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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 31, 2014
'Green News Report' 7/31/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
20m gallon water main break in L.A. exposes decrepit U.S. water sytem; Record wildfires depleting budgets; Repubs fiddle as West burns; PLUS: Flesh-eating bacteria in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/29/14 - Archives...
FEC Commissioners at War Over Rove's Campaign Finance Violations
Deadlock vote, ignoring federal agencies own attorneys, leads to lawsuit and scathing attack of Dem Commissioners by GOP colleagues...
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
'Green News Report' 7/29/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/22/14 - Archives...
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
Previous GNRs: 7/22/14 - 7/17/14 - Archives...
Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
Record wildfires in Pacific NW; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: CA gets tough on water wasters...
Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
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...


Buckeye State Election Integrity Advocates Match Votes to Voters on the State's ES&S Voting Systems
Systems from Other Companies, Such as Diebold, Have the Same Problem...No Matter How Much Their Spokespeople Lie About It...
By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2007 4:15pm PT  

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

Enough. Enough. Enough already with this nightmare. It's time to decertify, ban, burn, crush, destroy all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines. Period.

DREs should never be allowed for use in another American election. Period.

Here's the lede from today's latest head-spinner, courtesy of Declan McCullagh at C|NET News...

Two Ohio activists have discovered that e-voting machines made by Election Systems and Software and used across the country produce time-stamped paper trails that permit the reconstruction of an election's results--including allowing voter names to be matched to their actual votes.
...
Ohio law permits anyone to walk into a county election office and obtain two crucial documents: a list of voters in the order they voted, and a time-stamped list of the actual votes. "We simply take the two pieces of paper together, merge them, and then we have which voter voted and in which way," said James Moyer, a longtime privacy activist and poll worker who lives in Columbus, Ohio.
...
Moyer and fellow activist Jim Cropcho tested this by dropping by the election office of Delaware County, about 20 miles north of Columbus, and reviewing the results for a May 2006 vote to extend a property tax to fund mental retardation services (PDF). Their results indicate who voted "yes" and who voted "no"--and show that local couples (the Bennets, for instance) didn't always see eye-to-eye on the tax.

ES&S machines are used in 38 states, and, of course, the ES&S spokesperson quoted in the article blames Ohio's procedures for allowing such records to be viewed by the public in the first place. Remember, the voting machine companies hate transparency and don't believe citizens should have the right to see anything concerning their own democracy.

They will also try to distract from the fact that the greatest threat to election integrity and security comes from election insiders --- such as voting machine company employees and elections officials --- rather than the public at large.

The well-reported and sourced C|NET article explains that the other major voting machine companies, Sequoia and Diebold, both deny that the same thing --- matching voters to votes --- is possible with their machines. An unnamed Diebold spokesperson, as usual, goes so far as to lie about the matter to the reporter, claiming they don't include time-stamps on the records for security and privacy reason. He/she added, "We're very sensitive to the integrity of the process."

That Diebold spokesperson is, of course, lying.

Last week, The BRAD BLOG detailed fraudulent claims on Diebold's website which said that on their touch-screen systems "the order of cast ballots is scrambled to further insure ballot anonymity." That claim runs counter to the findings of University of California's recent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all certified voting systems in the state. The UC findings [PDF] on Diebold's voting system source code, as commissioned by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, revealed precisely the opposite to be the truth...

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

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If So, Let the Fraud Suits Begin!
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2007 3:35pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from St. Louis...

I know it seems difficult to believe, but the first sign we've yet to be able to find publicly of a public official finally considering holding a voting machine company accountable for years of fraud and lying about their equipment, may come out of --- of all places --- Riverside County, CA!

Buried at the bottom of a report in yesterday's Press-Enterprise there is an interesting indication that County Supervisor Bob Buster, one of the most ardent supporters, previously, of touch-screen voting systems made by Sequoia, may be coming around to face reality, and may even be preparing to hold the company accountable for some of the millions of wasted county tax dollars...

