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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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CA SoS Debra Bowen Names Teams and Methods to be Used for 'First-of-its-Kind in the Nation' Certification, Decertification Process...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2007 12:28pm PT  

Doing twelve things at once today, so no time for analysis at this point. I'll just run CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's just released statement on her promised, unprecedented, first-of-its-kind in the nation, "top to bottom review" of all of California's electronic voting systems.

The review will include "red team" hack testing for the first time ever. Done as standard operating procedure for similar security-sensitive, mission-critical commercial systems, this sort of penetration testing has never been performed on America's voting systems. Until now.

The one page summary [PDF] of the plan states:

  • [University of California] will provide specialists from its campuses, as well as experts from public and private universities and private sector companies throughout the United States to create three teams of experts to conduct the reviews.
  • Each system will undergo a thorough document and source code review, red team penetration testing, and a review to determine whether it’s accessible to all voters.
  • The review teams will provide an independent technical evaluation of the voting systems that the Secretary of State will use to carry out her statutory duty with respect to voting systems in determining whether the systems comply with current state and federal law.

There are links within her statement below where you can find more details. For example, the State's review teams will include folks such as computer security expert "hacking" Harri Hursti, and blind technology expert Noel Runyan, who has been highly critical of unverifiable touch-screen DRE voting systems.

More on all of this, perhaps, later after I've had time to review the materials myself. But for now, see the statement below for some killer quotes from Bowen...

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

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Griffith Observatory, LA Zoo (and BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters to Lesser Extent) Threatened as Massive Fire Rages Amid Second Day of Heat Spell...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2007 10:33pm PT  

On the second day of a heat spell that's gripped Los Angeles, and The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters, fire has once again erupted in the nearby bone dry Hollywood Hills. This one appears to be much bigger --- and the weather conditions much worse --- than the blaze we noticed out our window last month which threatened the Hollywood Sign.

That's a photo of the Griffith Observatory which is very near the current fire tonight. It has recently re-opened after a multi-million dollar renovation. You may recognize it as the location of Sal Mineo's death in Rebel Without a Cause. It's currently a mere quarter mile from the fire line.

The nearby threatened area also includes the Los Angeles Zoo, which was evacuated earlier of people, if not animals, Griffith Park's legendary Greek Theater, and yes, the Hollywood Sign. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for nearby homes. As of 6:30pm PT the fire was growing, had covered 200 acres, was being battled by 500 fire fighters, and was just 25% contained. For a better idea of how large this fire is see another photo of the Observatory below.

Local TV affiliate coverage and video, etc. available here, here and here.

For those concerned, BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters is currently at a safe enough distance. We think. We'll let you know if that changes.

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

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Yet Another Former DoJ Official Revealed to Have Nothing to Do with the U.S. Attorney Firings
RELATED? The Murder of Seattle Prosecutor Thomas Wales Was Barely Discussed in DOJ, Comey Testimony Suggests
By Margie Burns on 5/3/2007 1:47pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by DC Correspondent Margie Burns

Comey testifies --- and the logic of the process of elimination begins to set in. Even the congressional GOP may have to acknowledge that the Department of Justice was not the instigator in those weirdly self-destructive, unprecedented firings of several mostly Republican US Attorneys, mid-term, during a Republican administration. That was the impression I got while sitting in the hearing room this morning at the U.S. Capitol.

Former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey testified at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law this morning. Spending no time or ink on a prepared statement, Comey, who had been subpoenaed by the Committee, devoted approximately two hours to answering questions from the mostly Democratic members present. The hearing, which most GOP members skipped, was chaired by Linda Sanchez (D-CA).

As Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) said in opening, “What we don’t know is who actually placed the names of the US Attorneys on the firing lists.”

Comey plugged up one hole: it was not he.

Unlike Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at a previous hearing, Comey did not testify under oath (a staffer for the Subcommittee explains that anyone who testifies to Congress is subject to penalty for perjury). Comey did, however, speak clearly and unequivocally. He said in answer to questions that, as Deputy Attorney General, he was the supervisor directly above the US Attorneys, and in response to key questions from Democratic members, Comey stated flatly that...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2007 3:28pm PT  

Chris Bagley of the North County Times files a terrific profile today of Riverside County, CA, Election Integrity advocate Tom Courbat. The piece covers the awareness of the issue that Courbat has been able to raise in the county (and, we would add, subsequently in the nation), the procedures that have changed there due to his persistent activism, and the recent Harri Hursti appearance in the wake of Jeff Stone's "Riverside Hack Challenge," etc. (FWIW, we are also mentioned in a few grafs, in regard to the Hursti business and a bit more.)

