Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
...Or did they?...
...Well, go figure.
That skill set should come in very handy down there in, of all places, San Diego, where the far-right Republican Board of Supes, and the far-right Republican Registrar of Voters office, have never met a hackable Diebold electronic voting system they didn't love.
I recall "Strider" (Krvaric) and the "Fairlight" boyz from my own C-64 and BBS "warez" swapping days in the late 80's. Those guys, and the other incredibly competitive pirate crews, could crack anything, anytime, usually within minutes after a new piece of software hit the market (and often, even before it did!).
But no doubt, the air-tight, mission-critical, impenetrable security in Diebold's voting systems would be beyond the reach of d00dz like Strider and friends. And, of course, there's far more to gain by a 17-year-old "Strider" cracking the codes of, say, International Karate Plus and Shoot 'em Up Construction Kit than there ever would be for him, as county GOP chair, to hack an election in San Diego, right? I mean, what would possibly be the upside to that?
In Aurora, Illinois, today, Beacon News' Dan Campana files a very good report on the federal fraud suit filed against Austin, Texas, based voting machine company Hart InterCivic. The suit, alleging dozens of false claims and fraudulent activities by Hart in order to receive federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money, was filed originally by former employee turned whistleblower William Singer back in 2006, but did not become unsealed until March 27th, when The BRAD BLOG covered it, along with posting the full stunning complaint [PDF].
Beacon News is based in Kane County, IL, which uses the faulty Hart voting systems in question.
Campana's report today --- which quotes yours truly in a number of places --- is the only corporate media coverage of the lawsuit in the nearly three weeks since the case was finally unsealed. Until now, there's been the fairly extensive coverage found on this blog, an item on the same day the case was unsealed filed by Kim Zetter at WIRED's "Threat Level" blog (which we replied to here), and a very short squib from AP on the same day, which, according to a quick Google News search, was carried by only a single news outlet, CBS 4 in Denver.
(For the record, our extensively detailed and sourced report on Hart's attempted takeover of Sequoia late last week has been picked up by nobody, other than ComputerWorld where we, ourselves, filed a short summary report. That, despite officials from both Hart and Sequoia having confirmed the accuracy of our report, and the fact that Hart, which controls some 8% of the voting market in this country, is about to swallow up Sequoia Voting Systems, which controls 20% of it, to become the nation's second largest e-voting machine vendor. We'll know by Tuesday at the latest, most likely, if Sequoia was able to save itself from Hart's hostile takeover.)
So with a dearth of coverage anywhere but here, we can heartily recommend Campana's report on Singer's suit. His article includes comments from us (as mentioned), one of Singer's attorneys, Hart spokesperson Peter Lichtenheld (who shamelessly plays the tired old "conspiracy theory" card), some Election Integrity advocates from the non-partisan Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, and some state and local Kane County election officials who have deluded themselves into believing their Hart machines are safe for use in American democracy.
When Campana interviewed us for his story, we suggested he ask any of the election officials he planned to interview for a single piece of evidence to prove that any single vote, ever cast during an election on a Hart DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machine in the county, has ever been recorded accurately, as intended by a voter.
Though Campana references our challenge in his report ("Friedman contends no government officials can prove the votes cast on electronic machines can be accurately linked to tallies",) he doesn't quote any of the officials as being able to offer such evidence. Little surprise, because they can't produce such evidence. It's strictly impossible. Yet they continue to use these machines anyway.
But he does manage to get a few amusing and wholly unsupportable statements from some of those deluded officials. We're delighted to spend our Sunday dismantling them --- both the statements, and the officials...
-- Brad Friedman
As if Sequoia Voting Systems doesn't have enough trouble already, the company now needs some $2 million dollars in cash...quickly. Without it, it is likely to be subsumed by one of its nearest competitors, Hart InterCivic of Austin, TX, as soon as next Tuesday, The BRAD BLOG has learned.
