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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, July 23, 2014
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record wildfires burn the Pacific Northwest; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Previous GNRs: 7/17/14 - 7/15/14 - Archives...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A Rightwing caller's admission in response to Brad on a radio show in NC underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's fake news show Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal the 1960 Election From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Adds Call to Overturn 'Citizens United' to Ballot
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama takes action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: California gets tough on water wasters...
Previous GNRs: 7/15/14 - 7/10/14 - Archives...
Koch Brothers' Radical Libertarianism Broke Kansas
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's Democratic opponent after tax cuts for the wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
Killing Zombie Myths Dead: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad takes on a bunch of lies this week that just won't die this week -- from e-cigs to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to 'global cooling' to the death penalty to marriage equality in Mississippi and more...
FEDERAL JUDGE FINDS CA DEATH PENALTY VIOLATES U.S. CONSTITUTION
George W. Bush appointee rules state system violates Constitution's ban of 'cruel and unusual punishments'...
'Green News Report' 7/15/14
Divesting from fossil fuels; Germany gives $1b to climate fund; Australia carbon tax repeal; All-electric Formula E racing revs up; PLUS: Climate denier Murdoch...
MO's Democratic Governor Discourages Quitting Smoking
Jay Nixon vetoes bill that would have exempted non-lethal e-cigs from being taxed like dangerous tobacco...
CNBC's Santelli Gets Schooled on CNBC
Fellow CNBCer slams the 'Tea Party' progenitor during on-air shout-fest in the perfect example of why people watch cable 'news' channels -- and why they don't...
GOP Voter Fraud Queen Ann Coulter Urges MS Senate Candidate McDaniel to NOT Pursue Fraud Concerns
Given her well-documented personal history, perhaps she shoulda stayed out of this one?...
'Green News Report' 7/10/14
Debunking the 70's 'global cooling' myth; Anti-science coal nuts in KY; BP oil in Gulf fish; Canada tar sands linked to cancer; PLUS: Pesticide killing birds & bees...
Challenging 'The Nation's Most Restrictive Voter Suppression Law': KPFK 'BradCast'
Journalist Ari Berman, just out of the federal courtroom in North Carolina, joins Brad to discuss the federal case; Plus MUCH MORE...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Massive weekly protests reclaiming the moral high ground and confounding the 'Tea Party' in the once-moderate Tar Heel State...
By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2013 1:39pm PT  

I've always wondered why non-Rightwing Christians have allowed Rightwingers to take "God" and "Jesus" as their own, particularly since progressive principles are far more in line with those said to be the teachings of Jesus.

The folks in North Carolina --- who are now under siege by Republican control of both congressional houses and the governorship for the first time in 150 years --- have been going about reclaiming the moral high ground with a series of massive (and growing larger) "Moral Monday" protests at the state house, so far resulting in about 900 arrests for civil disobedience as of this week's twelfth consecutive Monday protest.

The protests are being held by a wide coalition of groups in response to the radical Republican legislation --- much of it written out of state by the Koch-funded corporatist lobby, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) --- meant to see the state government shut down women's health clinics, cut education funding and, of particular note, suppress voters by truncating early voting, ending Sunday voting, banning NC's successful Election Day registration program, instituting tax penalties to parents whose children vote at their college residences, and by putting in place draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions. (See Ari Berman today at The Nation for more on the NC Republican's attempt to institute all of these "extreme voter suppression measures".)

At Salon, Kristin Rawls explains that the "Moral Monday" protests in NC, "that include support for LGBT and abortion rights", seem to be "confounding to the Tea Party", but not to the many groups of faith (as well as "atheists, agnostics and members of other faiths in attendance every week") who are finally taking back the moral high ground from the Rightwing hypocrites who have claimed it, but never earned it, for so much of the past decade.

It's an interesting read, and an interesting phenomenon that, Rawls notes, "is supported by a 150-organization coalition spearheaded by the NC-NAACP that includes everything from Occupy Raleigh to Planned Parenthood-NC to the NC Association of Educators."

