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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 31, 2014
GOP v. Registration Nation
50,000 new voter registrations said 'missing' in GA; Millions of voters threatened by faulty GOP 'Crosscheck' database scheme; About that 'non-citizen' voter 'study' at WaPo that all the RWers are talking about...
'Green News Report' 10/30/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Shut up!': NJ's Sandy recovery stalled, 2 years later; Weather Channel repudiates climate-denying co-founder; PLUS: 'Not too late': Stark, if hopeful message in UN's climate report...
Previous GNRs: 10/28/14 - 10/21/14 - Archives...
Why Dems Shouldn't Get Too Excited About Encouraging Pre-Election Polls in GA
A very brief reminder of the state's long and disturbing history with 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems...
Touch-Screen Votes Reportedly Flip R to D in MD
Diebold systems have been failing in Maryland since the state was the first to install them (and cover up their failures) in 2002. So why should 2014 be any different?...
'Green News Report' 10/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate Change and Election 2014: High stakes at the ballot box on energy, the environment, and global warming...
Previous GNRs: 10/21/14 - 10/14/14 - Archives...
Deja Vu All Over Again.
Again.
Brad's appearance this week on Thom Hartmann's 'Big Picture' TV show, as touch-screen votes starting flipping across the country yet again...
NM 'Motor Voter' Registration Rates Dive Under GOP SoS
Facing tight re-election bid, 'voter fraud' fraudster and Sec. of State Dianna Duran stands to benefit from failed, unlawful new reg process in race against Dem challenger...
NJ's Emergency 'Internet Vote' Scheme After Sandy Failed Disastrously
Aside from being illegal, a new report finds Chris Christie's order resulted in tens of thousands of unauthenticated votes during the 2012 Presidential Election in NJ...
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it (please?)...
Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Vets' ID can be used to vote under TX' new GOP voting restriction. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts missing from U.S. justice system...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
GOPers still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year ever; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attny dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow: 'Now we watch for ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
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...


6 Helicopters, Mr. Sulu, 3 Protesters But No Wrath of God
So far ...
By Jon Ponder on 6/19/2008 2:02pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

I live about 100 yards from West Hollywood City Hall so when the first marriage licenses were issued to gay people there on Tuesday, it was a big day for news helicopters overhead. I, of course, watched the festivities as reported by CNN's Thelma Gutierrez, via satellite feed to Atlanta, routed back to me 3,000 miles across the country by cable. What a whacky world.

Thelma was not alone. According to WeHo News, our local online-only newspaper, media outlets on the scene also included Tokyo Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and the Washington Post.

Here's how WeHo News described the first minutes of the gold-ring rush:

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2008 10:57pm PT  

Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83, got to tie the knot today, after 56 years together. That's what liberty and freedom look like. Congratulations to the lovely couple.

Also, this. Fiscal conservatives here in California, and elsewhere, may wish to re-think their stance on marriage equality and say "Thanks, gay people!"

Analysts say same-sex marriages will generate several hundred million dollars and create thousands of jobs for California's economy.
...
"Spending by resident same-sex couples on their weddings and by out-of-state couples ... will boost California's economy by over 683.6 million dollars in direct spending over the next three years," the UCLA study reported.

Of course, some folks are hoping to turn back the clock by trying to change the Constitution next November out here. Here's my interview, from last week, with Richard Prenctice, CEO of the so-called California Family Council, a member of the "Protect Marriage Coalition." Why he's against liberty and freedom (and apparently sound fiscal policies) remains a mystery to me. Though I did my best to try and find out.

Another reminder may be needed: Just because California now allows same-sex marriage, it does not mean you must marry someone of the same sex. Also, if you are currently in a heterosexual marriage, you are more than welcome to stay married. I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty certain about both of those points.

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Email from Acting Registrar Dean Logan Says Poll Workers Entered Incorrect Ballot Codes into E-Voting System
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2008 9:01pm PT  

Last week I reported in great detail that four out of the twelve votes I'd cast on my ballot on L.A. County's e-voting system, during California's state primary on June 3rd, were flipped to candidates that I hadn't voted for. The ES&S InkaVote Plus system printed my ballot incorrectly.

