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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, July 25, 2014
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
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'Green News Report' 7/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama takes action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: California gets tough on water wasters...
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


But in the meantime, we have a transcript of Friday's oral arguments --- just for you!
By Winter Patriot on 8/29/2006 11:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Judge Yuri Hofmann of the California Superior Court is expected to rule this afternoon on the arguments presented Friday.

The plaintiffs in the CA50 Election Contest are asking for a manual count of ballots from the June 6th House special election, which was held to replace former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who resigned after being unable to contain the fallout from a major bribery scandal.

The defendants are arguing that California no longer has any jurisdiction over the election since the Republican U.S. House went ahead and swore in Brian Bilbray just 7 days after the election, with thousands of votes still uncounted, and certification still several weeks away...

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

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Did Congress Ask California for Permission to Nullify a California Election???
Are You Dizzy Yet?...There's More! Effort to Recall Dennis Hastert Begins!
By Emily Levy on 8/28/2006 7:57pm PT  

Guest blogged by Emily Levy

You know by now that Brian Bilbray was sworn in as Congressional Representative before the June 6 election in San Diego County, CA was certified. You might even remember reading on The BRAD BLOG that the official swearing in was preceded by a public "mock" swearing in. You learned last week that this premature act is now being used by the defendants in the Busby/Bilbray election contest as an attempt to nullify the election in California's 50th district. But today (drum roll please) Michael Collins of Scoop Independent News reveals that it was Assistant California SoS Susan Lapsley (seen in photo) who provided the election results to the House.

Collins points us to the Congressional Digest...

Representative-elect Brian P. Bilbray presented himself in the well of the House and was administered the Oath of Office by the Speaker. Earlier the Clerk of the House transmitted a facsimile copy of the unofficial returns of the Special Election held on June 6, 2006 from Ms. Susan Lapsley, Assistant Secretary of State for Elections, California Secretary of State Office, indicating that the Honorable Brian P. Bilbray was elected Representative in Congress for the Fiftieth Congressional District of California.

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

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California SoS Denies Certification To Vote-PAD
By John Gideon on 8/28/2006 4:55pm PT  

"Off with Their Heads!" cried the Queen of Hearts

"How am I to get in?" asked Alice again, in a louder tone.
"Are you to get in at all?" said the Footman. "That's the first question, you know."

It was a Queen of Hearts sort of a day in California on August 9, 2006. The Secretary of State's advisory panel was hearing public comments regarding the pending certification of the Vote-PAD, a non-electronic assistive device designed to help voters with disabilities mark and verify a paper ballot independently.

Voting integrity advocates held signs supporting the certification of Vote-PAD. They told of countless failures of computerized voting systems. They spoke about recent discoveries of easily hackable "back doors" into the vote totals on those systems, which have been certified. By contrast, "Vote-PAD is no more hackable than a #2 pencil," said one.

Notwithstanding this and the letters praising the Vote-PAD from dozens of people with visual and motor disabilities, the Secretary of State's staff was recommending against certifying the Vote-PAD for use in California.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2006 1:34pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

In addition to Emily Levy's coverage here on Friday night, and Winter Patriot's coverage last Thursday (which includes actual briefs and letters filed in the case), Miriam Raftery filed a superb summation at RAW STORY today of where the Busby/Bilbray CA50 Election Contest stands as of last Friday's hearing. She includes several details which the Guest Bloggers here hadn't previously touched on --- including details on the defendants' attempts at a frivolous "SLAPP suit" against the plaintiffs --- so we recommend giving her piece a quick read.

The Judge on the case in San Diego, Yuri Hofmann, is to decide tomorrow on the defense's argument that the case should be tossed out on jurisdictional grounds because, they argue, the Constitution gives the U.S. Congress --- not California voters or California courts --- the right to ultimately adjudicate such election challenges...even before, as in this case, the election was actually certified by the county or the state. No, seriously, that's what Brian Bilbray's attorneys are actually arguing. Out loud.