Her point about why the voter suppression laws Republicans are now trying to pass are so important for the NC GOP radicals, is explained in this key passage...

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

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Surprise! Despite Republican and Fox 'News' claims of 900+ 'zombie voters', there were actually zero...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2013 11:41am PT  

At the beginning of 2012, the Executive Director of the South Carolina State Election Commission demolished the claim, put forward by the state's Republican Attorney General, that some 953 votes in the state had been cast in recent elections by "dead people".

They hadn't, of course, and the claim was little more than a transparent ruse to try and "stuff the ballot boxes" in support of polling place Photo ID restrictions meant to disenfranchise largely minority, poor, elderly and student (read: Democratic-leaning) voters.

Unsatisfied with actual facts and stuff at the time, state Republicans tasked the State's Law Enforcement Division (SLED) with investigating the matter and, what do you know --- despite claims happily aired by Fox "News" from every Republican in the state, from the Governor to the AG to the party apparatchik last year --- it turns out zombie voters are still not voting in SC, no matter how many times the pretend claims are investigated.

After an 18-month probe, just before last week's holiday, when few suckers, chumps, pawns, stooges, Republican Fox "News" viewers might notice, SLED quietly issued a report recommending no further action, and closed its investigation into the completely bogus claims after concluding none of the accusations were true --- as MSNBC's Al Sharpton was kind enough to highlight...


There once was a day when the Republican Party actually fought for legislation concerning actual, real things, right? I seem to recall such a day, though it seems so long ago now...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2013 9:14pm PT  

It was another news week from hell on today's KFPK/Pacifica Radio BradCast.

We covered today's Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA with Evan Wolfson, one of the architects of the national marriage equality strategy, from FreedomtoMarry.org.

I had a word or three to say about the Court gutting the Voting Rights Act this week.

I also offered a thought or two on NBC's David Gregory suggesting that journalist Glenn Greenwald "aided and abetted" NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and on the jackassery of national embarrassment Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and the collapse of his pretend IRS "scandal". Desi Doyen joined me for the latest Green News Report update on President Obama's landmark climate speech this week.

And somehow we managed to fit in a few phone calls and a thought or two on Wendy Davis' stand in TX late last night and the state Republicans attempt to fraudulently pass a radical anti-abortion bill anyway. We got all of that into an incredibly fast moving single show, which follows for you below. Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online here [appx 58 mins]...

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Not first time there's been blatant fraud in the TX legislature...
By Brad Friedman on 6/26/2013 12:14am PT  

Extraordinary. Texas Republican legislators are now, officially, the champions of vote fraud.

After Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis' nearly 13 hour standing filibuster of SB5, a draconian abortion restriction bill supported by the state's Republican Gov. Rick Perry, Republicans decided to throw the rule of law out the window, and hold a roll call vote on the bill after midnight, when the special session was officially over, according to state law.

Nonetheless, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst fraudulently announced that the bill, which had supposedly passed at 12:01am, had actually passed at 11:59pm the night before, when the state Senate would still have been legally in session. Making matters even worse, the Republicans then went back and changed the official TX Senate web page to reflect their blatant fraud.

Here's a screenshot from the TX Senate webpage BEFORE the fraud...

...And here's a screenshot AFTER the Republicans' attempt to defraud the people of Texas...

Amazing. More here.

According to some quick research by James Carter IV, however, it looks as though TX legislators may be playing with a felony according to the state penal code in their apparent attempt to "knowingly make a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record".

It's hardly the first time there's been massive vote fraud inside the Texas Statehouse, even as the Republicans there have been attempting, for years, to enact draconian polling place Photo ID restrictions for everyone else, under the fraudulent guise of combating "voter fraud". Take a look at the video below, which we originally ran in 2007, showing blatant voter fraud by members of the TX legislature...

