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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
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DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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Candidate, as well as Non-Partisan Groups, Lining up for Legal Action, Demanding Investigation, Re-Vote, Accountability
Election Supervisor Kathy Dent --- Directly Responsible for the Mess --- Has Yet to Resign...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2006 3:28pm PT  

The BRAD BLOG has learned that several lawsuits are likely to be launched this week in the Sarasota, Florida, election meltdown where some 18,000 votes failed to register on the county's paperless ES&S touch-screen voting systems on November 7th. Fewer than 400 votes currently divide candidates Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D), who are vying to fill disgraced former Sec. of State Katherine Harris's U.S. House seat in Florida's 13th congressional district.

A number of sources have confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that Jennings's legal team --- who previously filed court papers to impound voting machines and data for a possible investigation --- are preparing to file legal action to challenge the legitimacy of the race, perhaps as soon as this week.

As well, non-partisan legal election watchdog VoterAction.org has announced they will be filing suit this week along with People for the American Way Foundation, the ACLU of Florida, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Common Cause. Velvet Revolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) is also joining in support of the action. A plea to citizens by Voter Action, seeking help in funding the lawsuit, follows in full at the end of this article.

This graf, from Voter Action's announcement, is of particular note in light of our own previous call for the resignation of Sarasota's atrocious Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent --- the person responsible, perhaps more than any other, for leading her constituents into this otherwise avoidable debacle [emphasis in original]:

This is an unparalleled opportunity to shed light on the continuing election crisis that plagues Florida, to expose the problems inherent in electronic voting systems, and to demonstrate the harm that can be caused by elections officials with a pro-vendor and anti-voter bias.

Sarasota's Herald-Tribune has been doing a very good job of covering the mess since it happened (if not prior to its occurring when something might actually have been done to avoid it).

Today, Herald-Trib columnist Rich Brooks joins the drumbeat of those calling for a full re-vote, writing this weekend: "[I]t's clear that a special election is needed to ensure a fair process. That's preferable to sending the wrong representative to Washington."

In an article on the many phone calls received from Sarasota voters detailing their experiences in trying to vote in the 13th District race, the Herald-Tribune reports today:

The vast majority of voters interviewed by the Herald-Tribune reported one of two major problems.

Either they couldn't find the District 13 race as they scrolled through their voting screens (about 36 percent) or their votes for either candidate did not initially register on the ballot summary page (more than 62 percent).
...
[M]any of the voters interviewed bristled at the notion that they were somehow careless or clueless and thus missed the race. Most of them --- ranging in age from 19 to 91 --- were keenly interested in the race and were familiar with touch-screen technology.
...
The most prevalent problem callers reported encountering happened when they touched a candidate's name, only to find that their vote hadn't registered on the ballot review page

Clearly, had Dent simply chosen a voting technology that would have allowed voters to express their intent on a paper ballot, this mess could never have occurred. Dent has gone out of her way for years to ensure that Sarasota voters would have no way of avoiding the problem they now face. Hopefully the courts will offer a way for the voters to express their actual intent in this important House election.

And the most important hope of all: That this election underscores everything that is wrong with E-Voting in our country and that we must do away (at the very least) with touch-screen voting systems...with or without a "paper trail."

Voter Action's announcement of their intended legal action and a plea for support follows in full...

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

ReddIt this story!



MadCow Morning News Exposé on How Things Went South Down in Florida's 13th Congressional District...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2006 4:35pm PT  

In a nifty and well-sourced bit of investigative journalism that makes The BRAD BLOG's muckracking heart go pitter-patter, an outfit known as Madcow Morning News (we wish they were called Washington Post) filed a peach of an exposé last Wednesday on Sarasota County's Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent, and Gary L. Greenhalgh, the ES&S voting machine company Vice-President with the questionable past, who appears to have serviced her.

The detailed reporting underscores our previous call for Dent to resign in light of her egregious failures in Florida's 13th district U.S. House race, where the voters are still paying the price. Please do yourself a favor and read the report in full.

Here's a few Dent money shots:

Ironically, while lobbying Sarasota County Commissioners in a successful campaign to spend millions on new touch screen electronic voting machines in 2001, one of Dent's primary arguments was that the new machines would lower the rate of uncounted votes, which then stood at barely one percent, versus the 13% undervote in the election last week.