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

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Says Were it Not for Debra Bowen's Victory Last November, We Wouldn't Know About 'Corruptible' Voting Machines Rubber-Stamped by Her Predecessor Bruce McPherson...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2007 11:28am PT  

Once again, in a world of horrible reporting and irresponsible journalists (Media Matters rounds up a bunch of them here) willing to pass on discredited, unevidenced sour grapes from Election Officials and Voting Machine Company spokesliars, it's syndicated columnist Tom Elias who cuts through the crap and tells the truth about those "loser" Officials.

Elias also validates the fine choice we made in the only official candidate endorsement at The BRAD BLOG.

Here are a few money shots, from one of the very few articles we've been able to find that gets it right, since the release of CA Secretary of State Bowen's landmark, independent review of the utter failures of every single electronic voting system that has been rubber-stamp certified by her horribly irresponsible predecessor, Bruce McPherson, and the near-entirety of CA Elections Officials who have been misleading and whining about the findings ever since...

The most important results of last fall's election are just now in, and dozens of county voting registrars who invested hundreds of millions of dollars in high-tech voting machines are the losers, exposed as careless at best, irresponsible at worst.

Only a few California voters realized it during that election season, but the trustworthiness of this state's entire voting process was at stake. The candidate who favored questioning all electronic voting machines won.

And soon after Democrat Debra Bowen took over as secretary of state last winter, she ordered a "top-to-bottom review" of electronic voting and vote-counting systems. The results expose the failures of the registrars: Every voting system they've bought since 2000, except those whose maker didn't readily submit them to testing, proved corruptible.

No one would know this today if former Republican Secretary of State Bruce McPherson had won last year. Despite serious questions about machines made by Diebold Election Systems, Hart InterCivic, Sequoia Voting Systems and Election Systems & Software (ES&S), McPherson never seriously examined the possibility that votes cast on them could be altered.
...
[I]f McPherson were still around, registrars wouldn't be whining now about "chaos" or the expense of carrying out Bowen's corrective edicts. Nor would they be worrying about facing questions for months to come about how they could spend so much on machines that can be corrupted.
...
The objection that voters do not get as much access as Bowen's hacking team also doesn't stand up. Her testers unscrewed panels to get around tamper-proof seals. They got inside virtually all machines. Any precinct worker who stores machines in closets or garages has as much opportunity as they did. So might county staffers wishing to sneak-attack machines in storage between elections.

Most suspicious election outcomes have suggested such insider interference, not tampering by voters at actual polling stations.

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Tells AlterNet That His Legislation Would Require Paper Ballots, But It Doesn't...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2007 9:54am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the road in Oklahoma...

"By November 2008, every voter would be given a verifiable paper ballot," Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) lies to Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet today concerning his flawed Election Reform Bill (HR811) which is still pending in Congress.

Despite the comments to Rosenfeld, Holt's legislation does not require a "paper ballot" --- no matter how many times he tries to put lipstick on that pig.

The state of California recently found the very voting systems Holt is pushing to see used across the entire nation to be easily hackable and not in compliance with federal requirements for disabilities voters. The state also found the "paper trail" that Holt's bill is to require for such systems, and which California already uses, cannot stop the tampering with votes found to be so easy on such systems.

Despite CA SoS Debra Bowen having decertified and severely restricted the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines with so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) last Friday --- as the Holt bill would allow for use --- and despite her having found that such paper trails do not protect voters and do not even meet minimal disabled accessibility standards, Holt continues apace to push his paper trail bill.

California's unprecedented independent study and actions "just adds more weight, more urgency to the need to pass federal standards," Holt told Rosenfeld concerning Bowen's appropriate decision to restrict the use of the systems. "We can't go into another federal election with machines that do no allow voters to verify their votes," he said --- despite the fact that his legislation does exactly that.

