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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, August 29, 2016
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Will House Democrats Seize the Opportunity Before Them?
By Bob Bancroft on 9/10/2007 9:33am PT  

Guest Blogged by Bob Bancroft of VotersUnite

Just over a month has passed since California Secretary of State Bowen’s ground-breaking “Top to Bottom” review was made public. The study, conducted over the course of nearly half a year, took a comprehensive look at electronic voting machines that directly record and tabulate votes. The results were unambiguous.

According to the report, “all systems analyzed were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the election results”. Computer scientists found that the secret software “contains serious design flaws that...attackers could exploit to affect election outcomes.” Despite the oft-cited rationale that e-voting expands the franchise for people with disabilities, the report starkly concluded that “[N]one met the accessibility requirements of current law”.

This report, along with countless others, leaves little doubt as to the correct course of action. As the New York Times put it in a recent editorial, “Electronic voting has been an abysmal failure.” The editors of "The Paper of Record" joined election integrity activists and watchdog groups across the country in calling upon Congress to ban these machines.

In fact, some members of Congress have caught on. Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) said in a recent statement, “The wealth of data and opinions on this topic are so strong that I feel Congress would be remiss if we do not allow a debate on the question of whether and how Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machines should be used in federal elections.”

Despite all of this, Democratic House leadership continues to push Rep. Rush Holt's HR 811, a bill so badly compromised that one member of the powerful House Rules Committee reportedly referred to it as “Microsoft 811”. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) was referring to the fact that some of the bill’s most vital protections were stripped, replaced by new, vendor-friendly language allegedly supplied by Microsoft.

So it seems the most vocal opposition to this Democrat-sponsored bill comes from fellow Democrats. The irony was not lost on House Republicans, who took some satisfaction pointing out the in-fighting. All of this begs the question: why does House leadership continue its stubborn support of e-voting?

Only Majority Leader Steny Hoyer knows for certain.

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




Republicans 'Chortle' as House Democrats Wrangle in an Attempt to Bring Real Election Reform to a Crumbling System of Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2007 10:54am PT  

By Brad Friedman from Richfield, UT...

As we reported from a source late last night, today's scheduled hearing in the House Rules Committee for Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR 811) has been canceled. The same source had also said that if the hearing was canceled, it could mean an "indefinite hold" for the controversial legislation.

Today, Republicans are predictably enjoying what has been termed as a Democratic "split," by The Hill, and a Democratic "revolt," by Politico, in the majority-led Rules Committee, once known as "The Speakers Committee" since it's generally the last stop before legislation hits the House Floor. It's also the place where the leadership determines whether amendments will be allowed to be brought for such legislation.

Of course, what Republicans seem to find most amusing is that Democrats in Congress don't necessarily march in lock-step, as they do. Instead, the Democrats seem to have this crazy idea that in a democracy, there should be actual, responsible debate, care, and attention to details for an Election Reform bill which would have enormous national consequences to every local, state, and federal race in the union for decades to come. Go figure.

"Democrats believe in democracy, unlike that monolith we had before," committee chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) told The Hill.

Nonetheless, the Republicans are attempting to make partisan hay from the situation. Minority Leader John Boehner's website described the situation as a "House Committee Meltdown" yesterday. A spokesperson for David Drier (R-CA), the ranking member on the House Committee described the situation as "chaos."

They're all right. Democracy is chaos. Though the Holt bill has been largely dysfunctional from the get-go as its lead author, Rush Holt (D-NJ) began with a very open process, inviting many voices (including our own) into the bill's drafting process, but then shut down the process in favor of both fear and agenda-driven interests...

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




Folks Still Need to Contact Rules Committee, Scheduled to Reconvene Friday Morning at 10:30am ET, Though That Could be Changing
Reps. Hinchey and Lee Now Joined as Co-Sponsors of Davis's Amendment...
By Brad Friedman on 9/7/2007 12:07am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Richfield, UT (Bruce Funk Country!)...

[UPDATE: As we reported from our source late last night in the article below, the Rules Committee hearing today was indeed canceled. See below for more details.]