"I do think we're going to see those numbers drop," Dent told Commissioners. "We're looking more for accuracy and the confidence that the voters have in the system."

And this ironic plum from Greelhalgh --- whom Madcow reports as regularly being in perilously close proximity to those convicted of bribery and other kickbacks to elections officials --- from back in 1985:

"The problem with computer-assisted voting systems is that they centralize the opportunity for fraud," Greenhalgh said, in a July 29, 1985 story in the New York Times.

"There is a massive potential for problems."

Reported the Times: "Mr. Greenhalgh said that while lever-type voting machines could have their counts rigged only machine by machine, counting votes by computer was done at one central site in most counties."

(Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG perennial "Old Turk")

ReddIt this story!



The BRAD BLOG Joins the Call and Demands Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent and Other Florida Officials Resign Immediately in Wake of Anti-Democracy Debacle...
Enough is Enough. [UPDATE: Three More Groups Join Call for Revote, Investigation]
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2006 3:26pm PT  

More and more Election Integrity advocates and groups are now joining the drumbeat calling for a complete re-vote on paper ballots in the mess that has become U.S. House race in Florida's 13th congressional district in Sarasota. The BRAD BLOG also calls for a complete paper-based revote as the only way to ensure the voter's voice will be heard.

There are fewer than 400 votes separating Vern Buchanan (R) and Christine Jennings (D) in the race to fill (ironically enough) former SoS Katherine Harris's seat. And yet, a full 18,000 votes have gone missing, recorded as undervotes on the paperless ES&S touch-screen systems that failed during the election.

The People for the American Way Florida have issued a press release (posted in full at the end of this article) calling for a complete re-vote, as well as expressing their criticism of the Jeb Bush Administration appointment of a rabid Bush-partisan and paper "trail" opponent to head an audit to figure out what went wrong.

The National Voting Rights Institute yesterday called for a full re-vote as well, saying in their press release, "Public confidence in the vote-counting process is a bedrock principle of any democracy. In Florida's 13th Congressional District, it is clear that only a revote with the option of hand-recorded paper ballots will ensure that voters in that district can trust that their votes will be properly counted."

Common Cause has similarly called for an investigation into what happened in FL-13 and said the vote should not be certified as is. As well, their announcement calls for the immediate passage of Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) HR550 election reform legislation, which is currently supported by some 220 bi-partisan House members. Unfortunately, HR550 would not have guaranteed the problems in FL-13 would have been avoided, as it only calls for paper records as opposed to the much needed paper ballot required for every vote cast. So-called paper "trails" on the touch-screen systems down in Florida would not have avoided the problem we're now facing and, in fact, would likely have exacerbated them by giving voters and elections officials a false sense of security. Paper "trails" on touch-screen DRE machines are not reliable or accurate, they fail consistently, can be gamed quite easily, and frequently cannot be actually verified by the voters.

Finally, Election Integrity organization VelvetRevolution.us (of which The BRAD BLOG is co-founder) goes further still in both calling for a full paper-based re-vote as well as demanding the resignation of failed Sarasota Supervisor of Elections, Kathy Dent.

Dent failed the voters in Flordia's 13th district and across the entire county, by fighting to ensure they would not have any means of avoiding such problems when she insisted on untested, inaccurate electronic touch-screen systems without paper ballots --- or even paper trails that could have been used to mitigate a disaster such as the one now facing her.

She should resign immediately, along with Secretary of State Sue M. Cobb and the other officials directly responsible for this debacle.

The full press release from People For the American Way Florida follows below...

UPDATE 5:00pm Three more groups, Voter Action, ACLU, and Electronic Frontier Foundation, also now announce their call for a re-vote and investigation. Their press release follows in full below now as well...

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

ReddIt this story!



Will Other Elections Officials Across Country Have Decency to Do Same?
By Brad Friedman on 11/14/2006 6:09pm PT  

In what ought to be the first of a wave of resignations by Elections Officials across the country who have utterly failed the very voters they are supposed to be serving, one of three commissioners of the Denver Board of Elections has resigned today in the wake of the city's e-voting meltdown last Tuesday. He has apparently shown a measure of grace and responsibility far too rare in most Elections Officials...

Denver Clerk and Recorder Wayne Vaden resigned today amid chaos in the Denver Election Commission which he oversees.

