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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By John Gideon on 7/19/2007 8:56pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

In early editions of Friday's New York Times, Christopher Drew is reporting that Rep Rush Holt (D-NJ)'s controversial election reform bill, HR 811, has been sent back for a re-write. Pressure from state and local groups and disability advocates has caused House leadership to reconsider making sweeping changes before 2012, accordin to Drew.

House Democratic officials say they are now working on compromise legislation that could allow hundreds of counties in 20 states to simply add tiny, cash-register-style printers to their touch-screen machines for the 2008 and 2010 elections, while waiting for manufacturers to develop better technology by 2012.

House officials said the compromise would ensure that all voting machines nationwide would have some kind of paper trail in 2008 through which voters could verify that their ballots were properly recorded and that could be used in recounts. Under the plan, New York, which has delayed replacing its old lever machines, would be the only state that would have to change its entire voting system by November 2008.

Drew goes on to report:

As a result, the proposed compromise is a blow to some computer scientists and other activists, who would like to get rid of the touch-screen machines used by nearly 40 percent of American voters. They had hoped that a tighter deadline would force states and localities to quickly shift from touch-screens to optical-scan systems, in which ballots are marked by the voters themselves rather than being generated by computers.

But state and local election officials, weary from all the changes they had already made, argued that it is already too late to make such significant changes without creating chaos next year. Advocates for the blind and the disabled also threatened to oppose the bill if it went too far in discouraging the use of touch-screen machines before the optical scanners were made easier for them to use. And House officials — led by the majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, who is trying to broker the deal — said they wanted to avoid another buying spree if better equipment might be available later.

We will continue to watch this story.

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'Not Dead Yet' Says Holt Office...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2007 11:16am PT  

Kim Zetter at WIRED has the latest at her Threat Level blog...

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By Rebecca Mercuri on 7/19/2007 9:52am PT  

Guest Blogged by Rebecca Mercuri

(NOTE: The archived appearance of Dr. Mercuri on the Peter B. Collins show, as Guest Hosted by Brad Friedman, discussing this article and other matters surrounding Holt's Election Reform bill is now available here....)

Anyone who has been anywhere in the blogosphere in the months since Rush Holt's HR 811 Election Reform bill was introduced knows that a schism appears to have developed in the voting advocacy community. I say "appears" because it's not terribly clear to me at this point whether this schism existed all along and now the fires are being stoked by rogue insiders in order to fuel a "divide and conquer" effort that benefits voting system vendors who can rise like Phoenixes out of the ashes of the activists, or whether Congressman Holt's bill is a litmus test being used to decide who'll continue to get a seat at the table (to testify at hearings) and a chunk of the grant money and other set-asides for election "research" projects. Maybe both of these actions (and others) are in play.

This has been reminding me a lot lately of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, riding on the hippie bus to the 1964 New York World's Fair. Tom Wolfe quoted Kesey saying: "There are going to be times when we can't wait for somebody. Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place --- then it won't make a damn." Wolfe went on to explain "And nobody had to have it spelled out for them. Everything was becoming allegorical, understood by the group mind, and especially this: You're either on the bus ... or off the bus."

That dividing line between where the bus ends and the rest of the world begins, right where Wolfe was sitting, is the only place to get some decent perspective on the whole situation. So I'm perched at that vantage point, and inside the voting bus I'm seeing Brad Friedman, Bev Harris, Lynn Landes, Rob Kall, Teresa Hommel, Ellen Theisen, Mark Crispin Miller, Greg Palast, Ion Sancho, Doug Kelner, David Chaum, and Dennis Kucinich all arguing about something, but the vibe is upbeat. And outside the bus there's Doug Lewis, Wally O'Dell, Tom Wilkey, Theresa LePore, Linda Lamone, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Hans von Spakovsky, Jim Dickson, and Matt Damschroeder just milling around. These are not comprehensive lists (since I'm somewhat myopic and have never been very good with names or faces), and I'm certainly not saying that any of these folks have affiliations with each other, though maybe some do.

What's bugging me is that I can't tell whether Rush Holt and HR 811 are on the bus, or not, right now. Though the bill's predecessor versions (from the prior two Congresses) seemed to be on the bus, none of Holt's bills have ever made it totally clear that the voter verified papers would actually be the real ballots, by ensuring that 100% of them would be counted (preferably by hand, in public, and before the election night returns are reported).

