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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 30, 2014
GOP v. Registration Nation
50,000 new voter registration said 'missing' in GA; Millions of voters reportedly threatened by 20-state GOP 'Crosscheck' registration database scheme; About the 'non-citizen' voter 'study' at WaPo that all the wingnuts are talking about...
'Green News Report' 10/30/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Shut up!': NJ's Sandy recovery stalled, 2 years later; Weather Channel repudiates climate-denying co-founder; PLUS: 'Not too late': Stark, if hopeful message in UN's climate report...
Previous GNRs: 10/28/14 - 10/21/14 - Archives...
Why Dems Shouldn't Get Too Excited About Encouraging Pre-Election Polls in GA
A very brief reminder of the state's long and disturbing history with 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems...
Touch-Screen Votes Reportedly Flip R to D in MD
Diebold systems have been failing in Maryland since the state was the first to install them (and cover up their failures) in 2002. So why should 2014 be any different?...
'Green News Report' 10/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate Change and Election 2014: High stakes at the ballot box on energy, the environment, and global warming...
Previous GNRs: 10/21/14 - 10/14/14 - Archives...
Deja Vu All Over Again.
Again.
Brad's appearance this week on Thom Hartmann's 'Big Picture' TV show, as touch-screen votes starting flipping across the country yet again...
NM 'Motor Voter' Registration Rates Dive Under GOP SoS
Facing tight re-election bid, 'voter fraud' fraudster and Sec. of State Dianna Duran stands to benefit from failed, unlawful new reg process in race against Dem challenger...
NJ's Emergency 'Internet Vote' Scheme After Sandy Failed Disastrously
Aside from being illegal, a new report finds Chris Christie's order resulted in tens of thousands of unauthenticated votes during the 2012 Presidential Election in NJ...
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it (please?)...
Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Vets' ID can be used to vote under TX' new GOP voting restriction. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts missing from U.S. justice system...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
GOPers still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year ever; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attny dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow: 'Now we watch for ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Larger Samples, Escalation of Audit Sizes When Problems Found, Among Suggestions to Raise Confidence Level That Election Results Correctly Declared After Electronic Tabulation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2007 11:53am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from somewhere in Texas...

"Publicly observable post-election audits are the single most important safeguard we can have for the integrity of elections in this era of computer-assisted voting," according to Livermore National Labs computer scientist David Jefferson.

"They allow everyone, winners and losers alike, to be satisfied that the races are correctly called, but without the need to trust any computers or software," he added in a press release from the California Sec. of State's office released just moments ago (posted in full at the bottom of this item) on the study he led for the SoS Debra Bowen, which examined the effectiveness of --- and made recommendations to improve --- the state's 40-year old 1% manual audit law.

In addition to her stunning announcement on Friday that her team of independent analysts at Univeristy of California, attempting to hack the states electronic voting systems as part of her promised "Top-to-Bottom Review," were able "to bypass both physical and software security measures in every system tested," Bowen has also convened a "Post-Election Audit Standards Working Group" in order to "examine whether California’s post-election audit standards should be strengthened."

Their report has now been released online [PDF].

Among recommendations made by the group (emphasis in original):

  • Take a risk-based approach to conducting post-election audits by manually counting a higher percentage of precincts – above the 1% required by law – in close races and in races involving only a small number of precincts.
  • Develop an adjustable sample model that fits California’s needs. With an adjustable audit, the size of the random sample for close elections and small races is not a flat percentage, such as California’s current 1%, but is calculated using the margin of victory, number of precincts in the race and other key factors to produce a desired confidence level (for example, 99%) that the winner of the election has been correctly declared.
  • Develop a comprehensive approach to verifying election results, including rules for escalating an audit when errors in the machine counts are discovered during the manual count and rules for determining whether to trust the outcome of the election when small discrepancies are found between the manual and machine counts. In California, the law sets no standards when it comes to audit escalation.

"No matter what voting systems California counties use," Bowen said in the statement, "we have to make sure we’re doing meaningful audits of election results to provide voters with the confidence that every vote is counted as it was cast."

The complete press statement on the just-released finds of the "Post-Election Audit Standards Working Group" follows in full below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/30/2007 9:41am PT  

CA SoS Debra Bowen's public hearing concerning her "Top-to-Bottom Review" of electronic voting systems carried out by the University of California, takes place at 10am today (Monday) in Sacramento. Her office has just let us know that the hearing will be webcast live here.

