After an amazingly encouraging week or two, we head into the July 4th weekend with a whole bunch of stuff we've been trying to clear off our desk. Plus: Lots of breaking news and an encouraging ending for the weekend...
Please check out my new piece I filed today at Slate headlined "The Faith-Based Vote." As it's not necessarily about what some may think, I'll note their sub-title: "In many of Tuesday's closes races, states will use those same old, suspect voting machines."
The article details the 100% unverifiable voting systems which will be used to report the "winners" and "losers" of some of the closest and most-watched elections across the country next Tuesday.
Please feel free to leave comments there, Tweet it, Reddit it, Digg it, share it on Facebook and otherwise help them to feel good about carrying more such coverage. Thanks!
After reports of ES&S touch-screen votes flipping away from Republicans, for a change, over the last several days in North Carolina and in Texas, reports are now coming in from Nevada about similar occurrences on that state's Sequoia touch-screens, just in time to underscore the importance of my story published today at Truthout, "Hacking Harry Reid (or Sharron's Angle)" arguing that one or both of the candidates locked in the Silver State Senate Standoff need to get to a court immediately, even though neither of them are likely to do so.
In the summer of 2007 they ran one of the most extraordinary and explosive exposés on the topic we've ever seen. It included absolutely mind-blowing details on ES&S iVotronic touch-screens voting machines (the same ones currently failing in North Carolina and in Texas and being used in about 15 other states this year) and featuring an astonishing segment with seven on-camera employee/whistleblowers from Sequoia Voting Systems charging they were ordered by higher-ups to rig the chads to fail, only in Florida, on the paper ballots their company made for the 2000 election. You can (and should!) watch that remarkable report --- picked up by absolutely nobody in the MSM, incredibly enough --- right here.
This Tuesday, it looks like HDNet's Dan Rather Reports is set to roll another story on hackable e-voting systems. Here's the :30 second teaser for their latest...
Das Vote - As Americans prepare to vote-many of them by electronic machines-millions of Europeans are going back to paper and pencil. Germany is just one of three European countries to buy electronic voting machines, only to throw them out after hackers demonstrate their vulnerabilities. Also, one American's fight against voting machines in his state.
With all the endless hours (upon hours, upon hours) the network and cable news mainstreamers like Chris Matthews have found to devote to the horse-race and politicking of these elections, you'd think they might be able to find more than just 19 seconds to cover the issue that can be, and so often has been, the deciding factor in so many recent elections. If you'd think that, you'd be wrong. 19 seconds is all Rather got on this weekend's Chris Matthews Show to discuss the topic. [Hat-tip Heather at Crooks & Liars]...
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UPDATE 10/27/10: The HDNet folks have responded to pleas to make the episode available for all (even those of us who don't have it on their cable system!). The entire episode is now available here through next Wednesday only! Get it while it's full, free and hot!
[Now UPDATED with additional reports of additional vote-flipping and touch-screen failure from other NC counties at bottom of article.]
Aaand the touch-screen voting machines continue to flip votes during the early voting period. Right on schedule. Just as always. But, for the second time this week we have the unusual occurrence of votes reportedly flipping away from the GOP.
Today's report, where the local election official is also misleading voters by downplaying the incident, comes from the same type of 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machine, but it took place in Craven County, NC, according to P. Christine Smith of the Sun Journal...
A Craven County voter says he had a near miss at the polls on Thursday when an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended.
Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern said he pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked. He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result, he said. Then he asked for and received help from election staff.
"They pushed it twice and the same thing happened," Laughinghouse said. "That was four times in a row. The fifth time they pushed it and the Republicans came up and I voted."
"Something is not right here," [Craven County GOP Chair Chuck] Tyson told the Sun Journal. He said he "got two or three calls" from people describing the same problem while they were voting.
Tyson also went on to report there were long lines reported as voters waited to use the two touch-screen voting machines available at one location (paper ballots don't cause that problem) and, even more disturbingly, "machines reporting 250 ballots cast where 400 voters had signed in to vote."
Aaaand here we go again. Our first report of touch-screen vote flipping of the year during early voting. And, for an added twist, this time it's Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry who seems to be getting screwed by the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system in question.
Most such reports of touch-screen vote-flipping or vote-hopping, historically, have been from Democratic voters seeing their votes flip to candidates of other parties, though there have been isolated reports over the years of Republican voters experiencing the very same problem. Indeed, another report has been published today from a voter in Collin County, TX, who says his vote flipped from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White over to the Republican Perry.
