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Strong Statement, in Wake of Lawsuit Tossed on 'Jurisdictional Grounds', a First Since Illegally Adminstered June 6th U.S. House Special Election!
'North County Times' Provides Decent Coverage of Debacle...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2006 7:30am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

"It's outrageous," says Francine Busby, "that this judge just said the state of California doesn't have jurisdiction over our own elections, over this election."

Busby's remarks, in a report today by William Finn Bennett in the North County Times, were a suprising departure from her previously guarded stance concerning the challenge of the June 6th U.S. House Special Election between herself and Brian Bilbray.

"What happened today should be of concern to all voters," Busby reportedly said.

Bennett's coverage of yesterday's debacle in the San Diego County courtroom where Judge Yuri Hoffman dismissed the election contest in support of the defendants' arguments that the U.S. House, not the voters or courts of California, have jurisdication to adjudicate election challenges after the House has already seated a member, is quite good. Indeed, it was a refreshing departure from previous sloppy, sometimes wholly inaccurate and occassionally entirely partisan North County Times reports and commentary on the case (see this embarrasing commentary from Jim Trageser for the most egregious.)

Bennett's report today, on the other hand, quite fairly describes the court's atrocious decision which we reported on in detail yesterday. Here's a sample from his coverage...

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

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Finds Rushed Swearing in of Presumed Winner Bilbray by U.S. House --- Just 7 Days After Election and 16 Days Before Certification --- Transferred Power to Decide Election Outcome to Congress
California Voters, Courts Left Powerless to Challenge Illegally Administered Election According to Ruling
By Emily Levy on 8/29/2006 4:37pm PT  

A judge in the San Diego challenge to the Francine Busby/Brian Bilbray U.S. House Special Election in California's 50th Congressional District has found in favor of the defendants' motion to dismiss the case based on jurisdictional grounds, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

We have covered the defendants' argument, that the swearing in of Bilbray --- just seven days after the election and a full 16 days prior to certification by San Diego County --- effectively transferred power to decide any election challenges from the California courts to the U.S. House of Representatives. Those arguments are discussed in detail in several previous BRAD BLOG articles (here, here, here and here.)

The defendants' attempts to force plaintiffs to cover the cost of attorneys fees (a so-called "SLAPP back" motion) was denied by Judge Yuri Hofmann based on the same jurisdicational arguments used to dismiss the case, according to the plaintiffs' attorney, Paul Lehto. Since the California court has no jurisdication to adjudicate an election contest for a California U.S. House election, according to the court's opinion, it also has no jurisidiction to find against plaintiffs in the "SLAPP back" motion, explained Lehto.

VelvetRevolution.us is now collecting donations to help defray the cost of an appeal of this ruling.

Extended EXCLUSIVE comments on the judge's ruling today, from attorney Paul Lehto are below, followed by Hofmann's ruling in its entirety...

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

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But in the meantime, we have a transcript of Friday's oral arguments --- just for you!
By Winter Patriot on 8/29/2006 11:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Judge Yuri Hofmann of the California Superior Court is expected to rule this afternoon on the arguments presented Friday.

The plaintiffs in the CA50 Election Contest are asking for a manual count of ballots from the June 6th House special election, which was held to replace former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who resigned after being unable to contain the fallout from a major bribery scandal.

The defendants are arguing that California no longer has any jurisdiction over the election since the Republican U.S. House went ahead and swore in Brian Bilbray just 7 days after the election, with thousands of votes still uncounted, and certification still several weeks away...

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

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Did Congress Ask California for Permission to Nullify a California Election???
Are You Dizzy Yet?...There's More! Effort to Recall Dennis Hastert Begins!
By Emily Levy on 8/28/2006 7:57pm PT  

Guest blogged by Emily Levy

You know by now that Brian Bilbray was sworn in as Congressional Representative before the June 6 election in San Diego County, CA was certified. You might even remember reading on The BRAD BLOG that the official swearing in was preceded by a public "mock" swearing in. You learned last week that this premature act is now being used by the defendants in the Busby/Bilbray election contest as an attempt to nullify the election in California's 50th district. But today (drum roll please) Michael Collins of Scoop Independent News reveals that it was Assistant California SoS Susan Lapsley (seen in photo) who provided the election results to the House.