While Holt continues his disappointing campaign to deceive voters, media, and Congress Members into believing that "paper trails" are actually paper ballots, America seems to be moving on without him for the time being. In addition to the new restrictions in California, the use of DREs was recently banned entirely in Florida and New Mexico, and other states are re-evaluating their use of such systems.

HR 811's most powerful proponent/advocacy-group inside the beltway, People for the American Way (PFAW), is on record as preferring non-verifiable DRE voting systems over real paper ballots. They'd both do well to reconsider their positions, and adopt the voters' desire for paper ballots --- ones which are actually counted --- and a full ban on DREs.

Mr. Holt: Your deceptive misuse of the words "paper ballots" is a dog which no longer hunts. Please stop it.

[DISCLOSURE: I was asked to work with Holt's office on the language in HR 811 prior to its introduction in the U.S. House. Though I strongly urged they ban the use of DRE systems, that particular recommendation was not taken. I was, however, told that if I could convince PFAW to accept such a ban, they'd adjust their legislation immediately. So far, that has yet to happen. PFAW can be reached at PFAW@PFAW.org.]

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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Conny McCormack Worried Diebold Won't Make Enough Money off the Voters She is Supposed to Be Working For...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2007 9:00am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from somewhere in Oklahoma...

The shameful assault by California Elections Officials on the state's voters in the wake of CA Sos Debra Bowen's correct, yet courageous, decision to decertify and then limit the use of Diebold and other vendors' unreliable, hackable touch-screen (DRE) voting machines continues.

According to yesterday's LA Daily News, Conny McCormack, the Registrar of Voters in Los Angeles County, is very, very concerned...about profits for Diebold!

McCormack told the [Los Angeles] Board of Supervisors that Friday's decision by Secretary of State Debra Bowen requires all votes made on computer touch-screen systems to be hand-counted after the election to ensure accuracy.

Normally, only 1 percent of those votes are manually recounted.

"It's a shock that we'd have to hand-count at 100 percent," McCormack said.

McCormack said Bowen's order requires the county's vendors to pay the costs of that recount, which she estimated at $400,000 per election.

"I think we have to see what the vendors are going to say about that," McCormack said. "The vendors aren't going to make much money in Los Angeles County if they have to pay $400,000 for the recount."

But Supervisor Gloria Molina upbraided McCormack for her concerns about the vendors' profit margins.

"I think you are walking close to the edge," Molina said. "I don't understand why you are so protective of the vendors. You keep saying you are concerned about what this is going to cost them.

"It's really none of our business. It shouldn't be in our interest to protect the vendors' profits."

Why is McCormack "so protective of the vendors," as Molina asks? The answer may lie in determining whom McCormack is really working for.

She's supposed to be working for the voters, of course, not the vendors. But that's never stopped Conny, apparently. Here's Cover Girl Conny as she appears on the Diebold sales brochure to help them sell their voting systems...

McCormack has, of course, joined --- and even led --- the state's Elections Officials in their the outragous (and fallacious) attacks on Bowen, the state's chief Election Official.

In the meantime, McCormack hasn't bothered to attack either Diebold for lying to her and us about the security of their voting systems, or ES&S --- the vendor of her paper based voting system, used by most Los Angelinos --- for refusing to supply their op-scan source code, as per state law, for Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review." The ES&S InkaVote system has therefore been completely decertified for the moment.

The vendors lie and withhold information illegally, but Conny continues to fight for them and their profits. Not one word on behalf of the voters. What a disgraceful display.

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And Yet Another Sad Chapter from the Lying Liars of Diebold, America's #1 Un-American Voting System Company...
By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2007 6:05am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Plano, TX...

Staying, as we were for a few days, just about five minutes from Diebold Election Systems, Inc., headquarters in Allen, Texas, we thought it might be nice to drive by and see the old place for ourselves late last Saturday night...

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

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John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle! For an Unbelievably Clueless Report on CA SoS Debra Bowen's Recent Decision to Restrict Use of Touch-Screen Voting Systems
Wait Until You See What He Reported!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/6/2007 12:49pm PT  

Filed by Brad Friedman from Diebold Country (Plano, TX)...