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

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5-4 ruling by GOP Justices overrides Congress, Constitution, guts key provision of bi-partisan, 48-year old civil rights law...
By Brad Friedman on 6/25/2013 2:00pm PT  

In a remarkable display of judicial overreach, activism and legislating from the bench, the five Republican-appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justices, in a narrow 5-4 ruling today [PDF] have, in the words of dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, "demolished" the center-piece of the nation's beloved 48-year old Voting Rights Act, ignored the court's own repeated rulings, overridden a repeated and unambiguous mandate by the U.S. Congress (most recently, as led by two Republican chambers and signed by a Republican President), and made an absolute joke of the no-uncertain-terms directive of the U.S. Constitution's 15th Amendment.

In short, the nature of today's SCOTUS ruling, effectively gutting the central provision of what is arguably the most important Constitutionally-mandated and successful civil rights legislation in the nation's history, encompasses everything that the Republican Party has, in recent years, pretended to abhor when it comes to the judiciary --- everything, that is, but the partisan politics of its historic reach...

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

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1000s of faked signatures submitted in failed conspiracy to qualify former House Speaker for 2012 GOP Presidential primary ballot
Republican scheme said 'worse than what ACORN was accused of'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2013 12:34pm PT  

Another campaign worker for 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has pleaded guilty to election fraud charges and perjury in Virginia.

On Tuesday, according to WVIR, Charlottesville, VA's NBC affiliate, 28-year old Adam Ward pleaded guilty to 36 counts related to submitting forged signatures in the failed attempt by the Gingrich campaign to qualify for the state's 2012 GOP Presidential Primary ballot.

Just 10,000 legitimate signatures were needed to qualify for the ballot. The Gingrich campaign turned in more than that, but thousands of them, it turns out --- in an incident that far outpaces anything ACORN was even ever falsely accused of --- were faked. State authorities say they were unable to verify some 4,000 signatures out of more than 11,000 turned in by the Gingrich campaign.

In April, another Gingrich worker, 31-year old Jennifery Derrebery, pleaded guilty to similar felonies, after prosecutors said she had "turned over stacks of signed and notarized forms to the Virginia Board of Elections containing roughly 400 signatures --- nearly all of them fraudulent."

At the time of Derrebery's plea, WVIR reported that she was cooperating with prosecutors who said the "investigation is still active, and may result in additional arrests."

In an exclusive report in January of 2012, The BRAD BLOG originally broke the story confirming VA's criminal election fraud probe of Gingrich and his campaign, after what state election officials described to us as "definitely an illegal act."

That "illegal act" was believed, at the time, to have involved some 1,500 fraudulent signatures, as overheard being described by candidate Gingrich himself. He had been caught on video tape, in December of 2011, speaking to a supporter in Iowa, attempting to downplay the failure to qualify for the VA ballot as "just a mistake"...

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

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TODAY: Ari Berman, Marcy Wheeler, David Dayen, PLUS: Lots of callers, the day's news & plenty of NSA/democracy-related rants!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/18/2013 8:10pm PT  

I had the pleasure of guest hosting for Ed Schultz today on his radio show.

It was my first time hosting for Big Eddie, after being a guest on his show at various times over many years. We had much fun today in the bargain! My thanks to him and his crew for so generously and helpfully welcoming me aboard. My thanks also to the folks at my radio home base, KPFK/Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles, for helping us pull it all off at very short notice.

I hope you'll have fun as well, listening to the show, if you missed it live today. The entire program is archived below (sans commercials!)

My guests included three great, independent, progressive journalists (four, if you include Desi Doyen, who also joined us, as usual):

  • MARCY WHEELER , from EmptyWheel.net with the latest on today's House Intel Oversight hearing on Edward Snowden's NSA disclosures.
  • ARI BERMAN from The Nation to discuss the this week's Supreme Court rulings on Voting Rights and Voter registration.
  • DAVID DAYEN, formerly of Firedoglake.com on his new, disturbing article in the New Republic on how mortgage service providers are strong-arming the victims of the Moore, OK tornado (and other recent natural disasters).
  • PLUS! A whole bunch of other stuff, a lot of calls, and plenty of thoughts (and occasional rants) on the surveillance state and the politics of it all. As one very generous emailer wrote me after the show: "You cut right through this unfortunate 'where does that leave the President?' talk." --- Well, good! That was my hope!