VelvetRevolution.us' Emily Levy will be at the hearings and is hoping to live blog them for The BRAD BLOG from the hearing room.

According to a statement from Bowen's office this morning, the hearing will be at "the Secretary of State’s Sacramento building auditorium at 1500 11th Street."

"Secretary Bowen’s decisions on system certifications will come on or before August 3, after her thorough review of the UC team reports and input from voters, voting system vendors and local elections officials," the state says. "Today, the independent UC review teams, led by nationally respected computer science experts David Wagner and Matthew Bishop, will provide an overview of their reports. Voting system vendors will have an opportunity to respond, then public comment will be welcome."

The landmark, independent reports from UC are available online right here.

UPDATE 1:00pm PT: The live webstream out of the hearing is almost completely unwatchable, as they must not have enough bandwidth to accommodate those trying to watch. As well, though Emily is at the hearings, there is no Internet access available in the room. So despite all best-laid plans, we'll have to wait for the her report to be posted here later tonight, and for a video archive of the hearing itself to hopefully be made available later.

UPDATE 11:27pm PT: Emily Levy's tremendous, detailed coverage of the hearing is now finally posted here...

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PLUS: Following up with Bowen on the ES&S LA County InkaVote Issue, and the Bizarre Comments from Steve Weir, President of CA Election Officials Association
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2007 10:31am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from somewhere in Texas...

We'll certainly have more, from various voices, in the days ahead concerning CA SoS Debra Bowen's landmark independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of electronic voting systems. The reports from the teams at University of California are now available online here.

As well, Bowen will be taking public statements on these reports both via email at votingsystems@sos.ca.gov and, in person, during a public hearing tomorrow (Monday, July 30) at her office in Sacramento beginning at 10:00am. She'll announce her decisions for decertification or otherwise next Friday, August 3rd. So your input is important, as she mentioned on during a media phone call last Friday.

But even while the results, as Bowen described them on that phone call just prior to their release, found that "the independent teams of analysts were able to bypass both physical and software security measures in every system tested," and as the report on accessibility for disabled voters found that none of the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems met federal disability standards, Democrats and People for the America Way (PFAW) in the U.S. House were busy hammering out a deal to institutionalize the continued use of such disastrous voting systems into federal law.

Out of touch much? Which part of a transparent, counted, paper ballot (not a "trail" or a "record") for every vote cast in America do these guys not understand?

Late Friday, as Bowen's UC Report was being released, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) finally came to terms, reportedly, on a deal for a revision of Holt's HR 811 Election Reform bill which allows for the use of DREs as preferred, almost exclusively, by PFAW, elections offficials, and voting machine companies. We've been reporting for months that PFAW was the main insider advocacy group moving the ball with this disappointing bill, and Saturday's New York Times confirms that it was "Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, [who] helped broker the deal" between Holt and House Leadership.

That despite Neas having previously chided me for suggesting that PFAW had the power to make or break this legislation in Congress. As we've also long reported, of course, by their own written admissions, PFAW prefers unaccountable DRE systems to paper ballot voting systems.

And though Christopher Drew's reporting at the New York Times is getting slightly better with each new story, it would be nice if "The Paper of Record" could learn enough about our voting systems so they could accurately report, and help Americans understand what's really at stake here and how the technology actually works.

Drew reported --- misleadingly --- that "The House bill would require every state to use paper records that would let voters verify that their ballots had been correctly cast and that would be available for recounts."

That's just plain wrong. The fact is that adding "cash-register-style printers to...touch-screen machines," as Drew describes it, does not allow a voter to verify that their "ballots had been correctly cast." It allows them only to verify that the paper record of their invisibly-cast electronic ballot accurately matches their intention. Maybe. The fact is: There is no way to verify that a voter's vote is correctly cast on a DRE touch-screen voting machine. Period.

Unless, of course, it's me who is out of touch in presuming that if a "ballot" is "cast" it means it will actually be counted by someone or something. Paper trails added to DRE systems are not counted --- only the internal, invisible, unverifiable ballots are. A "cash-register-style" print-out prior to the ballot being cast and counted internally does not change that.

