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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, August 29, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring the GOP's Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin? Let us catch you up quickly with the latest...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become; Plus: another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
OR nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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'Why would you have a paper record if you don't count it?' Asks 'Losing' Candidate
Orange County, CA, Court Decision to 'Set Precedent' According to Both Sets of Attorneys...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2007 1:35pm PT  

The Los Angeles Times underscores everything that is wrong with relying on "paper trails" from Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting systems: Nobody ever counts them. Even in incredibly close contested elections as overseen by a court of law...

A judge ruled Monday that Janet Nguyen won the February election for an Orange County Board of Supervisors seat by a slim three-vote margin, rejecting arguments by her opponent that a recount wasn't completed because the paper audit of electronically cast ballots was not counted manually.

"All the votes were counted," said Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Brenner. "There was a full and legal recount."
...
It was, he said, "perfectly reasonable" for Janet Nguyen to ask for about 35,000 paper absentee ballots to be checked by hand to contest ones that weren't filled out properly and then ask to have about 10,000 electronic votes recounted the way they were on election night — by machine
...
Trung Nguyen, who is not related to the winner, declined to comment and left the courthouse as his attorney, Michael Schroeder, said an appeal was likely. "Why would you have a paper record if you don't count it?" Schroeder said.
...
All sides agreed that Brenner's ruling could set a precedent.

Please note that Rush Holt's Election Reform bill (HR811), which mandates the hand-count of a very small minority of paper records in most federal races (which this race was not) via an audit after Election Day, allows no audit to happen at all in the case of an automatic state-mandated recount --- the type that occurs when an election is incredibly close, and when such an audit, arguably, might be needed the most.

UPDATE 4:58pm PT: Election Integrity advocate Tom Courbatt of Riverside County points us towards an October 31, 2006 statement [PDF] from former CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, who said: "The mandatory paper audit trail will be used for a full recount if necessary." That statement is at the bottom of the 5-page press release. Guess he was just kidding. Or the judge in Orange County didn't care. Or "paper trails" don't actually matter after all, no matter what any law or elections officials try to tell you...Which is why we need a paper ballot --- one that is actually tabulated --- for every vote cast in America!

# # #

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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Official Comments from CA Election Clerks on Proposed Test Criteria by SoS Bowen Reveal They Are in a Panic...And Are Clueless About the One Thing That Truly Matters to Voters...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2007 8:40pm PT  

California's election clerks --- or at least those who are members of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO) --- are freaking out in light of CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen's newly proposed draft criteria for her promised, "first-of-its-kind top-to-bottom review" of all electronic voting systems in the state.

Bowen's most welcome and strictly drawn draft criteria, as we reported last week, are open for public comment through April 6th, after which testing will begin on systems which will lose their certification for 2008 if they do not meet the refreshingly strict standards to be reviewed (finally!).

In a document dated today and obtained by The BRAD BLOG, the CACEO --- who worked very hard, if unsuccessfully, to see Bowen's irresponsible predecessor, the hapless Bruce McPherson, re-elected --- filed their comments on Bowen's test criteria. And they don't like 'em. They don't like 'em one bit.

While we can hardly say we're surprised by that, or that they didn't bother to post the document on their own website yet, we can say that we're surprised that these folks who run elections for a living still seem completely and utterly unaware of the one thing that matters to voters --- and any successful democracy --- the most...

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

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Diebold Document Exposer in First Broadcast Interview! Plus CODEPINK's Jodie Evans! As we Guest Host 'Action Point w/ Cynthia Black' on AAR/Nova M Phoenix
Listen Up Sunday @ 12noon PT (3pm ET) on 1480kphx.com
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2007 8:59am PT  

I'll be sitting in again this week as Guest Host on Sunday for the good Cynthia Black Nova M and Air America Phoenix' Action Point with Cynthia Black on 1480am KPHX.