The audio archives of today's show follow below. Enjoy!

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

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Prosecutor: 'Absentee voting is the source of all voter fraud'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2013 4:12pm PT  

It seems we may now have at least a partial answer to the Miami-Dade absentee ballot request cyberhacking mystery we initially reported on in March.

As we detailed at that time, some 2,500 absentee ballots were fraudulently requested online for three different 2012 primary elections in Miami-Dade, FL. One race involved requests for Democratic absentee ballots in a U.S. House primary, the other two involved requests for Republican ballots in two different Florida State House primary races. All of the fraudulent "phantom" ballot requests are said to have been flagged as such at the Supervisor of Election's office and, therefore, never fulfilled.

Late last year, a grand jury and federal prosecutors [PDF] were unable to identify the person or persons behind the failed attempts, as well as why they were actually made, since the ballots, had the fraudulent requests not been flagged and prevented, were set to go to the actual addresses of real voters whose online identities had been fraudulently used to make the requests online.

One of the reasons that prosecutors were originally unable to identify those behind the attempted July 2012 cyberhack was because the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used for most of the requests were masked by proxy IP addresses from overseas. It was not until excellent investigative reporting from The Miami-Herald discovered that a number of the requests came from IP addresses located in the Miami-Dade area. For reasons currently chalked up to administrative confusion, the Elections Division never gave those Miami area IP addresses to the grand jury.

Armed with the new information offered by the Miami-Dade IP addresses, it now appears that prosecutors are closing in on suspects believed to be behind at least one of those sets of cyberhacks --- the ones involving the Democratic U.S. House primary. Over the weekend the investigation led to the resignation of the Chief of Staff of the Democratic Congressman who eventually won the primary in question, as well as last November's general election...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/29/2013 4:01pm PT  

Despite another "no contest" plea to four charges of voter fraud today, Hamilton County (Cincinnati), OH's crackdown on voter fraud, has yet to produce a conviction for a crime that might have been stopped had GOP-supported polling place Photo ID restriction laws been in place.

Here's the latest, via Cincinnati's NPR affiliate WVXU:

Melowese Richardson, the Madisonville poll worker accused for voting illegally for herself and others over three elections, entered no contest pleas in court this morning to four of the eight charges against her.
...
The other four counts were dismissed.

The 58-year-old Richardson, a long-time poll worker at the Madisonville Recreation Center...voted twice for herself in the 2012 election; and in elections in 2012, 2011 and 2009, she cast ballots for a number of friends and family members - one of whom was in a coma at the time.

As usual, it was an election insider, in this case, a pollworker, who attempted to defraud the system. As a pollworker, she figured out how to cast ballots for folks she knew would not be showing up to vote in person themselves.

No polling place Photo ID restriction --- as favored by Republicans claiming to want to stop "voter fraud" (but, really, just hoping to stop legal, largely Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast a vote) --- would have deterred her insider efforts.

Out of the 421,997 votes cast in Hamilton County's 2012 November general election (and more in primaries last year) prosecutors have also been able to net two more convictions, both for absentee ballot fraud, which is also not affected in any way by the polling place Photo ID restrictions called for by Republicans...

Earlier this month, Russell Glossop, a 74-year-old Symmnes Township man, entered a guilty plea to a charge of illegal voting by casting an absentee ballot last fall for his dead wife.
...
The same is true of Sister Marguerite Kloos, a Sister of Charity who had cast a ballot for another nun who had died last fall before absentee ballots had been mailed out.

As The BRAD BLOG has reported for years, based on empirical study after empirical study to back up the case, in-person polling place impersonation, the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions, is extraordinarily rare. Republican-enacted laws passed (theoretically) to deter it, stand to disenfranchise far more perfectly legal voters --- exponentially so --- than fraudulent votes that might ever be deterred by such laws.