Collins points us to the Congressional Digest...

Representative-elect Brian P. Bilbray presented himself in the well of the House and was administered the Oath of Office by the Speaker. Earlier the Clerk of the House transmitted a facsimile copy of the unofficial returns of the Special Election held on June 6, 2006 from Ms. Susan Lapsley, Assistant Secretary of State for Elections, California Secretary of State Office, indicating that the Honorable Brian P. Bilbray was elected Representative in Congress for the Fiftieth Congressional District of California.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2006 1:34pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

In addition to Emily Levy's coverage here on Friday night, and Winter Patriot's coverage last Thursday (which includes actual briefs and letters filed in the case), Miriam Raftery filed a superb summation at RAW STORY today of where the Busby/Bilbray CA50 Election Contest stands as of last Friday's hearing. She includes several details which the Guest Bloggers here hadn't previously touched on --- including details on the defendants' attempts at a frivolous "SLAPP suit" against the plaintiffs --- so we recommend giving her piece a quick read.

The Judge on the case in San Diego, Yuri Hofmann, is to decide tomorrow on the defense's argument that the case should be tossed out on jurisdictional grounds because, they argue, the Constitution gives the U.S. Congress --- not California voters or California courts --- the right to ultimately adjudicate such election challenges...even before, as in this case, the election was actually certified by the county or the state. No, seriously, that's what Brian Bilbray's attorneys are actually arguing. Out loud.

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The BRAD BLOG Joins in the Endorsement Of Course...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2006 12:06pm PT  

Blogged quickly from the road by Brad...

I had to check in briefly for this one! Even while "out here" and still unable to do very much "in here". And especially with the Florida primary elections set for next Tuesday, September 5th.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal has endorsed Clint Curtis for next Tuesday's election over his primary candidate Dr. Andy Michaud who has shown up at almost ZERO campaign events over the last several weeks. He even failed to show up for a televised debate a week or two ago.

The News-Journal's full endorsement is fairly well done. They quickly cover Curtis' allegations (broken originally by The BRAD BLOG back in December of 2004) that Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- then the Speaker of the Florida House even while he was the registered lobbyist for the same computer firm Curtis worked at --- asked Curtis to create a computer vote-rigging prototype program back in 2000. Curtis now hopes to unseat the corrupt Feeney this November.

The last two grafs of their endorsement...

Curtis clearly is more than a one-issue candidate and has extensive knowledge on a wide range of issues. It is not surprising, though, that his highest priority is to "secure free, fair and trustworthy elections."

Some of Curtis' positions may be difficult to sell to Congress, such as creating a national health-care plan using tariffs on imported goods. But all of his stands are well-thought-out and imaginative.

· RECOMMENDATION: Clint Curtis for the Democratic nomination for U.S. House, District 24

As The BRAD BLOG has covered the Curtis/Feeney claims extensively over the past two years (a quick summary of his story is here) and has yet to find a hole in Curtis' story --- though we have found one after another in Feeney's considerable dodges and dances and smears and refusal to take a polygraph test (as Curtis did and passed!) --- we join the News-Journal in heartily endorsing Curtis in the upcoming election.

Given Feeney's huge money advantage, we also recommend you support clean elections by supporting Clint Curtis with a donation if you can afford it. Feeney, who was/is a huge supporter of Tom DeLay's, "Duke" Cunningham and Bob Ney, will have plenty of money, of course, as he's the only Congressman left in the House who went to Scotland to play golf on Jack Abramoff's dime now that DeLay and Ney have had no choice but to move on.