There have been some first class examples of horrendous journalism in the wake of CA SoS Debra Bowen's historic attempts to begin righting the e-voting wrong late last Friday Night. (You can see a bunch of them for yourselves linked in John Gideon's 'Daily Voting News' yesterday.) In story after story, Election Officials --- most ubiquitously Steven Weir, Registrar of Contra Costa and President of the California Assoc. of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO), but many others as well --- and Voting Machine Spokesliars are directly quoted making one demonstrably false statement after another.

The majority of the journalists covering the beat don't seem to have a clue that they are being lied to, or how to counter it. A good start, however, would be to improve the ratio of Vendors/Elections Officials quoted to the number of Election Integrity advocates quoted. In many of the stories, there is barely a peep from the EI folks, who actually know what's going on (versus the Journalists who don't, and the Election Officials and Company Employees who are willing to lie to them). There is also a dearth of reporting on the opinions of actual voters and how they feel, since they are the ones who will be most notably affected by Bowen's long overdue changes to the Golden State's voting system.

Of all the stories we've reviewed since Friday, however, this Sunday piece from John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle easily takes the cake for the most atrocious reporting, perhaps ever.

In his incredibly unbalanced, anti-Bowen article --- featuring the biased, misworded, and unsupported headline "Touch vote machine ban hurts counties" --- Wildermuth offers an astounding bit of "reporting" on Bowen's new restrictions for Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting devices made by Diebold and Sequoia. In order to marginally meet federal requirements for a single disabled accessible voting device in each polling place (even though Bowen found that these systems do not meet such requirements), she's ordered no more than one such DRE device be used per polling place in counties who wish to deploy them for disabled voters.

Hold onto your hats, because Wildermuth, incredibly, mis-reported the point this way (emphasis added)...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2007 10:47am PT  

We concur...

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Debra Bowen Announces DRE (Touch-Screen) Machines to be Used Only One Per Polling Place for Disabled Voters with 100% Manual Count of Paper Trails
Dramatic Late Night Press Conference Held at 11:45pm in Sacramento...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2007 12:13am PT  

By Brad Friedman from Plano, TX, with help from Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us and Tom Courbat of SAVE R VOTE...

In a dramatic late-night press conference, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen decertified, and then recertified with conditions, all but one voting system used in the state. Her decisions, following her unprecedented, independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all certified electronic voting systems, came just under the wire to meet state requirements for changes in voting system certification.

Bowen announced that she will be disallowing the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by the Diebold and Sequoia companies on Election Day, but for one DRE machine per polling place which may be used for disabled voters. The paper trails from votes cast on DREs manufactured by those two companies must be 100% manually counted after Election Day. DREs made by Hart-Intercivic are used in only one California county and will be allowed for use pending security upgrades.

The InkaVote Plus system, distributed by ES&S and used only in Los Angeles County, has been decertified and not recertified for use after the company failed to submit the system source code in a timely manner to Bowen's office. LA County is larger than many states, and questions remain at this time as to what voting system they will use in the next election.

As The BRAD BLOG has been reporting in great detail for the past week since the reports were released, the "Top-to-Bottom Review" had found that all Electronic Voting Systems certified in California were easily accessible to hacking. A single machine, the testers discovered, could be easily tampered with by an Election Insider, Voting Machine Company Employee, or other individual in such a way that an entire election could be affected without detection.

In Bowen's conditional recertification she re-iterated that "expert reviewers demonstrated that the physical and technological security mechanisms" for the electronic voting systems "were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the elections results and of the systems that provide those results."

The Certification/Recertification documents for each of California's voting systems, including security mitigation procedures and other requirements for use, are now posted on the CA SoS website. The documents, in and of themselves, offer devastating indictments against the security and usability of each of the systems as revealed during Bowen's independent University of California "Top-to-Bottom Review."