Last August, for example, we reported on a new nationwide analysis by a non-partisan news consortium which examined every single election fraud case in the U.S. going back to 2000. Their findings? Out of thousands of cases of fraud, and hundreds of millions of legal votes cast in all 50 states for more than a decade, the study identified just ten (10!) cases of in-person voter fraud that might have been deterred by Republican polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

At the same time, partisan Republican groups such as "True the Vote" continue to fraudulently claim a massive "voter fraud" epidemic in support of GOP Photo ID restrictions. As we reported last December, their website had boasted of "voter fraud convictions in 46 states", but deceptively failed to point out that ZERO of the allegations and convictions cited would have been deterred by polling place Photo ID laws.

In the meantime, if you're looking for actual fraud, please see our article from last August, detailing election fraud allegations and convictions, for very high profile Republicans --- including Mitt Romney and even the former Sec. of State of Indiana (who was convicted of 3 felony voter fraud counts, even while he was the chief election official tasked with overseeing and enforcing the state's first-in-the-nation polling place Photo ID restriction law). None of the cases cited in the article, of those very high-profile GOPers, would have been deterred by the type of voting restriction laws favored by Republicans.

* * *
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 --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- 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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Not that Republicans or, especially, Democrats seem to care...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2013 7:35am PT  

The BRAD BLOG has long detailed the dangers of Vote-by-Mail and absentee balloting, describing the practice as "terrible for democracy," for a number of reasons. Among those reasons are the ease by which absentee ballots can be undetectably gamed, bought or sold, used for intimidation ("Show me that you voted this particular way or you will be fired/beaten, etc.") or otherwise lost in the mail, never added to the optically-scanned computer tally, etc., just to name a few.

Usually when we point these matters out, we'll get some amount of push back, most notably from someone from Oregon, where many voters love their all Vote-by-Mail elections (despite all the dangers, as demonstrated once again by the recent stories out of the state where, in one, a man was convicted of fraud after offering $20 for blank, unvoted ballots prior to the 2012 election, and another where an election official was charged with fraud after it was discovered she was filling in unvoted races in favor of Republicans while processing incoming mailed ballots.)

We'll also get push back, in such cases, from partisans (usually Democrats in heavily "blue" jurisdictions, but also, occasionally from Republicans in heavily "red" jurisdictions) who argue that Vote-by-Mail increases turnout, therefore it is good for democracy, despite all of those dangers which they marginalize as being greatly exaggerated.

We most recently saw this dynamic play out in Colorado, where, as we reported in some detail last week, a sweeping election reform bill is moving through the Democratically-controlled legislature and is likely to land on the Democratic Governor's desk very soon. The ambitious bill does a number of very good things, such as allow voter registration up until the day of the election, and offers other reasonable improvements to elections in the state and voters' accessibility to them. On the other hand, the legislation also would send an absentee/Vote-by-Mail ballot to every single registered voter in the state, whether they actually wanted one or not.

In opposing the bill, Colorado Republicans foolishly focused on the possibility of "voter fraud" via the enhanced voter registration provisions in the bill, which --- though it was crafted in part by the state election clerks' association (which has a majority Republican representation) --- was passed in the legislature along party lines.

What the Republicans failed to highlight --- but certainly should have --- in their attempts to try and defeat the bill, is the massive fraud capacity presented by the insane idea of sending a blank, unvoted absentee ballot to every single voter in the state.

The following news out of Los Angeles this week underscores, yet again, how that sort of thing is an absolute recipe for election fraud disaster...

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

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GOP right to be concerned, just not for the reasons they claim
Wrong and Wronger: Bill pits former, currrent GOP Sec of State's against each other...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2013 4:41pm PT  

An ambitious election reform bill supported by state Democrats and the Colorado County Clerks Association, which is largely made up of Republicans, will soon land on the desk of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, despite the objections of Republican lawmakers and the state's extraordinarily partisan Republican Sec. of State.

