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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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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...


By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2007 10:38am PT  

To follow up on a story we covered last October when arrests were made in Orange County, California after it was discovered that "bounty hunters" were being paid per Republican voter registration form they gathered and had switched Democratic (and Green and even non-citizen) voter registration forms to Republican...LA Times is reporting today that sentencing for the first two of the 12 arrested has let the pair off with "time served" and three years probation:

A couple who admitted to their roles in an Orange County voter registration scandal each were sentenced Wednesday to three years' formal probation.

Jason Holly, 36, and Jessica Sundell, 23, were among 12 people arrested last fall and charged with signing up voters during a registration drive that resulted in dozens of Democrats fraudulently being signed up as Republicans.
...
The scandal, which surfaced nearly a year ago, embarrassed the county's Republican Party and underscored problems that can arise with signature-gathering and voter registration campaigns in which the workers are paid by the signature.

Campaign watchdogs have derisively called that practice a "bounty hunter" system.

One of the 12 defendants, Don Williams, remains a fugitive.

The others await court appearances and face up to three years in prison.

AP adds a couple of details on how the scam was perpetrated:

According to prosecutors, the recruiters went to shopping malls and campuses and asked residents to sign petitions for lower taxes or stricter sex offender laws, then tricked them into signing voter registration cards for the Republican party. The registration drive paid up to $10 per registrant.

Neither of the reports went into much detail on exactly who was behind the scheme, aside from statements from GOP spokesmen that they knew nothing about it. Naturally.

(Anybody spoken to Nathan Sproul lately?)

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Now-Former 13-Year Election Official Who Once Told Us Voters We Need to Have 'Trust and Faith' in How He Would Count Votes --- May Avoid Jail Time in Light of Plea Deal
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2006 2:32pm PT  

In October of 2005, just prior to the Monterey County, California, November election with their new Sequoia touch-screen voting systems, Registrar of Voters Tony Anchundo and I had an exchange on the radio.

I asked him how discrepancies would be handled, if any where found between the machine-reported results on the county's new systems and their planned audit of the so-called "paper trails" from those unreliable systems.

The 13-year election official told me, "There is obviously going to have to be some trust and faith in the elections official, or in this case, it's me." (Audio of full interview here, text transcript here, Court TV's Catherine Crier picked up on our reporting of this in a video editorial here.)

In July of 2006, Tony "Trust Me" Anchundo was charged with 43 criminal counts, including charges of forgery, misapplication of funds, embezzlement, falsification of accounts, and grand theft of nearly $80,000 of county money.

And finally, yesterday, Anchundo pleaded "no contest" to all 43 criminal charges. His plea deal may help him avoid any jail time at all. He was facing a possibility of some 12 years in prison.

Anchundo is the response to any election official, politician, or voting machine company spokeshole who tells us that we must have trust in our election officials that they will do the right thing, that they'd never do anything untoward, or game an election...despite their insider access to voting equipment which can be tampered with to allow a single person to steal an entire election without a trace left behind.

Trust them? Not bloody likely. Our country and constitution were not founded on trust, but on checks and balances. The disgraced and disgraceful Anchundo is the object lesson in that regard for all time.

Truly honest elections officials will be the first to tell you they should not be trusted. Leon County, Florida Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho said in a speech last May, "Trust no one. If it can't be verified, it can't be used." Yolo County, California Registrar-Clerk Freddie Oakley wrote last June in response to many of her colleagues, "They also argue that, 'We have to trust our poll workers…' To this I can only say…only if they are incorruptible."

MORAL: Trust no one when it comes to your elections. Especially those who tell you they should be trusted.

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By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2006 9:05am PT  

Concerning Riverside County, California, Supervisor Jeff Stone's public, video taped "thousand to one" bet to Election Integrity advocates that they couldn't find a hacker who could manipulate the county's Sequoia voting system, and the acceptance of that challenge by noted Finnish hacker of Diebold systems Harri Hursti, the Press Enterprise's Dan Bernstein wrote an amusing column last week which we meant to run previously. Here's a bit of it now in any case...

What will the famed Harri Hursti (reputed defanger of Diebold touch screens) attempt to hack? A Sequoia machine? A vote-counting nerve center? How much time will he have? Will it be a realistic test, proving that nefarious elections workers could pull an inside job?