The Dallas incident was posted as a YouTube video by programmer Don Relyea and began to go viral early this morning, before being set to "private," presumably by Relyea, at YouTube a few hours ago. So, unfortunately (for now), we're unable to show the video itself, though we watched it several times this morning before it was made unavailable, and have a step-by-step analysis of precisely what is seen in the video, as detailed by an Election Integrity expert who reviewed it a number of times to explain what is actually seen in it.
The removal of the video, seemingly shot via a cell phone camera, may be due to Texas law barring recording equipment of any kind in polling places. Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbert told The BRAD BLOG that he has now referred the matter to the District Attorney for investigation, not due the purported incident of vote-flipping, but rather due to Relyea's video-taping of the event.
Sherbert's explanation for what is seen in the video, however, downplays the purported problem and does not appear to sync up with what is actually seen in the video supporting Relyea's contention that his attempted vote for Perry was being inappropriately flipped to a number of Green Party candidates on the ES&S iVotronic system...
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."-Mark Twain
One of the basic axioms of law is that fraud vitiates consent. One of the foundational principles of democratic governance is that legitimacy rests on the informed consent of the governed. Come November, those principles will be tested in California.
Billionaire Meg Whitman, a former EBay CEO who surpassed the $100 million mark in campaign spending nearly a month prior to the traditional Labor Day kickoff of the Fall campaign, who, by Sept. 16, had donated a record-smashing $119 million of her own funds to her campaign, who refused to meet with former California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown and Republican State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poisner in a pre-primary debate, has knowingly sought to fill the gaping knowledge deficit created by the corporate media's gross neglect of its fourth estate responsibilities with disinformation about Brown, her Democratic opponent.
When confronted by an analysis which exposed a powerful but deliberately deceptive ad (video below) which shows former President Bill Clinton accusing Brown of lying about his tax record based on a CNN report which is now known to be erroneous, Whitman's spokesperson, Darrell Ng dismissed the idea of pulling the deceptive ad as "ridiculous"...
Yesterday's hotly contested race for the GOP's U.S. Senate nomination in Delaware ended in victory for the state's moderate, much-beloved former Governor and nine-term U.S. Congressman Mike Castle --- at least according to the tabulation of ballots cast in the race which can actually be verified by anybody as having been recorded accurately as per the voters' intent.
Nonetheless, the Tea-Party/Palin/DeMint-endorsed Christine O'Donnell, who was getting trounced by the popular Castle in pre-election polls until only recently after losing twice before in her quest for a U.S. Senate seat, was declared the "winner" of yesterday's race and --- as The BRAD BLOG detailed yesterday --- nobody can prove whether the voters of Delaware actually selected her or not.
Appropriately enough for the far Rightwinger, the "victory" was 100% faith-based, since it's strictly impossible to know if even one citizen's vote cast yesterday on the 100% unverifiable e-voting machines Delware forces voters to use on Election Day was recorded accurately...
While barreling westward across the Great Plains yesterday, I received an urgent text message from Bev Harris of the non-partisan election integrity watchdog organization BlackBoxVoting.org. She and Susan Pynchon, an election integrity advocate from Florida Fair Elections Coalition, had traveled to Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee, following reports of massive voter disenfranchisement during the state's August 5th elections.
She and Pynchon have been in the county, on behalf of a number of the candidates affected by the apparent disaster for the last two weeks.
"Wildest election tampering yet in memphis," Harris' detailed text message read. "7 out of eight candidates black in black locations with 70 percent dems but white republican sweep."
"Ten candidates filed lawsuit today," the message continued, as she explained that over the past two weeks she and Pynchon "watched as [election officials] wheeled cartloads of computers out of the building. Thousands and thousands of votes don't add up...poll tapes in trash and much more."
"Even the candidates could not get their own results and were told they were 'not available,'" she wrote. "They certified [the elections] and STILL did not give out results until threatened by a lawyer and even then the results said 'unofficial'. There is hilarious video of repub lawyer shouting 'keep those women away from me!'"...
We don't normally do this, but since the entirety of the piece was so tremendously good; and, since it's so rare to see such an on-target OpEd on this topic in any major corporate news outlet; and, since St. Louis is our old hometown; and, since we've met with the MoHonest folks on a number of very pleasant occasions; and, since St. Louis County, the largest in MO, still shamefully uses 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by the oft-failed ES&S outfit in no small part because of this blog and this blogger's father; and, since the City of St. Louis still shamefully uses 100% unverifiable DRE systems made by Diebold; and, since much of the rest of the important "swing state" still shamefully uses similarly 100% unverifiable voting systems; and, since both fake "voting rights advocate" (really, top GOP vote suppression scam artist) Thor Hearne, and Bush's horrific U.S. Election Assistance Commission chair (now, Internet Voting huckster) Paul DeGregorio both live there and don't give a damn that voters in the state use such oft-failed, easily-manipulated, fully-unverfiable voting systems; and, since more people are likely to read the full article here than at the the Post; rather than just linking to the editorial, or quoting a few grafs, we're gonna run it in full below.
