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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, December 17, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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...
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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...


Carolyn Wilson Crnich Admits Hackable Diebold Optical-Scan Voting Machines Kept at Poll Worker Homes the Night Before Elections
Can't Speak to Security Vulnerabilities
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2006 2:36am PT  

Blogged by Brad on the Road...

I know I'm supposed to be taking a few hours off (how's that going, Brad?)...But I couldn't help sharing with you a quick piece of audio from my regular Friday guest appearance on KRXA 540am's Peter B. Collins Show today (broadcast out of Monterey, CA).

I was pleased that Carolyn Wilson Crnich, Elections Registrar of Humboldt County, CA was able to join us on air for one of the segments (posted below.)

Crnich is one of the officials named as a defendant in the recent lawsuit against CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and other county elections officials around the state. The suit calls for the ban of use and purchase of Diebold touch-screen voting systems in the state since (amongst other reasons) they have proven to be hackable and their recent certification was in violation of state law requiring all certified voting systems to conform to Federal Voting System Standards. Diebold's machines do not conform to such standards because they contain "interpreted code" --- which is specifically banned by the Federal standards. Diebold has now admitted to the existence of such code on their systems. The forbidden code went unexamined and untested by Federal authorities when the machines received Federal certification.

Nonetheless, Crnich (we believe) is one of the good guys. She's proven willing to dump her previous plan to use Diebold AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) machines, which she was going to use in order to meet the disabled-accessible voting device requirement in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). She is now hoping to use the paper-ballot based Vote-PAD system in Humboldt County this year instead.

However, as our on-air conversation revealed, there are still very serious concerns with Humboldt County's optical-scan system since they use the very system, made by Diebold, which was shown to be hackable last December in Leon County, FL.

Of note in our conversation, Crnich admits that optical-scan systems are sent home with poll workers the night before elections where --- even if the hackable memory cards are wired into the machine so they can't be removed --- they can still be accessed by other means. If so, a malicious poll worker could modify the code on the memory cards, allowing an election to be hacked without a trace left behind during that breakdown in chain of custody for such home-stored voting machines.

Give the interview and discussion between Crnich, myself and Peter B. a listen. See what you think. It's good to have such an admission on the public record, and the fact that she admits to not knowing what could happen when these machines are stored at poll workers' houses.

Again, I'm glad she was willing (unlike many other Elections Officials around the country) to come on air and face some of these tough questions. Happy to hear your thoughts.

-- Carolyn Wilson Crnich, with Brad on the Peter B. Collins Show, 3/24/06 [MP3, about 13 mins]
-- Complete Brad appearance on Peter B. Collins Show, 3/24/06 [MP3, about 35 mins, and quite a bit funnier, IMHO]

(Thanks to Joe at the Peter B. show for sending the audio!)

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Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, 18 County Registrars Named as Defendants
Violations of State, Federal Laws Alleged, State Senator Releases Comment Condemning McPherson, Outlining Violations
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2006 1:46pm PT  

As The BRAD BLOG broke yesterday, a lawsuit has today been filed in San Francisco Superior Court demanding that California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson follow state and federal law in regards to his recent re-certification of Diebold voting machines in the state.

McPherson is named, along with 18 California county registrars, as defendants in the suit which calls for a ban on the use an new purchase of Diebold voting machines in the state. The suit was filed by VoterAction.org on behalf of 25 California voter/plaintiffs.

-- Here is a complete copy of the lawsuit file today [PDF]

Reuters originally reported on the story an hour or so ago as "Diebold Inc. sued over California voting systems". That headline is, in fact, incorrect. They have now reissued the story with the more accurate headline "California sued over Diebold voting systems".

The lawsuit against Diebold, we imagine, will come later after California is ready to admit how they've been screwed by the company and they try to recover the millions they've lost in betting on the wrong horse.

VoterAction is the non-profit organization who brought the actions that led to both the decertification of Diebold in California in 2004 and, more recently, the ban on the purchase of Sequoia voting machines in New Mexico (which led to a new law in the state requiring a paper ballot for every vote cast.)

We're short on time today, and haven't even been able to review the complete suit yet, so we'll let State Sen. Debra Bowen's press release in regard to the lawsuit, do the reporting for us since she's generally nailed all the factual basis for the complaint and explains exactly how McPherson's certification of Diebold is in violation of several state and federal laws.

Bowen, who is running herself for Sec. of State this year, also presents a very useful timeline in the release, explaining how we got here in the first place, and how it is that McPherson seems to have simply disregarded the law in favor of his good friends at Diebold.

Remember, as goes California (or as Diebold likes to call it, "America's largest voting market") goes, so goes the country...In other words, this suit is much bigger than just California...

