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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, December 19, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Now Updated Many Times at Bottom of Article...
By John Gideon on 10/19/2008 2:04pm PT  

This just in as Brad is headed over to the FOX News studios. Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported on the Republican voter registration outfit who had allegedly been illegally changing thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican.

Last night the head of that GOP backed group, Mark Anthony Jacoby of Young Political Majors (YPM), was arrested by the California State Election Fraud Taskforce and Oxnard, CA Police.

According to CA SoS Debra Bowen's press release, Jacoby himself had committed voter registration fraud and perjury by lying on his own voter registration form. (That's similar to what Ann Coulter did, though she not only committed felony voter registration fraud, she also committed actual voter fraud, as well, even though such fraud is exceedingly rare.)

UPDATE FROM BRAD: It was my pleasure to break this story today on Fox "News" of all places! Thanks to John Gideon for getting it posted as I was on the roll towards the studio. I'll have the video up of my appearance on Fox, and the "Fox News Alert" I was able to do, later tonight (it's now posted here). Please note, this isn't the first time there have been serious problems with GOP-gathered voter registrations in CA, as outlined recently at Alternet. Looks like the GOP's voter registration record for errors far outpaced ACORN! Whaddaya know? (Our special coverage of the GOP's ACORN "Voter Fraud" Hoax is right here.) More updates now at bottom of article.

Bowen's press release, just out, on Jacoby's arrest is posted in full below, along with a number of additional updates after it...

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

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Experts from CA's 'Top-to-Bottom Review' of E-Voting Systems Demonstrate How to Insert Virus, Access Machines Without Disturbing 'Security Seals' in Hack Which Would Not Be Discovered Even in 100% Audit of 'Paper Trails'
Single Malicious Individual Shown Flipping Entire 'Touch-Screen w/ Paper-Trail' Election in Seconds...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2008 9:01pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

The Computer Security Group at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) has released a short, chilling video demonstrating how a single person can hack an election on a touch-screen voting system --- even one with a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Trail" (VVPAT) added to it --- in such a way that it is highly unlikely that the manipulation would ever be detected by either the public or election officials.

The video which shows "just examples of the different ways in which the system can be compromised" is the latest in a similar string of such demonstrations that have been released over the last two years, all showing how easily electronic voting systems can be tampered with, often undetectably.

In the UCSB video posted below, the hack of Sequoia voting system being prepared for use in an entire county, is done in approximately 3 seconds, by a single person with simple insider access and a $10 USB thumb drive. Every machine used in the county, in such a case, would be effected. Moreover, the viral hack would not be discovered by pre-election "Logic and Accuracy" testing --- in cases were election officials actually bother to perform such tests prior to elections --- nor would it likely be discovered even in the event of a complete, 100% post-election audit of the touch-screen "paper-trail" records.

The hack demonstration, prepared by the UCSB scientists as part of California's 2007 Top-to-Bottom Review" of all of the state's e-voting systems, also reveals how so-called "security seals" placed on such machines after they've been programmed for an election, can be easily defeated without detection...

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

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BRAD BLOG Asks Dean Logan and Leon County, FL's Ion Sancho About Experimental Election Night Program for Small Number of Precincts
Q&A's on That and a Few Other Points of Note, Documented on Video During Recent Appearance in Los Angeles by Both Election Officials...
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2008 5:31pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

I had the opportunity to ask an important question of both the legendary Leon County (Tallahassee), FL, Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho, and Los Angeles County's no-longer-interim Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, last week here in Los Angeles.

Readers of The BRAD BLOG will remember Logan from his poor showing, as acting Registrar, in the handling of L.A.'s Super Tuesday "Double Bubble" ballot debacle, in which at least 12,000 mostly-perfectly-countable votes from the Democratic Primary went completely uncounted, as well as his handling of the failure I encountered myself, in the more recent state primary in June, when four of my own votes were printed incorrectly by the county's ES&S electronic voting system.

Sancho was in town for press avails, in advance of the opening of Dorothy Fadiman's new documentary Stealing America: Vote-by-Vote (opening for week-long runs in NYC on Aug 1st, and in L.A. on Aug 15th - DISCLOSURE: I appear briefly in the film). Logan, to his credit, was kind enough to show up, with his deputy Peter McNamara, for a screening of the film held by PDA last Thursday.

After the screening, Sancho, a compelling presence in Fadiman's film, as he was in HBO's landmark 2006 documentary, Hacking Democracy, answered questions, and the activists in the crowd managed to shoehorn Logan onto the stage to speak to a number of local concerns as well.

I took the opportunity to ask a few questions of both men, as captured by Alan Breslauer, with answers, on the video posted at the end of this article.