In what could well be a major shift on the American election industry landscape --- and certainly on elections themselves in dozens of states across the country --- voting machine company Hart InterCivic informed the current owners of the beleaguered Sequoia of their intention to acquire ownership of the company in a move which could take effect as early as next week.
The attempted hostile takeover --- which, we've learned, has been quietly in the works behind the scenes since mid-February --- has set off a building panic among the senior management and owners at Sequoia, whose money woes had already led them to schedule a shut-down of their Oakland headquarters. That shop is to close within a matter of months, as the operations for the company are to be consolidated at its Denver offices.
The takeover by Hart is made possible in the wake of a deal made by Sequoia's current owners, SVS Holdings, Inc., with its former owners, the off-shore consortium Smartmatic. Smartmatic was forced to give up control of the company after the media and Congress noticed in 2006 that the company had ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The officers and owners of SVS are comprised largely of previous Sequoia officials who took over the company after Smartmatic's failed attempt to find an outside buyer in 2006. The deal resulted in an agreement between SVS and Smartmatic for the latter to hold a $2 million note from the purchase. Smartmatic now appears ready to sell that note to Hart as part of a $16 million dollar deal which SVS has a contractual right to match within a 60-day period, ending on April 15th.
Sequoia is believed by election experts to be this country's third largest voting machine company, followed by Hart. The combined operation, should the takeover be completed, could well create a new powerhouse in the industry, displacing #2 Diebold/Premier, and coming up just behind the country's currently largest election vendor, ES&S.
Court documents obtained by The BRAD BLOG reveal that Hart notified SVS of its intention to purchase the $2 million note held by Smartmatic on February 15th, giving the group of owners and share holders of SVS --- including CEO and President Jack Blaine, and VPs Michelle Shafer and Edwin Smith (whose names BRAD BLOG readers may recognize) --- just 60 days to match the offer Hart had given to Smartmatic. As the deadline nears, Due Dilligence processes have begun, and are near the final phases of completion at Sequoia...whether company management likes it or not.
Hart's move has sent Sequoia/SVS executives into a legal and financial tizzy and --- perhaps taking a page from Hillary Clinton's campaign book --- the company seems to be throwing the legal kitchen sink at both Hart and Smartmatic in an attempt to nullify Hart's offer. Court documents reveal arguments that Hart's is not a "bona fide" offer that SVS is legally required to match. So far, however, those legal maneuvers, reflected by a dizzying array of motions and cross-motions, suits and counter-suits --- completely unreported by anyone in the media until now --- have all been summarily and soundly rejected by the Delaware magistrate adjudicating the matter.
Every legal effort by Sequoia and SVS to dispatch with the hostile takeover attempt has failed miserably so far, leading Vice Chancellor Stephen P. Lamb of the Court of Chancery in Delaware to even describe one such legal theory of SVS' as...(big irony alert!)...a "conspiracy theory"!
But while Sequoia faces a plethora of legal liabilities concerning their oft-failed voting systems, Hart InterCivic faces its own share of challenges with a pending --- and damning --- federal fraud/qui tam suit against the company, as unsealed late last month. Moreover, Hart's acquisition plan could face scrutiny from members of Congress and Treasury Department officials, as well as states across the country who thought they had turned over control of their elections to Sequoia, only to soon learn there will be a new owner, not of their choosing, of the secret software and devices which determine the results of their public elections.
While litigation over claims of fraud and failure in both company's voting systems await, so does at least one major prize to the victor of this grudge match: New York state's soon-to-be-completed $100 million deal with Sequoia...or maybe now with Hart...or...whoever...