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

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Lawsuit to Name Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, Alleges 'Severe Security Risk', Noncompliance with HAVA's Disabled-Voting Provisions, and Violation of CA State Law!
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2006 2:28pm PT  

UPDATE 3/21/06: Suit now filed, full coverage here...

=====

We've hinted of late at upcoming legal actions, in several states, against the use of Diebold voting machines. The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that such a legal action will be filed tomorrow morning in San Francisco's Superior State Court in response to Secretary of State Bruce McPherson's recent re-certification of Diebold Electronic Voting Machines in the state.

VoterAction.org is announcing their intention to file suit, on behalf of several plaintiffs, "aimed at halting the use or purchase of Diebold electronic voting systems" in the state.

The same group recently carried out a similar action in the state of New Mexico, in regard to the use of Sequoia Touch-Screen voting machines there. That suit ultimately led to the ban of use of such machines, and a bill which was recently signed by Gov. Bill Richardson requiring a paper ballot with every vote cast in the state.

Diebold's optical-scan and touch-screen systems were revealed last December to contain "interpreted code" which is banned by Federal Voting System Standards. It was that "interpreted code" which was exploited in the recent hack of a test election in Leon County, FL where the results of the election were completely flipped without a trace being left behind.

Despite that startling revelation, California's Sec. of State Bruce McPherson certified the systems anyway in California, after they had previously been decertified in 2004 when Diebold admitted they had used untested and uncertified software patches on their machines in the state.

Diebold has now admitted [PDF] that their voting systems, both optical-scan and touch-screen, contain such "interpreted code." That, despite the fact that its use is banned at the Federal level. California state law requires that voting systems certified in the state meet those Federal standards. McPherson, apparently, has chosen to blatantly ignore that state law. (We'll have further details outlining the above allegations very specifically, and in no uncertain terms, in a future post here at BRAD BLOG.)

According to VoterAction's press release (posted in full below), the legal action is being filed because "Diebold's TSx touch screen voting system is a severe security risk, and does not accommodate all disabled voters as required by law."

Sources have told The BRAD BLOG that the action is to encompass many, if not all, of California's counties. Some 18 of them are currently doing business with Diebold.

The press release goes on to charge that, "The Diebold system is difficult if not impossible to audit or recount, and has been proven vulnerable to malicious tampering in tests and studies. Diebold technology contains 'interpreted' code, which is easily hacked, and illegal for voting systems in the State of California."

Diebold is currently facing litigation in several investor class action lawsuits alleging Securities Fraud Violations such as insider trading and the false manipulation of stock prices by eight current and former company officials.

A press conference will be held to discuss the latest legal action involving Diebold tomorrow morning. The complete Press Release from VotersUnite.org follows...

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

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Huffington Post Picks Up the Cause...
Please take action!
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 10:36am PT  

Last week we briefly discussed Stephen Heller who, out here in Los Angeles, is now facing three felony charges for exposing the illegal scheme by Diebold to use uncertified software on their voting machines in the state several years ago. The LA Times coverage is here.

Heller blew the whistle on the company's plan to defraud California voters when he exposed documents he saw while working as a temp worker at Diebold's California law firm, Jones Day. The courageous act, from which Heller stood to gain nothing (he, in fact, was fired for it) led to the decertification of Diebold in the state by former Sec. of State Kevin Shelley, and then to the eventual settlement between the company and the state of California for $2.6 million in 2004.

Today, several Huffington Post blogger take up on Heller's behalf, along with issuing some calls to action to contact the LA District Attorney's office to encourage tell them to drop this appalling case of punishing the patriot, Heller at the behest of the the bullies at Diebold.

Peter Soby Jr.'s coverage is the most complete. Here's a snippet:

Let's make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were "fixed." This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it.

And for allegedly exposing Diebold's felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney's office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold's crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE'S the one facing jail time. Only in Bush's America!

Soby goes on to offer some talking points and helpful contact information for the LA District attorney. Please check them out and take action.

As well, Lyn Davis Lear (Norman's wife), speaks up in support as well.

...CONTACT...
District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

Email: lada@co.la.ca.us

Telephone: (213) 974-3512
Fax: (213) 974-1484
TTY: (800) 457-7778 (8:30am - 5:00pm M-F)

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FEATURING: An EXCLUSIVE Video Tape Interview with CA's Clueless SoS Stating 'We'll Wait to Hear from the Feds About Diebold Before Certifying' (apparently, he was just kidding)
ALSO: Action Items for Americans Who Care About Democracy --- Five Phone Calls is All We Ask Right Now to Force E-Voting Vendors to Answer Questions Under Oath!
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 2:18pm PT  

Inveterate Huff Po contributor, R.J. Eskow picks up on our coverage of the latest mind-blowing Dieboldery by California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and what it may bode for the Golden State as the GOP sets their sights on political manifest destiny.