Of most important note, I wanted to know if either of them would commit to a hand-count of ballots in a handful of precincts this November, on an experimental basis, on Election Night. The count, in such a "pilot program" as I described it, needn't be the official count, but could later be compared to the results as reported by both counties' optical-scanners, since both L.A. and Leon County use paper ballots for their non-disabled voters.

As I've advocated to a few other election officials in the past, hand-counting in this small, experimental way would help us all to begin to compile data about the effectiveness --- or even, lack thereof --- of transparent, polling-place based HCPB (Hand-Counted Paper Ballots) on Election Night, as many Election Integrity advocates have called for...

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

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4 Out of 12 Ballot Selections Printed Out Incorrectly, Myriad Other Laws Violated
ES&S InkaVOTE Plus System Fails Miserably, Mars What Should Have Been a Simple Voting Experience During L.A. County's Very Low Turnout State Primary Election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2008 8:04pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

As a fairly well-known Election Integrity journalist who has personally covered, for years, the myriad election woes of thousands (if not millions) of voters around the country who have tried to bring seemingly endless stories of votes flipped on e-voting systems to the attention of officials, these stories always continue to be remarkable to me, even if not to many others in the rest of the mainstream media.

It's even more troubling when one realizes that so little ever seems to be done in light of so many of these horror stories, as those very same failed systems are still deployed across the nation, with little or no modification to correct the mountains of documented problems even now, as we head towards an election likely to be of historic proportions this November.

What follows is yet another one of those stories, where a voter had vote selections flipped by the electronic voting system, such that candidates were chosen other than the ones intended to be selected by the voter, though no fault of his own.

But this time, the voter is me.

Though I've covered so many of these stories, it was nonetheless remarkable to see it happen before ones very eyes, as occurred yesterday when I voted here in Los Angeles during our very low turnout California state Primary election.

The ES&S electronic voting system that I used to try to vote on yesterday, ended up flipping a total of 4 out of the 12 contests and initiatives for which I had attempted to vote.

Right before my very eyes, the computer-printed ballot produced by the voting system I was using, incorrectly filled in bubbles for four of the races I was voting in. Had I not been incredibly careful, after the ballot was printed out, to painstakingly compare what was printed to what I actually voted for, I'd have never known my votes were being given to candidates I did not vote for.

Had I been a blind voter --- as the system I was using is largely intended for use by the disabled --- I would have cast my ballot without having a clue that a full 40% of the votes I'd tried to cast for various California Superior Court judges were flipped to other candidates...

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

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Local Media Outlet Finally Reports on the Stunning Allegations in William Singer's Whistleblower Suit, Local Election Officials Respond With the Same Old, Disingenous, Long-Ago Debunked Nonsense...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2008 7:22pm PT  

In Aurora, Illinois, today, Beacon News' Dan Campana files a very good report on the federal fraud suit filed against Austin, Texas, based voting machine company Hart InterCivic. The suit, alleging dozens of false claims and fraudulent activities by Hart in order to receive federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money, was filed originally by former employee turned whistleblower William Singer back in 2006, but did not become unsealed until March 27th, when The BRAD BLOG covered it, along with posting the full stunning complaint [PDF].

Beacon News is based in Kane County, IL, which uses the faulty Hart voting systems in question.

Campana's report today --- which quotes yours truly in a number of places --- is the only corporate media coverage of the lawsuit in the nearly three weeks since the case was finally unsealed. Until now, there's been the fairly extensive coverage found on this blog, an item on the same day the case was unsealed filed by Kim Zetter at WIRED's "Threat Level" blog (which we replied to here), and a very short squib from AP on the same day, which, according to a quick Google News search, was carried by only a single news outlet, CBS 4 in Denver.

(For the record, our extensively detailed and sourced report on Hart's attempted takeover of Sequoia late last week has been picked up by nobody, other than ComputerWorld where we, ourselves, filed a short summary report. That, despite officials from both Hart and Sequoia having confirmed the accuracy of our report, and the fact that Hart, which controls some 8% of the voting market in this country, is about to swallow up Sequoia Voting Systems, which controls 20% of it, to become the nation's second largest e-voting machine vendor. We'll know by Tuesday at the latest, most likely, if Sequoia was able to save itself from Hart's hostile takeover.)

So with a dearth of coverage anywhere but here, we can heartily recommend Campana's report on Singer's suit. His article includes comments from us (as mentioned), one of Singer's attorneys, Hart spokesperson Peter Lichtenheld (who shamelessly plays the tired old "conspiracy theory" card), some Election Integrity advocates from the non-partisan Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, and some state and local Kane County election officials who have deluded themselves into believing their Hart machines are safe for use in American democracy.