And if Harri the Hacker succeeds, what then? Sayonara Sequoia? Hello Hanging Chad? And what's this 1,000-to-1 odds business? Would Harri be paid in tax dollars? "I Voted" stickers? Jeff Stone press releases?

Even bigger question: Once Hot Rod Harri has hacked (or gotten thwacked), will we know once and for all that RivCo touch screens are untouchable or need to be touched up?

Also of note, last week the unapologetically rightwing San Diego Union-Tribune also ran an item on the challenge. Though it ran prior to the announcement that Hursti was happy to play along. We don't believe they've followed it up since with the additional news.

Still waiting for Stone's reply to the acceptance of the challenge, on Hursti's behalf, by the DFA-Temecula/SAVE R VOTE folks. Last week, Stone and the rest of the RivCo supes were going wobbly on the offer. We'll see if they wobble off the cliff entirely (and admitting, in the bargain, that their voting systems are not secure) before or after the holidays. The final public meeting, until after the new year, is this morning. We'll let ya know if anything of note comes about.

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The Diebold Whistleblower Looks Back with Gratitude and Forward with Hope...
By Steve Heller on 12/17/2006 7:13pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Guest Blogger Stephen Heller

Hi, my name is Steve Heller. Some have referred to me as the "Diebold Whistleblower." For those unfamiliar with my case, you can find a good summation here. You can read articles about the resolution of the case http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3826\">here, here and here.

Brad has been kind enough to allow me this chance to thank you, the progressive community, for all the help and support you gave my wife and me during this very difficult time. We could hardly believe the incredible amount of emotional sustenance and encouragement, as well as all the financial donations to my defense fund, that we received.

We heard from people from all parts of the United States (including Guam and Puerto Rico), and from many parts of the world; the United Kingdom, Japan, Holland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Brazil, New Zealand, and quite a handful from Canada. Of particular pride to us were the handful of notes and even donations from U.S. military personnel; those really meant a lot to us. We know that soldiers don't make any money, and for some of them to kick in a few bucks for my defense fund really touched me. They're being asked to give so much, and here they were trying to help me and my wife. Truly, we were astounded at the support we received, and I cannot begin to thank all of you enough. Thank you so very, very much. A thousand, million times over, I thank you, and my wife thanks you.

I can't find the words to express our appreciation and thanks to all who donated to the defense fund. In mostly small amounts, the donations added up to enough to cover all the legal expenses we incurred after the fund was established, and that was an astounding thing. Such an outpouring from the world wide progressive community was humbling. I don't know if I would have been as generous to someone in my situation as people were to me, and for me that's a lesson learned.

In many ways, the smaller donations meant more to us than the larger ones. I'll never forget getting a card with a crumpled $5 bill inside and a note written in the quavery handwriting of an elderly person. The note said "I'm sorry this donation is so small, but my monthly check will only go so far. Good luck and God bless you." I can't even begin to describe how much that note, and so many notes and emails like it, whether accompanied by a donation or not, meant to me and my wife. Everyone who contacted us received a reply, either by email or letter, but please allow me to thank you all yet again.

At the risk of embarrassing some people, I want to mention a few names of those who really were exceptionally kind and generous with their time and in many cases even with their hard-earned money…

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

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Merry Christmas. God Bless America.
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2006 6:23pm PT  

Good news. It's getting a little harder, at least for the moment, for our government to kill our own citizens. From the AP coverage...

OCALA, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush suspended all executions in Florida after a medical examiner said Friday that prison officials botched the insertion of the needles when a convicted killer was put to death earlier this week.
...
In Florida, medical examiner Dr. William Hamilton said Wednesday's execution of Angel Nieves Diaz took 34 minutes — twice as long as usual — and required a rare second dose of lethal chemicals because the needles were inserted clear through his veins and into the flesh in his arms. The chemicals are supposed to go into the veins.
...
The governor said he wants to ensure the process does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, as some death penalty foes argued bitterly after Diaz's execution.

No. It's not cruel and unusual. It's very kind and thoughtful. Idiot.