Connecting a few dots, and noting big Bush Adminstration gunslingers, like Steve Schmidt, who are roving their way westward to help shore up the Governator's re-elect prospects out here, Eskow concludes:

So what does this all mean? It suggests that California, with its treasure trove of congressional seats and 2008 electoral votes, is the next battleground. Yes, Gov. Schwarzenegger is wildly unpopular now. But, as the GOP proved in the 2004 Presidential race, unpopularity need not be a barrier to re-election - especially when Diebold machines are counting the votes.

All the 'heavy hitters' are coming into town, their shiny cars pulling up to the curb. You've seen the movie. You know what happens next. If you live in California, my friend and blog-comrade skippy has a suggestion for how you can help.

Note: Eskow's appropriate concerns about McPherson's inexplicable Diebold double-cross don't even mention the Dept. of Homeland Security's warning about their hackable tabulator software, the recently flipped-without-a-trace-left-behind mock election in Leon County, FL, the GAO Report confirming the dangers of electronic voting, and his link to a page describing the failure rate of Diebold machines in a massive election test last summer pins the percentage of failed Diebold touch-screen machines at just 10% (a later report confirmed the number was more like 20%, and a later one still pegged it at 30%.)

It also still remains unexplained why McPherson didn't wait to hear back from the federal "Independent Testing Authority" (ITA) --- which isn't actually independent, as it's created and funded by the Voting Machine Companies themselves --- to whom McPherson had sent back the Diebold memory cards after the Leon County hack test revealed their machines employed hackable "interpreted code" which is expressly banned by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines for software used in electronic voting machines.

Back in December, McPherson's office sent a letter to Diebold explaining that they would not re-certify Diebold in California until the ITA completed their re-examination of the code in light of the hack test discovery:

We require this additional review before proceeding with further consideration of your application for certification in California. Once we have received a report from the federal ITA adequately analyzing this source code, in addition to the technical and operational specifications relating to the memory card and interpreter, we will expeditiously proceed with our comprehensive review of your application.

Apparently, the SoS's office was just kidding.

They went ahead and re-certified Diebold out here last week without waiting to hear back. They announced their decision late on Friday, at the start of the long holiday weekend and in apparent defiance of state election law and McPherson's own "10 Strict Standards" [PDF] which include "State certification testing does not begin until the federal qualification testing is successfully completed."

Apparently, he was just kidding about that as well.

With all of that in mind, readers of this blog would be remiss if they failed to take the actions described in Eskow's link to Skippy. Five phone-calls and/or emails this week are all that may be needed to finally see representatives from these unpatriotic Voting Machine firms subpeonaed and forced to answer questions --- under oath --- in a public hearing before elected officials concerning their secret software, shitty machines and under-the-table efforts to work around state and federal election laws. Hit that link, and call the five members of the California legislature's Rules Committee now!

By the way, McPherson himself also refused to show up at that hearing and refused to send a representative from his office to boot.

It should also be noted that Diebold is not the only bad player here. Add ES&S, Hart-Intercivic, Sequoia and several others to the list of cowardly unAmerican firms who recently refused the invitation to show up to testify before the California State Senate's Election Committee last week. All of those companies, apparently, believe it's none of our damned business how they count the votes (or not) in our American democracy.

Take action.

For full disclosure, we should also mention that we had the privilege of meeting both R.J. and Skippy in person over the weekend in an L.A. Blogger's get together out here. Good folks all of them, and we're delighted to see them jump into this most important game of all.

And finally --- since we've been looking for a good excuse to post this video --- we'll take this opportunity to give you an exclusive peek inside the "brain" of the man whose perplexing decision to re-certify voting machines and software known to be flawed and hackable may well effect similar decisions by Elections Officials around the entire country.

The following short Q&A with CA's SoS was video-taped by Dave Berman of GuvWurld about two weeks prior to the recent about face by McPherson. It's somewhat revealing --- particularly in the last couple of minutes where Dave gets to ask the questions --- as to the mindset and intellectual capabilities of the man currently appointed by Arnold to oversee free and fair elections in the country's largest "voting market" (as Diebold refers to it).

At one point in the questioning, when asked about the re-examination of Diebold software by the ITA, McPherson says, "If they're going to be certified, they're going to have to meet those levels of satisfactions to me...We, uh, we've, uh, just said that, uh, you have to meet these strict requirements and if they do, we'll consider it."

Apparently, McPherson was just kidding there as well....Since he recertified them without, apparently, waiting to hear back from the ITA.