All of the above has been carried out by Courbat --- as we say, heroically --- even while he continues to battle cancer tied to the use of Agent Orange during his Vietnam-era military service in South Korea.

Tom is one of many such quiet, and usually unrecognized, heroes around the country, to whom our nation owes a debt of gratitude which can never be adequately repaid. We're proud to recommend Bagley's article today, and hope it serves as inspiration for many others.

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Some Ballots Counted Twice, Others Not At All, Database Found Corrupted, Old, Not Recommended for Use by Microsoft
Raw Election Data Held as 'Diebold Trade Secret' by Registrar Michael Vu Who Was Forced to Resign...Though He's Now Been Hired by San Diego!
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2007 1:48pm PT  

There is new information on the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, November 2006 election that shows that voting results on more than 1 in 4 voting systems failed to match up with the results on the central tabulator. The election was held under the administration of Michael Vu, the county's now-resigned Election Director who has, incredibly enough, been immediately hired up by the People's Republic of San Diego County and their former Registrar Mikel Haas (along with Vu, one of America's worst, so he was promoted by the county, naturally!) as the new Assistant Registrar of Voters...

From AP:

CLEVELAND — Computer vote-memory card totals failed to match electronic voting machine ballot tallies in more than one quarter of the samples checked from the November election in the state’s most populous county, an independent audit showed Thursday.

In the 37 sample precincts where results didn’t match, there may have been corrupted memory cards, missing or torn reports, faulty printers or other problems, according to the independent audit commissioned by the Cuyahoga County elections board.
...
The audit committee found a match among 95 precincts out of 132 precincts in which three races were checked for discrepancies between vote-memory cards and paper records of ballots cast on electronic machines.

Amazing enough, but it gets much, much worse....

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

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To Replace Promoted Mikel Haas, County Hires Riverside County, CA's Mischelle Townsend as 'Interim' Registrar, Who In Turn Hires Disgraced Cuyahoga County, OH Registrar Michael Vu as 'Assistant'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/12/2007 12:00pm PT  

{Ed Note: This article was original to have been published at ComputerWorld on 4/12/07. Due to a technical problem there, it never ran, I'm running it here, back-dated to tje originally planned publication date so at least it's available here on the Internets, at least for the "historical record". --- BF, 5/22/07}}

Blogged by Brad from the road...in San Diego, of all places...

The latest news out of the People's Republic of San Diego brings to mind Scooter Libby's now infamous note, sent to former NY Times' administration plant Judith Miller, encouraging her to maintain her silence while she was in jail.

"Out West, where you vacation," the disgraced Libby wrote to the disgraced Miller, "the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them."

The same seems to be true for the Elections Officials, and their various operative/enablers around the country. Where ever you turn over the rock of a disastrously administered election in any part of the country --- such as in San Diego or Riverside County, CA or Cuyahoga County, OH --- it seems you also find the same band of recognizable folks slithering amongst the slime time and again. Turning in clusters, if you will, because their roots connect them.

Such seems to be the case now that one of America's worst Registrars of Voters, San Diego's Mikel Haas --- he of the infamous Busby/Bilbray debacle and voting machine "sleepover" fame --- has been promoted by the county. Failing up, if you will, like so many other 21st Century Wingnuts before him in Bush's America.

He's been replaced on an interim basis by Mischelle Townsend, the retired former Registrar of Voters in Riverside County, CA. She was responsible for bringing unverifiable, inaccurate, hackable touch-screen voting systems to America for the first time, as Riverside was the first in the nation to offer this "luxury" to voters. Riverside has been on a collision course with election integrity ever since.

Aside from conflicts of interests she brought to the dubious transaction in 1998 --- her husband, was VP for a firm which directly benefited from the county's purchase of the Sequoia touch-screen voting systems --- Townsend is tellingly quoted during an interview on the DVD version of HBO's Hacking Democracy proudly declaring: "Electronic touch-screen ballots are 100% accurate. We've not seen a single example in which their accuracy can be disputed."

