers, is expected to have an impact across the rest of the nation as well. It's enactment paves the way for the final development of a new, unverifiable touch-screen voting system for use in Los Angeles County, where it is then slated to be sold for use in jurisdictions elsewhere in the state and country.

Before the adoption of SB 360, new voting systems in California required two independent levels of testing, both at the federal and state levels before they could be used in an election here. Even with those two independent testing regimes in place, the systems certified by the Sec. of State over the past decade or more have been riddled with errors and security flaws that were later discovered. For those reasons, and others, The BRAD BLOG had been calling, unsuccessfully, for Brown's veto of SB 360.

As we've documented on these pages, the new law also affords sweeping new executive powers to the Sec. of State to approve new e-voting systems for use in so-called "pilot programs" without any certification testing at all, even from state auditors. Those "pilot" e-voting and tabulation systems, according to the new law, may now be used in "a legally binding election" at the sole discretion of the Sec. of State.

The BRAD BLOG has reported in great detail on this dangerous new bill, which was eventually passed along partisan lines with almost no debate in either chamber of the state legislature. It was supported by all the Democrats in both the state Senate and Assembly, and opposed by all but one Republican.

The bill, granting unprecedented power to the California Sec. of State, was authored by state Senator Alex Padilla (D) --- himself a leading 2014 candidate for California Sec. of State. It was also supported by one of his two main rivals for that job, State Sen. Leland Yee (D), who has also gone on record calling for Internet Voting systems in California.

The only one among the top three Democratic contenders to replace CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen (who is termed out in 2014), who did not go on record in support of SB 360, is former Common Cause official Derek Cressman.

As we also reported, the bill was sold dishonestly by Padilla to both lawmakers and the public...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2013 12:43pm PT  

I was interviewed over the weekend by Joan Brunwasser of OpEd News about the terrible, dangerous and ill-considered SB 360 bill recently passed by the CA legislature, and still waiting for signature (or, hopefully, veto) from Gov. Jerry Brown.

As I've reported previously, SB 360 would end all federal testing of e-voting systems used in CA, and give sweeping new executive powers to the Sec. of State to approve new e-voting systems for use in "a legally binding election", even with no certification testing by state auditors either!

The measure passed by Democrats, along partisan lines, with little debate, under the false premise that rewriting more than 70 sections of the election code was needed so that L.A. County could develop its own new, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system. The bill was authored --- and subsequently misrepresented to both lawmakers and the public --- by Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla who also happens to be a leading 2014 contender for Sec. of State to replace Debra Bowen who is termed out next year.

My OpEd News interview begins with this question from Brunwasser...

Republicans are notorious for trying to disenfranchise voters, mostly voters who tend to vote against their candidates. But in this case, as you point out, the ill-conceived legislation has Democratic backing, and is, in fact, Democrat-sponsored. What's that all about? Have public officials learned nothing since 2004?

Give the full interview a read to find out my answer to those questions, along with a number of other thoughts on Democratic science denial when it comes to unverifiable (and untested) election technology.

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If you've yet to give CA Governor Jerry Brown your opinion on whether he should sign or veto SB 360, you may do so right here. (Choose "SB00360" from the "Please choose your subject" dropdown box, and select Pro or Con on the next screen.) You may also call his office to leave your opinion at (916) 445-2841.

NOTE: The space-aged touch-screen system being developed by L.A. County, is also being planned for sale to other jurisdictions across the country. The way CA tests and certifies its voting machines, or doesn't, is very likely to have a direct impact on voting systems used in your jurisdictions across the nation as well!

* * *
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Alex Padilla selling measure as needed to allow counties to own their own voting systems, which they are already allowed to do...
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2013 7:05am PT  

California State Sen. Alex Padilla continues to mislead the public about SB 360, his radical election reform bill passed recently by the state legislature along partisan lines, and now waiting for a signature, or veto, from Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill, as we explained in our detailed exposé last week, would end all federal testing of new e-voting systems in the state of California. The use of only federally-approved voting systems had long been a requirement in the state. Moreover, the measure would grant unprecedented sweeping executive powers to the Sec. of State to approve new voting and tabulation systems for use in real elections without any certification testing at all, even by state auditors.

Coincidentally, Padilla, the bill's sponsor, is also a leading 2014 candidate for Sec. of State in California.

