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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, April 17, 2014
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Says Bringing Change To America Requires 'Guts, Some Determination and Some Fight'
Points Out That He 'Has Never Taken A Dime From A Washington Lobbyist Or Special Interest PAC'
By Alan Breslauer on 1/18/2008 8:37am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Senator John Edwards took his presidential campaign to Los Angeles yesterday, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 at the Southern California Public Service Workers' headquarters. While Edwards spent the bulk of his nearly 20 minute speech going after special interests, corporations and lobbyists, he also took a few shots, without naming anyone, at his main Democratic challengers:

"You don't bring about change by shuffling papers, and you don't bring about change by just giving a speech. We have to actually have some guts, some determination and some fight if we want to bring the change that America so desperately needs."

Edwards also said that he was the "underdog" and challenged the crowd to start a grassroots movement on his behalf that will spread across the country like a "tidal wave of change."


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Some Election Officials Voice Concern That Recent Changes Restricting Use Of Some Voting Machines Jeopardizes Integrity Of Elections
But Secretary Of State Debra Bowen Defends Actions By Calling Voting Machines 'A Major Threat To Democracy'
By Alan Breslauer on 1/16/2008 8:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

According to a NewsHour report, some county election officials in California believe that changes ordered by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, including decertifying some voting machines, may put the integrity of upcoming elections in jeopardy. Seriously. This despite Bowen's explanation for her actions:

Bowen: Our scientist found that every system they looked at could be compromised in ways that made me uncomfortable. They were able to bypass security seals by undoing two screws and opening the whole machine. They were able to change the results without ever having any knowledge of the computer code itself.

Steve Weir, an election official from Contra Costa County, explains why election officials are concerned with Bowen's directives not to use some newly purchased machines:

Weir: You can't keep changing voting systems. You don't make changes to your voting system without really jeopardizing your own security and your own reliability, um, this close to an election.

However, Stanford professor David Dill backs Bowen and proclaims, "It seems that there is almost a national consensus that we have a serious problem". Dan Ashby, of the Election Defense Alliance, agrees that the use of voting machines is a dangerous endeavor:

Ashby:The election department public servants are not capable of running the election without having all kinds of technical help from the voting machine companies. [Which is dangerous because] They have the access and the means, motive and opportunity, if they were inclined, to change the programming in ways that no election official or voting member of the public could possibly perceive such that it would change the outcome of the election in an undetectable untraceable way.

Voting machines pose another, often overlooked, problem beyond the technical problems most often associated with such machines. Mainly, voting machines have led to a vast public distrust of elections. According to Bowen, the lack of trust in voting machines has caused people to "check out and not participate" and is thus, "a major threat to democracy".

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PLUS: Info on the West Coast Premiere Screenings of 'Uncounted' in Sacramento and Oakland on Jan 15 & 17!
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2008 7:45pm PT  

Was a fairly raucus hour on today's Peter B. Collins Show (where I appear regularly in the 5pm PT hour on Fridays), as PBC has now been added to San Francisco's Green960, his latest affiliate station for his syndicated daily radio show.

Tons of great callers today (including a great wingnut call at the end of the hour) along with much buzz about the West Coast premieres of Uncounted. Two screenings will be sponsored in part by PBC's show and KSAC 1240am in Sacramento and Green960 in Oakland, on January 15th & 17th respectively.

I'll be showing up at both to speak at the Q&A's, and would love to see ya there! The owner of Oakland's Grand Lake Theater, Allen Michaan, called in during the show today to say that he'd run another screening at 9:30pm if we filled up the first one at 7pm! With 600 seats in this great old movie palace (see pix at link above) our work is cut out for us, so I hope you'll come by if you're anywhere near. More info here, with more to come soon.

Here's the cool 60 second spot that PBC is running to promote the screenings...

And here's today's hour in full. MP3 download, or listen online...