Have been on the road all day, so playing late-night catch up. So here's a few tid-bits, items, rumors, and innuendos as we've been able to collect them from various sources concerning the latest on the fate of the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811) in the U.S. House and the proposed Susan Davis (D-CA) amendment for it.

To briefly recap, Davis's amendment, if allowed by the House Rules Committee to be considered with the bill, would limit use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines to one per polling place on Election Day, but allow their full use during Early Voting periods. Unlike CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen's similar restriction, her amendment, as currently drafted, would not require a 100% manual count of the touch-screen "paper trails." Many more details on that amendment reported here yesterday, followed by a full statement we received from Davis herself later in the evening, in which she described the matter of whether to use DREs or not as the "800 pound gorilla" that folks in Congress, up until now, have been largely afraid of debating at all.

But that seems to be changing quickly.

The New York Times last night gave the idea of a full ban on DREs a boost when they called for exactly that in a long-overdue editorial in this morning's paper calling E-voting an "abysmal failure." They said, "It is unfortunate that the [Holt] bill does not contain a provision banning the use of touch-screen voting machines," adding, "There is still time before the bill becomes law to add a ban on touch-screen voting." And, "If the House fails to do so, the Senate should," and that putting it off to 2012 --- as Davis's amendment as currently drafted does --- is "too long to wait." Huzzah.

Now to the latest updates at this hour...

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




Says 'Electronic Voting Has Been an Abysmal Failure,' Calls on Congress to Add DRE Ban to Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2007 11:14pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Colorado...

In an editorial for Thursday's paper, the New York Times has finally called for an all-out ban on touch-screen voting machines.

Writing that "electronic voting has been an abysmal failure," the newspaper of record --- which has been an abysmal failure, overall, in investigating and reporting on election-related issues over the past many years --- opines in favor of the flawed Rush Holt Election Reform Bill, though aptly declares that "The bill lacks one important thing: a ban on touch-screen voting machines."

They add that "there is still time before the bill becomes law to add a ban on touch-screen voting" and that scheduling such changes for 2012 is "too long to wait."

Here are the grafs that the Times gets almost exactly right [emphasis ours]:

It is unfortunate that the bill does not contain a provision banning the use of touch-screen voting machines. A touch-screen ban would encourage states to use optical scan machines, which rely on paper ballots read by a computer, like a standardized test form. Optical scans are less expensive and less vulnerable to vote theft.

There is still time before the bill becomes law to add a ban on touch-screen voting. If the House fails to do so, the Senate should, and it should fight for it to be in the final bill.

There has been a spirited debate about how quickly to require reforms to be implemented. There have been calls for putting a solution off until 2012. That is too long to wait.

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but what took you so long, New York Times? But never mind that. The question now is: What is taking Congress --- specifically Congressional Democrats --- so long?

It's E-Voting: Game Over. Time to ban DREs once and for all, precisely as The BRAD BLOG has been calling for now for years. Even the NY Times gets it. Finally. So can we now please end this infernal nightmare once and for all?




The California Congresswoman Hopes Her Attempt to Amend the Rush Holt Election Reform Bill 'Sparks Debate' on the Issue of Banning Touch-Screen Voting Systems
Says 'Wealth of Data So Strong, Congress Would be Remiss If We Do Not Allow a Debate'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2007 10:48pm PT  

"As we have looked closely at all the issues concerning Election Day voting systems, we are still ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room," declared California Congresswoman Susan Davis in a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon.

That 800 pound gorilla, Davis goes on to say, is "the question of whether and how Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machines should be used in federal elections."

Her statement (posted in full at the end of this article) followed on the heels of our exclusive BRAD BLOG report earlier today detailing Davis's attempt to restrict the use of DREs (often referred to as touch-screen voting machines) to no more than one per polling place on Election Day in federal elections.

Davis's proposed amendment is stalled for the moment as the U.S. House Rules Committee debates whether Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) flawed and controversial Election Reform Bill (HR 811) will be sent to the floor of the House at all and, if so, whether or not amendments will be allowed with it. (See this morning's report for more specifics and details.)

The amendment is similar to, though weaker than, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's recently imposed restrictions on DRE voting systems in the Golden State, which also require a manual hand-count of 100% of the so-called "paper trails" produced by the touch-screen machines.