But more on all of that, and Bowen's UC reports, as we move forward. For the moment, if you'll allow me, I wanted to touch base on a few items I asked Bowen about during the phone call which followed up on several specific issues that we've been reporting on here at The BRAD BLOG over the last several weeks.

Specifically, I asked her whether there had yet been a resolution to the discrepancies in version numbers for LA County's InkaVote system source code as turned in by ES&S, versus the version secretly stored in escrow. And whether or not she could explain the comments reportedly made by Steve Weir, Registrar-Clerk of Contra Costa County, CA and President of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO), that CA election officials could choose to ignore Bowen's recommendations if they wanted to.

According to Bowen (full transcript and audio below) the ES&S LA County InkaVote issue remains unresolved, and she's unaware of what Weir might have been referring to. A transcript of my questions with Bowen follows, and I hope to have more on Weir soon --- and the adversarial comments he's been making in the media on behalf of CACEO --- but this article has already become much longer than I had intended...

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

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[NOW UPDATED WITH MORE DETAIL & AUDIO...]
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2007 3:35pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Houston...

Going on air in 4 minutes...But still on line on media conference call w/ CA SoS Debra Bowen concerning her landmark independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all voting systems in the state.

I'll have more on the air tonight (see link above), but she has just said "The independent teams of analysts were able to bypass both physical and software security measures in every system tested."

The reports are not yet posted, but should be any moment right here.

As mentioned, more throughout tonight's Peter B. Collins Show which I'm currently Guest Hosting...

UPDATE BY JOHN GIDEON: None of the voting systems tested were found to meet federal mandates for disabled voter accessibility. This may present a problem for the state as they will not be able to allow those systems to be used for accessibility unless the vendors can find solutions for their shortcomings.

EVEN LATER UPDATE (BY BRAD): John and I discuss (and rant about) all of the above, along with more details on the reports findings in this audio clip from today's Peter B. Collins show [appx. 10 mins]...

UPDATE 7/28/07: We'll have much more on this in the days ahead, and we strongly recommend folks read comments below for more details, thoughts from citizens. But in the meantime, here's NY Times' coverage: "Scientists’ Tests Hack Into Electronic Voting Machines in California and Elsewhere" and San Francisco Chronicle coverage: "STATE VOTE MACHINES LOSE TEST TO HACKERS."

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Independent Reports to Be Released Friday, Public Comment Hearing in Sacramento on Monday, SoS Bowen's Final Certification Decisions on Aug. 3...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2007 8:11am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...

Following up on yesterday's report on the latest machinations surrounding the release of CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen's unprecedented "Top-to-Bottom Review" --- including independent hack testing and source code analysis --- of electronic voting systems. The BRAD BLOG has received a few more details on official release dates and timing, including a public hearing in Sacramento next Monday, from the SOS's office [emphasis ours]:

-- The independent reports will be finalized and posted to our website this Friday, July 27. These will include all the teams' findings in the four areas of the voting systems review, without opinions about what the state and counties should do.

-- A public hearing will be held in Sacramento beginning at 10:00 a.m. Monday, July 30. It will begin with the two principal investigators presenting an overview of their findings, followed by vendor responses and then a general public comment period.

-- Secretary Bowen's decisions on system certifications will come August 3, after her thorough review of the findings and public input.

We're in Texas, but hoping those within driving, walking, running distance from Sacramento will show up to the Capitol to give their thoughts on the findings on Monday, as we expect the voting machine vendors to be there in droves, and they may need a reminder that they do not own these elections. The citizens do.

We're also still waiting to hear back from Steve Weir, the Registrar-Clerk of Contra Costa County and President of the California Assoc. of Clerks and Election Officers (CACEO), for details on his published comments indicating that CA registrars may choose to ignore Bowen's findings. The CACEO has blasted Bowen's review of voting systems previously.

Not sure what Weir's legal theory is for such an action, which seems to fly in the face of both the law and the will of the people --- Bowen was elected precisely on her promises to take the actions she's currently taking after both her predecessor in CA and federal agencies had failed completely to properly test these voting systems before certifying them --- but we'll let you know what we learn. We've invited Weir to appear on the Peter B. Collins Show, which we continue to Guest Host through the end of this week. We'd love to hear from him, of course. Stay tuned...