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Takes Constitutional and Jurisdictional Matters Under Advisement
Could Judge Hofmann Be Prying the NeoCon Boot Off His Neck?
By Emily Levy on 8/25/2006 5:52pm PT  

Guest bloged by Emily Levy

Judge Yuri Hofmann announced in his San Diego courtroom today that he will take the constitutional and jurisdictional matters of the CA-50 election challenge case under advisement and issue a ruling next Tuesday, August 29.

The first item up for consideration today in the election contest filed by Attorneys Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins on behalf of two San Diego voters (and truly on behalf of all of us) was a defense motion for dismissal. Defense claimed that the San Diego court has no jurisdiction in this matter because the Constitution says, “Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members…” (Article I, Section 5). In other words, The House of Representatives gets to pick its members. (Who really needs elections, anyway?)

Lehto, in response, argued--as outlined here--that if the court has no jurisdiction, then Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas also had no jurisdiction to certify the election, given that certification happened after Bilbray was sworn in. (Yes, you heard that right.)

The defendants also argued that the court has no jurisdiction because plaintiffs had abandoned their recount efforts. According to Lehto, the request for a recount was filed properly within five days of certification of the election. Lehto says, "Jurisdiction was created by filing. That's all the statute says. There is no abandonment rule."

The judge is expected to rule on both the constitutional and jurisdictional issues on Tuesday.

From the courthouse by cell phone plaintiff Barbara Gail Jacobsen reported, "Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins represented us very well today in court. Lehto said it's invading the sovereignty of the State if someone swoops in and swears the person in and then says there’s nothing you can do. I thought he made some very good arguments about upholding checks and balances in our system and standing up for the right of the people to make sure that elections are accountable. We the People of this country decide on who is going to represent us, and it’s through making sure that our elections are sound that we can know for sure that we have elected people that we want to transfer power to. In this particular case what Paul Lehto was trying to say is that the people's right to know if the election was properly carried out is being blindfolded and taken away by the other side."

We can only hope that before Tuesday Judge Hofmann will have the opportunity to read the rest of the Constitution. It could be enlightening.

Donations are still needed for the lawsuit and other efforts in California’s 50th District to fight the illegal June 6 election. For more information, go to nosleepovers.org.

UPDATE: We have another report of the day's proceedings, this one from Judy Hess of CA 50 Action Committee:

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

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Plaintiff in Response: 'Defendant's Argument Means Election Is Uncertified, Never Happened'
UPDATED! NOW WITH A LIVE REPORT FROM THE COURTHOUSE! where Attorney Paul Lehto Claims 'Election Nullification Argument' is Absurd, Power Grab by Speaker of the U.S. House...
By Winter Patriot on 8/24/2006 10:27pm PT  


Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

UPDATE: We have a live update from the courthouse. You can see it at the bottom of this post

We haven't been covering the CA50 Election Mess as often as in the recent past --- while Brad's been on the road and otherwise occupied --- but we have been keeping our ears to the ground, so to speak. (Yes, they get dirty, but so what? We can hear things coming before they happen. It's cool; you should try it.)

My friends, we have been hearing distant rumblings of great power. To get you up to speed quickly...

The CA50 U.S. House special election between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray was held on June 6, on illegal Diebold voting machines as has been reported here many times. (Click here for a good recent summary of the situation.) On June 13, Bilbray was quickly sworn in to the House of Representatives while thousands of votes were still being counted back in San Diego. (This surprised and angered many voters, especially since a poll taken three weeks before the election showed Busby ahead by 7%.) On June 29, the election was finally certified --- in favor of Bilbray --- by the Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas.

The election was contested on July 29 after Haas refused to allow for a hand count of the ballots, as allowed by California state law. And on August 22, defendants filed a brief in the case to dismiss, stating that because Bilbray has already been sworn in (by the Republican House of Representatives,) the California Court has no jurisdiction whatsoever and the House has exclusive jurisdiction to judge who its members are and the qualifications of those members.

According to an email sent to The BRAD BLOG this evening from attorney Paul Lehto...

