"Huge delay"?! What? Why? How could it be? The first graf of the article said it all. My God...it's true...
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...|
"Huge delay"?! What? Why? How could it be? The first graf of the article said it all. My God...it's true...
After virtually ignoring the issue for some six straight years, our hometown newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, has run a two-part, 2,800-word "series" on concerns about voting machines, right on schedule, just in time to do absolutely no good at all before next week's upcoming Tsunami Tuesday election in the state. Waytago, LATimes!
The series reports absolutely nothing that has not already been reported over the last several years here at The BRAD BLOG, which is why the LATimes folks makes the big bucks and we don't.
They do, however, include an important point at the very end of the second article, in quoting from one of the country's most notable long-time voting machine apologists, Kimball Brace...
Riverside County, CA --- under the continuingly incompetent direction of Registrar of Voters Barbara Dunmore, and the extraordinary delinquency of its County Board of Supervisors --- continues its never-ending fight to be named top dog as the Worst Place to Vote in America.
There's a lot of competition out there for that title, but the county performed above and beyond the call of duty over the past several years in that race, and in its quest for disastrousness. Today's news certainly helps the county stay right up near the top of the pack. Waytago, Riverside!...
Blogged by Brad from the road...
The Grand Lake Theater marquee in Oakland last Thursday Night, for the screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections...
More photos as I can get time to add them once I'm back home and/or off the road for a bit. Though here's a very quick clip from inside the theater --- with a great crowd turning out! --- during the screening...
Was great to meet so many of you there and at the Sacramento screenings on Tuesday! You are my heroes. Thanks for coming out! Buy a DVD and spread the word in your town...
UPDATE: Photos from the Sacramento screening, now posted by Bill of Sacramento for Democracy.
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Senator John Edwards took his presidential campaign to Los Angeles yesterday, speaking to a crowd of about 1,000 at the Southern California Public Service Workers' headquarters. While Edwards spent the bulk of his nearly 20 minute speech going after special interests, corporations and lobbyists, he also took a few shots, without naming anyone, at his main Democratic challengers:
Edwards also said that he was the "underdog" and challenged the crowd to start a grassroots movement on his behalf that will spread across the country like a "tidal wave of change."
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
According to a NewsHour report, some county election officials in California believe that changes ordered by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, including decertifying some voting machines, may put the integrity of upcoming elections in jeopardy. Seriously. This despite Bowen's explanation for her actions:
Steve Weir, an election official from Contra Costa County, explains why election officials are concerned with Bowen's directives not to use some newly purchased machines:
However, Stanford professor David Dill backs Bowen and proclaims, "It seems that there is almost a national consensus that we have a serious problem". Dan Ashby, of the Election Defense Alliance, agrees that the use of voting machines is a dangerous endeavor:
Voting machines pose another, often overlooked, problem beyond the technical problems most often associated with such machines. Mainly, voting machines have led to a vast public distrust of elections. According to Bowen, the lack of trust in voting machines has caused people to "check out and not participate" and is thus, "a major threat to democracy".
Was a fairly raucus hour on today's Peter B. Collins Show (where I appear regularly in the 5pm PT hour on Fridays), as PBC has now been added to San Francisco's Green960, his latest affiliate station for his syndicated daily radio show.
Tons of great callers today (including a great wingnut call at the end of the hour) along with much buzz about the West Coast premieres of Uncounted. Two screenings will be sponsored in part by PBC's show and KSAC 1240am in Sacramento and Green960 in Oakland, on January 15th & 17th respectively.
I'll be showing up at both to speak at the Q&A's, and would love to see ya there! The owner of Oakland's Grand Lake Theater, Allen Michaan, called in during the show today to say that he'd run another screening at 9:30pm if we filled up the first one at 7pm! With 600 seats in this great old movie palace (see pix at link above) our work is cut out for us, so I hope you'll come by if you're anywhere near. More info here, with more to come soon.
Here's the cool 60 second spot that PBC is running to promote the screenings...
And here's today's hour in full. MP3 download, or listen online...
The death spiral for the 131 year-old company, once respectfully known as Diebold, continues, as its stock price falls to a 5-year low today, near year's end (currently $29.23/share and still sinking, from a 52-week high of $54.50/share), along with the additional news that the U.S. Department of Justice has now joined the SEC in an investigation concerning the company's "Enron-like" bookkeeping tricks...
Diebold announced in early October that it has been engaged in an ongoing discussion with the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant regarding its former use of the "bill and hold" method of recognizing revenue.
Under bill and hold, ownership of a product contractually passes to a customer and revenue is recognized by the supplier prior to delivery of the product to the customer.
Diebold said it’s in continuing talks with the Office of the Chief Accountant so that it can determine what the company termed “the most appropriate revenue recognition method” to replace its bill and hold practice.