"There is one controversial issue that seems to come up again and again in my discussions with voters, activists, and elections officials. It is an issue that has been dealt with in many states including my home state of California just recently with the Secretary of State’s Top-to-Bottom review," Davis said, adding that "the wealth of data and opinions on this topic are so strong that I feel Congress would be remiss if we do not allow a debate on" the use of DREs in federal elections.

As a member of the House Administration Committee, which passed the bill some months ago along party lines, Davis could have brought such an amendment then. Indeed, we personally met with Davis earlier this year in her home district in San Diego --- the site of more than a few controversial touch-screen elections --- in hopes of conveying the dangers of such voting systems. While clearly concerned about the issue at the time, Davis was not yet prepared to call for either a ban or any sort of restriction on the machines that failed at hundreds, if not thousands, of precincts across the country during the 2006 election cycle.

But that was before Bowen's landmark analysis, as carried out by computer scientists at the University of California, added fuel to the anti-DRE fire, finding severe and alarming vulnerabilities in every e-voting system they tested.

With the Bowen wind at the backs of California's sizable and powerful Congressional contingent, things may well be changing, if Davis's "attempt [to] spark debate on this issue" is any indication.

In concluding her statement, Davis expressed her hope that Congress might finally address the now-unavoidable question of DRE usage in the wake of what has become a virtual mountain of evidence against them.

"Our democracy is too important to ignore this issue any longer," the Congresswoman concluded.

Rep. Susan Davis's complete statement is posted in full below...

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




Tune in at 8pm ET (5pm PT)! Call in at 856-227-1360!
'Be the Media' With Us as We Jump in to Guest Host at Last Minute from Colorado!
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2007 4:20pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from somewhere in Colorado...

Have just been asked to fill in, at the last minute, as Guest Host for Mary Ann Gould on her Voice of the Voters radio program tonight at 8pm ET (5pm PT).

Please join us as I jump in to host her show as heard on the air on WNJC 1360AM in Philadelphia and South New Jersey (Rush Holt country!), and across the world via this online listening link.

We'll have more details on today's breaking Holt bill information, the Davis amendment, and other late-breaking voting news.

As we're doing this at the last minute, without guests or preparation, we'll be happy to take your calls, questions and thoughts at 856-227-1360. As usual, VoV and BRAD BLOG stalwart John Gideon of VotersUnite.org, a weekly regular on the show, will also be joining us to discuss all the latest!

Please join us, call us, and otherwise consider this an Open thread for use during the show! (Hit the Comments link below, let us know what's on your mind and then hit REFRESH to keep up with the conversation!)


POST-SHOW UPDATE: Thanks for those who tuned in! Apologies to those who had a bad net stream. Apparently we overloaded their stream. Here then is the archived hour, with all of the day's Rush Holt news, and guests Bob Fitrakis, Bruce Funk, Paddy Schaeffer and John Gideon.

Brad Guest Hosting Voice of the Voters, 9/5/07 (appx. 1 hour)...




Gives the State Eight Days To Find An Alternative To Touch-Screen Voting Machines
Ruling in Holt's Home State Disallows the Very Voting Machines His Federal Bill Would Institutionalize!
By John Gideon on 9/5/2007 12:22pm PT  

Just announced this morning and reported by The New Jersey Star-Ledger is the news that a state judge has given the state Attorney General eight days to report an alternate means of voting to the state's 10,000 touch-screen machines.

The ruling undoubtedly comes as an embarrassment to Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey, who has been championing an Election Reform bill in the U.S. House that would allow for the very voting systems the judge in his own state has now disallowed.

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




The BRAD BLOG Has Confirmed That Congresswoman Susan Davis Will Introduce Such an Amendment This Afternoon --- If Allowed --- as Rush Holt's Controversial HR 811 Goes to Rules Committee Before Introduction on House Floor
UPDATED SEVERAL TIMES: Amendment Now Endorsed by MoveOn, Verified Voting, VoteTrustUSA; Source Says Holt on Defensive in Committee Hearing...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2007 9:49am PT  

By Brad Friedman from Glenwood Springs, CO...