Last week, we explained how Padilla has been cynically selling this bill for many months as necessary in order for jurisdictions like Los Angeles County to own their own non-proprietary voting systems. Who, after all, other than private voting machine companies (and/or folks who'd like to use such systems to game elections), would be against the idea that voting systems should be publicly owned by the jurisdictions which use them to run their own public elections? But that explanation doesn't really tell the full story.

L.A. has been in the process of developing a new, publicly-owned, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system for some time. (See a new video of their design concepts, all quite troubling for those of us familiar with new, touch-screen e-voting systems, right here or at the bottom of this article.) The county has said they hope to sell their new system to other counties in the state and across the country. But, what Padilla doesn't mention to lawmakers or to the public while pitching his legislation, is that L.A. already owns their own current voting system and has for many years.

"I've introduced a piece of legislation that doesn't mandate, but allows, at the county level, county governments to own their voting systems," Padilla misleadingly announced on KSRO the day before the bill was finally approved by both chambers of the state legislature earlier this month. He cited L.A. County's development as the reason that counties should be able to own their own voting systems...which, he didn't mention, L.A. already does.

The audio clip of the KSRO interview is featured on Padilla's web page...

You can listen to Padilla's brief, 9/5/2013 interview on KSRO here [appx 4.5 mins]:

Since SB 360's introduction back in February, Padilla has been quoted similarly, and misleadingly, in every press release we've seen issued by his office, touting that "Allowing counties to develop, own and operate voting systems will increase voter confidence in the integrity of our elections."

The next, even more misleading part of the oft-used Padilla quote, has been modified only slightly in his press releases since the bill's introduction last February...

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Sponsored by 2014 Sec. of State candidate, measure grants unprecedented power to Sec. of State to approve new e-voting systems for use in real elections, even with no testing at all
Legislation deceptively sold as measure to 'allow counties to develop, own and operate voting systems, increase voter confidence in the integrity of our elections'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2013 8:35am PT  

A new bill that would grant unprecedented and unchecked powers to the California Sec. of State --- including those that could allow him or her to approve new e-voting systems for use in actual elections with no testing at all --- was approved late last week by the state legislature along partisan lines. It is now on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for his signature or his veto.

The Governor should veto SB 360, a sweeping, dangerous, ill-conceived and dishonestly presented piece of legislation, passed with little debate in public or in either chamber of the state legislature.

The measure has been, and is being, deceptively sold to the public and to state lawmakers as necessary to allow CA counties --- specifically Los Angeles County --- to "develop, own and operate public voting systems". In fact, the bill does much much more than that. What it actually does, among other things, is end the long-standing requirement that all electronic voting systems used in the state be tested and certified at the federal level before being allowed for use in California.

The bill also includes a provision allowing for new voting systems to be used in "pilot programs" during "a legally binding election", before the systems have been certified by the state in any way. That, in effect, could allow a new system to be used in an actual election, by actual voters in the Golden State, without any independent testing whatsoever, depending on a Secretary of State's interpretation of this poorly drafted bill. That should be a serious concern to all voters --- particularly given the massive flaws already discovered in e-voting systems used across the state (and country) that were subjected to independent testing by both federal and state authorities before use.

In other words, SB 360, as approved by the state legislature, does away with all federal testing for voting systems used in California, and, to make matters worse, grants the Secretary of State sole power to approve e-voting systems for use in actual elections --- even without certification testing by state auditors either.

As if all of that is not bad enough, the bill's Democratic author, state Senator Alex Padilla --- a leading 2014 candidate for CA Sec. of State himself --- has been misleadingly pitching the bill as necessary in order to allow for the use of non-proprietary, publicly-owned voting systems in the state. But, in fact, CA already allows the use of non-proprietary, publicly-owned voting systems. In fact, the voting system currently in use across L.A. County --- the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation, with more voters than 36 actual states --- is already publicly-owned!

Such facts were not been mentioned by Padilla during his office's advocacy for the bill, and they have failed to respond to our multiple queries on that point and several others since the bill was initially introduced earlier this year. Instead, the state Senator and SoS candidate continues to dishonestly pitch the bill to the public, as evidenced again in his Friday press release (posted at the bottom of this article), touting the bill's approval by the state legislature.