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
The BRAD BLOG's own Brad Friedman and other Election Integrity advocates spoke at the historic Joint Informational Hearing Discussion Of Problems Faced By Voters At The 2008 Presidential Primary Election held in Los Angeles on Friday (Brad covered one aspect of the hearing on the L.A. County "Double Bubble" ballot debacle quickly last week; our full body of coverage on the matter is posted here). However, Brad almost did not get a chance to say his piece as the Sergeant-at-Arms almost tossed him out of the hearing on multiple occasions for applauding (video below, 2:20):
Despite his "disruptive" antics, Brad was eventually allowed to speak to the panel about the Los Angeles County "Double Bubble" problem (video below, 2:23)
More video from the Election Integrity advocates' testimony at last week's hearings follows below...
We spent many hours yesterday at a joint legislative hearing, at the California State Ronald Reagan Building downtown, where CA SoS Debra Bowen, former L.A. County Registrar Conny "Condoleezza" McCormack, current acting Registrar Dean Logan, who was "greeted...with boos", and others all testified on the "Double Bubble" Ballot Fiasco. It went on for more than three and a half hours before the actual aggrieved parties (the voters of L.A. County) were allowed to testify for "30 seconds to a minute" each.
Our own Alan Breslauer was also there taping and may have some video here soon (including, perhaps, my quick testimony, and the continuing amusing threats of the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw me out.)
The BRAD BLOG overheard Logan in the hallway, desperately working to be bumped from "acting" to actual Registrar, as he slimed an Election Integrity advocate who had just testified against him. Logan was heard telling the top aide to one of the L.A. Board of Supes that one of the local, volunteer EI advocates was "a pathological liar." That, just minutes after Logan had attempted to take some responsibility for the fiasco --- when the media's cameras were rolling --- during his actual testimony. As we know the EI advocate in question, and know him to be an exceptionally stand-up guy, we informed Logan, and the aide, that he was incredibly out of line, and flat-out wrong. Again.
But it was McCormack who was met with the most derision, by audience and Legislative inquisitors alike, as she dissembled to the panel and attempted to blame Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" of voting systems for her own failure, disingenuously saying the SoS's efforts to do the job she was elected to do was the reason that McCormack couldn't have fixed the problem before it disenfranchised thousands of legal voters again this year...
As we wait for the next round of thousands of disenfranchised voters to emerge from OH, TX, VT, RI, or beyond, Los Angeles County has finally finished counting its infamously disastrous "Double Bubble" ballots from the Feb. 5th Super Tuesday Primary in California.
The final numbers, in just in time to meet today's local certification deadline, are supposed to hearten us because the county Registrar's office chose to not count only some 12,000 valid, legally cast votes in the state's open Democratic Primary.
What a victory! It's kinda like celebrating the great success of the troop "surge" in Iraq where "coalition" fatalities have plummeted from pre-surge levels of 2.39 dead troops per day all the way down to 2.37 dead troops per day.
As we predicted, many of the districts counted resulted in very lopsided results. That was likely due to the horrible, unfair counting scheme the Registrar's office decided to use. The scheme disproportionately, and almost randomly, tossed out thousands of votes for some candidates, but tallied all of those for others --- even when they were all cast in the very same precinct, by the very exact same method. According to the results of this "supplemental count," as posted at the Registrar's website [PDF], it looks like our fears have come to pass in that department as well.
But there is a bit of actual good news in all of this, small comfort though it may be. Our concerns about the newly discovered uncounted provisional "Double Bubble" ballots, that we reported on Friday, were heard, even if our other concerns --- as attributed to us by name in today's Whittier Daily News coverage of the final tabulation --- were summarily dismissed by acting Registrar Dean Logan for unspecified "legal" reasons, according to that news report...
I spent most of yesterday and today on the phone with attorneys and officials trying to sort out the continuing, disastrous mess concerning the "Double Bubble" ballot fiasco from Los Angeles County's February 5th Democratic Primary.
That, despite what we see as this week's premature declaration of "Victory!" on Tuesday from our friends at the Courage Campaign, followed by their "We won!" email on Wednesday, as they celebrated after the county's acting Registrar announced his plan to count some (though by no means all) of the 50,000 or so still-uncounted ballots cast by Non-Partisan (NP) voters who had attempted to vote in the open Democratic Primary on "Super Tuesday."