As if that's not a horrific enough punishment to subject the otherwise beleaguered and battered voters of San Diego to --- they deserve far far better, especially following in the carnage of the county's disastrous Reign of Haas --- she has now hired as her "assistant," the disgraced and recently resigned-by-force, Michael Vu, the Election Supervisor for Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Vu was pushed out of his job in the Buckeye State just weeks ago after two of his poll workers were convicted and sentenced to the maximum allowable time in prison for having rigged --- yes, rigged --- the 2004 President Recount in the county.

Vu oversaw the entire affair and reportedly admitted that county workers opened sealed ballot boxes to do a pre-count prior to the recount which was requested and paid for by the Green and Libertarian parties. As the trial revealed, the outrageous violation of law was carried out to ensure the mandated the 3% "randomly" selected precincts (which were not randomly selected after all) would match the previously reported results. Both the judge and the prosecutor made it clear that they believed the conspiracy went much higher up the food chain.

As well, Vu ran one of the worst election debacles of the 2006 cycle --- and that's saying quite a bit --- when absentee ballots couldn't be read by his Diebold optical scan system and his brand-spanking new Diebold DRE touch-screen voting systems failed to record votes properly, as determined by an independent analysis commissioned after the primary election meltdown in the county.

But that's not all. Another new criminal investigation is now underway in Cuyahoga looking into a number of troubling recent discoveries. Among them, computer audit logs have been discovered to reveal that early and absentee voting results were printed by someone at Vu's county headquarters prior to Election Day. (The same thing also was recently discovered to have occurred in Pima County, AZ where a law suit is currently underway to get to the bottom of it...just so you'll keep your eye out for what may well prove to be a concerted national conspiracy if the Aspens keep on turning in such remarkable clusters.) Oh, and a network cable was left in one of the tabulation computers overnight, and in violation of regulations, for some odd reason. But certainly that was just an accident, right?

Little surprise then, that San Diego's North County Times reported that Haas told them "the county immediately moved to contact Vu when he became available and felt lucky to hire him."

Of course they did.

Haas also continued his impressive, and growing track record as an accomplished liar of some reknown, by telling the paper that "Vu resigned for personal reasons and had family living on the West Coast."

Of course he did.

The BRAD BLOG has spoken at length with Vu in the past, and we've found him, like Haas the Horrible, to be a very affable fellow. Even if his actions, not his words, reveal him, like Haas, to have an extraordinary disdain for democracy and the voters who they supposedly serve.

We've been told that Vu has said he regards Townsend as "a mentor". So it comes as little surprise that he'd show up when beckoned by her, and littler surprise, after all we've come to learn about the County of San Diego, that their Board of Supervisors so despise their own voters that they'd allow Vu, despite all that's known about him, to be hired as an "assistant".

Rest assured, however, with Townsend --- who had previously been enjoying a quiet retirement from the madness that she had wrought on Riverside --- only committing to "interim" status at the Registrar's office, it won't be long before the full Reign of Vu commences. We believe you can bank on it. On a Diebold ATM if you wish.

America's Elections Officials, those who are most assiduously dedicated to subverting democracy with electricity, and those who time and again are found at the rotten core of virtually every bad election in the country, are indeed connected at the roots. And they continue turning in clusters.

And the voters continue to pay the price.

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Responds to Editorial by Former CA SoS's Newspaper, Criticism from CA Elections Officials Who Admit Their Voting Systems are Likely Neither Secure nor Accurate
ALSO: Op/Ed by BRAD BLOG/VelvetRevolution.us's Own Emily Levy Runs Along Side Bowen's in Same Paper...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2007 2:27pm PT  

CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen responds to the Santa Cruz Sentinel's silly anti-democracy editorial last week with an op/ed 01of her own that ran in the paper on Sunday.

Please note that the Sentinel was previously owned by former CA SoS McPherson, the one who approved all of these un-secure, un-transparent electronic voting systems for our state in the first place.

It's good to know that Bowen is standing up for the voters, despite the crush of criticism she's received from the anti-voter Elections Officials in CA

Here's how she begins her piece in response:


Are all of California's voting systems secure, accurate, reliable and accessible?

It's a relatively simple question and I believe California's voters are entitled to an answer. If the answer to that question is "no," then some voting-machine vendors and county elections officials who rely on their equipment will undoubtedly be inconvenienced. But it's the 37 million Californians who will truly suffer if we don't have the courage to ask that question in the first place.