This week, we'll have a live broadcast exclusive first as Diebold document whistleblower Stephen Heller will be LIVE in studio to be interviewed on air for the first time! We'll also take your calls! As well, CODEPINK's Jodie Evans will join us to discuss the Democrats courageous Iraq Policy, or lack thereof. Don't miss it! More details follow...

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

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San Diego County Chief Promotes Hard Rightwing Haas to Top Executive Position in County!
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2007 2:03pm PT  

From the San Diego Union-Tribune today:

Mikel Haas, a 13-year county employee who oversaw a slew of elections in two stints as registrar of voters, has been promoted to one of the top executive positions in county government.

Haas, 49, will replace Alex Martinez, who retired March 16, as deputy chief administrative officer of the Community Services Group. In the post, Haas will oversee several departments, including the registrar, housing, animal services and general services.

Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard made the decision Thursday after considering several in-house candidates. He called Haas “a top-notch executive” with stellar management experience.
...
Haas earned $145,288 annually as registrar. His new salary has yet to be determined, county spokesman Mike Workman said.

In the North County Times' report on same, which focused on the difficulty the county may have in finding a replacement for Haas, and bothered, (unlike the as-ever rightwing U-T's coverage above) to note just some of the fire that Haas has been under for his horrible performance as head of elections in SD, added:

County Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard...issued a statement through Workman praising Haas, who had been something of a "troubleshooter" for the county during his 13 years.

A "troubleshooter" indeed, for the hard rightwing San Diego County administrators.

A quick review of a just a few BRAD BLOG items concerning Haas will inform the initiated about one of America's worst, most dangerous, partisan Elections Administrators and the disaster that Diebold's man in San Diego has been for the voters of San Diego as he's overseen/mis-managed such elections as the Busby/Bilbray race and many more.

His failures have led both Democrats and Republicans to call for his resignation. Little wonder then, here in Bush's World, that he's now been rewarded for his bad work. Can the Medal of Freedom be far behind?

Heckuva job, San Diego!

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It's a Bad Day in Cali for Diebold and ES&S and Sequoia and Hart Intercivic...But a Great Day for the Voters!
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2007 10:05am PT  

"Clean up politics. Elect Women." Indeed.

In our second "New Female Secretary of State Kicks Ass, Cleans Up Mess Wrought by Male Predecessor" story of the day, California's own Debra Bowen issued her draft criteria to be used for the first-of-its-kind, "top to bottom review" of all electronic voting systems she promised just before taking office. And the electronic voting machine companies ain't gonna like 'em. But we do.

"The review is designed to restore people's confidence in the integrity of our electoral process," Bowen said in a statement issued yesterday to announce the criteria and her call for public input, "Every California voter has the right to have their vote counted as it was cast."

Imagine that. Am I dreamin'?! The criteria are now posted here [PDF] for public comment.

And, oh, man...Here's just a taste. From the "Security Standards" section...

a. DREs. Each direct recording electronic voting system (“DRE”), as defined in Elections Code Section 19251(b), must incorporate, as part of its design, hardware, firmware and/or software program features that effectively secure the DRE and all electronic media used with the DRE against untraceable vote tampering or denial of service attacks by any person with access to the DRE, its firmware, software and/or electronic media during their manufacture, transport, storage, temporary storage, programming, testing and use, including the electronic ballot definition or layout process.

The criteria are virtually the same for op-scans and central tabulating systems. And from the "Security Testing" section (Jeff "1000 to 1" Stone of Riverside County is not gonna like this)...

The security of each DRE, vote tabulating device, and ballot tally computer will be tested using two complementary methods, “red teaming” and source code review. The Secretary will select qualified industry and academic experts in computer and software security, including experts on electronic voting systems, to perform both types of tests.

a. Red Teaming. The “red teaming” process is analogous to military training exercises in which the members of the “red team” are adversaries trying to defeat friendly, “blue team” forces. The red team exercise will be designed to simulate conditions in which a voting system might be vulnerable to attack in the actual cycle of manufacturing, programming, delivery, testing, storage, temporary storage and use in California elections. Initially, the team will approach the system knowing nothing of its source code. Knowledge of source code may be used in subsequent attack attempts. The objective will be to determine whether and to what degree it is possible to compromise the security of the voting system to interfere with the accurate recording of votes or alter the record of votes to change the result of an election.