The government in the state of Florida can't seem to get anything right. According to one of the anti-Death Penalty advocates quoted in the story, "Florida has certainly deservedly earned a reputation for being a state that conducts botched executions."

Go ahead and replace "executions" with "elections" (as you probably already have) and the sentence is equally true. Although, as far as we know, nobody's head has caught fire while voting in Florida, as apparently occurred twice during electric-chair executions in the state during the 90's. Lovely.

Meanwhile, good news on the Government Not Murdering Its Own Citizens front in both California, and even Missouri...

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

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Press Coverage Reveals Board of Supervisors, Sequoia Laying Groundwork to Try and Wriggle Out of '1000 to 1' Bet Their Voting Machines Can't Be Hacked...
By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2006 3:23pm PT  

As usual, we scooped everyone yesterday with our scintillating coverage of noted computer security expert/programmer Harri Hursti's agreement to accept the challenge thrown down by Riverside County, California, Supervisor Jeff Stone to allow someone to come in an attempt to "manipulate" the county's electronic voting equipment made by Sequoia Voting Systems.

The local media in Southern California, however, have now been fairly quick to jump into the game as well with several articles on the matter so far today. Their reports reveal that both the County Board of Supervisors and Sequoia, both as expected, are beginning to try and create some wiggle room to back out from the "thousand to one" bet Stone made publicly last week to local Election Integrity advocates.

Several national Election Integrity individuals and watchdog organization VelvetRevolution.us (VR) have staked $1000 on the bet and have helped to facilitate the participation of Hursti. None of the press coverage dealt with that point. [DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VelvetRevolution.us and would be more than willing to discuss that aspect with any such media, if they wish. We can be reached here.]

Stone's video-taped shot-from-the-hip "bet" to local advocate Maxine Ewig, allowing that he would arrange with a programmer to "set up an appointment with one of our machines and...verify that they can manipulate that machine," was issued during a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors last week. (Streaming video of the exchange can be seen here, a text transcript is here.)

Stone also added, "And maybe we should bring the media in and let’s see if your programmer can manipulate that machine. My guess is that it is not gonna happen, but I’m willing to take a chance on that."

Well, the "media" are "in" for the moment. Yet reports in the news today already indicate that the rest of Riverside County's all-Republican 5-person Board of Supervisors and the voting machine company, Sequoia, may be less confident than Stone that their equipment can stand up to any actual independent security analysis such as one that Hursti would be likely bring.

For the record, our call to Stone yesterday for comment has still gone unreturned.

Press reports today reveal that both the board, the company --- and even Stone --- are already laying the groundwork for several "outs" for themselves. Anyone surprised? Let's take a look...

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

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Harri Hursti --- The Lead Programmer Who Hacked Diebold Systems in Both Florida and Utah --- Looking Forward to Testing the Security Vulnerability of Riverside County's Systems!
Election Integrity Individuals, Group, Stake $1000 for Charity on Supervisor Jeff Stone's Offer!
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2006 3:47pm PT  

An expert computer security programmer who successfully manipulated the results of a mock election held on a Diebold optical-scan voting machine in Florida, as well as finding major security vulnerabilities on a Diebold touch-screen system in Utah, has agreed to meet a public challenge to "manipulate" a Sequoia voting system in Riverside County, California.

Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti, who along with Dr. Herbert H. Thompson
of Security Innovation accomplished the landmark Diebold voting machine manipulations, has agreed to meet the open challenge put forward by Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone during a video-taped public board meeting last week.

Several national Election Integrity individuals, along with the non-partisan watchdog organization VelvetRevolution.us, have agreed to stake $1000 to meet Stone's "thousand to one" bet that the county's voting machines, made by Sequoia Voting Systems, can indeed be manipulated.

As The BRAD BLOG reported last week, the gauntlet was thrown down at the county's Board of Supervisors meeting when, during the public comment period, Stone issued his challenge to Maxine Ewig, an Election Integrity advocate from the SAVE R VOTE project of Democracy for America (DFA) - Temecula Valley.

(Our original story linked to a video of the exchange as posted on the County's website. A different camera angle on the challenge, revealing an interesting expression or two from the County's Executive Officer, Larry Parrish, is now posted here in Streaming Flash Video, appx. 2 and a half minutes.)