The BRAD BLOG, of course, originally reported on the SEC's investigation into Diebold's book-keeping chicanery back in May of 2006, just a few months after our first exclusive report, based on information from a company insider we dubbed DIEB-THROAT, preceded a 20% stock-price plunge just days afterward.
At the time, back in late September 2005, the stock price plunged to a 52-week low of about $44.37/share (which we're sure they'd kill for now --- not that we wish to give them any ideas) and DIEB-THROAT told us in response to the related news: "the last time this kind of deception occurred it was called Enron."
Then came a class action securities fraud suit against the company in December 2005, as first broken by The BRAD BLOG natch, before the parallel SEC investigation first became public.
Since then, following one independent study after another after another after another, finding their electronic voting systems to be virus-prone, hackable, unreliable and inaccurate, the company finally dumped it's controversial CEO who had infamously promised in a Republican fundraising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to" George W. Bush in 2004, before attempting again to fool the American public by renaming its election division "Premiere Elections Solutions" (same pig, fresh lipstick), just after stock prices plummeted again in August of this year to $47.60 as The BRAD BLOG noticed what appeared to us, and at least one financial analyst, to be possible insider trading among a number of company officials.
Prices have continued to fall ever since --- a lucky coincidence, no doubt, for those executives who just happened to unload a bunch of stock near the year's high at $53.05 - to today's 5-year low of $29.20.
Additional bad news arrived last Friday for Diebold when a new study by the state of Ohio found their systems to be easily hackable (again), with better news coming last Tuesday as the state of Colorado's own certification tests, surprisingly, gave their their machines a pass while decertifying many others. Yesterday, however, the reason for the inexplicable get-out-of-jail card they received in CO may have become a bit clearer: As it turns out, the Republican Secretary of State who oversaw the new certification testing, Mike Coffman, is running for Congress, and his campaign shares the same consultants as Diebold/Premier in the state. Go figure.
Diebold/Premiere's spokeshole, Chris Riggall told the Rocky Mountain News in response yesterday, that the company just had no idea about the extraordinary conflict of interest. But with the mission already accomplished, he announced to the paper: "Effective tonight that relationship is terminated."
With their stock-price still spiraling this morning, Diebold is quoted by Crain's Cleveland Business today as saying the company "anticipates [the DoJ] review will be completed in the first quarter of 2008" ... Though rest assured, The BRAD BLOG's review of the company won't be completed by then. Not by a long shot.
Merry Christmas, Diebold!
Newly missing e-voting chips isn't the only election news to break out of the People's Republic of San Diego County today.
The sunny Southern California enclave, which has succeeded in making an infamous name for itself over the last several years by running some of the most poorly administrated and least transparent elections in the nation, is now suing California's Sec. of State Debra Bowen for her new security mitigation mandate requiring a hand audit of a random 10% sampling of ballots, in elections where the final result margin is less than one-half of 1%.
The full complaint may be downloaded here [PDF].
Deborah Seiler, the former sales rep for voting machine companies Diebold and Sequoia, who was recently named Registrar of Voters for San Diego County, believes Bowen's mandate is onerous in that it would "create extra work and delays" for her office following elections, as the North County Times described it.
Seiler and the county are "alleging that Bowen overstepped her authority in requiring new recount procedures in close races beginning in February," according to the paper, which quotes a spokesperson from Bowen's office defending the legal right of the Secretary to issue such directives as she sees fit.
Bowen's spokesperson, Nicole Winger, confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that the office is confident the Secretary of State may issue such "use procedures," along with voting system certification, which must be followed by counties that choose to use those particular systems. She adds that prior administrations have issued similar use procedures along with system certification, and that their statutory right to do so has held up in past court cases.
According to Winger...
Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org
Two shipping tubes sent from the California Secretary of State's office in Sacramento to the San Diego County Election Office arrived without their contents. The tubes left the SOS Office with more than 174 memory chips, or Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EPROM), containing firmware for the county's Diebold/Premier central-count optical scan voting machines. UPDATE: Precinct-based op-scan chips confirmed by the SoS to be missing as well! See update info at end of article.
The tubes arrived in San Diego but they were empty. The chips are now considered to be either lost or stolen.
WIRED's Kim Zetter reports today...
In San Diego County, one of the empty tubes arrived with no lid on the end of it to close the tube; the second tube had a lid, but it was loosely taped shut.
According to Zetter, the new firmware was being sent to San Diego following software and security modifications made following the state's recent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of e-voting systems. The packages were sent from the Secretary of State's office after being packaged by Diebold/Premier employees with SoS personnel standing witness. The Secretary of State's office confirms that Diebold/Premier regularly uses Fed-Ex as their preferred shipper.