The bill has now been approved by both chambers of the Colorado legislature --- along party lines in each --- but must be approved again in the House due to "technical" amendments from the Senate. But while it may be too late, partisans and lawmakers would have been wise to look carefully before leaping in support of this bill which offers both excellent reforms and reasons to be very concerned about one of its central provisions.

John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent offered a detailed report earlier this week on the major concerns and somewhat confusing partisan divides on both sides of this particular piece of legislation.

There's a lot of good, long-overdue provisions in the sweeping, 126-page bill [PDF] (mercifully summarized on pages 2 through 4). The key provisions --- and main points of contention --- are summarized this way by Tomasic:

House Bill 1303 seeks to expand voter participation mainly by establishing a system that includes same-day registration up to Election Day and that mails ballots to all eligible voters in the state. Under the proposed law, voters would choose whether to mail their ballots back to the clerks, drop them off at early voting centers or fill them out at the polls on Election Day.

Tomasic goes on to explain that the bill, dubbed "The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act", is sponsored by Democrats in both the CO House and Senate, but it's "based on a plan approved by a large bipartisan majority of clerks who run the state’s elections county to county. The Colorado County Clerks Association reports that 75 percent of the 64 clerks in the state support the bill. The Association is anything but a left-wing cabal: At least 44 of the clerks, some 70 percent, are Republican officeholders."

The politics on this one may be understandably confusing to some --- particularly with a former Republican Sec. of State favoring the bill, and the current Republican Sec. of State ardently opposing it --- but the professed concerns of the latter (that the expanded registration provisions will lead to "voter fraud") are largely nonsense. While the advocacy of the former (pushing broad expansion of vote-by-mail ballots to every voter in the state) ignores very real fraud concerns...

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

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Did conflicts of interest by Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Prosecutor Marsha Garst play a role in dismissal?...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article was cross-published by Salon...]

Given the professed concerns about election fraud among Virginia Republicans, it seems somewhat astonishing that the man at the center of the Commonwealth's most notorious fraud scandal last year seems to be getting off the hook after initially being charged with 13 criminal counts including eight felony charges.

Colin Small, a Republican Party Voter Registration Supervisor who secretly tossed filled-out voter registration forms into a dumpster last year, had all of his felony charges dropped by the local Republican Commonwealth Attorney prosecuting the case yesterday.

Small was arrested and charged with 13 counts --- including destruction and disclosure of voter registrations, as well as obstruction of justice --- in Harrisonburg, VA in the run-up to the Presidential election last year, after he was seen by a local shopkeeper throwing away a bag of registration forms behind his store. Small's felony charges were all dropped on Tuesday, according to local Fox-affiliate WHSV.

The case had garnered a great deal of national attention last fall --- almost everywhere but on Fox "News" --- as it emerged at the pinnacle of an embarrassing nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal which plagued the Republican Party in the weeks just prior to the November general election.

The prosecutor on the Small case is Republican Marsha Garst. Unlike other Commonwealth Attorneys, observed a local Democratic-leaning political muckraker yesterday, Garst failed to recuse herself from the prosecution despite what would appear to be very clear conflicts of interests in the case.

The newly dropped charges appear in stark contrast to Garst's declarations last year, when told the Washington Post on the Friday before the Tuesday Presidential election that the matter was "a very important investigation to the state, and we intend to prosecute Mr. Small to the fullest extent"...

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

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UPDATED with one, very small, ray of light...
[Now also UPDATED to include full transcript of hearing]
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2013 10:58am PT  

Early word on what happened today during the U.S. Supreme Court's hearing on the crucial Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, AL v. Eric Holder is not encouraging. This could come to be seen as a very dark day for voting rights in this country, as a landmark provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act may be on the verge of being dismantled and, arguably, a half a decade of civil rights advancements along with it.

Late last night we detailed what's at stake and how the activist Supremes are likely to intercede in what is clearly a Congressional duty, as specifically ascribed to them in the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. That, despite a stunning 98 to 0 vote in the U.S. Senate to re-authorize the VRA for another 25 years as is, after 21 hearings and some 15,000 pages of documentation on the continuing blight of racial discrimination, as recently as 2006.