When Campana interviewed us for his story, we suggested he ask any of the election officials he planned to interview for a single piece of evidence to prove that any single vote, ever cast during an election on a Hart DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machine in the county, has ever been recorded accurately, as intended by a voter.

Though Campana references our challenge in his report ("Friedman contends no government officials can prove the votes cast on electronic machines can be accurately linked to tallies",) he doesn't quote any of the officials as being able to offer such evidence. Little surprise, because they can't produce such evidence. It's strictly impossible. Yet they continue to use these machines anyway.

But he does manage to get a few amusing and wholly unsupportable statements from some of those deluded officials. We're delighted to spend our Sunday dismantling them --- both the statements, and the officials...

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

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New Planned Method for Counting Uncounted Non-Partisan Crossover Ballots, as Proposed by Dean Logan in Response to Sec. of State's Request, Will Needlessly Disenfranchise Thousands of Legal Voters
SoS Bowen Must Intervene Again to Assure All Votes That Can be Counted ARE Counted...
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2008 10:20pm PT  

[UPDATED 2/27/08 2:00pm PT, after speaking with Bowen's office about this. The update, which includes her current response to Logan's proposed counting scheme, is posted at the bottom of this report.]

I hate to counter the adulation of so many of the good groups out there claiming "victory" and "a happy ending" today in the "Double Bubble" ballot dispute in Los Angeles County, but I must. The "victory" they are now referring to, with the best of intentions, as "Great news!" is much less than it appears. Though if you don't look closely, it might otherwise look like a "victory." Unfortunately, it isn't.

Unless something changes, and quickly, Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters Dean Logan is preparing to disenfranchise thousands of voters who cast legal ballots in the Super Tuesday Democratic primary election.

In the 3-page letter [PDF] sent by Logan to CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen yesterday, the recently-arrived, but still-befuddled, county clerk details how he now plans to potentially toss out thousands of votes, while inappropriately awarding disproportionate votes in favor of only some candidates, in response to the "Double Bubble" ballot debacle reported by The BRAD BLOG (most recently here), in great detail previously...

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

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Asks for 'Precinct-by-Precinct Reconciliation' of Poll Rosters to Begin Accurately Accounting for Tens of Thousands of Non-Partisan Voters Who Cast Machine-Unreadable Ballots
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2008 6:18pm PT  

California Sec. of State Debra Bowen wants Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, to check the poll rosters of thousands of precincts in order to help accurately count tens of thousands of currently uncounted ballots cast in the Super Tuesday Democratic Primary.

As The BRAD BLOG pointed out last week, tens of thousands of currently uncounted ballots cast by Non-Partisan voters who chose to cross over and vote in the Democratic Primary, but who failed to ink in a second bubble meant to instruct voting machines to count the ballots as Democratic votes, can be counted accurately, as per the voters' intent, if Logan bothers to check those poll rosters.

Bowen, who sent a 3-page letter [PDF] to Logan after our article pointed out that he was simply wrong, in his own report [PDF] to the County Supervisors, when he claimed that it was "impossible" to determine the intent of the voters on those ballots.

It's not, and Bowen clearly seems to understand that, as evidenced by both her letter to Logan and comments she made last Friday on Northern California National Public Radio affiliate KQED, where she said she was "shocked" to hear that the debacle had happened in several elections previously...

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

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'No One Could Have Predicted This,' Conny McCormack Tells LA Times in Her Best Condoleese, About Her Ballot Design That Disenfranchsed 40% of Voters in At Least Two Previous Elections...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2008 1:35pm PT  

L.A. County's former Registrar Recorder, Conny McCormack, who quit just prior to February's Super Tuesday Primary Election, turned into Condi Rice today. She's quoted in an Los Angeles Times' front page story confirming, as we pointed out over the weekend, that Election Officials did nothing about the "Double Bubble" ballot problem --- which may well disenfranchise a conservatively estimated 50,000 county voters --- despite massive disenfranchisement with the same design over last six years, since McCormack first implemented it.

In her best Condoleese, McCormack is quoted by the paper today saying, "This is an unfortunate, unanticipated result...No one could have predicted this."

Sound familiar?

She is shortly contradicted, in the same article, by a spokesperson from her own former office, before she continues on to blame voters and poll workers for the problem that she created --- as now confirmed by both the LA Times and California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen --- before then proceeding to do absolutely nothing about it...