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Once-Great, Now-Disgraced American Company Also Facing SEC Probe, Lawsuits, Upcoming 2008 Election Meltdowns
Not to Say We Told Ya So, Diebold Shareholders...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2007 11:27am PT  

The death spiral for the 131 year-old company, once respectfully known as Diebold, continues, as its stock price falls to a 5-year low today, near year's end (currently $29.23/share and still sinking, from a 52-week high of $54.50/share), along with the additional news that the U.S. Department of Justice has now joined the SEC in an investigation concerning the company's "Enron-like" bookkeeping tricks...

Diebold Inc. (NYSE: DBD) said it has learned that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation that parallels a previously disclosed investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the company’s discontinued practice of recognizing certain revenue on a “bill and hold” basis.

Diebold announced in early October that it has been engaged in an ongoing discussion with the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant regarding its former use of the "bill and hold" method of recognizing revenue.

Under bill and hold, ownership of a product contractually passes to a customer and revenue is recognized by the supplier prior to delivery of the product to the customer.

Diebold said it’s in continuing talks with the Office of the Chief Accountant so that it can determine what the company termed “the most appropriate revenue recognition method” to replace its bill and hold practice.

The BRAD BLOG, of course, originally reported on the SEC's investigation into Diebold's book-keeping chicanery back in May of 2006, just a few months after our first exclusive report, based on information from a company insider we dubbed DIEB-THROAT, preceded a 20% stock-price plunge just days afterward.

At the time, back in late September 2005, the stock price plunged to a 52-week low of about $44.37/share (which we're sure they'd kill for now --- not that we wish to give them any ideas) and DIEB-THROAT told us in response to the related news: "the last time this kind of deception occurred it was called Enron."

Then came a class action securities fraud suit against the company in December 2005, as first broken by The BRAD BLOG natch, before the parallel SEC investigation first became public.

Since then, following one independent study after another after another after another, finding their electronic voting systems to be virus-prone, hackable, unreliable and inaccurate, the company finally dumped it's controversial CEO who had infamously promised in a Republican fundraising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to" George W. Bush in 2004, before attempting again to fool the American public by renaming its election division "Premiere Elections Solutions" (same pig, fresh lipstick), just after stock prices plummeted again in August of this year to $47.60 as The BRAD BLOG noticed what appeared to us, and at least one financial analyst, to be possible insider trading among a number of company officials.

Prices have continued to fall ever since --- a lucky coincidence, no doubt, for those executives who just happened to unload a bunch of stock near the year's high at $53.05 - to today's 5-year low of $29.20.

Additional bad news arrived last Friday for Diebold when a new study by the state of Ohio found their systems to be easily hackable (again), with better news coming last Tuesday as the state of Colorado's own certification tests, surprisingly, gave their their machines a pass while decertifying many others. Yesterday, however, the reason for the inexplicable get-out-of-jail card they received in CO may have become a bit clearer: As it turns out, the Republican Secretary of State who oversaw the new certification testing, Mike Coffman, is running for Congress, and his campaign shares the same consultants as Diebold/Premier in the state. Go figure.

Diebold/Premiere's spokeshole, Chris Riggall told the Rocky Mountain News in response yesterday, that the company just had no idea about the extraordinary conflict of interest. But with the mission already accomplished, he announced to the paper: "Effective tonight that relationship is terminated."

With their stock-price still spiraling this morning, Diebold is quoted by Crain's Cleveland Business today as saying the company "anticipates [the DoJ] review will be completed in the first quarter of 2008" ... Though rest assured, The BRAD BLOG's review of the company won't be completed by then. Not by a long shot.

Merry Christmas, Diebold!

And if you'd like to wish The BRAD BLOG a Merry Christmas, we hope you'll feel free to consider sending a much needed ONLINE DONATION --- in dishonor of Diebold! --- as the holiday grows near.
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Complaint Alleges New Post-Election Audit Requirements in Close Elections Are Too Expensive, Create Too Much Work for Them...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2007 7:01pm PT  

Newly missing e-voting chips isn't the only election news to break out of the People's Republic of San Diego County today.

The sunny Southern California enclave, which has succeeded in making an infamous name for itself over the last several years by running some of the most poorly administrated and least transparent elections in the nation, is now suing California's Sec. of State Debra Bowen for her new security mitigation mandate requiring a hand audit of a random 10% sampling of ballots, in elections where the final result margin is less than one-half of 1%.