"Allowing counties to develop, own and operate voting systems will increase voter confidence in the integrity of our elections," Padilla is deceptively quoted, in bold text, as saying in a number of press releases in support of the bill, including Friday's release. He then adds misleadingly (since we already have such a system here in Los Angeles): "A public voting system will be more transparent, instill public trust, be more accountable and provide greater access to all voters."

In short, SB 360 is a dangerous, irresponsible bill which fails to learn from the recent history of previously irresponsible and/or corrupt Secretaries of State, completely rewrites the state's election code to allow for less testing, rather than more, of the state's already-buggy and insecure collection of e-voting systems, and it's being sold dishonestly to the public and lawmakers by a legislator who is very likely to be the recipient of its new, sweeping, unprecedented, executive powers...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2013 2:35pm PT  

Eight top election officials from Clay County, KY previously found guilty in a massive vote buying and selling conspiracy --- which prosecutors charged had been run over several decades and included the manipulation of electronic voting machines in 2006 --- have had their convictions overturned and a new trial ordered by a panel on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of appeals.

The eight co-conspirators --- which included the County Clerk, a Circuit Court Judge and the School Superintendent, among others --- had previously been sentenced to a total of more than 156 years in federal prison following their 2009 arrest and 2010 trial and conviction over fraud carried out in the 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections.

The BRAD BLOG had covered the arrest, trial, defendent flipping, conviction and sentencing of the Clay County, KY election fraudsters in some detail over the years as each step was happening.

The group had been found guilty of complex, endemic vote buying and selling schemes carried out over many elections over several years, often meant to game the Republican primary elections in the very rural, very poor, Republican area of the Bluegrass State in a location where winning the GOP primary was usually a guarantee for also winning the general election.

The schemes became more sophisticated over the years, according to prosecution evidence and cooperating witnesses, including in 2006 when poll workers participating in the conspiracy were said to have changed the votes cast by voters on touch-screen voting machines after they'd left the "booth" on Election Day. (The same 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, the ES&S iVotronic, which allowed for the manipulation of votes in Clay County, are still in widespread use across the country today.)

Evidence presented during the trial also included testimony that one of the defendants, Circuit Court Judge R. Cletus Maricle, said to have been one of the scheme's main ringleaders, used his position as a judge to convince a woman, whose brother was a defendant before his court, to change her voter registration from Republican to Democratic so that she could serve as a "Democratic" poll-worker during elections there and take part in the scheme.

Over all, during the original trial, the prosecution had presented a remarkably wide-spread conspiracy taking place over many elections, with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to buy votes and manipulate results, year after year, election after election, by highly-placed election official insiders --- precisely the type of folks who those concerned about the manipulation of elections, particularly via computer manipulation, frequently warn about. At the end, the officials placed on trial were all found guilty and sentenced to an average of about 20 years apiece.

So, why did the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturn the original convictions this week, and remand the case for a new trial?...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2013 6:54pm PT  

Just after the March primaries for the U.S. House Special Election in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District, the race between Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch (Stephen Colbert's sister) and disgraced former Republican Gov. Mark Sanford was said to be "a toss-up", according to surveys by Public Policy Polling (PPP), one of the most accurate polling firms across the entire country during the 2012 President Election cycle. They had Colbert Busch up by 2 points over Sanford in that early pre-election poll.

Just over two weeks ago, as news broke that Sanford was due to appear in court after his ex-wife claimed he had been caught trespassing at her home, PPP found that Colbert Busch's lead had expanded to 9 points in the race.

Over the weekend, in their final polling, PPP found the gap had closed, and Sanford was leading by 1 point in a race they described, one again, as "a toss-up".

Tonight, South Carolina's same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems that declared the unknown, unemployed, never-once-campaigned-anywhere Alvin Green to have somehow defeated four-term state legislator and circuit court judge Vic Rawl to win the 2010 Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, declared Mark Sanford the winner over Elizabeth Colbert Busch by a 9 point landslide...

The unverified and unverifiable computer-reported results tonight led PPP's Tom Jensen to tweet: "I feel bad about our SC-1 polling, I'd feel worse if there had been any indication from any other polling that Sanford landslide was coming".

Neither Jensen nor PPP should feel bad. There was no more indication that a "landslide was coming", than there is proof tonight that it actually came.