...And here's how she ends it:

Every election year, far too many voters are left to wonder if their voice matters, or if their vote even counts. To argue that because there are elections to conduct, California doesn't have time to determine if the voting equipment is secure, accurate, reliable and accessible ignores the fundamental reason why we hold elections in the first place.

People need to have confidence their votes are counted exactly as they were cast. If we fail to ensure the integrity of our voting systems, we'll do little but undermine the foundation of our democracy.

Kudos to Bowen! Again!

Please note that in the same Sunday Sentinel our own occasional BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger, Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us, also has an excellent op/ed in response to their original, ridiculous editorial. Kudos to Emily as well!

Speaking out matters!

And on that note, I'll remind you that if you haven't already, please contact PFAW@PFAW.org NOW! See this article for why it's imperative that you do immediately!

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Thomas Elias Scores Again...Reports on Orange County Recount Shame, Jeff Stone's 'Riverside Hack Challenge,' Voting Machine 'Sleepovers,' McPherson's 'Hursti Chicken Out,' and Bowen's Call for Real Hack Tests...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2007 5:52pm PT  

Columnist Thomas Elias gets it right again. Today, he begins this way...

Just in case there was some confusion, California's new Democratic secretary of state, Debra Bowen, has now made it crystal clear she doesn't trust many of the electronic voting machines commonly used in the last few California elections.

Nor does she appear impressed with safeguards that satisfied her appointed Republican predecessor Bruce McPherson. McPherson believed the presence of voter-verified paper trails from touch-screen and other new voting machines would guarantee accurate recounts wherever needed.

But in the only significant recount of the last year, just after a February special election for Orange County supervisor decided by less than 10 votes between two candidates each named Nguyen (pronounced “win”), paper trails weren't even counted.

He then reports again on the Jeff "1000 to 1" Stone's apparently-aborted "Riverside Hack Challenge," the dangers of voting machine "sleepovers," former CA SoS McPherson's backing out of an invitation to Harri Hursti to hack Diebold systems in the state last year, and, most importantly, CA's current SoS Debra Bowen's important plan to finally properly test all voting systems used in elections.

If we didn't know better --- and that nothing useful to the MSM is ever reported by those crazy, unreliable, "left-wing bloggers" --- we might have even thought that Elias is a regular BRAD BLOG reader or sumpin' ;-)

He concludes his column thusly:

The bottom line: A sense of security and trust will be restored to elections only after counties install machines reliable enough to withstand thorough testing like Bowen obviously knows is needed.

Bingo. The full recommended column is here...

If you'd like to send a thanks for Elias's consistent good work on this issue, he can be reached via email here...

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On Felonies, Diebold, Paper Ballots, Secret Software, Lies, George W. Bush and More
COMPLETE AUDIO/TEXT TRANSCRIPT NOW POSTED...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2007 1:24am PT  

I recently interviewed whistleblower Stephen Heller, while guest hosting Cynthia Black's Action Point on Air America/Nova M Pheonix.

It was Heller's first live broadcast interview and his wife Michelle Gregory also joined us for a bit. A documentary film crew was on hand to capture the event.

Heller is the Los Angeles actor who stole incriminating documents while working as a temp at Diebold's powerful law firm Jones Day and turned them over to Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org who, in turn, gave them to Ian Hoffman at the Oakland Tribune where many of them were published. The documents showed that Diebold had illegally installed uncertified hardware and software in California during the 2004 primary, which led to the decertification of their touch-screen DRE voting systems in the state.

Incredibly, Heller was many years later --- notably, long after the 2004 Election --- charged with three felony counts. He eventually pled guilty in a deal to one of the charges, as he discussed during our interview, to protect his family. As well, he was given the assurance that he'd serve no jail time and the charges would likely be removed entirely from his record after a year or so.

The complete audio and text transcript of the half hour interview is now posted here.

Here's just a few of the highlights from Heller's first live interview:

On why he took the documents in the first place...

Ultimately I took them because dishonorable people at Diebold were trying to turn our Democracy into a facade. They were trying to turn our elections into a mockery, into a lie. Lies must be challenged.

On the privatization of our public election system...

I think it's a horrible idea. I just can't understand why anyone would think that in the United States, it's a good idea to let a private corporation run our elections for us, in secret, using secret machines and secret software. That's insanity. We should never allow that. All votes must be on a paper ballot and there must be complete transparency in all machines used to process or tabulate those votes.