UPDATE 7/27/07 2:40pm PT: Still waiting for the release of the reports, which I'm told by the SOS will be "any moment". When it's released, it should be right here.

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Results of Unprecedented Testing to Be Released Next Week, While Voting Machine Companies Continue in Denial, and CA Clerks Association Says They May Do What They Want Anyway...
By Brad Friedman on 7/25/2007 11:24am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...

The results of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's landmark "top-to-bottom" review of electronic voting systems in California are due on August 3rd. (UPDATE: The SoS's Office informs us the report will be released this Friday. Details now posted here.) It'll be the first such official analysis, performed by several teams of testers, in which these voting systems have actually been tested for vulnerabilities and failures by "red team" hack/penetration testers, as well as having the system source codes fully and independently tested.

An article by Steve Harmon published in several CA newspaper this week offers a preview of the battle which may be ahead, including one exceedingly disturbing suggestion that California Election Clerks may be preparing to "ignore Bowen's findings and continue to use their systems" no matter what she may find, and whether or not she decertifies the systems for use.

Yours truly is quoted early in the piece, suggesting that "voting machine companies are quaking in their boots," as Bowen is doing precisely what she was elected to do and is fulfilling her campaign promises through the unprecedented series of tests.

John Gordon of Public Radio's Future Tense program followed up that printed report with his own four-minute audio report in which I'm also interviewed:

Of note in both reports, the voting machine company spokesholes are on the defensive, as expected. But the real battle after Bowen releases her findings may lie with the California Association of Clerks and Election Officers (CACEO), currently led by President Steve Weir, who makes some startling statements in the report...

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

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Enormous Victory as Dogged Citizen Advocacy Finally Pays Off!
Committee Also Recommends Security Audit of Registrar's Office in First County in America to Move to Touch-Screen Voting Systems...
By Tom Courbat on 7/13/2007 2:46pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Tom Courbat of SAVE R VOTE

ED NOTE: Courbat and his band of intrepid Election Integrity advocates are owed a huge debt of thanks and enormous congratulations for their effort. This recommendation, and indeed the creation of the "Blue Ribbon" commission itself, only came about due to the dogged, week-in, week-out, year-in, year-out persistence of Tom and the Riverside County advocates of SAVE R VOTE. We're happy to run his first-hand, guest blog contribution on this tremendous victory, as Courbat's group and efforts serve as a role model for citizens in every county in the nation. --- BF

Dump the DREs and Minimize Additional Outlays To Go To Paper Ballots

Next Tuesday, July 17, 2007, the Riverside County, California Board of Supervisors’ hand-picked “Blue Ribbon” Elections Review Committee will present the Board with recommendations to “Move as quickly as possible to a hybrid voting system…on paper ballots…counted by optical scanners.”

For Riverside County, the first in America to move to touch-screen electronic voting systems, the importance of their findings cannot be overstated.

With the exception of omitting the words “Digital Imaging” from the term “optical scanners” (aka “DIOS”), this is exactly the recommendation made to the committee by Finnish Computer Voting expert Harri Hursti to the Elections Review Committee in Palm Desert, CA, on March 30th of this year. Hursti came to Riverside after Supervisor Jeff Stone laid down a "1000 to 1" challenge, as covered in detail by The BRAD BLOG, that we'd be unable to manipulate the county's Sequoia touch-screen voting system. Hursti was happy to take up the challenge, but Stone demurred.

(It should also be noted that Stone and the Board of Supervisors failed to respond to requests to allow Mr. Hursti to address them and answer any questions they might have --- even after he flew 17 hours to testify before them and the "Blue Ribbon" committee.)

The committee's findings also match the recommendations made by SAVE R VOTE (Secure Accurate Verifiable Elections Require Voter Observation of Touchscreen Equipment) to both the "Blue Ribbon" Elections Review Committee (ERC) and the Board Of Supervisors (BoS) earlier this year.

The ERC reports that “…factors should minimize the additional capital outlay necessary to transition to a hybrid system.” The question now becomes: will the BoS reject the recommendations of their own hand-picked committee, who spent thousands of hours laboring over evidence contained in reports, interviews, presentations by expert witnesses, City Clerks, citizens' opinions, news articles, DVDs, conference calls, and SAVE R VOTE members? The full report can be found here.