We explained last month, in detail, why the votes cast in this race on SC's oft-failed, easily-manipulated ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system would be 100% unverifiable. As Vic Rawl, a Colbert Busch supporter and the man who inexplicably "lost" to Alvin Green told us at the time, no matter what the results would be tonight, no matter how inexplicable they might be, "the fact is, there's not a darn thing that anybody can do about it."

While it's completely possible that PPP's pre-election numbers were entirely wrong, or that the disgraced Sanford legitimately, somehow, achieved an 18 point turnaround in just two weeks, the voters of SC will never know one way or another if he did or didn't. Once again, we have another 100% unverifiable faith-based election in the world's once-greatest democracy.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/29/2013 6:35am PT  

Over the past decade, The BRAD BLOG, has become one of the nation's largest repositories of articles documenting the folly of e-voting. Thousands of articles at this site, written over the years by multiple journalists, computer experts, scientists, whistle-blowers and election integrity advocates, have pointed to academic and government studies, electoral train wrecks in election-after-election and out-and-out system crashes resulting in long lines, lost votes and denial of both service and democracy on Election Day.

We've even documented instances in which the official results were not merely absurd, but in some cases, virtually impossible --- from the negative 16,022 votes registered for Al Gore by a Volusia County, Florida optical-scan system during the contested 2000 Presidential Election to the thousands of electronic votes which simply disappeared after election night in Monroe County, Arkansas' 2010 state primary, just to mention a couple.

With rare exception, these very real, scientifically-based and independently verifiable concerns about the threat to democracy posed by a lack of transparency in how, if at all, votes are counted within the confines of computer vote tabulators, have, at best, been all but ignored by the mainstream corporate media, or, worse, scoffed at by the likes of "journalists" like Chuck Todd, NBC News' supposed election expert, as little more than "conspiracy garbage." With rare exception (e.g. last year in Palm Beach County, FL where, as a result of a 100% hand-count of paper ballots, several "losing" candidates, as initially determined by the Sequoia optical-scan tabulators, were actually found to be the winners) election-after-election has been decided in this nation without so much as a single ballot having been counted by a human being before results, right or wrong, are announced to the public.

The extent to which the U.S. government has ignored these scientific concerns was encapsulated by the fact that, last Fall, the President of the United States saw fit to cast his early vote on the oft-failed, incredibly-vulnerable, easily-hacked and 100% unverifiable Sequoia AVC Edge Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting system in Chicago --- a system manufactured by the same voting machine company which, according to its former employees, deliberately sabotaged the punch card paper stock that was bound for use in Miami-Dade, Florida during the 2000 Presidential Election. That same tabulation system, relied upon by the President in Chicago, was also the one which declared the wrong "winners" in three different races in the Palm Beach County elections held earlier last year.

President Obama, in an apparent reference to the secrecy of the vote, said "I can't tell you who I voted for." He either didn't realize or didn't care how ironic that statement was given that it is scientifically impossible to ever know if his vote, or anyone else who cast a vote on that same 100% unverifiable e-voting system, was recorded accurately, or at all. It disappeared into the electronic black hole on equipment now ostensibly owned by Dominion Voting Systems, the Canadian corporation which purchased Sequoia in 2010. The Sequoia-manufactured, Dominion-owned e-voting machine Obama used to cast his vote last year was the trade secret Intellectual Property of yet another company: Smartmatic Voting Systems, a Venezuela-based, international e-voting systems manufacturer and supplier which had long ago been tied to the late President Hugo Chávez.

But a funny thing happened after the results of Venezuela's recent Presidential election were announced by the country's National Electoral Council (CNE). According to the electronic central tabulators of the country's 100% unverifiable Smartmatic DRE e-voting systems, Chávez protégé, Nicolas Maduro, had narrowly defeated the U.S.-backed Henrique Capriles.

At that moment --- and only for Venezuela's election, clearly --- both the U.S. government and U.S. mainstream corporate media suddenly became election integrity converts.

They insist on a 100% hand-count of the DRE-produced paper receipts because, as observed by ABC News, the CNE results are based upon "information that is sent electronically from each voting machine to the central vote counting hub," and not "from a manual count of the voting receipts deposited in ballot boxes." That, of course, is almost the exact same way that President Obama's vote in Chicago was tallied, either accurately or not, last year.