I was voting on the audio ballot voting system meant primarily for blind and visually-impaired voters. Had I not been able to inspect my ballot visually after it had printed --- for example, had I been blind --- I would never have known that I was about to cast votes for candidates that I had not selected.

Because the "disabled-accessible" e-voting system at my own precinct was not working, again, for the second election in a row, I was told I'd have to cast a provisional ballot on the "disabled-accessible" e-voting system at the other "precinct," in the same polling place, in the same room, as my own "precinct."

The machine had been down all day, and nobody had come out to replace or repair it, even though the county had been called early in the day and told about the problem. Last election, on Super Tuesday, the machine was also broken, and none of the poll workers would touch it, due to exposed wires.

This time, despite asking to vote in a specific party's open primary, I was given a non-partisan audio ballot to compound the fiasco when I tried to vote provisionally on the other "precinct's" e-voting system that was up and running, even though not a single voter had used it in either this, or the previous election.

The voting went smoothly enough --- even if it took 20 minutes to move through the short audio ballot, shorter than usual because it was a state primary, and because I wasn't allowed to vote in partisan races for some reason --- at least until it misprinted my selections, which I had confirmed as correct while actually moving through the audio selections.

Luckily, after noticing that the e-voting system had printed my ballot incorrectly, I was allowed to VOID that ballot, and this time chose to vote on a regular, hand-marked paper ballot instead. My hand filled in the ballot far more accurately than the computer did.

That night, I alerted officials at the CA Sec. of State's office and L.A. County's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, about the problem, and the machines and ballots in question were isolated for testing. Whether someone who wasn't a loud, muckracking journalist, specializing in issues of election integrity, would have had that kind of quick service, I can't tell you.

Logan promised the machine would be tested, and the SoS office promised to follow the testing closely.

Earlier this week, Logan sent me an update via email, with photos, on what the investigation had so far found. The problem, Logan wrote, is being attributed to the "human error" of the poll workers who, he says, entered incorrect information into the e-voting system when setting up my ballot for me to vote.

Logan's complete email, detailing the findings of the cursory investigation to date, follows below, along with my email in response to it. As you'll see, the all-too de rigueur "human error" excuse does not sit well with me...

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

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4 Out of 12 Ballot Selections Printed Out Incorrectly, Myriad Other Laws Violated
ES&S InkaVOTE Plus System Fails Miserably, Mars What Should Have Been a Simple Voting Experience During L.A. County's Very Low Turnout State Primary Election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2008 8:04pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

As a fairly well-known Election Integrity journalist who has personally covered, for years, the myriad election woes of thousands (if not millions) of voters around the country who have tried to bring seemingly endless stories of votes flipped on e-voting systems to the attention of officials, these stories always continue to be remarkable to me, even if not to many others in the rest of the mainstream media.

It's even more troubling when one realizes that so little ever seems to be done in light of so many of these horror stories, as those very same failed systems are still deployed across the nation, with little or no modification to correct the mountains of documented problems even now, as we head towards an election likely to be of historic proportions this November.

What follows is yet another one of those stories, where a voter had vote selections flipped by the electronic voting system, such that candidates were chosen other than the ones intended to be selected by the voter, though no fault of his own.

But this time, the voter is me.

Though I've covered so many of these stories, it was nonetheless remarkable to see it happen before ones very eyes, as occurred yesterday when I voted here in Los Angeles during our very low turnout California state Primary election.

The ES&S electronic voting system that I used to try to vote on yesterday, ended up flipping a total of 4 out of the 12 contests and initiatives for which I had attempted to vote.

Right before my very eyes, the computer-printed ballot produced by the voting system I was using, incorrectly filled in bubbles for four of the races I was voting in. Had I not been incredibly careful, after the ballot was printed out, to painstakingly compare what was printed to what I actually voted for, I'd have never known my votes were being given to candidates I did not vote for.

Had I been a blind voter --- as the system I was using is largely intended for use by the disabled --- I would have cast my ballot without having a clue that a full 40% of the votes I'd tried to cast for various California Superior Court judges were flipped to other candidates...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 6/4/2008 2:06pm PT  

Yes, four different selections, on my very own ballot, were flipped before my very eyes when I went to vote in yesterday's California state Primary Election.

One might think that someone might have been smart enough to make damned sure, at the very least, that the equipment where that widely-known Election Integrity muckraking journalist jerk, Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG goes to vote, would have been thoroughly tested and working as it was supposed to. One might think that. But if so, one would be wrong.