Who Is On the Elections Review Committee (ERC)?

The "blue ribbon" ERC committee, again, hand-picked by the BoS, consists of a former County Supervisor, Kay Ceniceros; two former judges, Rob Taylor and Jim Ward; retired Press Enterprise newspaper editor and publisher Marcia McQuern; and an independent businesswoman who also serves as the president of a local chamber of commerce, Lynn Baldi. On April 24, Rob Taylor told the BoS in an interim report that, due to such a diversity of opinion, the committee might be submitting “five minority reports.” By July 11th, however, the entire committee issued a unanimous series of 17 recommendations.

Supervisor Stone 'Surprised' By Commission Findings...

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

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Judge to Nullify Election Results of 2004 Alameda County Ballot Measure, According to Tentative Ruling
County Had Refused to Allow Public Examination of Electronic Votes and Audit Logs on Diebold Voting Systems After 'Numerous Machine Malfunctions' in Medical Marijuana Election...
By John Gideon on 7/12/2007 4:43pm PT  

In Breaking News late this afternoon, we find yet another reason why Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems are incompatible with democracy: When an election held on them is contested, the machines themselves --- which are said to hold the ballots internally --- cannot be used in another election until the contest is settled.

Late news this afternoon, sent to The BRAD BLOG moments ago, reveals that a judge in an Alameda County, California election contest is set to rule that a contested ballot measure election from 2004 must now be reheld since the county destroyed data from the election when they sent the Diebold DRE voting systems back to the company in Plano, Texas.

All but 4% of election data, records and audit logs was overwritten in subsequent contests, according to the following release from Americans For Safe Access (ASA) who were the plaintiffs in the contest.

In 2004, Alameda was the same county where it was found that Diebold had installed uncertified hardware and software in the county's voting system. The illegal action by the company eventually led to the decertification of certain Diebold systems in California.

The judge's unprecedented decision to re-hold an election after plaintiffs were denied their right to a proper recount after the county's failure to preserve election records on the Diebold touch-screen systems could have reverberations around the country.

The ASA release explains the astounding details and background in this tale, along with the judge's tentative findings in full...

PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release, June 12, 2007

Tentative Ruling Finds that County Officials Destroyed Voting Records from Election Conducted on Diebold Electronic Voting Machines

Election Results May Be Nullified and County Ordered to Conduct Re-Vote on Ballot Measure at Next General Election; Hearing on the Tentative Ruling Tomorrow

OAKLAND, CA – Superior Court Judge Winifred Y. Smith issued a tentative ruling that the Alameda County Registrar of Voters and Alameda County "have engaged in a pattern of withholding relevant evidence and failure to preserve evidence" necessary to conduct a recount of a hotly contested Berkeley ballot measure. As a result, the Court has signaled its intention to void the election and order the County to place Measure R back on the ballot for a re-vote at the next general election.

Judge Smith will issue a final ruling after the Court hears oral arguments tomorrow (Friday, July 13, at 9:30 a.m. at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse, Department 114, 661 Washington Street, Oakland).

"Judge Smith's tentative ruling confirms our contention that Alameda County violated its duty to preserve the critical voting machine data that was the focus of this recount lawsuit and election contest," said Gregory Luke of Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, attorney for the plaintiffs
who sought the recount of the vote on Measure R.

More from the press release, including background on this incredible story, the ballot measure, the long fought election contest, the overwriting of the data on the Diebold voting machines --- in violation of the law --- and the judge's tentative ruling itself, follows below...

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

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Letter Obtained by BRAD BLOG to Voting Machine Company Confirms Potential Violations Of California Election Law as Revealed During CA SoS Bowen's 'Top-to-Bottom Review' of E-Voting Systems
Matter May Have Far Reaching, National Consequences Concerning the Effectiveness of Escrowing Secret Vote-Counting Software...
By John Gideon on 7/10/2007 9:03am PT  

Blogged by John Gideon and Brad Friedman

The results of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's "top-to-bottom review" of electronic voting systems previously approved for use by her predecessor is still underway. But before any of the findings from her teams of security specialists, software analysts and voting systems experts have been made public, the unprecedented analysis has already revealed a disturbing anomaly which may have far-reaching implications for both state and federal voting systems laws across the country.