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

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Confusion Reigns, Legal Challenges Loom as Hundreds of Thousands Votes May Not be Counted Due to Maddeningly Confusing Ballot Design, Procedures
UPDATED: Registar's Office Say They Plan to Examine Non-Partisan Ballots, Will 'Seek Legal Authority to Count Those Votes'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2008 12:29pm PT  

We believe we can now pull this issue up out of the weeds a bit, after more than 24 hours of trying to make sense of what the Los Angeles County Registrar's office has been describing to the media as "real clear."

What's clear is that the only thing that's clear is the fact that the county's new acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, has seriously blown his first outing since coming South from his disastrous 2004 Washington state gubernatorial election debacle.

Unless swift action is taken by Logan and CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen, it's likely that hundreds of thousands of voters may have been disenfranchised in last Tuesday's Democratic Primary Election...

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

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Election Results May be Delayed Until the Next Morning After the Election!
County Registrars Help Sound the Alarm!
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2008 11:38pm PT  

ALERT! We just read the headline (via RAW STORY) at California's Bay Area NBC affiliate, and we are terrified:

Huge Delay Expected In Calif. Super Tuesday Voting Results

"Huge delay"?! What? Why? How could it be? The first graf of the article said it all. My God...it's true...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2008 2:50pm PT  

After virtually ignoring the issue for some six straight years, our hometown newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, has run a two-part, 2,800-word "series" on concerns about voting machines, right on schedule, just in time to do absolutely no good at all before next week's upcoming Tsunami Tuesday election in the state. Waytago, LATimes!

The series reports absolutely nothing that has not already been reported over the last several years here at The BRAD BLOG, which is why the LATimes folks makes the big bucks and we don't.

They do, however, include an important point at the very end of the second article, in quoting from one of the country's most notable long-time voting machine apologists, Kimball Brace...

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

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Some Election Officials Voice Concern That Recent Changes Restricting Use Of Some Voting Machines Jeopardizes Integrity Of Elections
But Secretary Of State Debra Bowen Defends Actions By Calling Voting Machines 'A Major Threat To Democracy'
By Alan Breslauer on 1/16/2008 8:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

According to a NewsHour report, some county election officials in California believe that changes ordered by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, including decertifying some voting machines, may put the integrity of upcoming elections in jeopardy. Seriously. This despite Bowen's explanation for her actions:

Bowen: Our scientist found that every system they looked at could be compromised in ways that made me uncomfortable. They were able to bypass security seals by undoing two screws and opening the whole machine. They were able to change the results without ever having any knowledge of the computer code itself.

Steve Weir, an election official from Contra Costa County, explains why election officials are concerned with Bowen's directives not to use some newly purchased machines:

Weir: You can't keep changing voting systems. You don't make changes to your voting system without really jeopardizing your own security and your own reliability, um, this close to an election.

However, Stanford professor David Dill backs Bowen and proclaims, "It seems that there is almost a national consensus that we have a serious problem". Dan Ashby, of the Election Defense Alliance, agrees that the use of voting machines is a dangerous endeavor:

Ashby:The election department public servants are not capable of running the election without having all kinds of technical help from the voting machine companies. [Which is dangerous because] They have the access and the means, motive and opportunity, if they were inclined, to change the programming in ways that no election official or voting member of the public could possibly perceive such that it would change the outcome of the election in an undetectable untraceable way.

Voting machines pose another, often overlooked, problem beyond the technical problems most often associated with such machines. Mainly, voting machines have led to a vast public distrust of elections. According to Bowen, the lack of trust in voting machines has caused people to "check out and not participate" and is thus, "a major threat to democracy".

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Complaint Alleges New Post-Election Audit Requirements in Close Elections Are Too Expensive, Create Too Much Work for Them...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2007 7:01pm PT  

Newly missing e-voting chips isn't the only election news to break out of the People's Republic of San Diego County today.

The sunny Southern California enclave, which has succeeded in making an infamous name for itself over the last several years by running some of the most poorly administrated and least transparent elections in the nation, is now suing California's Sec. of State Debra Bowen for her new security mitigation mandate requiring a hand audit of a random 10% sampling of ballots, in elections where the final result margin is less than one-half of 1%.

The full complaint may be downloaded here [PDF].

Deborah Seiler, the former sales rep for voting machine companies Diebold and Sequoia, who was recently named Registrar of Voters for San Diego County, believes Bowen's mandate is onerous in that it would "create extra work and delays" for her office following elections, as the North County Times described it.

Seiler and the county are "alleging that Bowen overstepped her authority in requiring new recount procedures in close races beginning in February," according to the paper, which quotes a spokesperson from Bowen's office defending the legal right of the Secretary to issue such directives as she sees fit.