The SAVE R VOTE members were on hand at the meeting to express a series of concerns about the security and accuracy of the county's voting systems in light of problems which plagued the county's 2006 election. The county has decided to create a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to look into reported problems, but announced today that they will not be including any of the Election Integrity advocate citizens from SAVE R VOTE on the panel.

After denials from several Supervisors that there were serious security concerns in their voting systems, DFA's Maxine Ewig had informed the board during the public comment period last week that she had been told by a programmer that they "had not seen any machine or program that could not be manipulated."

In response, Stone interrupted to make his challenge, offering "to set up an appointment with one of our machines" in order to "verify that [a programmer] can manipulate that machine."

"I'm gonna bet a thousand to one that they cannot do it," Stone said, before adding, "we should bring the media in" to witness the attempted manipulation.

It wouldn't be the first time Hursti hacked a voting system in front of the media. Both he and Thompson were seen performing a now-infamous Diebold optical-scan system hack in Leon County, Florida, in the recent HBO documentary film Hacking Democracy.

Hursti, writing to The BRAD BLOG from Shanghai where he is currently working on another project, decried the lack of "hack testing" for electronic voting systems now used across America and welcomed the opportunity to test Riverside's Sequoia system.

"It is important that all vendors' makes and models are tested against obvious attacks," he wrote.

Prior to the final confirmation of Hursti's agreement to participate in the hack test, DFA - Temecula Valley issued a press release this morning lauding Stone for the opportunity being presented for independent experts to test the county's voting system vulnerabilities. (Complete press release posted at end of this article.)

In an email sent to The BRAD BLOG earlier today, Ewig wrote that she was "pleased [to have] Hursti's commitment to come to Riverside County to demonstrate the vulnerability" of the Sequoia systems.

Security Innovation's Thompson --- who worked with Hursti, along with election watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org, on the hack of the Diebold optical-scan system in Leon County, FL, last December as well as the touch-screen system last March in Emery County, UT --- was also excited at the opportunity to examine Riverside's voting system....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2006 12:36pm PT  

A li'l bit of Sunday morning radio. Me with the always delightful Christine Craft of Sacramento's 1240am Talk City sitting in over at San Francisco's (and Oakland's and San Jose's and elsewhere's) big old KGO 810am. Talking Election Integrity with a loads of good callers incoming. Unfortunately, none of them called me a whacko, tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist no matter how hard I tried. Funny, but where I almost always used to get such callers, we don't seem to hear from them much (if ever) anymore. Go figure.

The appearance is just 34 minutes --- after I removed the commercials from the hour long segment --- of Sunday morning Braditude for your listening pleasure...


-- Brad with Christine Craft on KGO, 12/10/06 [MP3]

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Challenges Election Integrity Advocates to 'See if Your Programmer Can Manipulate That Machine' at Public, Video Taped Meeting!
Invites Media to Witness Challenge!
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2006 7:54pm PT  

Riverside County, California, Supervisor Jeff Stone laid down the gauntlet to Election Integrity advocates at a public meeting on Tuesday, offering to bet them "a thousand to one" they can't hack into the county's electronic voting machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems.

Near the end of a contentious meeting of the Board of Supervisors, in which the county's five person board accepted the final canvass of results from the November 7th election from Riverside County Registrar Barbara Dunmore, Stone made his challenge to one of a number of activists from the SAVE R VOTE election watchdog coalition. The advocates were on hand to give testimony about problems they witnessed during the recent election, to present their own report to the board (PDFs: Report, Photos#1, Photos#2), and ask that at least one of their members be appointed to a "Blue Ribbon Commission" being convened by the county to investigate problems during the election.

In the videotaped exchange with Stone, Maxine Ewig, a co-founder of Democracy for America - Temecula Valley and a SAVE R VOTE member, tells the county supervisors that she was informed by a programmer that they "had not seen any machine or program that could not be manipulated."

In response, Stone interrupted Ewig's testimony to offer his challenge.

"I'd like to challenge that programmer," Stone says in the video clip (complete transcript of the exchange at the bottom of this article), "and I'd like to set up an appointment with one of our machines and I'd like him or her to verify that they can manipulate that machine. And I'm gonna bet a thousand to one that they cannot do it...I'll make that challenge."