While it's always a perilous exercise to try and read the tea leaves from a SCOTUS hearing, The Nation's Ari Berman, who was present in the court room this morning, Tweets, disturbingly today: "In oral argument, Scalia likened Congressional support for Voting Rights Act to a 'perpetuation of racial entitlement'". He went on to indicate his "quick reaction" to the hearing was that, that while the five Republican Justices are "skeptical of Sec 5," there is a "small chance Kennedy can still be persuaded." He notes, that, incredibly, "Voter suppression attempts in [the] last election didn't even come up during SCOTUS arguments about Voting Rights Act".

Because the Supreme Court still operates in the 1800s, there was no live audio or video of today's hearing. The transcript, however, should be made available later today [Update: transcript is now linked at the bottom of this article] and audio will be made available on Friday.

For now, NBC reports today's hearings this way:

Central parts of an election law dating back to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the Voting Rights Act, appeared to be in jeopardy Wednesday after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to them.

NBC’s Pete Williams reported after the oral argument, "I think it’s a safe prediction to say that the Voting Rights Act, as it now stands, is not going to survive. The question is: how far will the Supreme Court go in striking parts of it down?"

Williams said what seemed to concern a majority of the justices was "the fact that the law is too backward looking."
...
Williams reported that during the one hour-and-15 minute oral argument, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the post-World War II Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe "was a good thing at one time, but times change."

New York Times' Adam Liptak described today's hearing in more, if similarly disturbing detail this way...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2013 10:41am PT  

I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture last night to discuss the latest proposed GOP scheme, this one out of Pennsylvania, to rig the Electoral College to their advantage...

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Another reminder of the dangers of Vote-by-Mail...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2013 2:35pm PT  

We've long argued that Vote-by-Mail elections are a terrible idea for democracy. You can see our quick list of our reasons right here. Nonetheless, in states like Oregon, which use Vote-by-Mail elections across the entire state, the citizens who don't appreciate the dangers of them, love them.

But once again last week, we were reminded of just one of the reasons they shouldn't love them, when a Bend, OR man was convicted of fraud after taking out a Craigslist ad claiming to offer $20 for blank ballots last November. With all registered voters in the state sent such a ballot, there is a lot of money to potentially be made from these types of crimes.

"All you need to do is bring your UNFILLED clean voting ballot and let us fill it out then you sign, then we hand it to the volunteer in the voting booth," the typo-filled ad promised. "Its that simple! Then you get $20. We'll be there all weekend through tuesday."

The perp, Aaron Hirschman, was convicted of a misdemeanor after offering a "full confession", according to the OR Attorney General's spokesperson, Jeff Manning who said that Hirschman "stated in his interview and at trial that he is an Internet 'troll' and that he posted the ad to 'agitate' and cause a stir."

The incident follows on another exploit of VBM ballots last November, when Deanna Swenson, an election official in Clackamas County, was indicted on 6 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts after being found to have allegedly filled in unvoted races in favor of Republican candidates while processing incoming mailed ballots.

Both Hirschman and Swenson got caught. That's good. The bigger question is how many don't get caught in such cases where the incentive for that kind of fraud --- the ability to change a lot of ballots to affect the results of an election, either by insider fraud or vote buying and selling --- is so high.

But, again, those cases highlight just two of the many reasons why VBM remains a terrible idea for democracy in any state.

Republicans like to pretend that there is a massive epidemic of "voter fraud" being carried out at polling places, despite the complete absence of evidence to demonstrate any such epidemic. They do so in order to push for polling place Photo ID restrictions in hopes of disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters. Period.

On the other hand, election fraud does exist and "voter fraud" does occur. But, in almost all cases where it's found, it's via some form of mail-in voting, or at the hands of election insiders. Neither of those crimes are deterred by the polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans continue to push for in state after state in hopes of disenfranchising legal voters for electoral gain.

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter David Werth.]

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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 --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- 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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