The folks who are truly on the bus all seem to grasp this reality. Holt's latest bill, especially the revised version, comes with Avi Rubin, David Dill, Barbara Simons, and maybe even Ron Rivest, each of whom have wandered on and off the bus before. Plus now there's the Microsoft attorneys too, and Holt's backyard buddy Avante, who hopped on when the bus passed through their adjacent parking lots (see photo below).

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

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New York Congressman Has 'Very Serious Questions' About Election Bill, Says Bush and Cheney 'Have Violated Federal Laws in Criminal Ways'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2007 6:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...

Radio host Peter B. Collins has been earning his keep of late. On his last show before a three-week Summer vacation today (we will be filling in to Guest Host for him for the next week and a half), Collins finished up a segment with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today concerning his efforts to renew the Fairness Doctrine with two quick, unrelated questions.

First, Collins asked whether the Congressman supported the controversial Rush Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811) "in it's current form." The legislation has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for its continued allowance of the use of dangerous DRE touch-screen voting machines, and a host of other concerns.

Hinchey --- who is currently signed on as one of the bill's co-sponsors --- responded by saying he had "some very serious questions about it" and feels that "it has been compromised."

While there was no time to follow up with details, his comments likely referred to the troubling changes made to the bill by the House Administration Committee. Originally, the legislation had called for complete disclosure of electronic voting system source code to any member of the public interested in examining it. By the time the bill was voted out of committee, however, those important disclosure provisions had been changed to require that the source code be placed in escrow, to be examined only by so-called "experts" in the event that a problem is discovered during an election, and only under non-disclosure agreements.

Those changes led Holt himself to admit that "the vendors have won," according to reports from several Election Integrity advocates who attended a town hall event where the New Jersey Congressman spoke over the weekend. No word on whether Holt may be removing himself as a co-sponsor of the Holt bill in light of his reported admissions.

Secondly, Collins asked Hinchey, "What is your posture on the impeachment of Vice President Cheney?"

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

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Says 'Many Constituencies Important to the Democratic Caucus Express Frustration with HR 811'
Bill 'Falls Short of Intended Goals,' Ohio Congressman, Presidential Candidate Writes in Letter...
By John Gideon on 7/17/2007 10:01am PT  

Guess Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

Congressman and Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), several weeks ago, had expressed his intention to drop support for Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform Bill, HR 811. A week or so ago, he reiterated his lack of support for the bill, and his intention to drop off as co-sponsor.

Today, he has begun to circulate a "Dear Colleague" letter (posted in full below) to be sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi urging her to ensure the legislative process addresses the concerns of the many groups who have spoken out in opposition to HR-811.

"For these constituencies," the letter says, "H.R. 811 falls short of its intended goals to ensure votes are cast and counted as intended by the voters."

The Congressman is looking for others to step up and co-sign the letter, and asking Election Integrity advocates to contact their Congress Members to ask them to join the effort.

On a related note today the Senate Rules Committee announced that they would be holding a hearing on Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) democracy-busting S-1487 election reform legislation in the Senate. This is the bill that will turn over our elections to corporations and the incompetent, compromised U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The hearing is scheduled for July 25 at 10AM.

Below is a copy of an email that was sent out by Kucinich's office today, including the "Dear Colleague" letter now being circulated for signatures...

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

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Ron Paul Supporters Concerned Diebold DREs Will be Used to Deny 'Groundswell of Support' for Surprisingly Popular Candidate...
By John Gideon on 7/15/2007 10:34am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

August 11 is the date for the Iowa GOP presidential "straw poll." In this "straw poll" Republican voters from all over Iowa will walk, drive, or share a bus to the campus of Iowa State University where they will be allowed to pay $35 each for the honor of casting a ballot for their choice for President.

This "poll" is semi-important within the world of Republican politics. Both McCain and Giuliani have decided to pass and will not participate. However, for the candidates who are lower down in the polls this "straw poll" may be all important. The supporters of Dr. Ron Paul, for instance, claim that he has thousands of supporters within the state and that they are going to do all they can to get them to Ames.

With all of that the supporters of Paul have got another gripe and concern that sounds much like the same concern many in the Election Integrity community have; the poll, which used to be done on paper ballots, hand-counted in public, will be conducted on Diebold Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines. The Ron Paul group is very concerned that the machines will be gamed in order to make their candidate's showing less than what it should be and in order to inflate the results for those whom the Republican National Committee (RNC) want to have a good showing.