Stone's stunning challenge continued with an invitation to the media --- reporters from several local papers were on hand --- to witness the attempted voting machine manipulation.

"I'm challenging you to challenge her or him and I...I believe we can make that happen," he said. "And maybe we should bring the media in and let's see if your programmer can manipulate that machine. My guess is that it is not gonna happen, but I'm willing to take a chance on that."

How far Stone may be "willing to take" that "chance" remains to be seen. In the wake of the news, which was reported today briefly by both the Desert Sun and the Press Enterprise, several national Election Integrity advocates have informed The BRAD BLOG that they would be willing to put some money on the line towards accepting Stone's challenge. We hope to have more details on that as the matter develops.

Riverside is the first county in the nation to use touch-screen voting systems. Local Election Integrity advocates have, for some time, been waging a fight for more transparency, security, and accountability from the county and, specifically, the county's Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore.

SAVE R VOTE member Tom Courbat was on hand for the proceedings. Courbat is one of the activists who, as The BRAD BLOG broke in the days just prior to the November 7th election, helped reveal the "Yellow Button" on the back of Sequoia touch-screen machines which could allow a voter to cast as many votes as they wish on those systems.

He complained during his testimony to the board about the planned make up of the county's "Blue Ribbon Commission." The county is convening the panel to investigate several failures during the recent Election and the "operational problems of the registrar of voters office," as Courbat told us tonight.

Courbat suggested to the board that they appoint at least one citizen Election Integrity advocate to the panel after, earlier in the meeting, a board member had responded to critics by saying they didn't want to include anybody who was predisposed against electronic voting systems.

Courbat countered by suggesting that a mix of those both in favor and against such systems would be a healthy idea for the commission. The board seemed less than moved by the idea, and Ewig then proceeded by opening her own testimony informing the board that members of SAVE R VOTE had not come to this cause originally against electronic voting. Rather, she explained, their current position was based on "their own study over the past two years."

It was then that Stone answered with his challenge. The exchange is available on the county's website via online video here (Scroll to the 2:10:00 mark for the beginning of the exchange. NOTE: This video link may only work in Internet Explorer w/ Media Windows Player. Another video of the same event, from a different camera angle --- with some priceless expressions from at least one of the Supervisors --- is now posted below in Streaming Flash.)


-- Streaming Flash Version...

It is unclear whether or not Stone is aware of either Sequoia's "Yellow Button" issue or, as we reported earlier this year, that Dr. Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon University accidentally hacked into a Sequoia system while demonstrating how such systems couldn't be hacked.

Shamos, a supporter of electronic voting systems, was testing Sequoia's voting machines for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania when he was able "in an instant," as it was reported last March, "to transform a handful of votes into thousands."

We'll hope Supervisor Stone has some deep pockets, as he may have to come up with quite a few dollars to back up his "thousand to one" challenge.

A complete text transcript of the short exchange between Supervisor Jeff Stone and Maxine Ewig follows in full...

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

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On Election Meltdown 2006...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2006 12:01pm PT  

I appeared on the "Week in Review" program, hosted by Bob Jimenez, a week or two ago out here in Los Angeles to discuss fallout from the 2006 Election Meltdown. The show was taped on November 17th and aired the following week. Thanks to Alan Breslauer, the video is now finally available below here at The BRAD BLOG.

Discussion included problems in California from Riverside to Monterey, Sequoia's yellow button, Diebold's sleepovers in San Diego, lack of paper ballots and voters turned away without being allowed to vote by the thousands around the country, Sarasota's mess, the failures of Bruce McPherson, Michael Haas, and other lousy elections officials, the need for reform, the mainstream corporate media's dismal failure, and more.

It's about 15 minutes of mind-blowing information, crackling wit, rapier-like rejoinders to the skeptics on the 5-person panel program, and generally brilliant repartee from yours truly...Well, it's about 15 minutes anyway.

On a side note, the show airs on the Time-Warner Channel out here since they swallowed up Adelphia over the summer. Though the public-affairs program has been running for nearly 20 years in LA, it looks like T-W is about to stop airing it all together. A great pity, that. Yet another casualty of unchecked mass media consolidation.


-- Streaming Flash version...