The full complaint may be downloaded here [PDF].

Deborah Seiler, the former sales rep for voting machine companies Diebold and Sequoia, who was recently named Registrar of Voters for San Diego County, believes Bowen's mandate is onerous in that it would "create extra work and delays" for her office following elections, as the North County Times described it.

Seiler and the county are "alleging that Bowen overstepped her authority in requiring new recount procedures in close races beginning in February," according to the paper, which quotes a spokesperson from Bowen's office defending the legal right of the Secretary to issue such directives as she sees fit.

Bowen's spokesperson, Nicole Winger, confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that the office is confident the Secretary of State may issue such "use procedures," along with voting system certification, which must be followed by counties that choose to use those particular systems. She adds that prior administrations have issued similar use procedures along with system certification, and that their statutory right to do so has held up in past court cases.

According to Winger...

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

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EPROM Chips Fed-Exed from CA Secretary of State Turn Up Missing, Package Arrives Empty, Police Investigating
UPDATE: SoS Confirms Precinct-Based Scanner Chips Missing, Will Voting Machine 'Sleepovers' Be Held Anyway?
By John Gideon on 12/19/2007 3:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Two shipping tubes sent from the California Secretary of State's office in Sacramento to the San Diego County Election Office arrived without their contents. The tubes left the SOS Office with more than 174 memory chips, or Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EPROM), containing firmware for the county's Diebold/Premier central-count optical scan voting machines. UPDATE: Precinct-based op-scan chips confirmed by the SoS to be missing as well! See update info at end of article.

The tubes arrived in San Diego but they were empty. The chips are now considered to be either lost or stolen.

WIRED's Kim Zetter reports today...

Two cardboard shipping tubes containing more than 174 EPROMs loaded with voting machine software were sent via Federal Express from the secretary of state's office in Sacramento last week to election officials in more than a dozen California counties that use optical-scan voting machines made by Diebold Election Systems. But two shipping tubes arrived empty to one county on Monday.

In San Diego County, one of the empty tubes arrived with no lid on the end of it to close the tube; the second tube had a lid, but it was loosely taped shut.

According to Zetter, the new firmware was being sent to San Diego following software and security modifications made following the state's recent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of e-voting systems. The packages were sent from the Secretary of State's office after being packaged by Diebold/Premier employees with SoS personnel standing witness. The Secretary of State's office confirms that Diebold/Premier regularly uses Fed-Ex as their preferred shipper.

New chips will now be sent and the state says the February primary will not be delayed by the issue. The California Highway Patrol and Sacramento Police are now investigating.

But the story gets worse, in this LATE UPDATE (FROM BRAD):

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

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Off Again On Again Dirty Trick Scheme Now Off Again...For Now
CBS News Report Reveals Apparently Fraudulent Signature Gathering by Supporters...
By Jon Ponder on 12/7/2007 8:11am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder of Pensito Review, with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

The Republican Party's effort to unilaterally award itself 20 or so of California's 55 Electoral College votes in next year's Presidential Election has failed to reach its fundraising goals for a second time, according to the LA Times today...

A proposed initiative that drew national attention for its potential to affect next year's presidential election will not appear on the June ballot, organizers said Thursday.

Republican backers of the measure, which could have tilted the presidential contest toward the GOP nominee by changing how California awards electoral votes, conceded that they were unable to raise sufficient funds.

Dave Gilliard, the manager of the current campaign, expressed bewilderment over the fact that more GOP fatcats did not pour money into the campaign.

"I was surprised that more people that finance these types of efforts didn't step forward...We had strong supporters and good supporters but didn't come anywhere close to making the budget," Gilliard told the Los Angeles Times.

Gilliard's "surprise" is itself surprising. GOP big money donors know, just as certainly Gilliard must know, that ballot initiatives tend to fail if California voters suspect the proposition has a hidden agenda.

The stated intent of Gilliard's initiative was to make the California system "fair." In fact, the real purpose was to give about 40 percent of the state's Electoral College votes to the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee.