The following email was sent by a member of Paul's support group to a large list of Election Integrity groups:

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

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Edwards: Other Candidates 'Not Serious', Clinton: 'We've Got to Cut the Number...Our Guys Should Talk'
By Alan Breslauer on 7/12/2007 10:18pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are caught on tape today at the NAACP Democratic presidential candidates forum seemingly making anti-democratic comments about shrinking the democratic field in future debate settings. (Video available at left.)

Fox "News", who filed the report during Brit Hume's Special Report on Thursday, included sub-titles for the "overheard" post-forum conversation between Clinton and Edwards. They also managed to get in several cheapshots against a number of other Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama.

As subtitled by Fox during the video clip, the exchange between Clinton and Edwards purportedly went as follows:

JOHN EDWARDS: some point...(unintelligible)...maybe the Fall...We should try to have...a more serious and a smaller group.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well...we...we've got to cut the number...because they are...because they are just being trivialized.

EDWARDS: ...and they're...they're not serious. They're not serious.

CLINTON: know...I...I...I think there was an effort by our campaigns to do that. It got somehow...detoured. We've gotta get back to it...because that's all we're going to do between now and then is that...(Barack Obama walks over)...thanks, Barack. (Obama walks away) Kucinich walks over) thanks, Dennis (Kucinich walks away)...our guys should talk.

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Take Action to Counter Their Unapologetically Deceptive, Anti-Democracy Efforts to Misinform Nancy Pelosi!
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2007 10:49am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...

UPDATE: The BRAD BLOG has heard from sources, though we've not been able to get confirmation from Congress, that HR 811 may come up for a vote on the floor as early as tomorrow (Thursday). Please read below and take action!

People for the American Way (PFAW) --- previously the "good guys" in many a fight for your democracy --- continues their dishonest and misleading campaign to support Rep. Rush Holt's dangerous Election Reform Bill (HR 811).

The bill, as written --- despite our having helped to draft it prior to its introduction --- currently fails on a number of levels. Most notably, in its institutionalization of the use of disenfranchising Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines for all of America. Such machines use secret, unverifiable, invisible ballots to count your vote.

As The BRAD BLOG has shown many times previously, PFAW --- by their own multiple written and spoken admissions --- PFAW actually prefers the use of DRE touch-screen voting systems over paper based systems, and thus has become the number one supporter of the Holt bill. Worse, they are joining (perhaps even leading) Holt's office in misleading America about what the bill does and doesn't do.

As HR 811 comes towards the U.S. House floor for a vote, PFAW is ramping up their efforts by sending out emails to members requesting they call Nancy Pelosi's office at (202) 225-4965.

We suggest you do the same. But demand that Pelosi amend the bill to include a ban on DRE voting systems or otherwise vote against the bill.

Then send this item to everyone you know!

Among the dishonest information propagated by PFAW during their pro-Holt campaign: The claim that a DRE ban could not pass in a Democratic-controlled Congress, despite such a ban passing recently passing in the state of Florida with a Republican House and Senate. PFAW has made the claim repeatedly and convinced other Election Integrity organizations of its validity, but has refused to offer a single name of a single Congress member who now supports Holt's bill, but who would vote against it if it included a ban on dangerous DRE voting systems.

Among the knowingly dishonest, Frank Luntz-like deceptions that PFAW is now shamefully using in their continuing disinfo campaign (online version here, excerpts posted below from their email sent yesterday) contain the following misleading and/or incorrect claims about provisions in the Holt bill:

  • It would avoid the problem that occurred last November in Sarasota when 18,000 votes were lost on touch-screen DRE systems. It wouldn't. And they know that.
  • It would require that "ALL voting machines must produce a paper ballot." It doesn't. And they know that.
  • It would require that "ALL voting machine vendors MUST make the machines' software available for inspection." It does. But only for so-called "experts," only after a problem is discovered in an election, and only if those "experts" sign non-disclosure agreements. Despite PFAW's claim that the bill will allow for "No Secret Source Code," the bill will continue to allow for secret source code in every American election.

PFAW should be ashamed of themselves. You can email PFAW at or call them with your complaints at: 202-467-4999 or 800-326-7329.

Excerpts from their deceptive email, sent yesterday, follow below...

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

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As a New Effort is Mounted by Election Integrity Advocates to Contact Congress Members Concerning the Drive to Ban DRE Touch-Screen Voting Systems Once and For All...
By Brad Friedman on 7/9/2007 10:22am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from St. Louis...

Charging that Congressman Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform bill (HR 811) "does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting," Ohio's Rep. Dennis Kucinich reiterated his withdrawal of support for the controversial legislation last Friday.