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Plea Deal for 'Wobbly Felony' Conviction, 3-Years Probation, May be Reduced to Misdemeanor after One Year of Good Behavior
By Brad Friedman on 11/21/2006 4:54pm PT  

In an exclusive statement sent to The BRAD BLOG earlier today excoriating the privatization of America's voting system, whistleblower Stephen Heller says, "Diebold has shown they cannot be trusted to run elections in America."

He oughta know.

As we reported last night, Heller pled guilty yesterday in an agreement with Los Angeles prosecutors, after his arrest earlier this year on felony charges related to his release of attorney-client privileged documents he obtained while working as a temporary word-processor at Diebold's law firm, Jones Day.

The agreement, which required him to sign an apology, pay $10,000 in restitution, and not discuss the documents he released, may also allow Heller's felony conviction to be reduced to a misdemeanor charge after one year of "good behavior."

As well, in exchange for Heller's signed apology and commitment not to discuss the documents themselves (which are already publicly available since he released them originally to both the media and Election Integrity activists), Jones Day signed an agreement that they would not sue him in civil court in the matter.

In a phone call this afternoon, Heller explained Diebold's enormously powerful law firm --- where he had worked at night while pursuing an acting career by day --- had informed him that they'd planned to convert any criminal felony conviction in the case into a civil suit. Had the case gone to trial, he explained, and been successful, Jones Day had promised a lawsuit claiming losses of "well over a million dollars." Such a suit "would have left my wife and I impoverished for the rest of our lives," Heller says.

He went on to tell us that the plea deal conviction was characterized by his attorneys as a "wobbly felony" --- one that will likely be reduced to a misdemeanor after a year, as long as he "doesn't do anything bad." He quickly added, "which I have no intention of doing."

A court date of Nov. 15th, 2007, has been set to review the case in order to determine if the sentence will be reduced and, among other things, allow Heller to have his right to vote in California restored!

"Yes, I am now a disenfranchised voter as a convicted felon," he told us today with no small amount of irony in his voice.

Despite California having decertified Diebold voting systems in 2004 after Heller's release of documents showing the voting machine company had violated state law and that they may have been planning to lie about it to state officials --- and even after the state and election watchdog BlackBoxVoting.org eventually agreed to settle a fraud complaint with Diebold for $2.8 million dollars in the bargain --- Heller is, for the moment, unable to vote in the Golden State due to his conviction.

All of this, of course, despite those who've denounced the arrest of Heller on the grounds that they believe, as we do, that he is an heroic whistleblower who exposed important information --- illegally or otherwise --- because it was in the best public interest of the country.

California does have a "Whistleblower Law," which prevents employers from exacting retribution against an employee who "has reasonable cause to believe that the information [being released] discloses a violation of state or federal statute." That law, unfortunately, doesn't seem to apply to apparently over-zealous County Prosecutors such as Los Angeles's Steve Cooley.

Heller has promised that he will share "the whole story" with us in a Guest Blog special to The BRAD BLOG after the holidays.

In the meantime, however, his agreement at least does not keep him from speaking his mind about Diebold, electronic voting, or the private corporatization of our public democracy. Earlier today, Heller followed up on his promise of last night and emailed us the following statement with his opinions of the current state of our electoral system in America:

In my view, Diebold has shown they cannot be trusted to run elections in America. We must not allow a private corporation to run our elections for us in secret, using secret machines and secret software. The only thing secret about our elections should be the secret ballot.

I urge all Americans to insist Congress enact Federal legislation requiring that all voting machines must have a voter verifiable paper ballot, be run on open source software code, be subject to inspection by independent computer experts, and that each election have a random sample ballot recount. Only then will we have a chance of restoring true integrity to American elections.

The BRAD BLOG wishes to express our deepest and most heart-felt gratitude to Heller for his courageous and selfless act of civil disobedience. As bad as our electoral system is now...and make no mistake, it is in tatters...we shudder to ponder the state we'd currently be in without patriots like Heller who continue to fight for free, fair, honest, and transparent elections in America --- at no small cost to either themselves or their families.

On behalf of The BRAD BLOG and likely millions of democracy-lovin' Americans: Thank you, Mr. Heller.