Bowen, a Democrat, was elected last November largely on her promise to re-examine the state's voting systems. In an upset victory, she defeated Republican Bruce McPherson who had been appointed as Secretary of State by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger. McPherson had been very friendly to the voting machine vendors, allowing for the continued use of virtually every e-voting system submitted for state certification. Several of those systems had been previously revealed to have had grave vulnerabilities and included source code which was in violations of federal voting systems standards and in violation of state law.

The late-night press conference, following Bowen's decisions, was held at the SoS's office in Sacramento at 11:45pm PT, just in time to meet the state law requiring a six-month notification, prior to an election, for changes to certification of voting systems. California's Presidential Election Primary was recently moved up several months by the state legislature to February of '08.

The BRAD BLOG was able to listen in to the presser via a poor cell phone connection out of Bowen's office. As best as we were able to transcribe, these are our notes from Bowen's announcement and the questions from the media which followed...

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE/touch-screen) voting systems decertified and recertified for use by disabled only.
100% manual count for Diebold and Sequoia DREs.
One machine per polling place.

Diebold – Optical scan system: – decertified and recertified only if meets certain requirements.

Diebold TSx DREs – decertified and recertified subject to certain conditions. Only one machine in a polling place for use by disabled voters. Reduces risk of viral attacks that could infect central equipment.

Sequoia – Optec optical scan: – decertified and recertified – subject to conditions

Sequoia AVC Edge I and II (DREs) – decertified and recertified with a number of security requirements including only one machine in each voting location to allow independent access by disabled voters – concern regarding corruption of software and source code

Hart Intercivic – eSlate DRE: Used only by one county – decertifying and recertifying subject to security requirements. Has the least risk of the three systems.

ES&S InkaVote Plus - optical scan: (LA County only) – ES&S ignored my March demand to submit source code. ES&S eventually submitted source code too late for t2b review. Therefore, "I am decertifying the InkaVote Plus without recertification."

Voters are victims of federal certification process that has not done a job of assuring machines are accurate, accessible, secure.

I reject the notion that I should not require changes in systems solely because we already own them. She compares it to a recall of cars....When NASA finds a problem, they don't continue just because they've already spent the money. They scrub the mission and spend the money to get it right. We must do same with elections.

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

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UPDATED Many Times With the Latest Bowen Watch News & A Few Things to Look at While Waiting
PLUS: Now an Open Thread as We Wait...Announcement Now to Come at 11:45pm PT...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2007 5:32pm PT  

Blogged by Brad, just minutes down the road from Diebold Election Systems Inc. in Plano, TX...

[UPDATED MANY TIMES. ANNOUNCEMENT NOW TO COME AT 11:45pm PT, ACCORDING TO SOS OFFICE. SEE BOTTOM OF ARTICLE FOR LATEST UPDATES. DETAILS OF PRESS CONFERENCE NOW POSTED HERE.]

We were hearing "five o'clock hour." Now, the latest we're hearing for CA SoS Debra Bowen's announcement about what she plans to do with CA's electronic voting systems in light of her "Top-to-Bottom Review" (news of which has all but taken over The BRAD BLOG for the past week or so) is "around or after six PM tonight."

That would be 6pm Pacific Time. Around or after. We will, of course, let you know whatever we learn as soon as we learn it.

To review: Bowen has essentially three basic options that she can choose to make...

a) Do nothing, let everyone use the previously certified crappy, hackable, non-disabled accessible voting systems as are.
b) Decertify any or all of those systems.
c) Re-certify any or all of the "conditionally" with new security mitigation procedures in place --- such as no more voting machine "sleepovers," extra-large post-election audits, etc --- long enough to get the state through the February '08 primaries and/or November '08 general elections.

Or any combination of any of the above.

The SoS office is being exceptionally tight-lipped about their plans. And so, on pins and needles, we wait...Stay tuned...