During a late-night phone call from a local Election Integrity advocate last night, however, I was told that situation is even worse than previously reported or even known --- even by the county's elections officials --- to date, as another set of thousands of legal ballots may go uncounted, even under a new tabulating scheme being implemented by county officials...
[UPDATED 2/27/08 2:00pm PT, after speaking with Bowen's office about this. The update, which includes her current response to Logan's proposed counting scheme, is posted at the bottom of this report.]
I hate to counter the adulation of so many of the good groups out there claiming "victory" and "a happy ending" today in the "Double Bubble" ballot dispute in Los Angeles County, but I must. The "victory" they are now referring to, with the best of intentions, as "Great news!" is much less than it appears. Though if you don't look closely, it might otherwise look like a "victory." Unfortunately, it isn't.
Unless something changes, and quickly, Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters Dean Logan is preparing to disenfranchise thousands of voters who cast legal ballots in the Super Tuesday Democratic primary election.
In the 3-page letter [PDF] sent by Logan to CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen yesterday, the recently-arrived, but still-befuddled, county clerk details how he now plans to potentially toss out thousands of votes, while inappropriately awarding disproportionate votes in favor of only some candidates, in response to the "Double Bubble" ballot debacle reported by The BRAD BLOG (most recently here), in great detail previously...
Our friends Bobby Kennedy Jr. and GoLeft.tv interview another of our friends, Election Integrity hero Ion Sancho, the legendary Leon County, FL, Supervisor of Elections, on the election messes in New Hampshire, Florida, Los Angeles, and everywhere else. (And thanks for the kind hat-tip, guys...even though The BRAD BLOG never claimed there was fraud in NH. But we're happy to let that slide, since the interview was live, and you might have been talking about someone else. And we know you mean well.)
WARNING: Markos Moulitsas and the other front-pagers and gatekeeping denialists at Daily Kos should not watch the above interview! If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has a user record over there, you should go ahead and ban him right now! Make sure he's never allowed to write at dKos! In this interview, he has the temerity to talk about concerns with the way the New Hampshire Primary Election was conducted! Can you believe it?! And he's even a Hillary Clinton supporter! Clearly, he, like The BRAD BLOG, is "doing far more harm than good," as you like to say, for the Election Integrity movement! What will the Democratic Party and the Mainstream Corporate Media say about your site if that "nutter" Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is allowed to post over there?! Quickly --- before he damages the credibility of your site --- you better go ahead and ban RFK Jr. in advance! As you know, better safe than sorry, boys!
California Sec. of State Debra Bowen wants Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, to check the poll rosters of thousands of precincts in order to help accurately count tens of thousands of currently uncounted ballots cast in the Super Tuesday Democratic Primary.
As The BRAD BLOG pointed out last week, tens of thousands of currently uncounted ballots cast by Non-Partisan voters who chose to cross over and vote in the Democratic Primary, but who failed to ink in a second bubble meant to instruct voting machines to count the ballots as Democratic votes, can be counted accurately, as per the voters' intent, if Logan bothers to check those poll rosters.
Bowen, who sent a 3-page letter [PDF] to Logan after our article pointed out that he was simply wrong, in his own report [PDF] to the County Supervisors, when he claimed that it was "impossible" to determine the intent of the voters on those ballots.
It's not, and Bowen clearly seems to understand that, as evidenced by both her letter to Logan and comments she made last Friday on Northern California National Public Radio affiliate KQED, where she said she was "shocked" to hear that the debacle had happened in several elections previously...
L.A. County's former Registrar Recorder, Conny McCormack, who quit just prior to February's Super Tuesday Primary Election, turned into Condi Rice today. She's quoted in an Los Angeles Times' front page story confirming, as we pointed out over the weekend, that Election Officials did nothing about the "Double Bubble" ballot problem --- which may well disenfranchise a conservatively estimated 50,000 county voters --- despite massive disenfranchisement with the same design over last six years, since McCormack first implemented it.