On not being able to talk while he was under indictment:

It was frustrating as I saw elections come and go and I had to keep my mouth shut and I knew what these election machine companies, Diebold and ES&S and Sequoia were doing, and at least I knew for a fact what Diebold had been doing and I was assuming the others were doing the same, or similar. It was very frustrating

On whether he believes himself to be a whistleblower:

I think I am a whistleblower. I also think I'm a thief. I stole attorney - client privileged documents. That's a serious crime. I pled guilty to the crime and I'm taking responsibility for it. But what is a crime is not necessarily wrong. And in fact, I believe that I exposed something that all Americans needed to know about. So I do think I'm a whistleblower.

On the legitimacy of Diebold elections and George W. Bush...

I think anywhere that Diebold's running an election, you have to be very suspicious of what they're doing and what their machines are doing. In terms of the President being illegitimate, or well, being the President on an illegitimate basis - I'm sure his parents were married - but in terms of him being the illegitimate President, yes, absolutely. I believe the man who is now serving his second term in the White House has yet to be elected.

All of that, plus what happened when police raided his home, why it took so long for charges to be brought, his wife Michelle's plan to write a book on the life of a wife of a whistleblower (check the full interview to learn the planned title :-) ) and much more.

We'll soon be publishing a guest blog from Heller here at The BRAD BLOG, on whistleblowing and why those thinking about doing it, should.

The complete 3/25/07 interview with Stephen Heller, both the audio and text transcript, is now posted here...

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Former Monterey County Registrar of Voters Heads to Jail on 43 Criminal Counts, Stole More Than $80,000 in Tax Dollars from County
Once Told Us We Must Have 'Trust and Faith in Elections Officials, Or In This Case, Me'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2007 8:43pm PT  

While he was still the 13-year Monterey County, CA, Registrar of Voters, Tony Anchundo once told us live on air that "There is obviously going to have to be some trust and faith in the elections official, or in this case, it's me."

On Monday, the disgraced Anchundo reported to jail after pleading "no contest" last December to 43 criminal counts of forgery, misapplication of funds, embezzlement, falsification of accounts, and grand theft:

Former Registrar Reports For Jail Time
Anchundo Stole More Than $80,000 In Tax Dollars

SALINAS, Calif. --- Tony Anchundo checked into the Monterey County Jail Monday morning, beginning his nine-month jail sentence for embezzlement.

The former registrar of voters plead no contest to stealing more than $80,000 of taxpayer's money.

And last month, a judge suspended a five-year prison sentence, ordering him to jail instead.

Anchundo could apply for home confinement or a work alternative program after serving 90 days.

He's also been ordered to repay more than $100,000.

We've said it before, but obviously it bears repeating (particularly to the members of CACEO - California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials and the shameful Santa Cruz Sentinel): Trust no one when it comes to your elections. You should never have to. Especially those who tell you they should be trusted.

While it should be self-evident by now, it's our duty to remind you (and the CACEO and the Santa Cruz Sentinel as previously owned by former CA SoS Bruce McPherson) that our country and Constitution and Rule of Law were not built on trust. They were built on checks and balances. The best elections officials in America (if not necessarily the CACEO) will tell you as much:

  • 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."

On that note, no American should have to trust in an electronic voting system which counts votes in secret, as never verified by the voter or any human being. Doing so makes as much sense as "trusting" in Tony Anchundo --- object lesson #1 in all that is wrong with trusting anyone or anything in this regard.

See the notice below on how you can (and must!) take action now to make sure Congress finally gets the message!

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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As we Sit Down for a One-on-One Debriefing with the Finnish Computer Security Expert and Discuss American Elections, Rush Holt's Reform Bill, Debra Bowen, 'Black Hats' and Why Elections Matter
Big Turnout and Good Press Coverage Accompany his Riverside Visit, Even if Jeff '1000 to 1' Stone Was a No Show...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2007 7:13pm PT  

Harri Hursti drove up to Los Angeles last Friday after his appearance that morning before the Riverside County, California, "Blue Ribbon" panel convened to investigate massive problems during the County's 2006 election, and continuing concerns from Election Integrity advocates about both the performance and security issues surrounding the Sequoia Edge II DRE touch-screen voting systems in use down there.

We sat down to interview Hursti for a documentary film for an hour or two on Friday night, and we continued chatting into the wee hours. After getting home around 4am, we suspect we'll be playing catching up for a few days.