In September, the measure had been pronounced dead by the LA Times after the campaign's manager discovered that its sole donation had been laundered through a front group to disguise the donor's identity as a campaign chair and fundraiser for GOP presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani. It was brought back to life in October after Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) kicked in $100,000 and the California Republican Party --- who would more recently cry that they were cash poor --- donated $150,000 towards the scheme.

In November, reports began to surface that the backers were using an initiative relating to kids with cancer as a cover to gather signatures in what appears to have been a fraudulent attempt to gain signatures for the measure. And The BRAD BLOG recently offered an exclusive interview with Anthony F. Andrade Jr., the man who originally proposed the scheme to split California's electoral votes. Andrade's comments about the initiative, and all manner of things --- including labeling homosexuals as "loony" and Bill and Hillary Clinton as "pricks" and "assholes" --- were colorful, to say the least.

But like Jason in a bad Friday the Thirteenth movie the measure may not be fully dead yet. The LA Times also reports today that proponents of the scheme "were holding out hope that the measure could appear on the November ballot with the presidential contest. But [Gilliard] said that was a dicey scenario: Even if it is on that ballot and wins voter approval, it might not affect the 2008 election."

A video report from CBS News over the weekend, showing apparent efforts by supporters to fraudulently receive signatures for the measure, follows below...

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

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Backer of Original Initiative Speaks Out in Colorful Interview with The BRAD BLOG
Says Clintons Are 'Pricks,' Gay People 'Loony,' Republican Ballot Measure Would Return 'Power to the People'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2007 12:28pm PT  

By Brad Friedman from Denver, CO...

A late-night report from the Firedoglake blog last night indicated that a Republican-backed initiative to split California's 55 electoral votes by Congressional district has been "withdrawn." In fact, it has not, as The BRAD BLOG has confirmed this morning, with both the California Secretary of State's office and the initial proponent of the original initiative. Democrats have regarded the ballot initiative as a dirty trick by Republicans desperate to hold on to the White House in the 2008 general election.

The current version of the initiative, which has raised millions of dollars, is said to have garnered some 400,000 signatures in support and continues to move forward as planned.

There had been two nearly identical initiatives in circulation attempting to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in next June's election in California. The original measure, known as "07-0016," as filed by Anthony F. Andrade Jr., has indeed been withdrawn, according to the California Sec. of State website. But the version of the measure most likely to make its way onto the ballot next year, "07-0032,, barrels full steam ahead for the time being.

The BRAD BLOG has confirmed that point with two officials at the CA Sec. of State's office. We have also confirmed it with Andrade himself, a colorful fellow with whom we spoke earlier today, who now supports the other, still-active, initiative.

Andrade, who says that he's a BRAD BLOG reader himself, submitted the original initiative in May of this year. It was approved for signature circulation on July 3, before the nearly identical initiative, submitted by Thomas W. Hiltachk, a former associate of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was filed on July 10.

Hiltachk's initiative continues to gain momentum and money from Republican backers, while Andrade's original proposal was finally withdrawn from circulation, officially, on November 27.

Andrade, who says he's "a libertarian at heart," told us that Hiltachk saw his original initiative and decided to file a version of his own.

"This asshole goes and reads my initiative, and says 'Ah, I'm gonna file a duplicate,'" he told The BRAD BLOG this morning. "This asshole says he has $2 million," and then it turned out he didn't have a dime. "Perhaps the polite word is 'flake,'" Andrade clarified later during the call.

The Hiltachk proposal was indeed pronounced dead by the LA Times several weeks ago after it was found to have been backed by Rudy Giuliani supporters. The measure has since found new sponsors, also reportedly tied to both Giuliani, as well as California's 49th district U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa. There have also been subsequent allegations of fraud in the gathering of petitions for the measure.

Andrade believes the original backers of the proposal were looking at it as a way to raise money for themselves.

At first labeling the measure a "people's initiative" (after we described it as a "Republican initiative"), Andrade admitted that, while he considers himself more of a libertarian and a Ron Paul supporter, he's most interested in stopping Hillary Clinton from gaining the White House...