In an interview on the Peter B. Collins show, the Democratic presidential candidate confirmed earlier reports that he intended to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill in favor of requiring paper ballots for American elections. HR 811, as currently written, fails to ban dangerous electronic touch-screen (DRE) voting systems.

Last week, Election Integrity advocates announced a new effort to contact Congress members in order to learn their position on the Holt bill, and whether or not they would support such a ban. They are asking for help from the public in contacting all members of the U.S. House. (More details on the effort, and how you can help, below.)

"I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it," Kucinich told host Peter B. Collins during a short interview late Friday.

Here's the short audio of the exchange concerning the Holt Bill [less than 2 mins]:

Here's the transcript of the exchange:

PETER B. COLLINS: You have recently removed yourself as a co-sponsor of 811, am I correct?

KUCINICH: I have. Rush Holt's a fine person and I really enjoy serving with him. But I have to say, the bill does not address the concerns that Americans have, to do something about electronic voting, and to make sure that we protect ourselves from the kind of manipulation of an election that can occur with the insufficient controls on software and hardware in this era of electronic voting.

That's why I've advocated paper ballots in all federal elections. That's the paper trail. That's that old time religion in politics where at least you had a chance for a fair count. Every American deserves to know that his or her vote counts and is going to be counted.

And you may remember that in the last election, when it came to the Electoral College, I was one of the few members who challenged the election in the Electoral College and voted against certification of the election based on what happened in Ohio. As did, by the way, Senator [Barbara] Boxer [D-CA], she was one of the leaders on that.

PBC: Indeed, yes...

KUCINICH: And so, we have to stand up and be counted. I'm hopeful that Congressman Holt will modify his bill before he pushes for passage of it.

Kucinich had originally announced his intention to drop his co-sponsorship of the bill last month when asked about it by Election Integrity advocates during a phone appearance at DemocracyFest in New Hampshire. The Ohio Congressman's name is still listed as a co-sponsor, along with 215 others, on the Library of Congress website, but The BRAD BLOG has been told by a source familiar with the LOC's Thomas database that co-sponsorship lists on that site are no longer updated after bills have been introduced and then voted out of committee...

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

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Peter B. Collins Show Hosts Extremely Lively Discussion on Pros and Cons of Controversial House Bill's Allowance for Use of Dangerous DRE Touch-Screen Voting Systems
ALSO: CA SoS Debra Bowen Refuses to Support HR 811, Concerned About Putting 'Paper Trails Into Statute'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2007 6:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville after Escaping Atlanta...

"It's been a thriller," said the eponymous host of the Peter B. Collins Show as Friday's live radio debate wrapped up between myself and attorney Lawrence D. Norden, Chair of the NYU Brennan Center for Justice's Task Force on Voting System Security.

Norden made, in our spirited debate, what I believe to be some stunning admissions.

Complete "must listen" audio of the debate is available at the end of this article...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2007 9:32pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville...It's not easy keeping up from the road. But we're doing our best....

Leahy on Meet the Press today (via TPM, who has more, video available at C&L)...

RUSSERT: Are you prepared to hold the Bush White House, the vice president, the attorney general and his office under contempt of Congress?

LEAHY: That is something that the whole Congress has to vote on. In our case, in the Senate, we'd have to vote on it; in the House, they would have to vote on it. I can't...

RUSSERT: Would you go that far?

LEAHY: If they don't cooperate, yes, I'd go that far. I mean, this is very important to the American people.

Leahy's comments synch up with what Conyer's telegraphed a week during a House Judiciary hearing when he asked outgoing Dep. AG Paul McNulty if the DoJ would work with Congress should the White House ignore their subpoenas and it became necessary to issue criminal contempt charges. (For the record, McNulty punted in response, stating he's recused himself from the issue, will likely be gone by then, since he's already resigned, and otherwise, couldn't speak for the DoJ on the matter.)

Washington Post noticed Leahy's comments as well, and offers this road map to what comes next in their Monday edition...

The next step is for the congressional committee chairman to rule on the validity of the privilege claims. If the claims are deemed invalid, the committee can repeat the directive to comply. If the president continues to refuse, the committee can find the president in criminal contempt, and the issue would go to the full Senate or House. If a majority in either chamber approves the criminal citation, the matter is referred to a U.S. attorney with a recommendation to issue an indictment.