Citing his belief "that accountability is the underpinning of honorable public service," Vaden said he was resigning from a "personal disappointment over my efforts" with the commission.
...
The resignation came exactly one week after a disastrous election in which absentee and provisional ballots still haven't been counted. Computer glitches caused voters to wait in line up to three hours. Many complained they were unable to wait that long and thus were unable to vote.

[Denver Mayor John] Hickenlooper acknowledged Vaden's frustrations, adding that Vaden's acceptance of responsibility without blaming others "is a reflection of his strong character and commitment to Denver."
...
Vaden, as clerk, was one of three election commissioners overseeing the voting process for Denver's 350,000 registered voters. The two other commissioners, Sandy Adams and Susan Rogers, are elected.

Of course, apparently the Washington Post --- who editorialized on Sunday that "the system worked" --- doesn't read the Denver Post, so they don't know about Denver's "disastrous election." Or they simply don't care.

We've come to expect such failures from the country's national media, but the larger question now remains: will other failed Election Administrators have the decency to do what Mr. Vaden did?...

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

ReddIt this story!



After State Denials, Says It's 'Obviously Something We Need to Look Into, And Very Quickly'
The Ghost of Katherine Harris' Old Seat Continues to Haunt Florida's 13th Congressional District Race...
By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2006 3:15pm PT  

After the state's initial denial that there were any problems in Florida's 13th Congressional District U.S. House race, even Jeb is now admitting there may be problems "worth investigating." From AP...

Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday the unusually high number of voters who didn't choose a candidate in a congressional race in Sarasota County was worth investigating, and said the state has "the law in place to do it right."

"This is obviously something we need to look into, and very quickly," Bush said as state elections officials prepared to oversee an expected recount next week in the 13th District race between Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Christine Jennings.

Jennings was behind in the initial count by 373 votes and was pressing for answers about why more than 18,000 voters didn't register a selection in the race, but did make choices in other contests. That rate was much higher than what the district's other counties registered in the same congressional race.

State elections officials planned an audit of the Sarasota County's election system after the recount, which is expected to occur next week.

ReddIt this story!



County Charter Amendment Had Been Challenged by County Commissioners in Court
By John Gideon on 9/14/2006 6:20am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) has just announced that a Sarasota County Judge has found in their favor and against the county voting officials and the Florida Secretary of State.

SAFE had been proposing a ballot initiative that would require voter verified paper ballots and independent random audits of election results in Sarasota County. The County Commissioner chose to go to court instead of allowing the legal petition to move forward.

The press release from SAFE says:

Judge rules that County commissioners must submit amendment proposed by citizen petition to a vote

Chief Judge Robert B. Bennett, of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, State of Florida issued a final judgment on the petition for writ of mandamus by the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections that "the Board of County Commissioners of Sarasota County shall submit the proposed amendment to the Sarasota County Charter to the Sarasota County electorate in accordance with the requirements on provisions of Article VII of the Sarasota County Charter." The amendment requires voter verified paper ballots and independent random audits of election results in Sarasota County.

This ruling in favor of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections validates the process of proposing amendments to the charter via citizen petition. Over 14,500 voters in Sarasota County from all precincts, all demographic groups, and all political parties signed a petition for paper ballots and mandatory audits as opposed to the paperless touchscreen voting system now used in Sarasota County and 14 of the other most populous counties in Florida. This was well over the 12,030 or 5% of the registered voters needed to put the referendum on the Sarasota County ballot in November.

Rather than voting to authorize the election at their August 22nd meeting, the County Commissioners, on the advice of the County Attorney, filed a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment on the language of the petition, challenging its constitutionality.

Judge Bennett's decision validates the right of citizens to vote on the measure, and affirms the legality of much of the petition, which is the criterion for placement on the ballot. The Board of County Commissioners must respond to the judge's ruling in their meeting on September 13th. The resolution setting the election along with the ballot language must be delivered to the Supervisor of Elections by Friday, September 15th in order to print the referendum on the November 7th ballot.

The complete ruling of Chief Justice Bennett can be seen on the website of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE), at www.safevote.org.

This is a big announcement from a hard-working group of activists who still have an uphill battle to force their county to use a voter verified, auditable voting system.

ReddIt this story!



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