Please read it, and consider writing similar for your major newspaper in your hometown (and then watch them not publish it)...
Judge Vic Rawl just released a public statement on the heels of the SC Democratic Party Executive Board's insane rejection yesterday of his protest to the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen system's announced "victory" of Alvin Greene to be the state's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. Rawl's statement reads in part:
I wanted you to hear from me that we will not be appealing last night’s decision by the Democratic Executive Committee to reject our protest of the election results. My campaign for the United States Senate has ended.
The issues we raised about the lack of election integrity in South Carolina are real, and they are not going away unless people act. I assure you that I will continue to speak out about our frail and vulnerable election system in the months to come.
Rawl's comments follow on both his own impromptu remarks after yesterday's protest was rejected, and his Campaign Manager Walter Ludwig's barely-contained on-the-record comments following the hearing: "We're certainly disappointed, but the unique circumstances of this election gave us an opportunity to put the specter of voting machines in front of the national public in the strongest way since Bush v. Gore."
As we'll be guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show again for the first week of July, hopefully Rawl and/or Ludwig will be able to join us to explain what the hell happened, what they intend to do about it, and what the hell is wrong with SC's shameful, apparently democracy-hating, Democratic Party Executive Board. (See yesterday's report & live blog of the hearings for all the insane details.)
There are a number of points in Andreas Antonopoulos' article at Network World yesterday with which I respectfully disagree (eg. His assertion that counting paper ballots by hand might take longer than with machines, and nuances in regard to his belief that a federal standard for voting machines is the answer, etc.)
But for someone who doesn't cover the unique circumstances of e-voting exclusively or in great detail, he is essentially right on the money in his general assertions about the insane, 100% unverifiable nature of South Carolina's recent primary election. In regard to the questions about Alvin Greene's impossible-to-prove "win" over Judge Vic Rawl for the Democratic nomination to run for U.S. Senate, he writes, among other things:
How have we reached the point where the only way to audit an election is statistics? Why can't we get a robust, audited and validated election result? The simple answer is that we can, but we choose not to.
[T]he best solution is paper and pencil. It is auditable, secure, repeatable, easy and robust.
I note the above today, largely in response to the dead-enders, who I've begun to hear from yet again of late, who describe folks like me as "Luddites" or somehow "against progress". Those who believe that elections ought to be 100% verifiable by the citizenry --- and that any sort of concealed vote counting, electronic or otherwise, is a grave threat to democracy --- are not "Luddites". We are well-informed realists and patriots.
For the record, I spent some ten years of my life making my living as a computer programmer. Network World's Antonopoulos, author of the magazine's "Security: Risk and Reward" blog, is also senior vice president and founding partner at the the IT consulting and research firm, Nemertes Research. And the bulk of the science on which all of my reporting is based, comes directly from the top computer scientists and security experts in the world.
If anyone would like to call us "Luddites", after all of these years being proven right, again and again, on these issues, bring it on. You're only succeed in making yourself appear grossly ill-informed. Or worse.
[My thanks to "HeartlandLiberal" at dKos for bringing the Network World piece to my attention, and, for kicking back a bit at the many horribly dis-informed and mis-informed Kossacks who have been ignoring and/or poo-pooing these issues for years, to their own shame and disservice.]
Former Circuit Court Judge Vic Rawl's official protest against the results of South Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senate primary election last Tuesday --- when he was purportedly beaten by Alvin Greene, a jobless man who didn't campaign and didn't even have a campaign website --- will focus on what he describes as "systemic issues involving the software of the voting machine," according to the four-term, former state legislator in an interview with Fox "News" today.
The video and transcript of that interview --- in which Rawl displayed a very impressive command of the issues surrounding the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines used in the election --- are posted below. It's well worth reading and/or watching.
But first, Democratic House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) also appeared on Fox today where he said, "I believe there was hacking done into that computer." He later added, that because SC used the type of voting machines that have been decertified by so many other states, "maybe somebody wanted machines that were easily hacked into."
Take a look...
Clyburn's comments are remarkable --- certainly for a currently-serving Democratic official, much less one as high ranking as he is. Perhaps his comments will help change the way the bulk of the mainstream media has been covering this issue to date. They've been looking at everything but the obvious potential for computer failure or manipulation, even though Rawl has been going out of his way to point to it --- as we saw in his remarkable statement announcing his protest of the election results filed yesterday, due, in no small part, to "the well-documented unreliability and unverifiability of the voting machines used in South Carolina."
