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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring the GOP's Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin? Let us catch you up quickly with the latest...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become; Plus: another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
OR nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
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...


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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Company Recommends 'Rescheduling Elections,' Calling Voters to 'Re-Vote' as Part of Memory Card Failure Procedures; We Recommend Suing the Bastards...
ALSO: Voter-Supression Tactics in Play Around the US Today...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2007 4:22pm PT  


A good report from a couple of days ago from the I-Team in Cleveland, Ohio. Unfortunately, they tend to run such reports just before Election Days, when it's too damned late to do a damn thing about it.

Nonetheless, some very good stuff here. Of particular note are the points from Diebold's recommendations which "appear to border on the absurd," that should voting machine memory cards be lost, "elections must be re-scheduled." Or if they fail, as our recent story concerning Diebold's admissions about memory card failures in Florida pointed towards, the company says "all voters will have to be called in to re-vote."

Heckuva voting system guys. Check out the report, above right.

NOTE: Discussion of suing Diebold comes up in this piece yet again. Along with the same concerns, as heard elsewhere, about "the Catch-22" of suing voting machine vendors. Namely, counties are afraid to sue the company they rely on to run their next election! The counties and the vendors are "joined at the hip," as the I-Team report points out. Call it a soft form of extortion, really.

If you haven't already, please sign VoterAction's petition calling on Congress to "conduct a full investigation into the dangers associated with the privatization of our public elections and to determine whether certain US voting systems companies have committed crimes under federal and state anti-fraud laws."

For an early look at concerns, largely of voter-suppression issues, around the country, Alternet has a very good state-by-state preview this morning.

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Nelson and Co-Sponsor Whitehouse Rewrite Originally Introduced Bill to Do Away with Discredited Systems by 2012 and 'Any Subsequent Year'
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2007 11:07pm PT  

-- By Brad Friedman

After months of being told over and over by Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) office, People for the American Way (PFAW), and many of the other most ardent supporters of Holt's flawed Election Reform Bill (HR811) that "there is no support in Congress for a ban on DREs," it looks like they must have been wrong. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and co-sponsor Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) filed such a bill today.

Here's the complete bill [PDF] which we've yet to read in full. But note this item from page 41, Line 7:

RESTRICTION ON USE OF DIRECT RECORDING ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS -
A direct recording electronic voting system may not be used to administer any election for Federal office held in 2012 or any subsequent year.

A ban on such machines, finally? Yes! By 2012? Unfortunately, yes. But let's overlook that last point for a moment.

In a statement issued by Nelson today, pointing out that DRE (often referred to as "touch-screen") voting systems are "unreliable and vulnerable to error," the senator says, "The bottom line is we have to ensure every vote is counted – and, counted properly...Citizens must have confidence in the integrity of their elections.”

The new language banning DREs was added today to a previous version of the same bill which Nelson had introduced originally in early Summer. This version "would be the first [bill] to seek a ban on electronic touch-screen voting machines in federal elections nationwide," according to his statement, which adds that the language was updated after a recent meeting with Florida's Republican Secretary of State Kurt Browning, once an ardent support of DRE voting systems.

When Nelson's original version of the legislation was introduced some months ago, it was largely a "clone version" of Holt's original HR811 introduced in the House, but with a number of extra provisions addressing concerns of voter intimidation and suppression.

Little attention had been given to Nelson's bill at the time, since the Rules Committee was regarded as having jurisdiction for any Election Reform bills in the Senate, and the committee chair, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), had made clear she intended to introduce her own version of Election Reform as the Senate counterpart to Holt's. She eventually introduced S. 1487, which has been subsequently criticized by Election Integrity advocates as being even more flawed then Holt's much-criticized bill.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: We were invited to work on the Holt bill prior to its introduction, and succeeded in adding several much-improved provisions. Yet the bill, as currently written --- and far more so since being drastically watered down throughout the committee process --- has failed to garner our support.)

DREs: "Not a Reasonable Voting System"

Neither Feinstein's nor Holt's bill had called for a ban on DRE voting systems, however, despite an outcry among Election Integrity advocates and a host of computer scientists and security experts who argued that DREs were vulnerable to hacking, non-transparent, prone to error, antithetical to democracy, and thus simply could not be used safely in elections. With or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) printer attached.

Johns Hopkins computer professor Avi Rubin testified earlier this year that "after four years of studying the issue, I now believe that a DRE with a VVPAT is not a reasonable voting system."