As The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively almost three weeks ago --- precisely zero media outlets bothered to file their own reports on this matter until last weekend --- all voting machine vendors certified in California had submitted their source code to Bowen for the review, except for ES&S, America's largest voting machine company.

After their refusal to submit the code as required for the test, Bowen demanded the source code used for the InkaVote Plus voting systems marketed by ES&S, and used exclusively in Los Angeles, be released to the state by the escrow firm which had been holding it as per state law.

Following Bowen's demand to the escrow company, Iron Mountain Intellectual Property Management, ES&S reluctantly agreed to give their own version of the source code to the state.

Oddly enough at the time, the voting machine company, in an arrogant letter to Bowen (posted here in full by The BRAD BLOG), demanded that she withdraw her request to receive the version of the source code already stored in escrow at Iron Mountain. The letter succeeded in keeping our already-raised eyebrows at full perk, as the demand that Bowen not review the code in escrow, but rather look only at the one ES&S was sending, raised several troubling questions. Among them, we wondered at the time if perhaps the version stored in escrow was not the version actually used on the county's voting systems during last year's election. If so, there could be enormous ramifications for the company, and for the idea of escrowed source code for voting systems in general.

Over the weekend, an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, the first organization to jump into this matter following our series of reports, filed a story on the matter which began to validate our suspicions. The paper reported that due to the late submission, the InkaVote Plus system would not be included in Bowen's "top-to-bottom review", presenting questions about which voting system would be allowed for use in 2008, in the country's most populous county. LA County is larger than many states in America.

It's as yet unclear whether Bowen will completely decertify the InkaVote Plus system for use, or whether she will take other steps.

Perhaps more disturbingly, however, the Daily News report includes comments from CA's Deputy SoS for Voting Systems, Lowell Finley, indicating that our concerns about differences in the submitted and escrowed source code may have been precisely on target.

We contacted Bowen's office for more details, and they shared with us the letter sent from Finley back to ES&S in response to the company's curious demands. The letter is posted in full at the end of this article. And if the issue Finley raises is indeed true, there may be a whole lotta trouble ahead...

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

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Peter B. Collins Show Hosts Extremely Lively Discussion on Pros and Cons of Controversial House Bill's Allowance for Use of Dangerous DRE Touch-Screen Voting Systems
ALSO: CA SoS Debra Bowen Refuses to Support HR 811, Concerned About Putting 'Paper Trails Into Statute'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/2/2007 6:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad from Nashville after Escaping Atlanta...

"It's been a thriller," said the eponymous host of the Peter B. Collins Show as Friday's live radio debate wrapped up between myself and attorney Lawrence D. Norden, Chair of the NYU Brennan Center for Justice's Task Force on Voting System Security.

Norden made, in our spirited debate, what I believe to be some stunning admissions.

Complete "must listen" audio of the debate is available at the end of this article...

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

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Arrogant Letter Agrees to Comply With Law by Submitting Source Code for Review, But Mysteriously Insists That SoS Bowen Revoke Demand to Release Version of Source Code Held by Escrow Firm...
By John Gideon on 6/28/2007 8:05am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org

As The BRAD BLOG reported yesterday, voting machine company ES&S has finally relented and agreed to join all of the other companies operating in the state by cooperating with the Secretary of State Debra Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all electronic voting systems previously certified by her predecessor Bruce McPherson. After previously refusing to supply the state with source code for the company's InkaVote Plus system used exclusively in Los Angeles County, Bowen had demanded the release of the source code from escrow where it was stored by state law, as we also reported previously.

But has ES&S really relented? Or is something else up?

We asked yesterday why ES&S decided to send their source code, instead of allowing Bowen to pull it from the escrow facility at Iron Mountain, as she had previously demanded. And now, based on a letter from the company which The BRAD BLOG was able to obtain from one of our sources, as sent to Bowen's office when they agreed to supply the source code Monday, the smell of something fishy continues to permeate. The complete ES&S letter is posted in full at the bottom of this article.

On Monday, June 25, ES&S sent the letter to Lowell Finley, California's Deputy Sec. of State in charge of Voting Systems Technology and Policy, agreeing to supply the source code for InkaVote Plus is an amazing example of the company's arrogance even as it continues to beg a myriad of unanswered questions.