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis is now running for U.S. Congress against Feeney.
To support or for more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com
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Takes Constitutional and Jurisdictional Matters Under Advisement
Could Judge Hofmann Be Prying the NeoCon Boot Off His Neck?
By Emily Levy on 8/25/2006 5:52pm PT  

Guest bloged by Emily Levy

Judge Yuri Hofmann announced in his San Diego courtroom today that he will take the constitutional and jurisdictional matters of the CA-50 election challenge case under advisement and issue a ruling next Tuesday, August 29.

The first item up for consideration today in the election contest filed by Attorneys Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins on behalf of two San Diego voters (and truly on behalf of all of us) was a defense motion for dismissal. Defense claimed that the San Diego court has no jurisdiction in this matter because the Constitution says, “Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members…” (Article I, Section 5). In other words, The House of Representatives gets to pick its members. (Who really needs elections, anyway?)

Lehto, in response, argued--as outlined here--that if the court has no jurisdiction, then Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas also had no jurisdiction to certify the election, given that certification happened after Bilbray was sworn in. (Yes, you heard that right.)

The defendants also argued that the court has no jurisdiction because plaintiffs had abandoned their recount efforts. According to Lehto, the request for a recount was filed properly within five days of certification of the election. Lehto says, "Jurisdiction was created by filing. That's all the statute says. There is no abandonment rule."

The judge is expected to rule on both the constitutional and jurisdictional issues on Tuesday.

From the courthouse by cell phone plaintiff Barbara Gail Jacobsen reported, "Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins represented us very well today in court. Lehto said it's invading the sovereignty of the State if someone swoops in and swears the person in and then says there’s nothing you can do. I thought he made some very good arguments about upholding checks and balances in our system and standing up for the right of the people to make sure that elections are accountable. We the People of this country decide on who is going to represent us, and it’s through making sure that our elections are sound that we can know for sure that we have elected people that we want to transfer power to. In this particular case what Paul Lehto was trying to say is that the people's right to know if the election was properly carried out is being blindfolded and taken away by the other side."

We can only hope that before Tuesday Judge Hofmann will have the opportunity to read the rest of the Constitution. It could be enlightening.

Donations are still needed for the lawsuit and other efforts in California’s 50th District to fight the illegal June 6 election. For more information, go to nosleepovers.org.

UPDATE: We have another report of the day's proceedings, this one from Judy Hess of CA 50 Action Committee:

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

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Plaintiff in Response: 'Defendant's Argument Means Election Is Uncertified, Never Happened'
UPDATED! NOW WITH A LIVE REPORT FROM THE COURTHOUSE! where Attorney Paul Lehto Claims 'Election Nullification Argument' is Absurd, Power Grab by Speaker of the U.S. House...
By Winter Patriot on 8/24/2006 10:27pm PT  


Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

UPDATE: We have a live update from the courthouse. You can see it at the bottom of this post

We haven't been covering the CA50 Election Mess as often as in the recent past --- while Brad's been on the road and otherwise occupied --- but we have been keeping our ears to the ground, so to speak. (Yes, they get dirty, but so what? We can hear things coming before they happen. It's cool; you should try it.)

My friends, we have been hearing distant rumblings of great power. To get you up to speed quickly...

The CA50 U.S. House special election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray was held on June 6, on illegal Diebold voting machines as has been reported here many times. (Click here for a good recent summary of the situation.) On June 13, Bilbray was quickly sworn in to the House of Representatives while thousands of votes were still being counted back in San Diego. (This surprised and angered many voters, especially since a poll taken three weeks before the election showed Busby ahead by 7%.) On June 29, the election was finally certified --- in favor of Bilbray --- by the Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas.

The election was contested on July 29 after Haas refused to allow for a hand count of the ballots, as allowed by California state law. And on August 22, defendants filed a brief in the case to dismiss, stating that because Bilbray has already been sworn in (by the Republican House of Representatives,) the California Court has no jurisdiction whatsoever and the House has exclusive jurisdiction to judge who its members are and the qualifications of those members.