[ED NOTE: Many updates have been posted throughout the day on this item. Please see bottom of article for the latest updates!]

An amendment to either ban or restrict the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems may be added to Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) Election Reform Bill by California Congresswoman Susan Davis today, The BRAD BLOG can now confirm.

After learning of the possibility early this morning, we have now confirmed with Davis's office that she is mulling such an amendment to present to the House Rules Committee, which is set to meet this afternoon at 3pm ET to determine which amendments will be allowed for debate on Holt's controversial HR 811 election bill. The legislation is currently scheduled to come up for debate on the House Floor as soon as it's passed out of the Rules Committee.

UPDATE: Davis's office has now confirmed they will bring such an amendment if allowed by the Rules Committee and by Leadership.

The committee will decide whether or not to allow amendments to the bill at all once it's on the House floor. The BRAD BLOG has learned that the committee essentially has three options in that regard. They can move the bill forward with a "Closed Rule," meaning no amendments are allowed on the bill; a "Restricted Rule," meaning only certain amendments will be allowed for debate, or an "Open Rule," which would allow any amendment to be brought to the bill while it's on the House floor.

The phone and fax numbers for members of the Rules Committee are posted below, along with the contact information for House Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, who would be instrumental in allowing such an amendment to be brought.

At this hour, Davis's office is considering language for such an amendment, conferring with legal authorities and gauging potential support from colleagues. They may be considering restrictions on DRE usage, rather than a complete ban, along the lines of what California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen implemented recently after her independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" found severe vulnerabilities in all of the states certified touch-screen voting systems.

After the landmark study, carried out by the University of California, Bowen implemented restrictions on DRE systems made by Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems, and other major manufacturers. Only one DRE per polling place will be allowed in California's 2008 elections in order to marginally meet federal accessibility requirements for disabled voters. Bowen's restrictions also allow for DRE use in Early Voting, though all such systems must have 100% of their "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) manually counted.

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




'It's No Longer my Bill,' Says Congressman of Software Giant's Successful Removal of One of the Bill's Once-Postive Provisions
Call it 'Microsoft 811' Writes an Election Integrity Advocate...
By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2007 3:13pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Colorado...

We've been in the woods and off the grid for the past several days, only to return to find that Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) hugely flawed Election Reform bill, HR 811, is said again to finally be coming up for a vote in the U.S. House this week. The claim of an imminent vote on the House floor has been made many times in the past by Holt and his supporters, though this time it's now actually on the schedule of the House Rules Committee for a vote tomorrow on an amendment, as described yesterday by VotersUnite.org's John Gideon, that would move the bill forward even without a mandate that it actually be funded. As well, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has the bill penciled onto his full House Floor calendar to come up as part of business as early as tomorrow, even though it's currently listed there as "Subject to a Rule" --- presumably in reference to whatever happens in the Rules Committee.

As usual, the scheduling, whether real or imagined, as it has been in the past, brings another surge of misinformation from the bill's powerful supporters. Leading the way this time around is MoveOn.org, which sent out an email to members over the weekend asking if it should support the latest "compromise" version of the bill as it's been hammered out, reportedly, between Hoyer and Holt and secretly brokered behind closed doors by longtime HR811 supporters People for the American Way (PFAW).

While MoveOn is asking members if it should support the bill, the mailing --- more accurately described as a "push poll" --- shows MoveOn's hand by misrepresenting quite a bit of what the bill actually does and doesn't do. So we'd be surprised if its members came out as anything but in favor of supporting the bill. But more on that deceptive mailer in a moment, along with some news on Holt himself reportedly now distancing himself from aspects of his very own bill!...

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




Three Smart Editorials Today Calling the Bad Guys Out and Demanding Accountability! Finally!
UPDATED: One More Smart Editorial Today Added, Calls Tom Feeney 'Shameless'!
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2007 9:18am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Boulder, CO...

Must get off the grid today very shortly (and will be gone until after Labor Day), so not much time for comment here. Rather, I'll give you quick pointers to three superb editorials in today's papers as the voices of the good guys return to counter the charlatans and propagandists who've been dominating the media pages for far too long.