When asked by the AP's Matthew Lee whether the U.S. would recognize the Maduro government now that the election had been certified by the CNE, the State Department's Patrick Ventrell said earlier this month: "We're not there yet." His sentiment would be echoed by Secretary of State John Kerry, ironically enough, in an appearance before Congress. Both Ventrell and Kerry claimed to be concerned about the "confidence of the Venezuelan people in the quality of the vote."

Setting aside the fact that there is no way to know whether any computer-printed paper receipt accurately reflects the will of any voter in any election, the event underscores, once again, the striking duplicity of both the U.S. government and the corporate-owned mainstream media on the subject of democracy...

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

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Pay Attention: Nation's largest voting jurisdiction plans to design system for L.A., sell it to other counties in state, country...
[UPDATED w/ additional response from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission]
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2013 7:05am PT  

The good news: When the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation gets its new voting system, perhaps as early as 2015, it will not including Internet Voting, according to Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk of Los Angeles. The bad news: It will very likely include touch-screen computers and, with them, 100% unverifiable voting.

I interviewed Logan last week on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show [full audio interview is at the bottom of this article], and we had a very informative discussion about what voters in Los Angeles may have to look forward to in the coming years, as well as many of you in the rest of the country, since the new system is being designed with an eye towards selling it to other counties in California as well as in the rest of the country.

So this is not just a local L.A. story. It's likely to affect the way that votes are cast and tallied in much of the nation. It's well worth paying attention to, even if, unlike me, you don't live here.

Los Angeles County alone "has more voters than 42 of the 50 states," according to Logan's office. It features nearly 5,000 precincts. Well over 3 million votes were cast in this one county alone during the November 6, 2012 Presidential Election. When Logan took over the job of Registrar after our previous one resigned, suddenly, just months before the 2008 President Election, he had a monster of a job to take over. It's still a monster. And it may soon get even more gargantuan as he attempts to re-work, re-design and, indeed, re-think how voters vote here, and as we move from our current publicly-owned voting system to our next publicly-owned voting system. (L.A. is one of the very few jurisdictions in the nation which owns, maintains and designs its own system. Most similar systems in the rest of the state and nation are proprietary, owned by the private companies which make them, and don't allow even the election officials in those jurisdictions access to their "trade-secret" software and source code.)

While, happily, Logan offered me some assurance that we won't be casting votes over the Internet with his new system --- an assurance that should bring some measure of relief to both Election Integrity advocates as well as the consensus of computer science and security experts who are also experts in voting systems --- there is still much cause for concern, as this still-unknown voting system begins to take shape...

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

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Idiotic Update: Machine 'fixed' and put back online...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2012 11:15am PT  

This seems to be the first official video of touch-screen vote-flipping 2012, reportedly captured today in Pennsylvania, where elected officials so disrespect their own voters that they still force almost all of them to vote on these 100% unverifiable systems...

Congrats, and thank you to the voter who was wise enough to capture the problem on his video cell phone! He described the problem this way on the YouTube page where the video was posted:

I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney's name and started tapping very closely together to find the 'active areas'. From the top of Romney's button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama's name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein's button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.

Of course, this same sort of thing has happened every single election since 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting was forced on Americans ten years ago or so, but when it was first heavily reported by Democrats as having happened in 2004 all across the country, Republicans (and elections officials of all parties) called them "conspiracy theorists" and sore losers. Here's just a couple of examples caught on video from 2008. I've even written an entire chapter for Sonoma University's Project Censored book, Censored 2010, about the largely unreported nationwide vote-flipping epidemic during the 2008 election.

This year, it's been the Republicans who have finally decided, wisely, to be concerned about it. Last week, the GOP sent a letter [PDF] to top election officials in six different states, offering bad advice to them about what they should do, after a few unconfirmed complaints of touch-screen votes flipping from Romney to Obama were reported.

We briefly reported on the matter a few days ago this way:

We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.

Fortunately, it's being reported that the machine seen above has been taken out of service, rather than re-calibrated as so often happens, and as the GOP stupidly requested be done in such instances.

[Update: Mother Jones is now reporting that PA Dept of State officials are saying "they recalibrated the machine, did a test run, and put it back online." That's the dumbest thing they could do. Wonder who "fixed" it?]