Full story soon...

UPDATE: Full story now posted here...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2008 11:43pm PT  


We've long argued that same-sex marriage was, for all intents and purposes, a done deal. Marriage equality, under virtually any legitimate conservative reading of the U.S. and most state Constitutions, cannot be denied.

If the segment, at right, from tonight's O'Reilly Factor is any indication, it looks like even Bill O'Reilly is finally coming to grips with that fact, in light of the new poll showing for the first time that a majority of Californians are finally in favor.

Neither O'Reilly, nor his guest, "family law attorney" and "gay marriage opponent" Don Schweitzer, seem to be able to come up with a single legitimate reason to oppose it. The uncomfortable silences while they reach for something...anything...is really something to see. And if they've lost O'Reilly, well, the dead-enders may take a while longer to get the message, but it's over. The good guys will win this one...

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By Alan Breslauer on 5/25/2008 2:56pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

On Thursday, The BRAD BLOG interviewed Ron Shepston, who is running for Congress in California's 42nd District. The current holder of the seat is the ethically challenged Republican, Gary Miller (R-CA), who is regularly named as one of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress.

We first asked Shepston, an airplane engineer, about election integrity issues. Interestingly, despite running in the extremely "red" Orange County against the Republican Miller and expressing concern for election integrity issues in general, Shepston was not worried about the fairness of elections in his own district:

"I vote in my district and I do think we have fair elections there... I do worry about election integrity in general. I wonder what Republicans are afraid of when they don't want to have fair elections. I don't want to have to guess, I don't want to have to trust that my vote or that voters' votes count. I want verified ballots."

Unfortunately, as Orange County is one of two counties left in California where unverifiable DRE (usually touch-screen) voting machines have been allowed for use by all, Shepston seems somewhat out of step with the ability, or lack thereof, to verify even a single vote cast on such machines in his own district. Almost inexplicably, CA SoS Debra Bowen decertified use of almost all DRE systems in the state, other than one per polling place to meet federal accessibility voting standards, and DRE machines made by Hart InterCivic. Shepston's Orange County still uses those wholly unverifiable Hart voting machines.

Shepston, who says he considers himself part of the netroots movement, is a political newcomer who was encouraged to run for office by fellow bloggers at the Daily Kos website. Yet despite the fact that many of these bloggers are helping with Shepston's campaign, he directed some harsh words towards the Daily Kos:

"It's not the community that it used to be... And what's happened is that now that I've been there for so long I know the good writers and I go to just them. I don't branch out because it seems like every other diary that I get to it's just not worth it to me anymore. I don't learn anything... It's turned into a shouting match sometimes. It's not the same community that it was when I was there before."

Our complete interview (6:46), shot this week at a fund raising event here in Los Angeles with Ambassador Joe Wilson (more videos to come), follows below. You can find out more about Shepston at his Ron Shepston for United States Congress website...


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Conservative Decision Respects Constitutional Right of 'Equal Protection', Allows Heterosexuals to Remain Married to Opposite-Sex Partners...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2008 11:57am PT  

California's Republican-dominated Supreme Court --- in a conservative finding --- has just found the state's ban on same-sex marriage to be in violation of the state Constitution.

And yes, that's a conservative finding, in that it respects both the state and U.S. Constitution and keeps Government out of our bedrooms and private lives.

For those phony "conservatives" who don't understand the difference, a special note: The ruling does not require you to go out and marry someone of the same sex. So you don't need to worry your little selves about it one bit. You get to stay married to your current partner as usual. If you wish.

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Huge Crowds March In Support Of Immigrants, Workers Rights And Against The Iraq Occupation...
By Alan Breslauer on 5/2/2008 8:09am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


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Where 'Last Ninja II' Was Cracked in Minutes, Warez Like 'Diebold GEMS/Accuvote' Will Surely Confound an Infamous Pirate Like 'Strider,' Right?
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2008 6:05am PT  
Any job applicant knows that background checks are routine – especially for jobs involving authority or oversight of money. So why didn’t the San Diego Republican Party do a simple Google search before naming Tony Krvaric as its chairman?

...Or did they?...