Now we're getting somewhere! And we're also reminded why Bowen was the only candidate ever officially endorsed by The BRAD BLOG!

"I want input from as many people as possible – voting rights activists, county elections officials, and anyone else who wants to offer an opinion," said Madame Secretary, putting the voting rights folks first for a refreshing change, in her statement.

Input on the draft criteria can be sent here: votingsystems@sos.ca.gov. The criteria for California, or as Diebold refers to it, "the world's largest voting market," will be finalized by April 6.

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Voters, State Law, Rendered Meaningless, Plaintiffs Likely to Appeal Decision to CA Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2007 6:35pm PT  
"We need not (and do not) resolve the question of whether the election contest at issue here fits within the category of election contests that may be entertained without infringing on Congress' authority because the instant dispute can, and should, be resolved on a much narrower ground — mootness."
-- CA Court of Appeals (4th District), Majority Opinion, Jacobson v. Bilbray, 3/20/07

Need more evidence for why election results need to be right on Election Night? Look no further than the now-infamous CA50 Busby/Bilbray Special U.S. House Election to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham last June.

The latest chapter finds an Appellate Court in California dismissing the case on the grounds that the issue is now "moot" because the six month term for the original election being challenged has now ended. That, despite the defense never even having raised the issue. And thus, the voters' right to even have a proper recount as afforded by state law, in order to find out who had the most votes in an election, is usurped by the U.S. Congress's ultimate Constitutional authority to decide who will be seated in its chambers....

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But Secretary Bowen Says Board of Supes Proposed 'Ground Rules' for Test 'Overly Narrow,' 'Would Prove Little and Give Voters False Sense of Security'
Supervisor Stone's Hope for SoS Participation in '1000 to 1' Bet with Election Integrity Advocates under Unilateral, Unrealistic Restrictions Flatly Rejected by State's New Election Chief...
By Brad Friedman on 2/26/2007 4:33pm PT  

California's new Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, has flatly rejected a request from Riverside County, CA County Supervisor Jeff Stone to participate in a "hack test" challenge originally proposed to Election Integrity Advocates in response to their concerns about security and accuracy for the county's electronic touch-screen voting machines, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

In a letter sent to Stone last week obtained by The BRAD BLOG (posted in full at the end of this article), Secretary Bowen found that though there was no state law to prohibit such a test, her office would not participate, in part due to the narrow restrictions initially insisted upon by Supervisor Stone.

In her reply to a letter sent in early January to outgoing Secretary of State Bruce McPherson just days before he would leave office, Bowen wrote, "I am not aware of any state law that would prohibit the type of security test that you described in your letter." Unlike Bowen, the former SoS had been seen as far more favorable towards relaxed security issues for electronic voting.

As The BRAD BLOG originally reported last December, Stone had initially challenged local Election Integrity advocates "a thousand to one," during a public hearing, that a programmer would be unable to "manipulate" the county's voting system.

In her letter to McPherson Bowen joined other computer security professionals who had previously rejected Stone's unilateral suggestions for ground rules, calling them "overly narrow," potentially giving voters a "false sense of security." Stone had written to the former SoS that just "15 minutes would be allotted" for the test and the programmer who accepted the challenge --- noted computer security expert Harri Hursti --- would be prohibited from using any tools or reaching around the back of the machine. "In every sense," Stone wrote, "he would be like any voter on Election Day approaching a voting unit at the polls."

Bowen, however, balked at Stone's unilateral ground rules, writing in response...

While I appreciate and applaud your goal of increasing the voters' confidence in the systems they use to cast their ballots, an overly narrow test such as the one you have constructed would, at best, prove very little and, at worst, give voters a false sense of security. Your demonstration, if the results are as you expect, can prove only that it is difficult to successfully tamper with voting equiopment in a limited time frame in a polling place setting if poll workers have the ability to preclude voters from taking certain actions (e.g., reaching around the back of the machine) and/or bringing certain items (e.g., tools) into the voting booth with them.