Since speculating on the accuracy of the results, or lack thereof, is all that most of us can do, given the nature of the type of e-voting system in use in SC which offer zero proof of actual winners and losers, there is certainly every reason to believe the election could have been hacked. The state's woeful ES&S system --- both its voting machines and its central tabulators --- has been shown time and again, in scientific report after scientific report, to be easily manipulated, particularly by a well-placed election insider.
That said, there still remain other less nefarious explanations for the results, and it should also be noted that Clyburn got quite a few of the details --- albeit fairly minor ones in the scope of his main point, if rather important to the rest of the country --- wrong...
The local Charleston, South Carolina, NBC affiliate, WCBD, was hoodwinked by someone; apparently it was the SC Election Commission. In the following report, WCBD's Larry Collins says that he has checked on the claim that "there is no independent paper back up from [South Carolina's] touch machines." He then goes on to inaccurately report, presumably from information given to him by the state election commission, that "there is a paper trail" on the state's ES&S iVotronic voting systems...
Collins' reporting is patently inaccurate.
The pieces of paper seen hanging in the background behind him are end of the day reports or possibly some "poll tapes," printed out after polls close, showing the purported tallies from each machine or precinct. They are not auditable "paper trail" records of voters' votes, and they are not verified in any way, shape, or form by the voter.
Those printouts can say absolutely anything, as printed, including the actual vote counts, erroneous vote counts due to machine malfunction or misprogramming, or, as seen in the following Fox "News" clip, vote counts that have been purposely manipulated by tampering and/or the inclusion of a virus implanted on one of the voting machines' memory cards...
Vic Rawl says inexplicable Democratic primary contest casts 'cloud' over state election; Notes 'irregularities', problem reports from voters, poll workers, vows 'electoral reform', calls for 'full and unblinking investigation of overall integrity' of state's ES&S voting system...
UPDATE: 'Burden of proof' on Rawls. Good luck with that.
A formal challenge to the announced results of South Carolina's Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate has now been filed by Judge Vic Rawl, the candidate who wasn't announced the winner by the state's oft-failed, easily-manipulated, 100% unverifiable ES&S e-voting system.
The statement points generally to a number of findings being made by the campaign as independent experts have analyzed the results, voting patterns and problems being reported by poll workers and voters on Election Day where the unknown, unemployed candidate Alvin Greene defeated Rawl on the unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems, performing 11 points better on those machines than he did in the paper-based absentee results. The oft-failed, easily-manipulated ES&S election results reporting system gave Greene a 59% to 41% "victory" over Rawl.
Greene did no campaigning, had no name recognition, had no campaign website, faces felony obscenity charges and managed, somehow, according to the electronic results, to best Rawl, a four-term state legislator to win the nomination to face incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in this November's general election.
We've covered details and analysis of this bizarre matter in two previous articles since last Tuesday's election:
As you'll see below, Rawl's official statement today reads as an indictment of the state's electronic voting system and, frankly, as a summary of years of The BRAD BLOG's oft-ignored reporting (and warnings) about the ES&S e-voting system's disastrously failed record...
This post is an update to our earlier one today, which highlighted early, unexplained disparities seen by academic experts working on behalf of South Carolina Democrats, between paper-ballot absentee voting results and those from the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems used on Election Day last Tuesday in South Carolina for the Democratic U.S. Senate primary race between the unheard of, jobless candidate Alvin Greene (who did absolutely no campaigning), and state legislator Vic Rawl (who did).
As we detailed in the previous post, Greene's "victory," thus far, seems to make absolutely no legitimate sense to state Democrats, or anybody else, in truth. The disparities in the voting patterns were described by experts quoted in Politico earlier today as "curious," "staggering," and "red flags," and by Election Integrity experts who we quoted as "clear signs of election fraud." Please read that post first for the full background on this story.
We've already included one update to our previous post, based on a post by Tom Schaller at FiveThirtyEight.com, a site which focuses on statistical analysis of elections. That post examined the possibility of the race factor in Greene's "win" over Rawl as the former is African American while the latter is white. Schaller's analysis of precinct data in the race, however, as compared to non-white registrants in each, found "no relationship between the race of a county's registrants and Greene's performance in that county," thus largely, but not entirely, ruling out race as an explanation for the bizarre results.
While Schaller had posited four existing possibilities for what "could have happened here" in his original article --- including the possibility of "systematic" election fraud --- he has now filed a follow-up report describing the matter as "getting weirder by the hour." His new piece includes a number of reports from other statistical experts which "suggest tampering, or at least machine malfunction, perhaps at the highest level"...