According to an email sent to The BRAD BLOG this evening from attorney Paul Lehto...

The defendants' position is that the court is powerless (i.e. without jurisdiction) to do anything about this election contest, because Bilbray was sworn in only 7 days after the June 6, and long before the election was legally final on or about June 29.

This premature termination of the election in the 50th Congressional District by the swearing in took place while votes were literally still being counted and provisional votes were still being counted, and also this premature swearing-in took place well before the 1% ballot audit required as part of the certification process, and also occurred fully 16 days prior to the official certification of the results.

The defendant's premature swearing-in at the command of Washington DC politicians, if it had any legal effect at all, necessarily means that if there's no power for a Court in San Diego County to protect and review our elections for Congress, there was certainly no power and no jurisdiction for defendant Registrar Haas to certify the results of the election, either.

The swearing in simply terminated the election in mid-count. Consequently, the defendants' arguments about the court's lack of power also mean that this uncertified election does not legally exist, in the legal sense that the election never happened, and this election never became final because it has never been certified at a time when anybody in San Diego had any power to do anything about it.

Because no election is decided or over until it's officially certified, this election was actually decided in Washington DC, and not decided in San Diego's 50th Congressional District.

So there you have it. This is the stick with which Paul Lehto is trying to beat a corrupted electoral machine back into shape.

Here's Lehto's brief responding to the absurd position [PDF] taken by the defendants in this case.

The judge is set to give his decision on the jurisdictional matter Friday, determining whether or not the case will be tossed out based on the argument of the defendants. The court hearing on this matter begins at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time in San Diego.

UPDATE... Michael Collins at Scoop has more. And now, so do we --- below the fold...

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

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An Exclusive Explanation of Conyer's New Report: 'A Constitution in Crisis'
By Joy Williams on 8/24/2006 5:22pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Joy & Todd Williams

Representative John Conyers (bio) has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for over 20 terms, having represented the 14th Congressional District in Detroit since 1964. For all those years he has fought for our democracy. From his website: “In his role on the Judiciary Committee, Representative Conyers has introduced and endorsed legislation to advance civil liberties, ensure equal protection and access to the voting booth and combat violence against women.”

In July of last year he led a citizens' movement to deliver 500,000 signed petitions to the White House which questioned George Bush about his attempt to “fix the facts around the policy” as revealed in the infamous “Downing Street Memo”. This “fixing of the facts” eventually led to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Additionally, he held hearings about the Ohio voting irregularities during 2004, and published What Went Wrong in Ohio which enumerates most of the irregularities and abuse of the election process in that state. He has now published a new book, Constitution in Crisis, which documents the Bush administration’s violations of the Constitution in over 26 different categories, and in many cases multiple violations within each category.

It is tragic that our Nation has invaded another sovereign nation because 'the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy' (in the infamous words of the Downing Street Minutes) and that millions of innocent Americans have been subject to government surveillance outside of proper legal process. Moreover, it is unforgivable that Congress has been unwilling to examine these matters or take actions to prevent these circumstances from occurring again. Since the Majority Party is unwilling to fulfill their oversight responsibilities, it is incumbent on individual Members of Congress as well as the American public to act to protect our constitutional form of government. It is with that purpose and in that spirit that I am releasing this report.

You can support Representative Conyers' Campaign here as he will become the chair of the powerful U.S. House Judiciary Committee if the Democrats, by some fluke of nature, take the majority this November.

I had the pleasure of interviewing him a couple of weeks ago while he was en route to the airport to return to his constituents during the Congressional break. He’s a very gracious, experienced and thoughtful representative of the 14th district and for all Democrats everywhere.

Our exclusive interview with the good congressman follows...

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

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Poll Numbers, Statement Officially Released This Afternoon (UPDATE: Zogby Releases More Data --- see below)
Busby/Bilbray Election Contest Attorney Quoted...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2006 10:21am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

As The BRAD BLOG reported two days ago, a new Zogby poll has revealed that a stunning 92% of Americans want their vote counted transparently and not by secret vote counting machines. That overwhelming majority crosses all political, social, religious and economic demographics.