UPDATE: By the way, while we're waiting --- and as I am currently parked literally minutes from the main headquarters of Diebold Election Systems, Inc., in Plano, TX --- feel free to check out their main web page. I don't know about other browsers, but using Firefox, all kinds of HTML code is sticking out that shouldn't be visible. These jackasses can't even code a webpage and we're relying on them to code our elections?! Oh, please someone save me...

UPDATE 5:50pm PT: Also, while waiting, you might enjoy this:

A busted computer system hamstrung the House (video link courtesy Breitbart.tv) for at least 45 minutes Friday on one of the tensest legislative days of the year.

The House electronic voting system malfunctioned at approximately 2 p.m. as lawmakers began a vote on a procedural motion sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.).
...
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he had consulted with a House technical expert who advised that the system be taken down for 30 minutes to fix the problem. He suggested vacating the vote and revoting once the system was fixed.

Nice that Hoyer and friends have the luxury of voting later and/or re-voting if they feel like it after their voting computer breaks down. Would that every American...

UPDATE 6:26pm PT from Emily Levy: Bowen press conference to be streamed live San Francisco Air America affiliate KQKE (960 AM) announced they will interrupt regular programming with the press conference when it takes place. However, no time has yet been announced. KQKE can be streamed online right here. (Click on "Listen Live.")

UPDATE 7:00pm PT: The good John Gideon reminds us that Bowen has until Midnight tonight (Pacific Time) to make her decisions. It's getting late here in TX, so we'll hope she doesn't wait that long. Her staff is still being frustratingly tight-lipped as of the past few mins...

UPDATE 8:33pm PT: Yes. In case you were wondering. We're still up and waiting...

UPDATE 9:49pm PT: More to look at while you wait...A 'Toon of the Moment' if there ever was one...

Comments below have become an Open Thread with guesses, speculation, and other questions about what Bowen may or may not do...Join us if ya like...

UPDATE 10:15pm PT: This just in via email from Bowen's press office:

TONIGHT: Secretary of State Debra Bowen Will Announce Her Decisions on California Voting System Certifications

UPDATE on tonight's Sacramento press conference regarding Secretary of State Debra Bowen's voting system certification decisions...

We have heard a couple of people unaffiliated with the Secretary of State's office passed along some incorrect information earlier today. I wanted to let you know we still do not have an exact time for gathering here for the press conference but, pursuant to Elections Code 19222, Secretary Bowen will announce her decisions tonight. We will send out an advisory with press conference details as soon as they are confirmed.

Thank you again for your patience during these unique circumstances,

Nicole Winger
Deputy Secretary of State, Communications
Office of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen

UPDATE 11:15pm PT: Word just in from Bowen's office. Announcement to come (emphasis in original) "TONIGHT at 11:45 p.m." Here's the full press release...

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

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REPORT FINDS PAPER TRAILS NOT SUFFICIENT TO SAFEGUARD A DIEBOLD ELECTION!!!
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2007 10:39am PT  

Blogged by Brad from deep in the heart of Diebold Country Texas...

The Source Code Review sections of CA SoS Debra Bowen's independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of voting machines were released yesterday after being scrubbed of some of the more dangerous, specific "road-maps" for hackers.

As expected, the reports are exceedingly troubling and damaging to the entire failed e-voting industry and Diebold, once again, is shown for the menace to democracy that its once-good name has now come to signify.

As reported by PCWorld...

Diebold Election Systems Inc. voting machines are not secure enough to guarantee a trustworthy election, and an attacker with access to a single machine could disrupt or change the outcome of an election using viruses, according to a review of Diebold's source code.

"The software contains serious design flaws that have led directly to specific vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit to affect election outcomes," read the University of California at Berkeley report, commissioned by the California Secretary of State as part of a two-month "top-to-bottom" review of electronic voting systems certified for use in California.

The assessment of Diebold's source code revealed an attacker needs only limited access to compromise an election.