Online research reveals that Krvaric is the co-founder of Fairlight, a band of software crackers which later evolved into an international video and software piracy group that law enforcement authorities say is among the world’s largest such crime rings.

...Well, go figure.

That skill set should come in very handy down there in, of all places, San Diego, where the far-right Republican Board of Supes, and the far-right Republican Registrar of Voters office, have never met a hackable Diebold electronic voting system they didn't love.

I recall "Strider" (Krvaric) and the "Fairlight" boyz from my own C-64 and BBS "warez" swapping days in the late 80's. Those guys, and the other incredibly competitive pirate crews, could crack anything, anytime, usually within minutes after a new piece of software hit the market (and often, even before it did!).

But no doubt, the air-tight, mission-critical, impenetrable security in Diebold's voting systems would be beyond the reach of d00dz like Strider and friends. And, of course, there's far more to gain by a 17-year-old "Strider" cracking the codes of, say, International Karate Plus and Shoot 'em Up Construction Kit than there ever would be for him, as county GOP chair, to hack an election in San Diego, right? I mean, what would possibly be the upside to that?

Miriam Raftery's excellent two-part investigative exclusive for RAW STORY (and for me, at least, a trip down memory lane) is here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

Prices now slashed in The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive! Please support our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available starting at just $5!
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Local Media Outlet Finally Reports on the Stunning Allegations in William Singer's Whistleblower Suit, Local Election Officials Respond With the Same Old, Disingenous, Long-Ago Debunked Nonsense...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2008 7:22pm PT  

In Aurora, Illinois, today, Beacon News' Dan Campana files a very good report on the federal fraud suit filed against Austin, Texas, based voting machine company Hart InterCivic. The suit, alleging dozens of false claims and fraudulent activities by Hart in order to receive federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money, was filed originally by former employee turned whistleblower William Singer back in 2006, but did not become unsealed until March 27th, when The BRAD BLOG covered it, along with posting the full stunning complaint [PDF].

Beacon News is based in Kane County, IL, which uses the faulty Hart voting systems in question.

Campana's report today --- which quotes yours truly in a number of places --- is the only corporate media coverage of the lawsuit in the nearly three weeks since the case was finally unsealed. Until now, there's been the fairly extensive coverage found on this blog, an item on the same day the case was unsealed filed by Kim Zetter at WIRED's "Threat Level" blog (which we replied to here), and a very short squib from AP on the same day, which, according to a quick Google News search, was carried by only a single news outlet, CBS 4 in Denver.

(For the record, our extensively detailed and sourced report on Hart's attempted takeover of Sequoia late last week has been picked up by nobody, other than ComputerWorld where we, ourselves, filed a short summary report. That, despite officials from both Hart and Sequoia having confirmed the accuracy of our report, and the fact that Hart, which controls some 8% of the voting market in this country, is about to swallow up Sequoia Voting Systems, which controls 20% of it, to become the nation's second largest e-voting machine vendor. We'll know by Tuesday at the latest, most likely, if Sequoia was able to save itself from Hart's hostile takeover.)

So with a dearth of coverage anywhere but here, we can heartily recommend Campana's report on Singer's suit. His article includes comments from us (as mentioned), one of Singer's attorneys, Hart spokesperson Peter Lichtenheld (who shamelessly plays the tired old "conspiracy theory" card), some Election Integrity advocates from the non-partisan Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, and some state and local Kane County election officials who have deluded themselves into believing their Hart machines are safe for use in American democracy.

When Campana interviewed us for his story, we suggested he ask any of the election officials he planned to interview for a single piece of evidence to prove that any single vote, ever cast during an election on a Hart DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machine in the county, has ever been recorded accurately, as intended by a voter.

Though Campana references our challenge in his report ("Friedman contends no government officials can prove the votes cast on electronic machines can be accurately linked to tallies",) he doesn't quote any of the officials as being able to offer such evidence. Little surprise, because they can't produce such evidence. It's strictly impossible. Yet they continue to use these machines anyway.

But he does manage to get a few amusing and wholly unsupportable statements from some of those deluded officials. We're delighted to spend our Sunday dismantling them --- both the statements, and the officials...