The defendants' position is that the court is powerless (i.e. without jurisdiction) to do anything about this election contest, because Bilbray was sworn in only 7 days after the June 6, and long before the election was legally final on or about June 29.

This premature termination of the election in the 50th Congressional District by the swearing in took place while votes were literally still being counted and provisional votes were still being counted, and also this premature swearing-in took place well before the 1% ballot audit required as part of the certification process, and also occurred fully 16 days prior to the official certification of the results.

The defendant's premature swearing-in at the command of Washington DC politicians, if it had any legal effect at all, necessarily means that if there's no power for a Court in San Diego County to protect and review our elections for Congress, there was certainly no power and no jurisdiction for defendant Registrar Haas to certify the results of the election, either.

The swearing in simply terminated the election in mid-count. Consequently, the defendants' arguments about the court's lack of power also mean that this uncertified election does not legally exist, in the legal sense that the election never happened, and this election never became final because it has never been certified at a time when anybody in San Diego had any power to do anything about it.

Because no election is decided or over until it's officially certified, this election was actually decided in Washington DC, and not decided in San Diego's 50th Congressional District.

So there you have it. This is the stick with which Paul Lehto is trying to beat a corrupted electoral machine back into shape.

Here's Lehto's brief responding to the absurd position [PDF] taken by the defendants in this case.

The judge is set to give his decision on the jurisdictional matter Friday, determining whether or not the case will be tossed out based on the argument of the defendants. The court hearing on this matter begins at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time in San Diego.

UPDATE... Michael Collins at Scoop has more. And now, so do we --- below the fold...

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

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By John Gideon on 8/24/2006 5:53pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Tonight Kitty compares the paperless Direct Recording Electronic voting in Maryland to the potentially auditable and verified electronic voting in California. Guests were Dan Wallach of Rice University and California State Senator and Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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

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By Winter Patriot on 8/15/2006 9:50pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Further to yesterday's post about Open Voting Consortium and Raging Grannies working together to resist Hart InterCivic machines on behalf of the voters of San Mateo County, we have bad news and good news.

The bad news is that their effort to postpone an immediate decision in favor of Hart InterCivic has failed. The good news is that the Grannies will keep on Raging. We have a note from the Grannies and a press release describing the meeting.

The Grannies will not give in. We are surprised, but not shocked, at the vote of the Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County, CA today, to approve purchase of the Hart InterCivic Voting systems. As for the Grannies plans now.... Our street theater is going on the road, wherever election protection is needed!

Here's a photo from our dramatization for the press in front of the Hall of Justice building where the Supervisors met. Several newspaper photographers were on hand to document this event.

Our play: Debbie Does Democracy is as follows:

Debbie (in red t-shirt) is suffering from Loss of Voter Confidence and Lack of Civil Rights. Here she is seen being treated by Dr. Jane Q Public with injections of Robust Audits and Software Transparency. All roles played by Raging Grannies.

The press release follows.

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

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Salon's Election Integrity Coverage Takes A Turn For The Better
but it couldn't have got much worse!
By Winter Patriot on 8/15/2006 7:55pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

Art Levine's new piece at Salon raises their election integrity bar quite a bit --- not a difficult task considering where that bar has been lately.

Prior to the 2004 "election", Salon's coverage was generally quite good; since then it's been dismal, thanks mostly to some outrageous smear pieces from Farhad Manjoo. In fact, Salon's coverage has been so dreadful that the site has been referred to in some quarters as "Saloon", which of course rhymes with "buffoon", which gives me a good way to remember "Manjoo", whose name just wouldn't stick in my frozen brain any other way.

But let's not dwell on those sad times.

Levine's article, "Salon's shameful six", looks at six states --- Arizona, Indiana, California, Missouri, Ohio and Florida --- where vote suppression could cause serious problems in 2006.

If you're not a Salon subscriber, you'll have to watch a short ad to read the whole article. I did; it was well worth the time and effort. But just in case you don't believe me, we have a few short excerpts, below the fold.