UPDATE 8:48pm PT: Oakland Tribune's Ian Hoffman is the first MSM'er out of the box to pick up on this story. Hoffman first reported on Heller when when the Trib ran the Diebold documents given to them while Jones Day sued to stop them. His coverage tonight is quite good and worth the read.

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Stephen Heller Agrees to Plead Guilty, Pay $10,000, Apologize and Receive Three Years Probation After Being Charged with 'Burglary' for Sharing Diebold Lawfirm's Privileged Documents with Newspaper, Election Integrity Activists
Tells BRAD BLOG He Has 'No Assets Left, Other Than House' and Deal is Meant to Protect Him and His Wife as 'Best Deal I Could Get Based on the Circumstances'
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2006 8:53pm PT  

Stephen Heller, the Los Angeles whistleblower who turned over documents from Diebold's attorney, Jones Day, in 2004 showing the Voting Machine Company had illegally installed uncertified hardware and software in California --- and was preparing to lie about it --- has pled guilty, according to a statement tonight from the LA County District Attorney's office.

In an email moments ago from Heller, he tells us that he and his wife "are very happy it is over."

Heller, whose story we detailed in an article [PDF] published by Hustler some months ago, was a temporary worker at the voting machine company law firm when he stumbled across the troubling documents.

At the time, we quoted Michael Kohn, general counsel for the National Whistleblower Center, as saying, "This is a very rare instance. In fact, the only one of which I’m aware, in which a whistleblower has been charged with a felony. I find it outrageous."

Outrageous indeed --- especially considering Diebold voting systems were decertified by the state when it was found the company was attempting to game the certification process, shortly after Heller shared the documents with the Oakland Tribune and election watchdog BlackBoxVoting.org.

But Heller doesn't have the same kind of money for high-priced attorneys that Diebold does (that would be your money that Diebold uses for this sort of thing, by the way); we're not suprised he opted for the deal.

In an email message from Heller sent to The BRAD BLOG tonight, he wrote:

"My wife and I are very happy it is over. The deal will protect me and my wife and our assets (we have no assets left, other than our house, but whatever we are able to accumulate in the future cannot be taken away from us in civil court). My attorneys and I think this is the best deal I could get based on the circumstances."

The LA County DA's statement says Heller pled to "unlawfully accessing the company computer in connection with its legal representation of Diebold Inc." and they quote his formal "apology" as follows:

"Today, I pled guilty to unlawfully taking Jones Day's privileged documents without its permission while I worked there. There was no excuse for my conduct. I very much regret taking the documents. I also regret any disparaging statements suggesting that Jones Day committed any wrongful acts. Upon reflection, I now believe and understand that such statements were unjustified. I apologize to Jones Day and its client."

A notice added tonight to the Stephen Heller Defense Fund website says "The case has been resolved! More details will follow soon." It goes on to thank supporters, urging them to "check back soon because Stephen is going to post the entire story here soon."

Heller tells us he's being contacted by the media tonight and plans to send a more detailed statement to The BRAD BLOG by morning.

UPDATE: 11/21/06 5:00pm PT: As promised, a new story, including a fresh exclusive statement from Heller --- concerning his thoughts on Diebold, American Elections and that he may have his sentenced reduced in a year --- is now posted here.

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Several Undecided Races Might Have Been Decided by the Number of Voters (Who Should Have Been Allowed to Vote on Paper) Unable to Wait for Voting Machines at One Precinct Alone...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2006 1:27pm PT  

Add the Monterey County, California, Acting Registrar of Voters, Claudio Valenzuela, to our ever-growing list of Elections Officials who ought to resign immediately in the wake of extraordinary failures to assure that every legally registered voter who chooses to vote actually gets to vote, and then gets to have that vote counted accurately.

Valenzuela --- who recently replaced the corrupt former Registrar Tony "Trust Me" Anchundo after he was charged with 43 criminal counts --- incredibly instructed poll workers not to give paper ballots to voters despite an order from the Secretary of State prior to the election that any CA voter who wishes to vote on paper may have one --- and despite lines of more than an hour for voters due to problems with the county's crappy new Sequoia electronic touch-screen voting machines.