All of that said, last night we offered several tips for voting today in ways that might help maximize the chances of your vote being counted and counted accurately. We included these quick tips on WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VOTE FLIPS ON A TOUCH-SCREEN MACHINE:

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2012 12:06am PT  

First and foremost:

  • If you have problems or see problems at the polls, be sure to report them to 866-OUR-VOTE, or at OurVoteLive.org!
  • Catch any problems at the polls on photo or video? Upload it to YouTube and social sites, and tell VideoTheVote.org! Also tag it with the #VideoTheVote hashtag.
  • Be at the polls when they close and photograph and video tape the results tapes that are printed out from electronic systems. Results have a way of changing between the time they're printed out at the close of polls and the time they show up on the web. Your photographic evidence could help save an election!
  • Watching results on the web throughout the night? Take screenshots, save them as you go, and include a timestamp in the filename when you do. Those web results also have a way of changing, sometimes in the wrong direction, throughout the night. Your evidence could help save an election!

Vote on a Paper Ballot!

  • In some places, it may be too late to vote on paper ballots. In others, know your rights and whether you are entitled to vote on a paper ballot if you wish, even if they try to direct you towards an electronic voting system. For example, in OH and CA every voter may vote on paper if they wish and if they know to ask for one. So (politely) demand a paper ballot! Check with your County Clerk or Sec. of State if you're not sure.
  • A touch-screen system with a little paper printout is NOT a paper ballot! Those paper printouts are never counted and your vote will be 100% unverifiable, like Barack Obama's foolishly was. We made this short toon to explain that point quickly in 2008, so let's roll it out once again...

If You Must Vote on Touch-Screen and Your Vote Flips...

  • Try to capture it with your cell phone camera
  • Call poll supervisors to observe the problem.
  • Fill out a problem report.
  • Refuse to vote on that machine.
  • Request that the machine be taken out of service.
  • Get the serial number of the machine if possible (may be difficult in some cases).
  • Tell other voters in line which machine it was and that they should NOT vote on that machine!
  • Report it to county/town election office.
  • Report it to the Secretary of State.
  • Call local reporters and tell them the story.
  • Call 866-OUR-VOTE and tell them.
  • Contact bloggers and Election Integrity websites.
  • Raise holy hell.

Other Useful Stuff to Keep in Mind

  • Make sure you have the exact type of ID you'll need to be able to vote before you leave for the polls. If you're unsure what type of ID is needed, check with your Sec. of State or County Clerk.
  • Be prepared for disgracefully long lines, particularly in swing states. Your vote definitely won't get counted, much less accurately, if you leave the line before voting.
  • If you're challenged by a pollwatcher, take their picture with your cell phone, get their name, and then report it to 866-OUR-VOTE. But do NOT leave without voting, at the very least on a provisional ballot. But try to vote on a normal ballot, not a provisional ballot, if you possibly can.
  • If you're in line when the polls close, you still get to vote. Period.
  • Help others stay in line. If you can offer water, folding chairs, a snack, etc., to those in line fighting to cast their vote, you're doing a great public service for what's left of our democracy.
  • Share this list and/or this blog item with others. Print it out, share it via social networks, etc. to help spread the word.

Election protection begins with you! Good luck! You may need it!

Got any more advice we should add to this list? Let us know in the Comments section...

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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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ALSO: NY, CT, PA, VA and OH polling sites struggle to get back on line after Superstorm Sandy and in time for Election Day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 11:47pm PT  

[This article cross-posted by Salon...]

Since both before Superstorm Sandy hit, and after, we've been reporting on concerns in states where voters are forced to vote on electronic voting systems on Election Day and, thus, could be kept from being able to cast a vote at all in this Tuesday's Presidential Election should power be unavailable at polling sites.

We've noted that voters simply cannot cast a vote at all on such systems when the power is out, and that it's just one more reason why no American should ever be forced to vote on the 100% unverifiable voting systems, incredibly, still in use across most of states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Ohio which were all hit hard by the storm, along with New York, Connecticut and elsewhere.

We've got a bit of good news to report today, for some of the voters whose ability to vote at all has been imperiled by this inexcusable, completely foreseeable failure by public officials who have long ago been warned about this possibility and yet refused to do the sensible thing and move to a verifiable paper ballot system to avoid it.

The news is more encouraging in states like NY and CT, where officials respect voters enough to allow them all to vote on paper ballots, even when natural disasters haven't struck...