In her best Condoleese, McCormack is quoted by the paper today saying, "This is an unfortunate, unanticipated result...No one could have predicted this."
She is shortly contradicted, in the same article, by a spokesperson from her own former office, before she continues on to blame voters and poll workers for the problem that she created --- as now confirmed by both the LA Times and California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen --- before then proceeding to do absolutely nothing about it...
Given the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters, and maybe even hundreds of thousands of voters, from Super Tuesday's Los Angeles County Democratic Primary election, which the county's current acting Registrar incorrectly claims to be "impossible" to count accurately, we believe it's time to place some blame squarely where it belongs for the entire mess.
A Los Angeles Times editorial this week, where, it seems, the paper may have finally found religion on the issue of Election Integrity, serves up a great starting point...
As of today, we take back the jeers about hanging chads and the unkind comments about inept voters befuddled by butterfly ballots. Somehow it doesn't seem as funny when it happens at home --- voting irregularities in Los Angeles County will disqualify the ballots of thousands of people who went to the polls on Super Tuesday.
In 2000, Florida voters flubbed their choices for president because they were confronted with a ballot whose design was new to them. But that's not the case here. L.A. County officials have long used a ballot whose design was known to consistently disenfranchise unaffiliated voters. They simply did nothing about it.
Election officials are calling this a glitch, but the outcome was entirely foreseeable. In fact, it has happened before. In the March 2004 election, 44% of crossover ballots were unusable, and in June 2006, it was 42%. With numbers this high, the county registrar should have investigated this matter long before now.
The woman who dreamt up the ridiculous scheme, former Los Angeles County Registrar and Diebold cover girl Conny McCormack, quit just over a month before the election, and knew about the problem from years past, but did nothing about it. Or, she didn't know about, and was thus criminally negligent in her job as chief voting official for the nation's most populous county...
As the clock ticks towards the date required for final certification of as many as hundreds of thousands of currently uncounted ballots in Los Angeles County --- due to an idiotic, ill-conceived, and possibly illegal scheme by the county's Registrar of Voters --- it is imperative that those ballots be counted immediately.
While the acting Registrar has claimed, incorrectly, that it is "impossible" to accurately determine the intent of the voters on those ballots, he is wrong.
Almost every single uncounted ballot can be counted today with absolutely certainty that the intent of the voter is being accurately recorded.
With current the miscount/error rate of those uncounted ballots --- on which the voter's intent has currently been inaccurately recorded by the optical-scan voting machines as "no vote" --- now standing at 100%, almost every single ballot counted will only lower that rate at best. At worst, in a tiny (almost infinitesimal) percentage of ballots, the current error rate will be not be lowered, though it will not be increased.
Thus, the error rate can be reduced to almost 0% if the Registrar's office will simply begin counting the ballots --- immediately.
Here's what everybody, (including apparently the Registrar!), needs to know about the currently miscounted ballots...
"A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted."
- Article II, California Constitution
Added overwhelmingly by California voters in Prop 43, on March 5, 2002
Election Code requirements "shall be liberally construed so that the real will of the electors will not be defeated by any informality or failure to comply with all of the provisions of the law."
- California Elections Code, Sec. 19001
Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, says in a report delivered to the County Board of Supervisors yesterday on the "Double Bubble" debacle from last Super Tuesday's Presidential Primary Election, that he believes it will be "impossible to determine with absolute certainty" the intentions of some 100,000 non-partisan voters who chose to vote in either the Democratic or American Independent Party's open primary, despite selections having been made for one of the Presidential candidates on their ballots.
The intent on almost every one of those uncounted ballots CAN be determined with absolute certainty. So, allow me to put this as nicely as I can: Dean Logan is full of shit...
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