As you know, voting equipment is subject to tampering in a wide range of settings.

This test you have proposed wouldn't address the issue of whether a someone who can reach around the back of the machine undetected or can bring a tool into the voting booth without being noticed by a poll worker will be able to gain access to the machine.

As well, Bowen also highlighted the point made by Election Integrity Advocates, computer security professionals, and even the Baker/Carter "Blue Ribbon" National Election Reform Commission that made the point that the greatest threat to e-voting security likely comes from election insiders, such as officials or poll workers who have been allowed to take pre-programmed, election-ready systems home with them in the days prior to the election as allowed by Riverside County.

Such insider access is seen as a far greater threat to security than that from voters on Election Day. As Bowen wrote in reply...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2007 1:06pm PT  

San Francisco is considering "upgrading" their voting systems to use Sequoia machines. They are demanding that the company publicly disclose their software source code for all to see. It's called transparency. That's a good thing.

But Sequoia is refusing. Yesterday, there was another discussion/debate on the topic at an SF Board of Supes hearing. The San Francisco Examiner reported this laugh line from the Sequoia spokeshole:

Steven Bennet, a Sequoia representative, said Sequoia won't agree to public disclosure [of source code on voting machines] since it would "jeopardize the security to all of our customers in California and across the country."

For those just joining the fun, who may be unfamiliar with guffaw-worthiness of Bennet's claim about concern for the security of his company's shitty voting systems, we'll refer you to this small sampling of previous relevant BRAD BLOG articles:

...Along with a heads up that we'll have more --- much more --- on Sequoia's "concerns" about the security of their voting systems (or lack thereof) in a detailed investigative report in the very near future...

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Guest Blogger Attorney Ken Simpkins Seeks Your Help in Bringing Accountability to One of America's Worst Elections Officials...
By Ken Simpkins on 2/18/2007 4:39pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ken Simpkins

ED NOTE: Over the last nine months or so, along with attorney Paul Lehto, Carlsbad, CA attorney Simpkins has filed a number of voter lawsuits in San Diego in his continuing attempt to help bring accountability to the unaccountable San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas and his atrocious elections administration. Those suits included complaints and appeals in the now-infamous Busby/Bilbray Special Election as well as voter lawsuits brought both before and after last November's General Election in San Diego.

After being stonewalled by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office on requests for recounts, information regarding the right to vote on paper ballots, and the results of an audit of the November 2006 election, citizens are taking action. Last Thursday, a complaint [PDF] was submitted to the new California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, addressing voters’ concerns. Secretary Bowen was voted into office on the promise of cleaning up elections.

SD County's Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas, has attracted the attention of The BRAD BLOG for many months as "one of the worst elections officials in the country." His policy of sending pre-programmed, election-ready Diebold voting machines home with poll workers weeks in advance of elections, without any training on security or assurance that the machines would be held in a secure environment, likewise attracted the ire of many San Diego County voters. Those same voters are signing a petition urging the Secretary of State to investigate the allegations in the complaint and report on the findings. I urge you to sign it as well.

The complaint reports on the violations of the certification requirements under state and federal law, the failure to properly test the machines pursuant to official procedures, the policy of undermining the right to vote on paper ballots, and the disregard of basic auditing principles in conducting the required one percent manual tally.

The voting machine "sleepover" policy is one example of the disregard by the Registrar of Voters of the proven vulnerabilities of the Diebold machines, which can be hacked in one minute and made to change the outcome of an election. In defending the sleepover policy, Mr. Haas points to the "tamper-evident" tape used to seal the memory card compartment as sufficient security against fraud. But, when one observer discovered on election day that the tape had been removed from the machines at two precincts, and reported the violation of the certification requirements to Mr. Haas, he refused to take the machines out of service and allowed voters to cast their votes on the then-uncertified machines...

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