New chips will now be sent and the state says the February primary will not be delayed by the issue. The California Highway Patrol and Sacramento Police are now investigating.
But the story gets worse, in this LATE UPDATE (FROM BRAD):
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder of Pensito Review, with additional reporting by Brad Friedman
The Republican Party's effort to unilaterally award itself 20 or so of California's 55 Electoral College votes in next year's Presidential Election has failed to reach its fundraising goals for a second time, according to the LA Times today...
Republican backers of the measure, which could have tilted the presidential contest toward the GOP nominee by changing how California awards electoral votes, conceded that they were unable to raise sufficient funds.
Dave Gilliard, the manager of the current campaign, expressed bewilderment over the fact that more GOP fatcats did not pour money into the campaign.
"I was surprised that more people that finance these types of efforts didn't step forward...We had strong supporters and good supporters but didn't come anywhere close to making the budget," Gilliard told the Los Angeles Times.
Gilliard's "surprise" is itself surprising. GOP big money donors know, just as certainly Gilliard must know, that ballot initiatives tend to fail if California voters suspect the proposition has a hidden agenda.
The stated intent of Gilliard's initiative was to make the California system "fair." In fact, the real purpose was to give about 40 percent of the state's Electoral College votes to the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee.
In September, the measure had been pronounced dead by the LA Times after the campaign's manager discovered that its sole donation had been laundered through a front group to disguise the donor's identity as a campaign chair and fundraiser for GOP presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani. It was brought back to life in October after Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) kicked in $100,000 and the California Republican Party --- who would more recently cry that they were cash poor --- donated $150,000 towards the scheme.
In November, reports began to surface that the backers were using an initiative relating to kids with cancer as a cover to gather signatures in what appears to have been a fraudulent attempt to gain signatures for the measure. And The BRAD BLOG recently offered an exclusive interview with Anthony F. Andrade Jr., the man who originally proposed the scheme to split California's electoral votes. Andrade's comments about the initiative, and all manner of things --- including labeling homosexuals as "loony" and Bill and Hillary Clinton as "pricks" and "assholes" --- were colorful, to say the least.
But like Jason in a bad Friday the Thirteenth movie the measure may not be fully dead yet. The LA Times also reports today that proponents of the scheme "were holding out hope that the measure could appear on the November ballot with the presidential contest. But [Gilliard] said that was a dicey scenario: Even if it is on that ballot and wins voter approval, it might not affect the 2008 election."
A video report from CBS News over the weekend, showing apparent efforts by supporters to fraudulently receive signatures for the measure, follows below...
By Brad Friedman from Denver, CO...
A late-night report from the Firedoglake blog last night indicated that a Republican-backed initiative to split California's 55 electoral votes by Congressional district has been "withdrawn." In fact, it has not, as The BRAD BLOG has confirmed this morning, with both the California Secretary of State's office and the initial proponent of the original initiative. Democrats have regarded the ballot initiative as a dirty trick by Republicans desperate to hold on to the White House in the 2008 general election.
The current version of the initiative, which has raised millions of dollars, is said to have garnered some 400,000 signatures in support and continues to move forward as planned.
There had been two nearly identical initiatives in circulation attempting to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in next June's election in California. The original measure, known as "07-0016," as filed by Anthony F. Andrade Jr., has indeed been withdrawn, according to the California Sec. of State website. But the version of the measure most likely to make its way onto the ballot next year, "07-0032,, barrels full steam ahead for the time being.
The BRAD BLOG has confirmed that point with two officials at the CA Sec. of State's office. We have also confirmed it with Andrade himself, a colorful fellow with whom we spoke earlier today, who now supports the other, still-active, initiative.
Andrade, who says that he's a BRAD BLOG reader himself, submitted the original initiative in May of this year. It was approved for signature circulation on July 3, before the nearly identical initiative, submitted by Thomas W. Hiltachk, a former associate of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was filed on July 10.
Hiltachk's initiative continues to gain momentum and money from Republican backers, while Andrade's original proposal was finally withdrawn from circulation, officially, on November 27.
Andrade, who says he's "a libertarian at heart," told us that Hiltachk saw his original initiative and decided to file a version of his own.
"This asshole goes and reads my initiative, and says 'Ah, I'm gonna file a duplicate,'" he told The BRAD BLOG this morning. "This asshole says he has $2 million," and then it turned out he didn't have a dime. "Perhaps the polite word is 'flake,'" Andrade clarified later during the call.
The Hiltachk proposal was indeed pronounced dead by the LA Times several weeks ago after it was found to have been backed by Rudy Giuliani supporters. The measure has since found new sponsors, also reportedly tied to both Giuliani, as well as California's 49th district U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa. There have also been subsequent allegations of fraud in the gathering of petitions for the measure.