Please read on, for some heroic cries for accountability --- finally --- from the hopelessly compromised U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Election Officials in general, and Sequoia Voting Systems in particular, all found in the op/ed pages today from Coast-to-Coast!...

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




Rep. Brad Sherman Tells Us He'll Drop Support For HR 811 If CA SoS Debra Bowen Won't Support It
In a Recent Radio Interview, She Said She Does Not...
By Alan Breslauer on 8/30/2007 7:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Last Thursday we had the opportunity to speak briefly with California U.S. House Rep. Brad Sherman about election integrity reform during one of his appearances here. Sherman, who had nothing but praise for the election integrity efforts of CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen, is a cosponsor of Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) controversial “Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007,” otherwise infamously known as HR 811.

Sherman stated that he believed that Bowen's landmark, independent “Top-to-Bottom Review” of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems --- which resulted in the near-decertification of all but one California voting system after it was found they were all vulnerable to hackers and manipulation and failed to meet even marginal federal disabled voter accessibility standards --- was consistent with the Holt Bill that relies so heavily on the use of the same DRE voting systems.

That Sherman was apparently confused about the difference between what Bowen's study revealed (DREs are not safe to use in elections) and what Holt's bill allows (DREs, as long as they have so-called paper trails of the type Bowen's study found could not guarantee secure, accurate elections), is little surprise. Even in the wake of findings which undermine his own bill, Holt has been using Bowen's study, disingenuously, to tout his own exceedingly flawed bill as The BRAD BLOG reported some weeks ago.

However, to Sherman's credit, he agreed to withdraw his co-sponsorship of HR 811 if he learned that Bowen did not support it.

With this in mind, we direct the Congressman to radio talk show host Peter B. Collins's interview with Bowen on June 27, 2007 (audio below, appx 3 mins). Responding to a direct question from Collins about whether she supports the Holt bill, Bowen responded, "I have not. I have worked with the author to try to strengthen the bill, but have not taken a position of support."

We have sent on this information to the Congressman's office, per his instructions, and await his reply.

The BRAD BLOG has previously reported on several other HR 811 co-sponsors, including Reps. Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich, who have indicated their intent to withdraw from the bill in the wake of strong opposition to a number of the bill's provisions by many advocates in the Election Integrity community.

UPDATE: Congressman Sherman responds through staffer Esther Azal:

Alan,

According to the conversation you had with the Congressman, he stated that he would withdraw his support of the Holt Bill if Debra Bowen were to "oppose" it. I spoke to Debra Bowen's office and her legislative staff informed me that she has not taken an official position on this piece of legislation.

Thank you for the link.

Esther

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!



ALSO: More Feeney Lies, Ethical Problems Revealed as Florida 'Vote-Rigging' Software Firm Owner Contributes $5000 to the Corrupt Congressman's Abramoff Legal Defense Fund...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2007 8:05am PT  

By Brad Friedman from on the road in Burlington, CO...

The recent Dan Rather report (complete video here) on the gaming of the paper punchcard ballots by Sequoia Voting Systems in Florida, just prior to the 2000 election, plugs up at least one important "hole" in the Clint Curtis story. We first broke Curtis's story back in late 2004 and have been reporting on it ever since.

You'll recall that Curtis alleged --- in sworn affidavit [PDF], live video-taped testimony before a U.S. House Judiciary delegation, and via polygraph test --- that he was asked by Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) to create a touch-screen vote-rigging prototype program, just months prior to the 2000 election when they both worked at the same Florida software firm.

One of the main criticisms of Curtis's striking allegations at the time was that "nobody was even thinking about touch-screen voting systems in Florida prior to the 2000 Presidential Election debacle."

Dan Rather's remarkable investigative report, however, would seem to indicate otherwise: seven Sequoia company whistleblowers reveal on camera that, despite their objections, they were forced to use poor quality paper for the punchcards to be used in Florida in 2000. They also revealed that they had been instructed to deliberately misalign the chads for ballots going to Palm Beach County, FL, only.

Back in 2004, just after The BRAD BLOG broke the original story of Curtis' allegations, some in the media were skeptical. On 12/13/04, Kim Zetter picked up on the story for WIRED and wrote...