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

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Effort to Get Initiative on the Ballot Was Momentarily Derailed Last Month When It Was Revealed That Its Sole Financial Backer Was a Rudy Campaign Chair, But It's Now Back on Target...
By Jon Ponder on 11/29/2007 9:58am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Fundraising is down dramatically nationwide for the Republican Party, but things are especially bad here in California, where the state GOP is in such dire straits that its ability to compete in both state and federal races could be affected.

But while the state party is cutting programs and considering layoffs, hundreds of thousands of dollars are flowing in from out-of-state fatcat supporters of Rudy Giuliani --- funds the state GOP can't touch because they are earmarked specifically to promote a ballot initiative that would, if passed, give Rudy (i.e., the Republican presidential candidate) 20 or so of the state's 55 Electoral College Votes, even if he loses the state to the Democratic candidate.

The California Republican Party has been in a death spiral since the 1990s when, under former Gov. Pete Wilson, the decision was made to make illegal immigration its signature issue. It's way too soon to send for the embalmers but the current crisis couldn't be worse:

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

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Company's Flawed 'Inkavote Plus' System May be Used in Nation's Largest County During February 2008 Primary When Republican Measure to Divide State's Electoral Vote Could be on the Ballot
SoS to Hold Public Hearing on Future of Voting System Monday in Sacramento...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2007 2:04pm PT  

by Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...

Now that ES&S has finally submitted their previously withheld source code and documentation to California Sec. of State Debra Bowen, new members of her "Top-to-Bottom Review" team have been able to look at the ES&S Inkavote Plus system used across the entirety of Los Angeles County. And whaddaya know, the system is easily susceptible to fraud, hacking and manipulation.

The full report from the new testers --- not the original members of the TTBR team at University of California, but testers sub-contracted by the ubiquitous private e-vote consulting firm of Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group (FCMG) [Ed Note: See additional thoughts/concerns from John Gideon on FCMG in comments here] --- is now posted at the SoS TTBR page [PDF]. The LA Daily News summarizes the findings this way in today's paper...

SACRAMENTO - Consultants for Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Friday they found several flaws in Los Angeles County's voting system that could leave it vulnerable to fraud or electronic hacking.

The report found that seals on boxes used to carry the system hardware could be opened and resealed without detection, making the machinery susceptible to tampering.

Plus, some password-protected systems could be hacked with certain programs, and some encrypted files containing sensitive data could be decrypted.

The study was performed as part of Bowen's "top-to-bottom" review of statewide voting systems. Los Angeles County's InkaVote Plus system is the last to be studied, because vendor Election Systems & Software failed to provide information to Bowen's consulting team on time earlier this year.

In August, Bowen decertified the InkaVote system for use in the February presidential primary because of the missing information.

A public hearing will be held on Monday in Sacramento so that the SoS may receive public input on how she should proceed, and whether the ES&S Inkavote Plus system should be recertified in advance of February's Presidential Primary.

Of particular note is the possibility that the hackable system may be used to vote on a Republican-sponsored ballot initiative to divide California's 2008 electoral vote by Congressional District which could be on the Primary Election ballot next February. Such an unprecedented measure, if passed in the Golden State, could well hand the November General Election nationally, to the Republican party given the large number of electors that would be thrown to the GOP if the current winner-take-all system of choosing electors in California --- the same one used by almost all other states --- is changed for proportional representation.

Reports of potentially fraudulent signature gathering, in order to see the measure added to February's ballot, have already surfaced.

Los Angeles County itself, a reliably Democratic-leaning county over all, carries an enormous number of votes for the state. It's the largest such county in the nation, larger even than two-thirds of the states in the country. Tampering with the vote tabulation in that one county alone, could easily change enough votes to see the Electoral College initiative passed successfully across the state.

Last week, Bowen announced a $15 million lawsuit against ES&S for the illegal deployment of uncertified AutoMARK voting systems across the state. The next day, San Francisco announced its own separate suit against the company, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, charging fraud, false claims and breach of contract.

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County Registrar Asks for Permission to Use Same Uncertified ES&S Touch-Screen Machines Again, Despite Cost and State's $15 Million Lawsuit Against Distributor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2007 9:44pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis, MO...