"Referred to a U.S. attorney." See what a frickin' mess we're looking at here? The USA in question would be Jeffrey A. Taylor of the District of Columbia. Unless he gets fired any time soon. Don't know much about Taylor, with no time to dig for now. So feel free to fill us in with any thoughts on him in comments.

As the Summer of Accountability continues...

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By Alan Breslauer on 6/25/2007 2:34pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

While BRAD BLOG has extensively covered the "Vote Caging" issue over the past two years, including Brad's post from the road today, the file would not be complete without this video clip of John Conyers (D-MI) questioning Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing last week. For more details on McNulty's testimony as well as an interesting exchange between Conyers and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) at the end of the clip, see Margie Burns's June 21 BRAD BLOG post.

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'I always have acted with honesty and integrity,' Says Corrupt Florida Congressman, Alleged Vote-Rigging Conspirator...
UPDATE: Feeney Creates Own Blog, Welcomes Your Comments!
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2007 6:44pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from somewhere in Oklahoma (Shawnee...I think)

Need to keep moving, but saw this, and had to stop long enough to let you know about it. Just in case you wanted to send a little something...

WASHINGTON --- U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney established a legal defense fund this week to defray costs relating to an ongoing federal inquiry into his ties with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Department of Justice lawyers and our lawyers have been speaking. We will cooperate," said the Oviedo Republican, who denied Friday that he is the target of a federal probe.

When asked why he established the fund, Feeney said he was being cautious and that it would be used to "demonstrate conclusively that I always have acted with honesty and integrity."

Heheh...Irony becomes him.

If you're unfamiliar with the background for this story, a) Welcome to The BRAD BLOG!, b) See the Orlando Sentinel's article and c) See a few of the stories listed at the bottom of the page at: for more details.

UPDATE 6/23/07: After years of sniffing at "blogs", Feeney has opened his own. And he welcomes your comments! Please give him our best regards, and be sure to give his readers a link to our Clint Curtis / Tom Feeney Special Coverage page!

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Confusion over Paper Ballots
By Bob Bancroft on 6/22/2007 4:03pm PT  

Guest blogged by Bob Bancroft

On today's Morning Edition , NPR’s Pam Fessler reports the growing frustration of election officials around the country. Those interviewed express a general consensus that fussing over the right to vote is simply not worth all the headaches. Elaine Ludwig, Chief Clerk of Lebanon County, PA, says she’s “had enough,” threatening that she and many others will quit if any election reform is passed into law.

That’s disturbing.

But there is a more basic problem in NPR’s reporting on the issue: a deep misunderstanding of what is being debated, and why.

Morning Edition host Renée Montagne introduces the segment (about “Toys and Voting Machines,” no kidding) by describing Rep. Rush Holt's H.R.811 as “legislation to require paper ballots for all voting equipment.” Oh, Renée, if only it were so simple! Sadly, that legislation, the bill that guarantees a paper ballot in every state, does not exist.

Rep. Holt told NPR, “States must provide, they owe it to the voters to provide, voting systems that are transparent and reliable and accessible and verifiable.”

Well said, sir. Yet the current incarnation of Rep. Holt’s bill falls short. In place of transparency, we are given mandatory non-disclosure agreements. In place of verifiable voting, we are given paper printouts.

Printouts, Renée, not ballots...

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Hearing Clearly Reveals Continuing Lack of Interest in the Vote Caging Issue at DOJ
But McNulty Testimony Throws Little Light on DOJ Hirings and Firings
By Margie Burns on 6/21/2007 7:38pm PT  

Guest blogged from D.C. by Margie Burns

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty returned to testify before Congress one more time today, but without shedding much new light on the much-criticized firings and hirings, alleged to be politically motivated, in the Department of Justice.

The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the House Judiciary Committee, in another attempt to extract some truth about the DOJ personnel matter, held a hearing with McNulty as the sole witness. Under polite, soft-spoken but excruciatingly poignant questioning by Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI), McNulty did clarify one thing: indeed it does seem that his part of the DOJ has done very little about “caging.”

Caging, as Rep. Cannon (R-UT) helpfully pointed out, “is a term of art in mailhouses” – it refers to the place where letters go when they have no address, all batched up in a separate room.

As Conyers gently reminded the audience, “caging” in the context of elections “is not an issue of the mail at all.” Voter caging, in the context of elections, means blocking voters out – choosing whole lists of voters whose vote will be challenged, chosen by whom and the criteria for challenge enunciated by whom, under this administration, still not fully explained.

Actually, not explained at all. Though it wasn't for Conyers' lack of trying to get information from McNulty about it...

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