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

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Desperate to Stop the Deal, Sequoia's Owners Frantically Seek Funding, Legal Options, All of Which Have so Far Failed Enough to Lead the Judge Working on the Case to Regard One Such Legal Argument as a 'Conspiracy Theory'
Merger of Two Companies Would Likely Create New E-Voting Powerhouse, Face Federal Scrutiny, Come as Surprise to Sequoia's Current Clients...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2008 12:55pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

As if Sequoia Voting Systems doesn't have enough trouble already, the company now needs some $2 million dollars in cash...quickly. Without it, it is likely to be subsumed by one of its nearest competitors, Hart InterCivic of Austin, TX, as soon as next Tuesday, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

In what could well be a major shift on the American election industry landscape --- and certainly on elections themselves in dozens of states across the country --- voting machine company Hart InterCivic informed the current owners of the beleaguered Sequoia of their intention to acquire ownership of the company in a move which could take effect as early as next week.

The attempted hostile takeover --- which, we've learned, has been quietly in the works behind the scenes since mid-February --- has set off a building panic among the senior management and owners at Sequoia, whose money woes had already led them to schedule a shut-down of their Oakland headquarters. That shop is to close within a matter of months, as the operations for the company are to be consolidated at its Denver offices.

The takeover by Hart is made possible in the wake of a deal made by Sequoia's current owners, SVS Holdings, Inc., with its former owners, the off-shore consortium Smartmatic. Smartmatic was forced to give up control of the company after the media and Congress noticed in 2006 that the company had ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The officers and owners of SVS are comprised largely of previous Sequoia officials who took over the company after Smartmatic's failed attempt to find an outside buyer in 2006. The deal resulted in an agreement between SVS and Smartmatic for the latter to hold a $2 million note from the purchase. Smartmatic now appears ready to sell that note to Hart as part of a $16 million dollar deal which SVS has a contractual right to match within a 60-day period, ending on April 15th.

Sequoia is believed by election experts to be this country's third largest voting machine company, followed by Hart. The combined operation, should the takeover be completed, could well create a new powerhouse in the industry, displacing #2 Diebold/Premier, and coming up just behind the country's currently largest election vendor, ES&S.

Court documents obtained by The BRAD BLOG reveal that Hart notified SVS of its intention to purchase the $2 million note held by Smartmatic on February 15th, giving the group of owners and share holders of SVS --- including CEO and President Jack Blaine, and VPs Michelle Shafer and Edwin Smith (whose names BRAD BLOG readers may recognize) --- just 60 days to match the offer Hart had given to Smartmatic. As the deadline nears, Due Dilligence processes have begun, and are near the final phases of completion at Sequoia...whether company management likes it or not.

Hart's move has sent Sequoia/SVS executives into a legal and financial tizzy and --- perhaps taking a page from Hillary Clinton's campaign book --- the company seems to be throwing the legal kitchen sink at both Hart and Smartmatic in an attempt to nullify Hart's offer. Court documents reveal arguments that Hart's is not a "bona fide" offer that SVS is legally required to match. So far, however, those legal maneuvers, reflected by a dizzying array of motions and cross-motions, suits and counter-suits --- completely unreported by anyone in the media until now --- have all been summarily and soundly rejected by the Delaware magistrate adjudicating the matter.

Every legal effort by Sequoia and SVS to dispatch with the hostile takeover attempt has failed miserably so far, leading Vice Chancellor Stephen P. Lamb of the Court of Chancery in Delaware to even describe one such legal theory of SVS' as...(big irony alert!)...a "conspiracy theory"!

But while Sequoia faces a plethora of legal liabilities concerning their oft-failed voting systems, Hart InterCivic faces its own share of challenges with a pending --- and damning --- federal fraud/qui tam suit against the company, as unsealed late last month. Moreover, Hart's acquisition plan could face scrutiny from members of Congress and Treasury Department officials, as well as states across the country who thought they had turned over control of their elections to Sequoia, only to soon learn there will be a new owner, not of their choosing, of the secret software and devices which determine the results of their public elections.

While litigation over claims of fraud and failure in both company's voting systems await, so does at least one major prize to the victor of this grudge match: New York state's soon-to-be-completed $100 million deal with Sequoia...or maybe now with Hart...or...whoever...