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

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By Winter Patriot on 8/15/2006 1:45am PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot


Ginny Ross, one of our friends from the Election Defense Alliance, has posted the video of the beginning of the press conference from DemocracyFest last month in San Diego as the Busby/Bilbray election challenge (due to voting machine "sleepovers" with pollworkers) was just coming to light. Some of us have been anxious to see this ever since Ginny told us she was working on it. And rightly so. The video is a good one. Just click on the picture to see it.

For more on the press conference, please revisit Brad's post of July 18th.

You're more than welcome to disagree with me on this, but I'd say he did a fine job. Then again, what do I know? I'm partially frozen at the best of times. ;-)

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The Demonstration Planned For Tuesday Morning Should Be Very Interesting
Welcome to the National Train-Wreck, and Good Luck to our friends in San Mateo County
By Winter Patriot on 8/14/2006 11:41pm PT  

Guest blogged by Winter Patriot

At first glance they might seem like odd partners, but take another look: Open Voting Consortium and Raging Grannies are working together in San Mateo County to resist the Chief Elections Officer's plan to introduce EVMs from Hart Intercivic Voting Systems.

They had a meeting Monday night and it appeared to go well. Here's a brief account from one of our friends on the scene:

I was very impressed with the excellent organization of the "Open Voting" and "election Integrity" organization(s) ...

[they] have already met with the [board of Supervisors, San Mateo County] ... given them packets of information, have a series of speakers, each with a different aspect of the problem, possible solutions, etc. spelled out.

Press will be there and "press kits" have been prepared ...

Good! The more prepared the better, I'd say.

There's a press release describing Tuesday's planned demonstration, after the fold.

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

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Staff Writer/Columnist Jim Trageser Flails Against the Wind...and the Facts
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2006 10:44am PT  

Blogged by Brad from the road...

UPDATE: Trageser sends us a one line reply to the following article (instead of bothering to return our call): "Thanks for the traffic bump!" was all that he wrote. To which we replied: "Thanks for not giving a damn about your country." We also realize we neglected to post Jim's contacts previously so you can thank him yourself. As posted with his "column", you may contact staff writer Jim at: (760) 631-6628 or jtrageser@nctimes.com. Letters to his editor may be sent to: letters@nctimes.com, though that's likely the same editor who allowed his factually incorrect and evidence-free article to be published in the first place, so who knows how much they actually give a damn about such things at The North County Times.

I've been completely off line for nearly a week, only to return briefly enough to find Jim Trageser's sad attempt at a column from Wednesday in the North County Times wherein he bashes the Busby/Bilbray election contest as nothing more than "a political stunt."

The evidence for his conclusions? Apparently he has none. Other than the "facts" he has simply made up out of whole cloth without, seemingly, bothering to speak to a single source involved in the contest.

Add to that several pieces of out-and-out incorrect information (he says that Bush beat Gore in 2000 and that "every post-election recount...all upheld Bush's narrow win in Florida" --- Here's the actual numbers from the studies you cite, Jim. Don't bother to read them, we'd hate to destroy your rich fantasy life) and you've got the perfect picture of everything that is wrong with today's lazy, faux media.

At one point, Trageser actually has the temerity to hunt and peck the following words out of his keyboard...

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

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Bruce McDannold Misinforms and Distorts When Talking About Vote-PAD to County Elections Officials
Confidentiality Agreement is Violated In This Campaign
By John Gideon on 8/10/2006 9:01am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

A very revealing article was published this week in the Arcata Eye, a weekly newspaper, in Arcata, Humboldt County, California.

The article, headlined "County’s new voting machines may be flawed", was published on August 8, one day prior to the hearing in Sacramento about the Vote-PAD that was reported yesterday by The BRAD BLOG.

Reports from the hearing indicate that even hearing officials were questioning Bruce McDannold, the Secretary of State's Interim Director of the Office of Voting Systems Technology Assessment, about how he came to some negative conclusions about Vote-PAD; questions he could not answer; questions that, according to eye-witnesses, made him look rather foolish.