ES&S opens the letter repeating their desire for changes to the previously agreed upon Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) they have with the state. AS well, they believe the cost of Bowen's "top-to-bottom review" is too high, and they have concerns with some of the researchers who are doing the review. Nonetheless, they agree to cooperate.

Yet, after informing Finley that they intend to finally send the required source code, they instruct him that they expect him to send a letter to Iron Mountain Intellectual Property Management Inc. to release the firm from the state's request for the escrowed source code. Now why would they need to do that?

"As ES&S is providing the InkaVote Plus voting system source code directly to your office, ES&S requests that you send a letter to Iron Mountain retracting your request for the InkaVote Plus voting system source code," writes ES&S' Steven M. Pearson in the letter.

"This will provide the required notification to Iron Mountain that you are no longer in need of the requested source code and allow Iron Mountain to close your request. In addition, this will avoid ES&S from having to issue contrary instructions to Iron Mountain to prohibit the release of the InkaVote Plus voting system source code."

So what the heck is that all about?...

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

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Last Vendor to Hold Out from State's 'Top to Bottom Review' of Voting Equipment Coughs Up Source Code After SoS Bowen Demands Source Code Be Taken Out of Escrow...
By John Gideon on 6/26/2007 6:02pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org

The BRAD BLOG has learned this evening that source code and a check were sent to the state of California by ES&S. Readers may recall that as of last Thursday ES&S had not complied with Sec. of State Debra Bowen's demand for a copy of the source code used exclusively in Los Angeles County.

According to a Secretary of State spokesperson, they received a copy of the source code and a check to cover the expense for the state's "top-to-bottom" review. ES&S finally relented, and sent the code only after Bowen had demanded it be released from escrow as per state law.

Questions still remain and your intrepid correspondent will be following-up with the state.

Why did the code come from ES&S and not from Iron Mountain, Inc., the escrow agent? Is there something in the escrowed code that ES&S does not wish the state to see? How does the state know that the code they got from ES&S is the same code used to build the software running on the machines used in LA County?

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By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2007 4:32pm PT  

From this week's San Diego Reader...

If you don't understand the above, a) You need to visit The BRAD BLOG more often, b) See this, and then c) See this, and then d) Pray for the good voters of the People's Republic of San Diego.

Thanks to artist Neal Obermeyer for paying attention! More good stuff from his own official site.

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By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2007 6:13pm PT  

Takin' it easy today (at least as far as you know) after a brutally exhausting and often dispiriting week. Whether or not that led to a different mood today during my weekly guest appearance on the Peter B. Collins Show I can't tell you.

Either way, as Guest Hosted today by our friend Tony Trupiano, we covered a few things I haven't gotten to speak much about lately, and also received an important good news update from caller "Chris in Salinas." Turns out action taken by Chris over the past week, after finding something troubling in a recent special election in Monterey County, CA, has led to a happy conclusion that will effect all voters in Monterey, and perhaps across this entire state.

That story --- and much else of what we chatted about on the show --- again, underscores the need for citizens to take control of their democracy because it will not be either the media or the government who restores our country. It will be you.

Enjoy...


-- Brad on PBC (Guest Host Tony Trupiano), 5/25/07 [MP3, appx 50 mins]

UPDATE: "Chris from Salinas" writes in to comments below with more details on precisely what happened in Monterey County, the action he took, and the changes that were made because of. Useful if you haven't been able to listen to the audio above (which I still recommend, in any case).

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Joins Recently Named Assistant Registrar Michael Vu, Whose Cuyahoga County Elections Led to Criminal Convictions in '04 Presidential Recount and New '06 Criminal Investigations...
By John Gideon on 5/11/2007 4:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

It has just been announced by San Diego County that they have hired Deborah Seiler as their new permanent Registrar of Voters. Ms. Seiler joins the county elections office from her job as the Assistant Registrar in Solano County, California.

"Seiler brings unique elections experience from the state, local and private sector that adds valuable perspective at a crucial time," according to a press release (posted in full at the bottom of this article) as issued today by San Diego County.

All of which sounds great, until one does a moment or two of Googling --- particularly on that "private sector" point mentioned --- and Seiler's troubling past is quickly revealed to be yet more bad news for the voters of San Diego, who continue to get the worst of what American democracy is supposed to look like.

Look what we found out about Seiler...

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

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