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

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The BRAD BLOG Publisher Also Nearly Gets Thrown Out Of Hearing by The Sergeant-at-Arms
By Alan Breslauer on 3/10/2008 12:14pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

The BRAD BLOG's own Brad Friedman and other Election Integrity advocates spoke at the historic Joint Informational Hearing Discussion Of Problems Faced By Voters At The 2008 Presidential Primary Election held in Los Angeles on Friday (Brad covered one aspect of the hearing on the L.A. County "Double Bubble" ballot debacle quickly last week; our full body of coverage on the matter is posted here). However, Brad almost did not get a chance to say his piece as the Sergeant-at-Arms almost tossed him out of the hearing on multiple occasions for applauding (video below, 2:20):


Despite his "disruptive" antics, Brad was eventually allowed to speak to the panel about the Los Angeles County "Double Bubble" problem (video below, 2:23)


More video from the Election Integrity advocates' testimony at last week's hearings follows below...

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Acting Registrar Lies to the Board of Supes, Former Registrar Lies to the Joint State Legislative Panel
Independent Criminal Investigation Called For...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2008 2:25pm PT  

We spent many hours yesterday at a joint legislative hearing, at the California State Ronald Reagan Building downtown, where CA SoS Debra Bowen, former L.A. County Registrar Conny "Condoleezza" McCormack, current acting Registrar Dean Logan, who was "greeted...with boos", and others all testified on the "Double Bubble" Ballot Fiasco. It went on for more than three and a half hours before the actual aggrieved parties (the voters of L.A. County) were allowed to testify for "30 seconds to a minute" each.

Our own Alan Breslauer was also there taping and may have some video here soon (including, perhaps, my quick testimony, and the continuing amusing threats of the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw me out.)

The BRAD BLOG overheard Logan in the hallway, desperately working to be bumped from "acting" to actual Registrar, as he slimed an Election Integrity advocate who had just testified against him. Logan was heard telling the top aide to one of the L.A. Board of Supes that one of the local, volunteer EI advocates was "a pathological liar." That, just minutes after Logan had attempted to take some responsibility for the fiasco --- when the media's cameras were rolling --- during his actual testimony. As we know the EI advocate in question, and know him to be an exceptionally stand-up guy, we informed Logan, and the aide, that he was incredibly out of line, and flat-out wrong. Again.

But it was McCormack who was met with the most derision, by audience and Legislative inquisitors alike, as she dissembled to the panel and attempted to blame Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" of voting systems for her own failure, disingenuously saying the SoS's efforts to do the job she was elected to do was the reason that McCormack couldn't have fixed the problem before it disenfranchised thousands of legal voters again this year...

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But the Good News: Provisional Ballots, Newly Discovered as Uncounted, as Reported by The BRAD BLOG on Friday, Were Ultimately Counted...by Hand!
Joint Legislative Hearing on 'Double Bubble' and Other Super Tuesday Problems to be Held on Friday in Los Angeles...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2008 1:37pm PT  

As we wait for the next round of thousands of disenfranchised voters to emerge from OH, TX, VT, RI, or beyond, Los Angeles County has finally finished counting its infamously disastrous "Double Bubble" ballots from the Feb. 5th Super Tuesday Primary in California.

The final numbers, in just in time to meet today's local certification deadline, are supposed to hearten us because the county Registrar's office chose to not count only some 12,000 valid, legally cast votes in the state's open Democratic Primary.

What a victory! It's kinda like celebrating the great success of the troop "surge" in Iraq where "coalition" fatalities have plummeted from pre-surge levels of 2.39 dead troops per day all the way down to 2.37 dead troops per day.

As we predicted, many of the districts counted resulted in very lopsided results. That was likely due to the horrible, unfair counting scheme the Registrar's office decided to use. The scheme disproportionately, and almost randomly, tossed out thousands of votes for some candidates, but tallied all of those for others --- even when they were all cast in the very same precinct, by the very exact same method. According to the results of this "supplemental count," as posted at the Registrar's website [PDF], it looks like our fears have come to pass in that department as well.

But there is a bit of actual good news in all of this, small comfort though it may be. Our concerns about the newly discovered uncounted provisional "Double Bubble" ballots, that we reported on Friday, were heard, even if our other concerns --- as attributed to us by name in today's Whittier Daily News coverage of the final tabulation --- were summarily dismissed by acting Registrar Dean Logan for unspecified "legal" reasons, according to that news report...

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