As smartly reported by the Monterey Weekly today, poll watcher Susan Sisson recounts the story of dozens of voters giving up and leaving without casting a vote in her one precinct alone after she was reprimanded for reminding poll workers that they could/should give a paper ballot to those who wanted them, or those who couldn't afford to wait in line for hours on end.

Despite at least four still-undecided races in Monterey, where one candidate leads by anywhere from 47 to just 14 votes --- few enough that those voters who couldn't afford to wait in long lines for the machines, but could have voted on paper and made the difference in those races at Sisson's precinct alone! --- Valenzuela stands by his horrendous anti-democracy directive to poll workers:

"We did what we could," Valenzuela says. "We trained all of our workers, we gave them what they needed, and they deserve credit for their hard work. Nobody was denied the right to vote. Nobody. If you walked out because you were tired and didn’t want to wait, that was your choice. We can’t do anything about that."

The folks in Monterey ought to be up in arms about this jerk. Should be storming the County Board out there and demanding accountability and this guy's resignation.

Read the full article. It's just amazing what's going on in our electoral system. But it won't change until citizens on the ground demand that it does!

Let's hope the incoming Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, busts some asses about this sort of thing where the failed, disgraced, outgoing SoS, Bruce McPherson, clearly didn't give a damn.

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Don Haas, Self-Described 'Hardcore Conservative,' Tells Readers of His Website to Game an Online Poll by a Conservative Radio Host Calling for His Brother to Step Down, Effort Seems to Have Been a Success!
Writes Anonymous Posting Here at BRAD BLOG After Concession of Democratic House Candidate in Brother Mikel's San Diego Election: 'Busby=Loser...Love it When You Uninformed Nutroots Lose'
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2006 3:14pm PT  

Like brother like brother. Even San Diego County Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas's brother apparently believes it just fine to cheat at the polls.

Online polls in any case.

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Don Haas, the brother of SD County's Registrar, (one of the country's worst, by the way) has apparently been gaming a recent online poll hosted at the website of conservative San Diego radio talkshow host Roger Hedgecock. The right-wing talker has joined the chair of the Democratic County Chair in calling for Mikel Haas's resignation due to his abominable administration of county elections.

A quick investigation by The BRAD BLOG this morning reveals the poll used at the Hedgecock site can easily be gamed by simply deleting "cookies" on users' computers, allowing them to vote as many times as they wish. Don Haas encouraged readers in a posting yesterday at his website to "act like a democrats and vote three times."

As well, brother Don has been posting anonymously here at The BRAD BLOG with the user name "OMSmedia" since November 9th. In a comment this morning, in reply to Democratic U.S. House candidate Francine Busby's concession in the CA-50 race last night, Don describes her as a "loser" and continues by adding "love it when you uninformed nutroots lose."

He has his own website at OMSMedia.com which has a "Hardcore Conservative" graphic logo on the home page. In various postings in the "Live Journal" on the site, Don supports his brother's use of hackable Diebold voting machines, spreads disinformation about them, refers to Democrats as "asses," suggests all "gay representatives" are "pedophiles," and writes that "any [Senatorial] candidate yelling about the President should just resign"....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2006 1:38am PT  

Oh, well. It was nice while it lasted:

Without further ado, Busby's e-mailed concession statement:

Today, I called Mr. Bilbray and congratulated him as the representative of the 50th district. I wished him well in Congress as he works with his colleagues to serve the people of this District and our country in these times when many difficult decisions and challenges lay ahead.

I waited to make this statement out of respect for those who have asked me to wait until all votes were counted, because the last vote cast is as important as the first.

On that last point, approximately 42,000 votes remain to be counted according to the registrar's website.

In addition to the uncounted votes, there's also the matter of Zogby's 'Exit Poll' in CA-50 showing a 6% disparity with the reported results and oh, yes, the hackable-in-sixty-seconds Diebold touch-screen voting machine "sleepovers" --- for a full three weeks with poll workers prior to the election in San Diego --- which may never be fully accounted for.

Oh, well. It's just democracy. How quaint.

Too exhausted to go into more details. (You're welcome.) But if you ever wish to learn more, you can read the entire sordid Busby/Bilbray saga, in reverse order, right here. Even if we have a feeling it's not nearly over. Not by a long shot.

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