Bowen's spokesperson, Nicole Winger, confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that the office is confident the Secretary of State may issue such "use procedures," along with voting system certification, which must be followed by counties that choose to use those particular systems. She adds that prior administrations have issued similar use procedures along with system certification, and that their statutory right to do so has held up in past court cases.

According to Winger...

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

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Company's Flawed 'Inkavote Plus' System May be Used in Nation's Largest County During February 2008 Primary When Republican Measure to Divide State's Electoral Vote Could be on the Ballot
SoS to Hold Public Hearing on Future of Voting System Monday in Sacramento...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2007 2:04pm PT  

by Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...

Now that ES&S has finally submitted their previously withheld source code and documentation to California Sec. of State Debra Bowen, new members of her "Top-to-Bottom Review" team have been able to look at the ES&S Inkavote Plus system used across the entirety of Los Angeles County. And whaddaya know, the system is easily susceptible to fraud, hacking and manipulation.

The full report from the new testers --- not the original members of the TTBR team at University of California, but testers sub-contracted by the ubiquitous private e-vote consulting firm of Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group (FCMG) [Ed Note: See additional thoughts/concerns from John Gideon on FCMG in comments here] --- is now posted at the SoS TTBR page [PDF]. The LA Daily News summarizes the findings this way in today's paper...

SACRAMENTO - Consultants for Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Friday they found several flaws in Los Angeles County's voting system that could leave it vulnerable to fraud or electronic hacking.

The report found that seals on boxes used to carry the system hardware could be opened and resealed without detection, making the machinery susceptible to tampering.

Plus, some password-protected systems could be hacked with certain programs, and some encrypted files containing sensitive data could be decrypted.

The study was performed as part of Bowen's "top-to-bottom" review of statewide voting systems. Los Angeles County's InkaVote Plus system is the last to be studied, because vendor Election Systems & Software failed to provide information to Bowen's consulting team on time earlier this year.

In August, Bowen decertified the InkaVote system for use in the February presidential primary because of the missing information.

A public hearing will be held on Monday in Sacramento so that the SoS may receive public input on how she should proceed, and whether the ES&S Inkavote Plus system should be recertified in advance of February's Presidential Primary.

Of particular note is the possibility that the hackable system may be used to vote on a Republican-sponsored ballot initiative to divide California's 2008 electoral vote by Congressional District which could be on the Primary Election ballot next February. Such an unprecedented measure, if passed in the Golden State, could well hand the November General Election nationally, to the Republican party given the large number of electors that would be thrown to the GOP if the current winner-take-all system of choosing electors in California --- the same one used by almost all other states --- is changed for proportional representation.

Reports of potentially fraudulent signature gathering, in order to see the measure added to February's ballot, have already surfaced.

Los Angeles County itself, a reliably Democratic-leaning county over all, carries an enormous number of votes for the state. It's the largest such county in the nation, larger even than two-thirds of the states in the country. Tampering with the vote tabulation in that one county alone, could easily change enough votes to see the Electoral College initiative passed successfully across the state.

Last week, Bowen announced a $15 million lawsuit against ES&S for the illegal deployment of uncertified AutoMARK voting systems across the state. The next day, San Francisco announced its own separate suit against the company, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, charging fraud, false claims and breach of contract.

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County Registrar Asks for Permission to Use Same Uncertified ES&S Touch-Screen Machines Again, Despite Cost and State's $15 Million Lawsuit Against Distributor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2007 9:44pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis, MO...

Things are really expensive in Marin County, California. For example, the cost to the county, so far, for each vote cast on their brand-new AutoMARK touch-screen voting machines has been $45,588.23.

Yes, that's more than $45,000 per vote for each of the 17 votes cast on the county's 130 machines over the last two countywide elections since they began using them.

And apparently, the county's elected Registrar of Voters, Michael Smith, really wants to continue using those machines, even though ES&S, the company which distributes them, is now being sued by the State of California for deploying uncertified AutoMARK machines in counties across the state, in violation of state law.

Nonetheless, Smith is asking CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen if he can continue using the uncertified machines in the upcoming Presidential Primary election next February, despite all of that, according to the Marin Independent Journal, who reports today:

Marin was one of five California counties that bought the machines. The county spent $775,000 to buy 130 machines. They were used by 17 voters in the two countywide elections during which they were used.

True, the cost per vote on the AutoMARK in Marin will theoretically come down with each successive election in which they are used (depending on what ES&S charges the county to program them each time, plus the excessive costs of warranties). In a decade or two, at this rate, if the same machines are still in use, each vote cast would come at a bargain basement price of just a few thousand dollars a piece.

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

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