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

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PA, TN, IA Photo ID Messes; Early/Absentee Votes Lost in FL?; GOP Poll Watcher Lies in WI; CO Skullduggery; Votes Flipping R to D Says GOP; Voter Suppression Billboard Funder Unmasked...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 6:35am PT  

We're still having trouble, of late, keeping up with all the chicanery, dirty tricks and skullduggery now rolling across the country. So here, once again is our very quick take on just some of the most noteworthy items over the past few days that you'll want to keep in mind as we creep towards Election Day next Tuesday...

CBS Radio Affiliate in PA Inaccurate Says Photo ID Needed To Vote: "CBS Pittsburgh radio station KDKA...is running an ad claiming that voters will need photo identification to go to the polls on November 6th, despite the fact that while voters may be asked to show ID, it is not required to vote. The ad aired on October 26," despite the fact that it's been almost a month since the PA courts determined that no Photo ID will be necessary to vote this year in the Keystone State. The ad says: "The Voter ID law was just recently signed by the governor ... You're not going to be allowed to vote unless you present an acceptable photo identification. Get to a PennDOT licensing center and get a photo ID at the drivers' license center." The ad is completely inaccurate.

Broward County, FL Early Votes Disappearing?: Just one of the many reasons we advise against early voting, unless it's absolutely necessary: "An analysis of the unofficial totals by early voting location on the Broward Supervisor of Elections website from Saturday, compared to the tallies posted on Sunday, shows that in one location, the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Pompano Beach, the revised totals showed 1,003 fewer votes. The initial tally reported from the polling place in the heavily black neighborhood showed 2,945 votes, but the revised tally was 1,401. Across the 17 Broward polling locations, 15 saw their vote totals revised, mostly by minute amounts of between 1 and 7 votes. But the three more significant changes, including the addition of 398 votes in Tamarac (a racially mixed community) and adding 99 votes to the totals from Pompano Beach City Hall, whose demographic is majority white." ... Political consultant David Brown, who is working for three Broward candidates, "said that when he inquired about the numbers, he was told by the elections office that the changes had resulted from a 'computer glitch.'"

Loophole in FL Law May Disenfranchise Absentee Voters: Not sure this is necessarily in the "War on Democracy" category, but Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith have found a very interesting, if troubling, quirk in FL law that could result in legal voters being disenfranchised if they cast their absentee ballot and then move to a different county and re-register there before Election Day. Best to read their take to fully appreciate it, though it makes us wonder how many other states around the country have a similar loophole in their absentee ballot and registration laws and how many voters could actually be affected by such a loophole.

Romney Campaign Training WI Poll Watchers to Lie: "One blatant falsehood occurs on page 5 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any 'person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery' isn't eligible to vote. This is not true." ... "The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 3 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a 'concerned citizen' instead." After the story was published, "the Romney campaign's schedule of poll watcher trainings was changed to private."

Update: Romney Poll Watchers also being mis-trained in Iowa, being told that Photo ID is required to vote there. It isn't.

Keep an Eye on Colorado: So recommends Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, and for very good reason. Not only is CO a key battleground this year, said to be a virtual tie in most of the polls, but "Colorado election integrity and transparency is now officially out the window, with a series of corruption protection rules and new laws." Among those laws? Ballots that can be tied back to the voter; A new law that makes ballots and other election materials no longer public records, at least not before 45 days after an election; Extreme Tea Party Rightwing Sec. of State Scott Gessler's new rules that "remove requirements for continuous video surveillance" under the guise of "cost-saving"; the reduction in the number of so-called tamper-evident seals on voting machines; and more...

GOP Says Votes Flipping From Romney to Obama on Touch-screens in 6 States [PDF]: We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.

Legal Voters With Library Cards Forced to Vote Provisionally in Shelby County (Memphis), TN: "A Shelby County election official said voters who are showing up at polls with only a Memphis library card as their photo identification are being given provisional ballots. ... Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said Monday that he's working to find out how many voters have been given provisional ballots after showing their Memphis library card during early voting ahead of the November 6 election. ... The state Court of Appeals ruled [last] Thursday that a new law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is constitutional but also said the library card qualifies as a government-issued photo ID. State election officials filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that the Memphis library ID should not be allowed because it wasn't issued by state government." This Thursday, the Supremes decided that library cards may be used as voting ID, but will review the case in full after the election.