Some details of Curtis' statements don't check out. West Palm Beach city didn't use touch-screen machines in 2000, something Curtis didn't know when Wired News spoke to him. It was the pregnant chad controversy in that year's presidential election that led Palm Beach county, where West Palm Beach resides, to replace its much-maligned punch-card system with touch-screen machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems in December 2001.

Unknown to the dubious Zetter at the time, was that someone at Sequoia, as the Rather report now reveals, seems to have known what they were doing when they gamed those paper ballots in Florida in 2000, since the company had already had touch-screen voting machines in the pipe-line, and indeed, already in use since as early as 1999 in California. If someone at Sequoia was pushing towards a change to touch-screen voting for Florida in 2000, the charges that Feeney might well have been aware, and supporting such a move is not quite as absurd as Zetter seemed to suggest in her article.

As well, another recent revelation puts the lie to Feeney's claim, made years ago, that he no longer had anything to do with the owners of the Oviedo, Florida, firm where he was the general counsel and registered lobbyist in 2000 (even as he served as Speaker of the FL House at the same time). Curtis was employed as a computer programmer for the company, which had multi-million dollar contracts with both the state and NASA, where Feeney's wife has worked for several years.

New information reveals that the owners of the company remain personal friends with Feeney, and continue to funnel money to him even while they hope for further contracts from the U.S. House Subcommittee on Space & Aeronautics, in which Feeney has recently been promoted to ranking member.

TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING SYSTEMS AND PRE-2000 FLORIDA

Connecting a few dots here... Sequoia had already deployed its new touch-screen voting systems in several precincts in Riverside County, CA, back in 1999. In 2000 the systems were to be used county-wide for the first time. Sequoia knew damned well that they stood to make millions from the use of touch-screen voting systems long before the 2000 election, even as their paper ballot shop was preparing the flawed paper ballots for use in Florida's election that same year.

As reported by Rather, the company made just pennies per ballot on the punchcards and only a few hundred dollars on punchcard counting machines. But millions stood to be made on their newer technology, which sold for thousands of dollars per touch-screen machine. The stunning on-camera testimony from the seven company whistleblowers suggests that the company --- and/or someone else --- may have had a plan in place to speed the transition to touch-screens prior to the 2000 election in Florida. That, of course, is precisely the same moment in time that Curtis alleges Feeney asked him to create touch-screen vote-rigging software, when they both worked for Yang Enterprises, Inc....

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




...And Plan to Defeat Him Once and For All...
By Clint Curtis on 8/26/2007 2:49pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Clint Curtis

My name is Clint Curtis, and I am running for Congress in Florida’s 24th District because I am fed up with the corruption and incompetence that continues to plague us in Washington. I'm running because the people of this country deserve honest representation and strong leadership that reflects the true will of the people.

As long-time BRAD BLOG readers may remember, I have dedicated myself to the cause of election integrity ever since a corrupt congressman asked me to create a prototype vote-rigging software program while we were both working for the same Florida software company back in 2000.

Since then, I have stepped into the sunshine to tell the story, and have become one of the nation's leading advocates for election reform. Working with non-partisan election integrity groups across the nation, I have fought hard for legislation that mandates the use of paper ballots. The state of Florida just passed such legislation earlier this year --- an enormous victory for proponents of election reform and a great win, finaly, for the voters of Florida.

My district is bordered by Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center, Daytona Beach and Orlando. It is a district of stark contrast between the haves and the have nots. Million dollar beachfront palaces sit just a scant few miles away from thousands who subsist in grinding poverty, bereft of hope. This is Florida’s Space Coast, a region of stunning beauty and spectacular innovation, but we have the misfortune to be represented by one of the most corrupt Republicans in Congress, the very same congressman who asked me to create that vote-rigging program: Tom Feeney.

Tom Feeney is the latest Republican congressman to fall under the shadow of the Jack Abramoff bribery and corruption scandal. Feeney is now under investigation by the FBI for his dealings with Abramoff. The writing is on the wall, making Florida’s 24th District one of the top three targeted races in the country.