Stanford professor and VerifiedVoting.org founder David Dill, arguing in favor of the Holt bill, admitted, "I would personally prefer to see optical scan machines used nationwide."

And former legislative director of VoteTrustUSA.org Warren Stewart, now also of VerifiedVoting, had told a Senate panel earlier this year that while there were disagreements among some in the EI movement, most had agreed that touch-screen systems must not not be used. "While this broad based movement embraces a wide range of proposals and positions," he testified, "it is unified in the conclusion that the direct electronic recording of votes to computer memory is inimical to democracy."

And yet, all three of the above advocates, along with many others, continued to argue --- while failing to offer any actual evidence for the claim --- that there was simply no support for the idea of a DRE ban in either house of the U.S. Congress.

All the while, The BRAD BLOG had maintained that they, and the other Holt supporters, had fallen victim to a hoax by People for the American Way (PFAW). The popular public advocacy group had long pushed the unsupported notion that there was no congressional support for such a ban, in order to see the bill passed specifically without such a ban. It was one of several false notions being forwarded by the group in favor of the bill, as we argued both here and at Alernet early in the year.

A careful examination of PFAW's on-the-record statements, and numerous on and off-the-record conversations with their Executive Director and legislative leaders by The BRAD BLOG over many months, revealed that PFAW (almost inexplicably) has actually been advocating in favor of the use of dangerous DRE voting systems in American elections. It's fair to say that Holt's bill had thus been held hostage to ensure that such systems would not be banned.

But then came the fallout from the failed 13th Congressional District election last November in Nelson's home state, followed by California Sec. of State Debra Bowen's landmark scientific findings, Rep. Susan Davis's (D-CA) amendment this past summer, and a killer editorial from the New York Times as the tide began to slowly turn...

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

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Letter from Sec. of State, Obtained by The BRAD BLOG, Says America's Largest E-Voting Vendor Failed - Yet Again - To Deliver Required Materials to State Testing Board
Company Previously Decertified After Lawsuit Found Little or No Testing Performed by State in 2006...
By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2007 9:39pm PT  

Once again, the country's largest voting machine vendor, Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), has failed in yet another state certification process, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

In a letter faxed to the company yesterday, Colorado's Secretary of State Mike Coffman informed the Omaha, Nebraska, company that the state has suspended the certification process of ES&S's voting systems due to a failure to provide required documentation and other materials needed to complete testing. That, after several previous deadline extensions had been granted.

"[T]here is a history of coordination issues with your company," Coffman wrote to ES&S's Vice President of Certification, Steve Pearson, in the two-page letter, before detailing a litany of problems they've had with the company throughout the testing period.

"Those issues include the following: changing project managers multiple times since April, providing incorrect programming of required databases for testing, providing incorrect ballots for testing, failing to provide required documentation of Federal testing, and test failures requiring extensive machine servicing," wrote Coffman.

The complete letter is posted at the end of this article.

The testing of Colorado's systems comes after all of the state's voting systems were decertified by a state judge just prior to last year's November election. In the 2006 lawsuit, brought by legal e-voting watchdog VoterAction.org on behalf of several Colorado voters, the judge found that the state's certification process amounted to little more than opening the box, checking for manuals, turning the system on and off and stamping it as good-to-go.

As the finding in the lawsuit came just prior to the November general election, the state's e-voting systems were allowed for use one more time before all such systems were automatically decertified, to allow the testing process to begin again afterwards --- legitimately this time.

Since then, all of the companies whose systems are being tested in the state have delayed in turning over needed materials, prompting speculation from e-voting critics that, with elections pending, they may be purposely delaying the process in hopes of running out the clock.

But similar failures by ES&S to cooperate with state officials around the country have now become legion.

The latest mess in Colorado echoes closely similar problems with the company as seen in other states over the last year. Just a brief sampling of some of those extraordinary failures include...

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

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Earlier Recommendations Ignored by Governor; Equipment, Personnel Unavailable, Undeployed, Late in Coming
Failures of County Supervisors Also Cited as 'Too Little, Too Late'...
By Miriam Raftery on 10/24/2007 10:05am PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Miriam Raftery from San Diego, CA

“It’s like Armageddon,” Jill Michaels said, after watching her home burn to the ground in the Harris fire. In the early hours of the worst fire in California history, the Michaels family received no evacuation warning and found exit routes blocked, forcing them to turn back to their home in Potrero. Now, the Michaels are among half a million evacuees who have fled four raging wildfires, the worst fire disaster in California history. Worse even than the 2003 Cedar fire, which until now held that shameful record.