Funder of Those Voter Suppression Billboards in WI and OH Identified: Last week, we told you about those "Voter Fraud" billboards placed throughout minority neighborhoods in OH in WI, by an unnamed family foundation, and that Clear Channel finally agreed to take them down. This week, the folks at theGrio and One Wisconsin Now figured out who paid for them. You'll be shocked to learn it was a Rightwing hedge fund manager who says he was only try to perform a "public service because voter fraud - whether by Republicans or Democrats - undermines our democratic process." He failed to explain why his "public service" billboards only appeared in minority neighborhoods.

One Wisconsin Now notes that "In 2010, [Reince] Priebus [who is from Wisconsin, but is now the RNC Chairman] was cited by name, in an aborted voter caging plot targeting minorities and college students involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin's Tea Party leaders, including documents that referenced 'billboards' as part of the scheme multiple times. ... That this anti-American garbage is turning up in other states now that Priebus is running the RNC is of no surprise to us in Wisconsin given his career of scheming to deny legal voters their right to the franchise."

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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 11/1/2012 2:05pm PT  

[This article was cross-published by Salon.]

With just 5 days to go until the nation holds its next Presidential Election, power remains out in large swaths of the Eastern Seaboard, according to Google Maps' special Hurricane Sandy power outage map.

The outages persist in a number of states which force the majority of their voters to use 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines to cast their votes at the polls on Election Day. If power is out at the polling place on Election Day in those states, voters may not be able to cast their vote at all.

As we warned before Sandy barreled ashore earlier this week, the ability of voters to vote at all --- presuming polling places are not flooded and voters are able to get to them --- is imperiled by states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and even Ohio, all of which force all, or some of their voters to vote on systems which simply do not work if they do not have power.

While most of those states require a small percentage of emergency paper ballots be made available at the precincts, that number is unlikely to be enough in the event that voting machines are unavailable all day at the polls on November 6th. Moreover, battery backups on the electronic touch-screen systems are unreliable at best and, even when working, can only be counted on for a small number of hours.

In Pennsylvania, for example, as noted yesterday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "In case of power loss, local election officials are encouraged to keep enough paper ballots on hand for 20 and 25 percent of their registered voters."

While the PA Dept. of State claimed in the same report that voting machines can run on backup batteries "about six hours," a Lehigh County, PA election official offers a more realistic assessment, noting their touch-screen system backup batteries last just 2 and a half hours at best.

The BRAD BLOG has long warned that power loss on Election Day is just another, among a myriad of reasons why forcing voters to use such systems is insane and extraordinarily disrespectful to the electorate in such jurisdictions. Other reasons why these type of voting systems should never be used: They are 100% unverifiable in every case (whether they include a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" or not, as some do) and computer scientists and security experts have long warned, in virtually every instance where these type of systems have been examined over the past decade, that they are both prone to failure and easily manipulated, by both election insiders and hackers alike, in ways that are unlikely to ever be detected.

At The Nation today, Ari Berman notes that "Thanks to a wave of new voting restrictions passed by Republicans, the 2012 election was already shaping up to be pretty chaotic before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, which left 8.2 million households without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia."

He then goes on to detail some of the worst hotspots for concern...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2012 9:19pm PT  

It's that time of year. I've been doing a lot of talking lately, on a bunch of media outlets. That means I haven't been able to write and report here as much as I might like of late. In any case, below is one of those appearances, from earlier today, on RT America with anchor Kristine Frazao, in reference to a Christian Science Monitor article from last Friday, by Mark Clayton, accurately headlined: "Could e-voting machines in Election 2012 be hacked? Yes."

It's nice to see stories we reported here at The BRAD BLOG as long as six years ago, many of them exclusively, finally covered in mainstream media outlets, as the CS Monitor piece does. It's also fun to see them quoting the term "sleepover" --- in regard to vulnerable voting machines being sent home with poll workers for days or weeks before Election Day --- a phrase that this blog has been credited with coining about six years ago as well.

I realize that sounds sarcastic, but I don't actually mean it that way. If it all leads to more public discussion and awareness of these concerns, even six years late and six days before a Presidential Election, when it is, by and large, too late to do a damned thing about any of it before the election, I'll take it --- no matter how late it comes...

* * *
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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