The headline from those discussions last night is probably that Hursti, now famous for his hack of a paper-based Diebold optical-scan voting system in Leon County, Florida, in late 2005 (as seen live in HBO's documentary Hacking Democracy), advocates digital optically-scanned paper ballots --- where the image of the scan can then be made available to all on the Internet --- as the most secure and most transparent method of voting for the type of elections we have in these United States.

That may come as a surprise to advocates of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform bill, who have been pointing to the "Hursti Hack" as a way to suggest that op-scan tabulation is "just as bad" as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting systems. Holt's bill (HR811) would allow for the continued use of DREs, despite the continuing warnings from computer scientists, disabilities and minority rights advocates, and the Election Integrity community that the devices should be banned.

Hursti heartily disagrees with those Holt supporters and told us again that DREs are not safe for use in elections, with or without a so-called "voter verified paper audit trail." He's asked for us to help facilitate a meeting for him with Holt and his staff to discuss the matter, and we are attempting to do just that.

As well, Hursti's position may also come as a surprise to those who have pointed to the "Hursti Hack" in their call for 100% hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) in American elections. While Hursti said he recognizes that such a system works well enough in other countries where ballots are much simpler, he feels the thousands of ballot styles and pages and pages of candidates and propositions would likely make all HCPB unwieldy here. By contrast, he explained that in Finland, voters go to the poll and cast a single vote for President as the only race on the ballot, which is simple enough to hand count on the night of the election.

He rattled off the many different systems of democracy in many different countries, from Europe to Asia, as well as a history of how America has come to its current mess, going back as early as the late 1800's to discuss the evolution of our modern day system in this country. Clearly, he's done his homework and is well worth listening to on these matters.

Hursti also gave high marks to California's new Secretary of State Debra Bowen for her recent announcement of "red team" hack testing for all of the state's currently certified electronic voting systems, as part of her "top to bottom review" of those systems. Other computer scientists and security experts have lined up to join in praising Bowen for this unique, first-of-its-kind attempt to finally test the security of these systems.

On the other hand, many of the state's elections officials have come out against such testing of their precious, hackable, un-transparent voting systems. And, surprise surprise, so has the Santa Cruz Sentinel --- the paper once owned by thankfully-former CA SoS Bruce McPherson --- in a laughable editorial late last week claiming that "paper ballots carry an even greater risk" than electronic voting systems, and that Bowen's planned test criteria is a "solution in search of a problem."

We're not sure what cave the Santa Cruz Sentinel has been living in, but we're guessing they've been sharing their hard tack and canned spam with their buddy, the gone-but-apparently-not-forgotten McPherson, the one responsible for certifying these god-awful systems in the first place for the state, despite mountains of evidence suggesting it was unwise. We're also guessing they've never sat down to chat with Harri Hursti.

Hursti's visit to Riverside, as we reported here last week, was in response to County Supervisor Jeff Stone's challenge last December that nobody could manipulate the county's Sequoia election system. After Hursti volunteered to take Stone up on that "1000 to 1" challenge, the county has been waffling ever since. So quite a few members of both the public and the press were on hand yesterday for Hursti's testimony before the "Blue Ribbon" panel.

Although Hursti traveled all the way from Finland, Stone and every other member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors were apparently too busy to make it up the road to meet Hursti and listen to his presentation...

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

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All Eyes on Harri Hursti in Riverside County...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2007 12:53am PT  

FEATURING: Our One-on-One Debriefing with the Finnish Computer Security Expert on American Elections, Rush Holt's Reform Bill, Debra Bowen, 'Black Hats,' and Why Elections Matter...Pre-details back here...

UPDATE: Story now posted here...

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Muckracking 'Staff' Stirred But Not Shaken...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2007 3:23pm PT  

HOLLYWOOD - While on the phone, during yet another exasperating conversation with a Congressional office, I noticed the sky above BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters begin turning oddly orange. It turns out a large brush fire, just over the hill near the Universal and Warner Bros. Studios, was burning out of control. In a potential disaster for the entire nation, indeed the world, the "Hollywood Sign" itself sits nearby.

With our photography staff (Desi) away on assignment (lunch in Santa Monica), we'll have to rely on photos from the media....