"An attack could plausibly be accomplished by a single skilled individual with temporary access to a single voting machine. The damage could be extensive --- malicious code could spread to every voting machine in polling places and to county election servers," it said.
...
"A virus could allow an attacker who only had access to a few machines or memory cards, or possibly to only one, to spread malicious software to most, if not all, of a county's voting machines," the report said.

Voting machine "sleepovers," anyone? (Yes, we're talking to you Mikel Haas, Deborah Seiler, and Michael Vu in San Diego!)

And finally, there's this --- bolding added so it can be seen easier by members of CONGRESS...

The report warned that a paper trail of votes cast is not sufficient to guarantee the integrity of an election using the machines.

Got that, Mr. Holt and Ms. Feinstein?

And with that, we eagerly await Bowen's fateful decisions, due today, on what to do with California's electronic voting systems. She may choose to do a) nothing, b) decertify, or c) recertify with new conditional security elements. Today is Judgement Day. Stay tuned...

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By John Gideon on 8/2/2007 8:15pm PT  

Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

"The problems we found in the code were far more pervasive, and much more easily exploitable, than I had ever imagined they would be." Matt Blaze 02 August

Today the California Source Code Review Reports were released by Secretary of State Bowen's office. Reports were released on the Diebold, Sequoia, and Hart Intercivic voting systems.

The lead researcher for the Sequoia source code team was Matt Blaze. In his blog, Exhaustive Search, Blaze discusses the results of all of the inspections.

In spite of the short time and other sub-optimal conditions, the project found deeply-rooted security weaknesses in the software of all three voting systems reviewed.

I was especially struck by the utter banality of most of the flaws. Exploitable vulnerabilities arose not so much from esoteric weaknesses that taxed our ingenuity, but rather from the garden-variety design and implementation blunders that plague any system not built with security as a central requirement. There was a pervasive lack of good security engineering across all three systems, and I'm at a loss to explain how any of them survived whatever process certified them as secure in the first place. Our hard work notwithstanding, unearthing exploitable deficiencies was surprisingly --- and disturbingly --- easy.

Blaze then concludes with what may be a hint of decisions to come:

The root problems are architectural. All three reviewed products are, in effect, large-scale distributed systems that have many of their security-critical functions performed by equipment sent out into the field. In particular, the integrity of the vote tallies depends not only on the central computers at the county elections offices, but also on the voting machines (and software) at the polling places, removable media that pass through multiple hands, and complex human processes whose security implications may not be clear to the people who perform them. In other words, the designs of these systems expose generously wide "attack surfaces" to anyone who seeks to compromise them. And the defenses are dangerously fragile --- almost any bug, anywhere, has potential security implications.

This means that strengthening these systems will involve more than repairing a few programming errors. They need to be re-engineered from the ground up. No code review can ever hope to identify every bug, and so we can never be sure that the last one has been fixed. A high assurance of security requires robust designs where we don't need to find every bug, where the security doesn't depend on the quixotic goal of creating perfect software everywhere.

In the short term, election administrators will likely be looking for ways to salvage their equipment with beefed up physical security and procedural controls. That's a natural response, but I wish I could be more optimistic about their chances for success. Without radical changes to the software and architecture, it's not clear that a practical strategy that provides acceptable security even exists. There's just not a lot to work with.

I don't envy the officials who need to run elections next year.

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By John Gideon on 7/31/2007 11:42am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

To date the "Red Team" reports have been released; a preliminary report on audits has been released; and the accessibility report has been released. Our cup nearly runneth over.

But wait, there's more?

Yes, there are still 6 more reports that have not been released. There are three reports, one for each vendor, on the source code review. There are also three reports, one for each vendor, on the document review. All six of these reports are important to the total picture and all of them will be used in the final decision making process.

We encourage the Secretary of State to let the voters see those remaining reports. If the reports are 100 pages each, that's 600 pages of information that we need time to read and study.

Secretary Bowen, release the reports, please.