But I will need your help in running against Feeney, and more importantly for the moment, helping the Democratic power structure in Washington D.C. understand we are ready, willing and able to take this seat and remove Tom Feeney once and for all.

For those of you who are new to The BRAD BLOG and may not be familiar with my story, up until just a few years ago I was a stereotypical, mild-mannered software engineer who would have never in a million years considered running for public office. As I said in a post last week, introducing myself to readers at Daily Kos, I’m just a ‘regular guy,’ a middle class citizen, working hard to make ends meet, like so many of you. And sad to say, for too many years, I bought into the myth that people like us can’t really make much a difference.

I've been a programmer since 1985. I've worked on projects as diverse as NASA to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Department. Although I was always an independently inclined voter, for years I identified more with Republicans than Democrats. I thought they shared my values of integrity, ethics, and honesty. I believe many of them still do. But that trust was shattered when I came to discover what shameless depths bad apple Republican politicians have now sunk to...

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




Ralph Gonzalez, Whose Firm Created 'CrazyClintCurtis.com' Smear Website, Apparently Murdered
Gonzalez's Strategum Group consulted for Feeney, Worked with Ralph Reed, GA Rep. Tom Price [Updated Several Times With Add'l Details]
By Steve Huff on 8/23/2007 7:28pm PT  

Guest blogged by Steve Huff, with additional updates by Brad Friedman.

NOTE: The original version of this blog entry was published here. This version has been updated several times, specifically for The BRAD BLOG. See updates at end of article...

Police are investigating a possible double murder and suicide in an Orlando, Florida, residence owned by the former Executive Director of the Georgia Republican Party.

The Orange County Sheriff was called to 2420 Hickory Oak Blvd. in Orlando early Thursday. There they found three dead white men and two live dogs. The men may have been dead since Tuesday.

The home where they were found dead was owned by a political consultant/strategist of Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), the one who worked on the Congressman's smear campaign against vote-rigging whistleblower Clint Curtis last year. More details on that campaign below.

Feeney describes Gonzalez as "a born political consultant." On commenting on the news, Feeney said of Gonzalez, "He was an adviser and strategist for me and became a very good friend."

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




Results Delayed as Atleast 1500 Paper Ballots Re-Counted By Hand (Fortunately, There WERE Paper Ballots To Re-Count!)
Ron Paul Supporters Were Right to be Worried About Republican's Choice of Diebold to Tally Votes...
By John Gideon on 8/11/2007 7:49pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

As we reported on July 15, Ron Paul's supporters were concerned that Diebold touch-screen voting machines were going to be used in the Iowa Republican Straw Poll. Well, it turns out the concerns about touch-screens were misplaced, as the GOP chose paper-based Diebold optical-scan machines instead. But their fears of Diebold may well have been justified as two of their op-scan systems failed and delayed the reported results.

While GOP candidate Mitt Romney may have walked away with a winning edge in the Iowa Straw Poll, Diebold was true to form as their voting system failed to count ballots correctly. As the Des Moines Register is reporting two of Diebold's optical scanners failed and 1500 paper ballots had to be manually recounted by hand...

Voting machine difficulties delayed the announcement of the vote totals. About 1,500 ballots needed to be recounted, said Mary Tiffany, a spokeswoman for Republican Party of Iowa.

Two machines caused the problem, said State Auditor David Vaudt. “What likely happened is someone submitted their ballot too quickly after the other,” he said. The ballots from those machines were hand counted, then re-fed into the system to recalculate the vote. A campaign poll-watcher said in one instance, a black box contained 500 paper ballots but the machine’s memory said it had scanned in 498.

At least there were paper ballots that could be hand counted when the machines failed. Had the Republican's used Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines --- as millions of Americans are forced to do each Election Day --- there would have been nothing to go back to when the machines failed.

UPDATE: The Atlantic is reporting the number of ballots which had to be "re-run" as "about 4,500".

Either way, there were reportedly 14,203 total ballots cast. So going by the Des Moines Register's reported numbers, more than 10.5% of the ballots had to be recounted. If we go by The Atlantic's reported numbers, nearly 32% of the ballots in the Iowa Republican Straw Poll had to be recounted by hand.




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