San Diego County now has more refugees than New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. While reported loss of life thus far remains low, hundreds of thousands of acres have been scorched and countless people will soon return home--only to find themselves homeless.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and local officials have made media appearances claiming credit for swiftly responding to the disaster. “There is much more equipment available, more manpower is available, quicker action,” Schwarzenegger said, according to the Associated Press.

What the Governor failed to mention is that he vetoed four bills that would have increased staffing and fire resources after the Cedar Fire, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. A fifth bill, signed by Schwarzenegger, requires local governments to first submit safety plans to the California Department of Forestry and will not take effect until 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported in a May 20, 2007 article titled “Fire danger acute as 2003 lessons fade.” That article has since disappeared off the newspaper’s website, but a copy is here.

The same story cited Dallas Jones, former director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and current official with California Professional Firefighters union. Jones damned Schwarzenegger for failing to provide additional firetrucks. “How many years are we since the ’03 fire siege?” he asked, “and so far, nothing.”

Other unfulfilled recommendations made to Schwarzenegger by his Blue Ribbon Fire Commission include replacement of aging fire helicopters, increasing staffing to assure four person crews on each state fire engine sent to major wildfires, and nighttime air drops.

A national contract fleet of heavy air tankers has fallen from 41 to 16 in the last five years, with aging aircraft deemed unsafe and grounded. The state firefighting fleet has not replaced two air tankers that crashed, the L.A. Times reported.

CNN reports that only 1,500 National Guard have been sent to assist Californians during the current wildfire crisis—less than 1/10 of the state’s 20,000 National Guard members. Clearly having the bulk of our National Guards forces deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan have hindered emergency response here at home.

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Most of the 500,000 Evacuees Are from Republican Enclaves...
By Jon Ponder on 10/23/2007 3:26pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review

On his radio gabfest yesterday, CNN's resident rightwing crackpot Glenn Beck implied that because residents of Malibu "hate America," they were therefore unluckily suffering the loss of their homes to wildfires:

I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire [sic] today.

Leaving aside the fact that there isn't a "forest" within miles of Malibu, just seconds before that outrageous, though half-baked, assertion, Beck made a statement that contradicted what he was about to say:

[We're] all one America, that just because I disagree with you doesn't mean you hate America, and I love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function...

He then contradicted himself in the same sentence a second time, saying he was not referring to Democrats but to nefarious people (liberals? terrorists?) who pretend to be Democrats:

There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that.

Huh?...

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2008 Ballot Measure, Previously Declared Defunct, May Have Found New GOP Life...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2007 2:37pm PT  

When we wrote of the reported "death" of the GOP initiative/scam to split California's Electoral College votes we urged caution, suggesting that these guys don't just give up that easily. Not just because they get caught. As they did when it appeared an out-of-state Rudy Giuliani supporter appeared to secretly be behind the attempt to see the measure placed on next year's ballot.

The initiative, if it gains enough signatures, would make its way onto the ballot in next February's Presidential Primary Election. If passed, it would require that California's enormous number of electoral votes be apportioned as based on Congressional district support. That, instead of the current winner-take-all system used in the state and in the vast majority of the country. Critics, not without appropriate justification, have viewed the initiative as an attempt to steal the 2008 Presidential Election for the Republicans.

Late last night, Sacramento Bee reported that the initiative may be back on track, having found new, deep-pocket funders. Today, "The Maven" at dKos offers many more details.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2007 7:51pm PT  

Just a quick note in response to those who have queried. The entire "staff" and resources at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters are just fine, even as fires continue to rage across the state. The closest burn to us, at this time, would be out in Malibu, as things back here closer to Hollywood remain quiet for the moment.

It continues to be incredibly dry and hot out here though, and the winds, at times, have been extraordinary. While some of the cable news channels have picked up much more today in their coverage, things have been largely wall-to-wall on local stations since yesterday. Rightly so.

Given the pictures we're seeing, it's really bad out there --- an utter conflagration --- and like nothing we've seen in the 10-plus years that we've been in the Golden State. But we are safe and sound at the moment. And our thanks to those who have asked.

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