UPDATE 01 August: Today Princeton Prof. Ed Felten of Diebold Accuvote TS hack fame, asked on his blog, FreedomToTinker, "Where are the California E-Voting Reports". In his blog Prof. Felten says:

With the Secretary having until Friday to decide whether to decertify any e-voting systems for the February 2008 primary election, the obvious question arises: Why is the Secretary withholding the other reports?

Here’s the official explanation, from the Secretary’s site:

The document review teams and source code review teams submitted their reports on schedule. Their reports will be posted as soon as the Secretary of State ensures the reports do not inadvertently disclose security-sensitive information.

This explanation is hard to credit. The study teams were already tasked to separate their reports into a public body and a private appendix, with sensitive exploit-oriented details put in the private appendix that would go only to the Secretary and the affected vendor. Surely the study teams are much better qualified to determine the security implications of releasing a particular detail than the lawyers in the Secretary’s office are.

More likely, the Secretary is worried about the political implications of releasing the reports. Given this, it seems likely that the withheld reports are even more damning than the ones released so far.

If the red team reports, which reported multiple vulnerabilities of the most serious kind, are the good news, how bad must the bad news be?

We ask again; Secretary Bowen, release the reports, please.

UPDATE 02 AugustAnother set of reports, source code review, has been released today. Thank you Secretary Bowen.

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The Greatest Threat to Election Integrity Comes from Elections Insiders...Just Like the Ones Who Keep Telling Us Their Systems Are Secure...
By Brad Friedman on 7/31/2007 9:55am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from somewhere in Texas...

If you've yet to find time to read the hundreds of pages from the landmark "Top-to-Bottom Review" of voting systems from California University, as commissioned by CA SoS Debra Bowen, we don't blame ya.

So after plowing through dozens of articles covering the reports, we'll make it easy for you, and recommend two short articles which will get you all quickly caught up with an overview of some of the most notable findings from all of the various reports as written in nearly human-being language.

As well, we're happy to sum up --- and destroy --- the pathetic, predictable, and lock-step Election Officials' and Vendors' response to Bowen's report in a few easy paragraphs....

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

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Previous Administration's Accessibility Testing Did Not Exist For Computerized DRE Voting Systems and Was Unfair for Vote-PAD, a Non-Computerized Accessibility Solution...
By John Gideon on 7/31/2007 9:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org with input from Ellen Theisen, also of VotersUnite.Org

Now that the California Secretary of State's "Top-To-Bottom Review" testing is complete and the reports have been submitted, nearly everyone is falling over themselves to read and talk about the many startling vulnerabilities easily found by the "Red Teams" who performed hack testing on the systems.

However, there is another report that has been overlooked, for the most part, by the media and the public. That is the "Accessibility Review" which examined whether the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems meet federal requirements to allow voters with disabilities to cast their votes privately and independently as required by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Maybe it's because, as some have pointed out, accessibility issues are not as "sexy" as hacking into voting machines. Or maybe it's because this report is 155 pages long as compared to less than 20 pages for the "Red Team" reports. Either way, the failures found in the accessibility report may pack more dynamite and leave more questions unanswered than the security reports.

The "Executive Summary" of that report says it all:

Three voting systems, the Diebold AccuVote TSx, Hart eSlate and Sequoia Edge I and II, were evaluated for usability and accessibility for voters with disabilities and voters with alternate language needs, using both heuristic and user testing techniques. Although each of the tested voting systems included some accessibility accommodations, none met the accessibility requirements of current law and none performed satisfactorily in test voting by persons with a range of disabilities and alternate language needs. In some cases the accessibility or usability deficits could be partially or wholly mitigated. Some of these mitigations would not require new federal and state certification testing.

Notice that the researchers say, "none met the accessibility requirements of current law." That's federal and state law. The machines have been sold for years --- and, in fact, the use of DRE machines as a whole has been jammed down America's polling places --- on the basis that they meet federal HAVA mandates for an accessible means of voting in every polling place. And yet, the California analysts found, they are not accessible at all...

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

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