Yet, according to the Arcata Eye article, McDannold seems to have been carrying on a vendetta against Vote-PAD for a while. It seems that late last month McDannold spoke about Vote-PAD at the annual conference of state’s clerks and elections officials in San Diego:

Bruce McDannold, the interim director of the state’s Office of Voting Systems Technology Assessment, had already indicated that Vote-PAD would not be an acceptable option. “(McDannold) didn’t have much good to say about Vote-PAD,” McWilliams related. “He said that it’s one of the most error-prone systems he had ever tested.”

County Clerk-Recorder Carolyn Crnich gave a similar account, having heard McDannold speak at the annual conference of state’s clerks and elections officials in San Diego late last month. “I would interpret his words and actions (on Vote-PAD) to be very negative,” she said, adding that the best that can be hoped for now is a conditional state certification of Vote-PAD that would allow it be modified.

It needs to be mentioned that Carolyn Crnich spoke in favor of Vote-PAD and pointed out problems with the testing procedures to the hearing panel in Sacramento. This testimony, on top of the testimony of Vote-PAD President Ellen Theisen, should be enough to prove that McDannold has lost grip on reality.

It is also important to note that an understanding of confidentiality was entered into by all who participated in the testing and evaluation of the Vote-PAD, including Bruce McDannold. When McDannold spoke to the counties in San Diego, he violated the same agreement that he demanded that Vote-PAD maintain.

Why is it that McDannold is overseeing a process that welcomes unreliable, error-prone, insecure electronic voting machines with open arms while it unfairly tests a voting device that is truly accessible to the community it was designed for? What does McDannold gain by his misinforming county election officials based on data gained from unscientific and shoddy testing? I, for one, hope that Vote-PAD seeks redress for the grievances heaped upon the company by McDannold. It's beyond time that the disinformation from the Secretary of State stop.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out in a comment to "'Daily Voting News' For August 10, 2006" that McDannold did not adress the counties as a whole. Any mention of Vote-PAD was done in casual conversation. Of course this does not absolve him of keeping a confidentiality agreement and certainly not of bad-mouthing any voting system that has not yet had any hearing within the state.

Disclosure Statement:
In the interest of full disclosure: Ellen Theisen was the founder of VotersUnite and its Executive Director before I took over the helm from her. She resigned from her position upon founding Vote-PAD, Inc. I have no stake in Vote-PAD in any way except as Ellen's friend.

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Vote-PAD's President Explains The Flaws in The State's Test Plan and Certification Process
By John Gideon on 8/9/2006 12:50pm PT  

Blogged by John Gideon

As reported previously the state of California unfairly treated voters with disabilities in the testing of the Vote-PAD, a voting assistive device designed specifically for use by voters with disabilities and successfully tested and used by those voters across the country. The fact that the staff of the Secretary of State of California used shoddy test procedures and then recommended denial of certification, based on those test procedures, of the Vote-PAD is certainly questionable. Why haven't other voting systems, that purport to be accessible, been tested by the disabilities community at all?

As reported earlier, today is the public hearing for the Vote-PAD. Ellen Theisen, President and Founder of Vote-PAD has testified about the problems with the test procedure. In her testimony she referred to accompanying testimony from Valerie Rice, PhD., CPE, OTR/L, whose PhD is in "Human Factors Engineering (Industrial Engineering and Operations Research) with a specialization in Human Factors Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and masters degrees in both Occupational Therapy (University of Puget Sound) and Health Care Administration (Baylor University). She is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist and a liscensed and registered Occupational Therapist". In other words, Dr. Rice is the person who should have written the states test procedure which would have given everyone a fair and even field for making a judgment on Vote-PAD.

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

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VoterAction Announces The Filing Of a New Motion of Preliminary Injunction In State Court
By John Gideon on 8/8/2006 2:39pm PT  

In a just issued Press Release, VoterAction has announced that California voters are challenging the use of the Diebold TSx touch screen voting system and that they have filed a motion for preliminary injunction in state court.

This announcement follows the July 18 announcement that an attempt by the state to move the original suit from the state courts to federal court had failed.

The press release follows:

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