Today, Zogby has released their official statement and numbers from the poll. Their statement quotes attorney Paul Lehto, who is busy fighting the election contest down in San Diego's Busby/Bilbray CA50 challenge in which voting machines, using secret software to count the results of that election, were compromised when they were sent home with poll workers on overnight "sleepovers" for days and weeks prior to the election, as we have been reporting since that special U.S. House election on June 6th.

Here's a quick snippet from Zogby's official release...

Asked whether Americans have the right to view and obtain information about how elections officials count votes, 92% of respondents concurred.

"The 92% support for the public's right to view vote counting and obtain information about it is a very strong political value of transparency and against secret vote counting outside the observation of the public," said Paul Lehto, a lawyer and sponsor of the survey. "To put this figure in context, support for election transparency exceeds the support for tax cuts, exceeds the approval of Pres. Bush immediately after 9-11, and virtually all other political values being measured." Mr. Lehto is counsel in the 50th Congressional District election contest in California.

Most of those surveyed— 80%—said they want votes to be counted in front of observers representing the public, and that elections officials should not rely solely on the proprietary software that operates electronic voting machines that are presently being installed all over the United States.

The survey also says that some 60% of respondents "have heard news reports of flaws in new electronic voting equipment." So I guess someone is doing the job of getting this information out to the American people.

Apparently the news hasn't yet reached the DNC, however. More on that, and my personal experiences addressing folks at the DNC's annual gathering last weekend, in a report to come shortly today...

UPDATE from WP: Zogby has released more data in a PDF format. Just click here. There's a press release for Zogby too, and it's here.

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Dr. Andy Michaud Misses Another Event...Is Contest Now a Direct Race Against Feeney?
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2006 12:28pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

As has been his practice over the last several months, the primary election opponent to vote-rigging whistleblower turned congressional candidate Clint Curtis was a no-show in a recent televised debate.

Curtis spoke about election fraud (vis a vis Tom Feeney), the Iraq War and the price of gas. Needless to say, he won the "debate" hands down.

With his primary election opponent, Dr. Andy Michaud, failing to appear at events across Florida's 24th Congressional District, does this mean the good Doctor is giving up? Or is there something going on that we don't know about?

The primary is September 5th. Should Clint win, he'll be going mano-a-mano against the well-monied and impossibly corrupt Rep. Tom Feeney --- the very man he claims had asked him to create vote-rigging software back when they both worked at the same software firm (even while Feeney was Speaker of the Florida State House of Representatives.)

For the record, Feeney is now the only Republican congressman who was with lobbyist Jack Abramoff on those golfing junkets to Scotland, now that both Tom DeLay and Bob Ney have dropped out of this November's election. Feel free to donate to Clint Curtis as he takes on Feeney, one of the GOP's top-tier money behemoths!

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By Winter Patriot on 8/15/2006 1:45am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot


Ginny Ross, one of our friends from the Election Defense Alliance, has posted the video of the beginning of the press conference from DemocracyFest last month in San Diego as the Busby/Bilbray election challenge (due to voting machine "sleepovers" with pollworkers) was just coming to light. Some of us have been anxious to see this ever since Ginny told us she was working on it. And rightly so. The video is a good one. Just click on the picture to see it.

For more on the press conference, please revisit Brad's post of July 18th.

You're more than welcome to disagree with me on this, but I'd say he did a fine job. Then again, what do I know? I'm partially frozen at the best of times. ;-)

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By Winter Patriot on 8/14/2006 7:07am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Clint Curtis needs your help. The computer programmer who says he wrote a vote-rigging software prototype in 2000, at the request of Florida Congressman Tom Feeney, has a chance to oppose Feeney in November's general election. The prospect of such a race --- and the publicity that would flow from it --- has election-integrity advocates all over the country licking their lips in anticipation, but it won't happen unless Curtis wins next month's primary.