(Courtesy NBC11.com)


(Courtesy TMZ.com)

As the wind seems to have changed directions moments ago, the orange sky over our corporate headquarters has begun to turn blue again. So it seems that all staff members will likely be spared, this afternoon at least, from an horribly tragic apocalyptic ending. We'll let you know if the situation changes.

LIVE VIDEO COVERAGE here...

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Poorly Performing DREs, Lack of Oversight and Transparency Leads to Conclusion of 'Not Acceptable' by WINNER of Last November's CA-11 U.S. House Election...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2007 3:01pm PT  

Congrats to Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney's (CA-11) team of Election Integrity advocates, who did a great job with their election protection analysis and report from his election last November. His Election Protection Task Force has just released their report [PDF] on how it all went, including 36 specific and detailed recommendations for improving the election system used in the four counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Santa Clara) that make up California's 11th Congressional district.

"The McNerney Election Protection Task Force Report" illustrates, among other things, that DRE touch-screen systems made by Diebold, specifically as used in San Joaquin County under the oversight (or lack thereof) of Registrar of Voters Debbie Hench, did not fare well in the election. Broken-down machines caused long lines, there were not enough paper ballots for backup, plus various problems with chain of custody and lousy post-election audit and reporting systems were all accompanied by an embarrassing lack of transparency for the entire system.

The report's overall conclusion: "The current electoral system is not acceptable."

And before you electronic voting apologists haul out your tired old "sore loser" lines, McNerney won his race over the Republican long-time incumbent, Richard Pombo!

Congrats and thank you to all who helped create the very enlightening report, and specifically to McNerney for having the foresight and responsibility to create and work on such an important project. If every candidate did the same, we'd have this mess cleaned up in no time.

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Finnish Security Expert to Appear, Give Testimony This Friday Before County's 'Blue Ribbon' Commission Investigating Complaints About Local Election System
No Word on Whether Gamblin' County Supervisor, Jeff '1000 to 1' Stone, Will Be in Attendance...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2007 2:36pm PT  

Harri Hursti is coming to Riverside County, home of County Supervisor Jeff "1000 to 1" Stone, he of the now infamous, if ill-conceived, "Riverside Hack Challenge".

Hursti, the Finnish computer security expert and hacker of Diebold voting machines past (see HBO's Hacking Democracy for but one example), will be testifying to and answering the questions of the "Blue Ribbon" commission empaneled by the county to investigate complaints about the administration of the 2006 election, as well as the the many expressed security and accuracy concerns about their Sequoia Edge touch-screen DRE voting systems.

Riverside is, proudly, the first county in the U.S. of A. to have made the mistake of moving to electronic balloting systems, but if they hurry, they won't be the last to dump 'em entirely.

The Sequoia voting systems in question would be the ones involved when Stone challenged Election Integrity advocates, on video tape, back in December, to bring in a programmer and "set up an appointment with one of our machines" in order to "verify that they can manipulate that machine."

"I'm gonna bet a thousand to one that they cannot do it...I'll make that challenge," Stone blurted out to the continuing dismay of his fellow Supervisors and County Registrar Barbara Dunmore.

And then, Hursti stepped in to accept the challenge. Stone has been wafflin', duckin', and dodgin' ever since (see this page for our complete hilarious special coverage of the "Riverside Challenge").

Hursti will testify at the commission's March 30th panel at 9am in Palm Desert, CA, at the Palm Desert City Hall, 73-510 Fred Waring Drive.

The hearing and testimony is open to both the public and the media, and --- as we are both --- we might like to drive down there ourselves if the gods are with us. But, despite Hursti's travels all the way from Finland, the gods haven't been with us much of late, and so we may or may not be able to make the few hours' drive. But we hope you will, if you're in the 'hood. And if so, let us know how it went!

Either way, we hope to have some video of the whole affair to post here afterwards at The BRAD BLOG if those pesky gods are even partly with us this time around.

UPDATE: VelvetRevolution.us --- (Disclosure: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR)-- is helping to raise funds to cover the expenses of DFA/Temecula Valley & SAVE-R-VOTE in covering expenses for Hursti's visit, and other costs related to their Election Integrity advocacy. Please click here to donate, and specify funds be earmarked for "Riverside Hack Challenge".

More details on Hursti's appearance in Riverside follow in a press release which we early-obtained from the good folks of the SAVE-R-VOTE project of DFA/Temecula Valley, and we're all too pleased to share it with you in full below...

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

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