Things are really expensive in Marin County, California. For example, the cost to the county, so far, for each vote cast on their brand-new AutoMARK touch-screen voting machines has been $45,588.23.

Yes, that's more than $45,000 per vote for each of the 17 votes cast on the county's 130 machines over the last two countywide elections since they began using them.

And apparently, the county's elected Registrar of Voters, Michael Smith, really wants to continue using those machines, even though ES&S, the company which distributes them, is now being sued by the State of California for deploying uncertified AutoMARK machines in counties across the state, in violation of state law.

Nonetheless, Smith is asking CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen if he can continue using the uncertified machines in the upcoming Presidential Primary election next February, despite all of that, according to the Marin Independent Journal, who reports today:

Marin was one of five California counties that bought the machines. The county spent $775,000 to buy 130 machines. They were used by 17 voters in the two countywide elections during which they were used.

True, the cost per vote on the AutoMARK in Marin will theoretically come down with each successive election in which they are used (depending on what ES&S charges the county to program them each time, plus the excessive costs of warranties). In a decade or two, at this rate, if the same machines are still in use, each vote cast would come at a bargain basement price of just a few thousand dollars a piece.

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

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Damages and Penalties to 'World's Largest' Voting Systems Provider 'Could Reach into Millions of Dollars'
New Case Follows Yesterday's $15 Million Suit Against ES&S by CA SoS Bowen...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2007 2:10pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis, MO...

"San Francisco's experience with ES&S raises extremely troubling questions, not simply about the integrity of this company's technology, but about the integrity of this company itself," San Francisco's City Attorney Dennis Herrera said today in announcing his new lawsuit against Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S).

"There can be no more important duty in a representative democracy than to conduct elections, and it is a travesty to see that duty so flagrantly undermined by the fraudulent conduct of an election systems vendor," he added.

Well, no kidding! To quote from It's a Wonderful Life, "'Bout time one of you lunkheads said it!"

The suit filed today against ES&S, the "world's largest", comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement that California Secretary of State Debra Bowen was filing her own suit, to the tune of some $15 million, against the company for their illegal and undeclared use of uncertified touch-screen voting systems in several counties across the state, as well as their having lied about it to the state.

The Fog City Journal's coverage of the SF lawsuit begins this way...

City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit against the City's voting systems vendor today, charging Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software, Inc. with a panoply of wrongdoing that includes fraud, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and multiple violations of California's Elections Code, False Claims Act and Unfair Competition Law. In a 23-page civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, Herrera detailed a months-long pattern of misrepresentations and voting system problems by ES&S that caused California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to impose stringent conditions on the City's use of the company's voting machines to conduct its municipal election earlier this month. Because of those restrictions, San Francisco election officials were forced to tabulate ballots centrally; to remake thousands of ballots by hand; and to borrow equipment from another county.

We've been calling for some time for states and counties to hold the voting machine companies accountable for their horrendous, out and out fraudulent business practices. Looks like the floodgates may finally be starting to open.

So who's next? Make no mistake, there will be more. Perhaps many. Stay tuned...

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Voting Machine Company Allegedly Violated Law by Deploying Uncertified Touch-Screen Machines in Several CA Counties and Lying About It in Public Hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2007 4:01pm PT  

Blogged by Brad (quickly) from the road...

California Sec. of State Debra Bowen has announced a $15 million lawsuit against voting machine company ES&S for their use of uncertified AutoMARK voting systems in the state.

The BRAD BLOG initially reported on the likelihood of such a suit, in some detail, after Bowen's initial announcement of ES&S's violations of state law last August.

“ES&S ignored the law over and over and over again, and it got caught,” said Bowen in a press release just issued this evening. “California law is very clear on this issue. I am not going to stand on the sidelines and watch a voting system vendor come into this state, ignore the laws, and make millions of dollars from California’s taxpayers in the process.”

According to the release, ES&S seems to have simply lied about their use of the uncertified voting systems in the state of California. "The Secretary of State’s office held a public hearing on the matter on October 15, 2007. At that hearing, ES&S asserted the Secretary of State was notified about changes to the AutoMARK. However, ES&S provided no evidence before, during, or after the hearing to substantiate its claim."