His opponent, Andy Michaud, has been virtually invisible. He hasn't really been campaigning; he's hardly even been raising any money! But Curtis takes no comfort in these odd facts. He knows he's vulnerable --- to the machines! (Do you want to see how a vote-rigging program works? Click here to download one; try it yourself and see how easily our democracy can be subverted.)

There is reason to hope for a fair outcome, however. And the reason --- believe it or not --- is at least as ingenious as the vote-rigging software Curtis prototyped for Feeney six years ago.

Curtis has set up a website where voters can register their intention to vote for a particular candidate. Using this system, if a candidate can collect enough information about how many people intend to vote for him, and where they live, he will be in a position to tell whether the numbers from any given precinct have been flipped in favor of his opponent. And if such flipping occurs, the "losing" candidate would have reliable evidence to support a challenge.

Some voters have already registered, but many others don't yet know about the system, and they will have to be contacted by phone. Here's where you come in. Curtis needs volunteers to make phone calls. He can give you all the details; he can even arrange things so you can make the calls for free.

All in all, it sounds like a much more convenient way to support your democracy than waiting for another election to be stolen, going out into the streets, and trying not to be shot at.

As Curtis phrases it: "The democracy of this country and possibly the fate of the world rests on your shoulders. You can actually do something about it."

But here's the big question: WILL YOU? Will you help? Will you donate a few minutes of your time? Will you make a few phone calls in support of transparent, verifiable elections?

Did you say "Yes"? Good! I thought you would!

Please click here and offer Clint Curtis some support. It's really the least you can do for your country, and for your children, and for my children too.

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Staff Writer/Columnist Jim Trageser Flails Against the Wind...and the Facts
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2006 10:44am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

UPDATE: Trageser sends us a one line reply to the following article (instead of bothering to return our call): "Thanks for the traffic bump!" was all that he wrote. To which we replied: "Thanks for not giving a damn about your country." We also realize we neglected to post Jim's contacts previously so you can thank him yourself. As posted with his "column", you may contact staff writer Jim at: (760) 631-6628 or jtrageser@nctimes.com. Letters to his editor may be sent to: letters@nctimes.com, though that's likely the same editor who allowed his factually incorrect and evidence-free article to be published in the first place, so who knows how much they actually give a damn about such things at The North County Times.

I've been completely off line for nearly a week, only to return briefly enough to find Jim Trageser's sad attempt at a column from Wednesday in the North County Times wherein he bashes the Busby/Bilbray election contest as nothing more than "a political stunt."

The evidence for his conclusions? Apparently he has none. Other than the "facts" he has simply made up out of whole cloth without, seemingly, bothering to speak to a single source involved in the contest.

Add to that several pieces of out-and-out incorrect information (he says that Bush beat Gore in 2000 and that "every post-election recount...all upheld Bush's narrow win in Florida" --- Here's the actual numbers from the studies you cite, Jim. Don't bother to read them, we'd hate to destroy your rich fantasy life) and you've got the perfect picture of everything that is wrong with today's lazy, faux media.

At one point, Trageser actually has the temerity to hunt and peck the following words out of his keyboard...

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

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Matthew Cardinale of Atlanta Progressive News has the details
By Winter Patriot on 8/11/2006 6:03am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

From BREAKING: McKinney Pursuing Legal Challenges to Elections in Georgia (with a few links added):

US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is pursuing numerous legal avenues to challenge the so-called "results" of not only her recent Primary and Runoff Elections, but also the fundamental reality that the current E-voting system in Georgia does not provide us with "results" that are in any way meaningful.

The Congresswoman and her attorneys and campaign are looking at ways in which they can either join or support Donzella James’s legal election contest filed last week, Donzella James, who is working closely with the Congresswoman, told Atlanta Progressive News. The US Department of Justice is already said to be investigating as well.

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

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