Andrade believes the original backers of the proposal were looking at it as a way to raise money for themselves.
At first labeling the measure a "people's initiative" (after we described it as a "Republican initiative"), Andrade admitted that, while he considers himself more of a libertarian and a Ron Paul supporter, he's most interested in stopping Hillary Clinton from gaining the White House...
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
Fundraising is down dramatically nationwide for the Republican Party, but things are especially bad here in California, where the state GOP is in such dire straits that its ability to compete in both state and federal races could be affected.
But while the state party is cutting programs and considering layoffs, hundreds of thousands of dollars are flowing in from out-of-state fatcat supporters of Rudy Giuliani --- funds the state GOP can't touch because they are earmarked specifically to promote a ballot initiative that would, if passed, give Rudy (i.e., the Republican presidential candidate) 20 or so of the state's 55 Electoral College Votes, even if he loses the state to the Democratic candidate.
The California Republican Party has been in a death spiral since the 1990s when, under former Gov. Pete Wilson, the decision was made to make illegal immigration its signature issue. It's way too soon to send for the embalmers but the current crisis couldn't be worse:
by Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...
Now that ES&S has finally submitted their previously withheld source code and documentation to California Sec. of State Debra Bowen, new members of her "Top-to-Bottom Review" team have been able to look at the ES&S Inkavote Plus system used across the entirety of Los Angeles County. And whaddaya know, the system is easily susceptible to fraud, hacking and manipulation.
The full report from the new testers --- not the original members of the TTBR team at University of California, but testers sub-contracted by the ubiquitous private e-vote consulting firm of Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group (FCMG) [Ed Note: See additional thoughts/concerns from John Gideon on FCMG in comments here] --- is now posted at the SoS TTBR page [PDF]. The LA Daily News summarizes the findings this way in today's paper...
The report found that seals on boxes used to carry the system hardware could be opened and resealed without detection, making the machinery susceptible to tampering.
Plus, some password-protected systems could be hacked with certain programs, and some encrypted files containing sensitive data could be decrypted.
The study was performed as part of Bowen's "top-to-bottom" review of statewide voting systems. Los Angeles County's InkaVote Plus system is the last to be studied, because vendor Election Systems & Software failed to provide information to Bowen's consulting team on time earlier this year.
In August, Bowen decertified the InkaVote system for use in the February presidential primary because of the missing information.
A public hearing will be held on Monday in Sacramento so that the SoS may receive public input on how she should proceed, and whether the ES&S Inkavote Plus system should be recertified in advance of February's Presidential Primary.
Of particular note is the possibility that the hackable system may be used to vote on a Republican-sponsored ballot initiative to divide California's 2008 electoral vote by Congressional District which could be on the Primary Election ballot next February. Such an unprecedented measure, if passed in the Golden State, could well hand the November General Election nationally, to the Republican party given the large number of electors that would be thrown to the GOP if the current winner-take-all system of choosing electors in California --- the same one used by almost all other states --- is changed for proportional representation.
Reports of potentially fraudulent signature gathering, in order to see the measure added to February's ballot, have already surfaced.
Los Angeles County itself, a reliably Democratic-leaning county over all, carries an enormous number of votes for the state. It's the largest such county in the nation, larger even than two-thirds of the states in the country. Tampering with the vote tabulation in that one county alone, could easily change enough votes to see the Electoral College initiative passed successfully across the state.
Last week, Bowen announced a $15 million lawsuit against ES&S for the illegal deployment of uncertified AutoMARK voting systems across the state. The next day, San Francisco announced its own separate suit against the company, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, charging fraud, false claims and breach of contract.
Blogged by Brad from St. Louis, MO...
Things are really expensive in Marin County, California. For example, the cost to the county, so far, for each vote cast on their brand-new AutoMARK touch-screen voting machines has been $45,588.23.
Yes, that's more than $45,000 per vote for each of the 17 votes cast on the county's 130 machines over the last two countywide elections since they began using them.
And apparently, the county's elected Registrar of Voters, Michael Smith, really wants to continue using those machines, even though ES&S, the company which distributes them, is now being sued by the State of California for deploying uncertified AutoMARK machines in counties across the state, in violation of state law.
Nonetheless, Smith is asking CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen if he can continue using the uncertified machines in the upcoming Presidential Primary election next February, despite all of that, according to the Marin Independent Journal, who reports today:
True, the cost per vote on the AutoMARK in Marin will theoretically come down with each successive election in which they are used (depending on what ES&S charges the county to program them each time, plus the excessive costs of warranties). In a decade or two, at this rate, if the same machines are still in use, each vote cast would come at a bargain basement price of just a few thousand dollars a piece.
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