Such deceptive practices are not uncommon for ES&S, as well as the other major e-voting machine companies. Diebold's touch-screen voting systems were decertified in the state in 2004, after it had been found that they had similarly deployed uncertified hardware and sofware, in violation of state law, in a number of counties in the state.

The complete press release from CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office follows below...

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

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UC Santa Barbara Student Says Citizens are Being Tricked into Signing Petition Under Guise of Supporting Cancer Hospitals for Kids...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2007 9:58am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

Of course, the dirty trickster Republicans, who are again attempting to put an undead initiative on the California ballot to re-apportion the state's Electoral Votes to split them up by Congressional District (instead of winner-take-all, as it has been for years, and is in almost every other state), would never resort to dirty tricks --- and fraud --- to get their initiative onto the ballot, would they?

Worse, they would never stoop as low as using the guise of support for children's cancer hospitals to achieve their goal, would they?

This posted yesterday by a UC Santa Barbara graduate student...

Today I witnessed what I think is an incidence of ballot petition fraud relating to the electoral vote apportionment initiative - the proposal to apportion California's electoral votes by congressional district, unilaterally giving 19 of California's electoral votes to the Republicans in 2008.

Outside the UCEN (student center plus bookstore plus food court) at UC Santa Barbara, there were a number of people with cardboard clipboards soliciting people to sign ballot petitions for a proposal to spend $1 billion on cancer hospitals for kids. If you agree to sign, they tell you "you need to sign 4 times." What they do not tell you is that the three pages after the ballot initiative on cancer hospitals are different ballot initiatives: the second proposes to abolish eminent domain, the third proposals to abolish rent control, and the fourth is the proposal to apportion California's electoral votes by district (the so-called Dirty Tricks Initiative).

I should note that the clipboard is arranged such that a rubber band holding the petitions to the cardboard is positioned on the top of the page, across the actual ballot language in question - thus, partially hiding the text of the ballot initiatives on pages 2-4 unless you actually stop and pull down the top of the page.

I agreed to sign the cancer initiative, but the comment about signing four times raised a red flag, because I'm familiar with the structure of ballot petitions, so I paused before signing and looked at the other initiatives. However, I'm absolutely sure that most of the people signing, young college students on a rush to get their lunches and off to class, did not take this step.

(Thanks to BRAD BLOG reader GM for the tip.)

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Also Not Interested in Being Los Angeles' Mayor
By Jon Ponder on 11/10/2007 10:46am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is ruling out running for the U.S. Senate against Barbara Boxer in 2010. The governor was asked about his post-Sacramento plans after a Field poll showed him with a 1 percentage point lead over Boxer in an imaginary Senate match-up.

Boxer's dip in popularity probably reflects the general unhappiness among California liberals with the failure of Congress to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for lying in the run-up to the Iraq occupation and their systematic shredding of both the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions, just for starters.

But Boxer has arguably done as much as she could to hold the Bushies accountable. And in her 2004 reelection bid she received the third highest number of votes of any candidate in the country, next to Bush and John Kerry, respectively. She will likely bounce back. (On the other hand, rebounding is less certain for our other senator, Dianne Feinstein, who outraged her constituents last week by voting to confirm Michael Mukasey as Bush's new attorney general, even after Mukasey indirectly acknowledged that he will continue to greenlight and give cover to Bush's torture policies. Feinstein is not up for reelection until 2012.)

Mainly, though, it's hard to imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger as just one of 100 big fish in the Senate pond.

Schwarzenegger also ruled out running for mayor of Los Angeles. This is a no-brainer. There is very little glory in being L.A.'s mayor. For one thing, the balance of power here tilts more toward the city council, and less toward the mayor, than in most big cities.

For another, despite the city's propensity for earthquakes, riots, and wildfires, no Los Angeles chief executive has ever been dubbed "America's Mayor" because he stayed on the job during a crisis. Unless there was a chance Arnold could become another America's Mayor, it is unlikely he'd be interested.

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