Without further ado then, we give you the man, the myth, the elusive and rarely seen genius that is California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson --- as videotaped exclusively about two weeks ago in Humboldt County, just prior to his re-certification of Diebold voting machines in this state.


-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Video in Windows Media format...

UPDATE: CA State Senator Debra Bowen (chair of the Senate Elections Committee) issues her own call to action to force McPherson to review his outrageous decision. Her reasons are summarized thusly:

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

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State Senator Outraged, Says Machines, Certification Violates State, Federal Standards and Law...
SoS' Own Report Agrees! McPherson Waits Until 5pm Friday of Holiday Weekend to Announce! [UPDATED WITH MUCH MORE INFO...]
By John Gideon on 2/17/2006 6:29pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon (with some additional updates/info from Brad)

Updated with much more information...

Secretary of State McPherson seems to have a thing for making major announcements late on Fridays just before holidays. Following in what seems to be a pattern of his, he announced late this afternoon that he was certifying Diebold Optical Scan and AccuVote TSx (touch-screens) for use in elections in the state.

The re-certification (they had been originally decertified in California in 2004 when it was revealed Diebold had installed illegal software updates on the machines) is conditional on some items but not on the one thing point he had announced last December when he sent the system back to federal authorities for further testing. At that time he said he was sending the machine's memory cards to the federal Independent Testing Authority (ITA) Lab for reinspection in light of the news out of Leon County, Florida that the cards used "intepreted code" which is specifically banned by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). A "hack test" in that county revealed that an entirely election could have its results flipped by a hacker exploiting that "interpreted code" --- without a trace being left behind.

McPherson made his announcement today without waiting to hear back from the ITA lab.

Last summer, after a massive mock election test with Diebold touch-screen machines revealed that 10% of them failed entirely with screens freezing and printers jamming --- later reports would reveal that as many as 30% of the machines actually failed! --- McPherson said, "We certainly can't take any kind of risk like that with this kind of device on California voters."

Apparently the Secretary of State of America's largest "voting market," as Diebold refers to it, was just kidding about that.

State Senator Debra Bowen, (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment, & Constitutional Amendments Committee issued the following Press Release after learning of McPherson's remarkable decision.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Evan Goldberg (###) ###-4028/(###) ###-9176

February 17, 2006

BOWEN ON SECRETARY OF STATE'S DECISION TO RE-CERTIFY DIEBOLD MACHINES FOR USE IN CALIFORNIA

SACRAMENTO ? "How the Secretary can re-certify the Diebold machines when they don't comply with California law, they violate the standards set by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) that the Secretary said he intended to follow, and he still doesn't have the report back from the ITAs that he said he was waiting for is beyond me."

That's how Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment, & Constitutional Amendments Committee, reacted to today's decision by the Secretary of State to re-certify Diebold's electronic voting machines for the 2006 elections.

"Last December, the Secretary announced with great fanfare that he was sending the Diebold machines back for review by the Independent Testing Authorities (ITAs) because the memory cards those machines rely on hadn't been reviewed," continued Bowen. "Now, contrary to what he said two months ago, he's approving the Diebold machines without waiting for the report from the ITAs. Instead, he's basing his decision on a supposedly 'independent state audit' that no one has seen before today. There's a March 1 public hearing for four other voting machine vendors before their machines can be certified for use in California, so what was the rush to certify Diebold and side-step a public hearing on this issue?"

Seventeen California counties rely on the Diebold optical scan machines and a number of other counties have bought or are planning to buy the Diebold TSx touch-screen machines to use in the 2006 elections in order to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The Secretary's decision is only good for the 2006 elections and comes with a number of conditions.

"In August, the Secretary said any machine approved in California would have to comply with all federal standards and regulations, yet the EAC bans machines that contain interpreted code and these Diebold machines rely on that type of code to operate, so he's gone back on that commitment," continued Bowen. "In December, he said he'd wait for a report from the ITAs before acting on the Diebold re-certification request, yet now he's re-certified the Diebold machines without hearing from the ITAs. He says he's acting based on the recommendations of an 'independent state audit' that came out on Tuesday, but the California State Auditor hasn't issued any reports on this issue and hasn't been asked to do a report. Asking a board appointed by the Secretary to make recommendations doesn't constitute an 'independent state audit' in my book.

"The other thing that no one has mentioned is the fact that the Diebold machines don't comply with the state's paper trail law because they don't provide blind or visually impaired voters with a 'read-back' of what the paper trail recorded, they only read back what the machine recorded electronically," noted Bowen. "That's not what the law requires, yet the Secretary has decided to go ahead and approve these machines for use anyway. If the Secretary wants to say he's changing his mind and lowering the safeguards California voters are entitled to have to ensure their votes are accurately counted, that's certainly his decision to make, but saying these Diebold machines comply with state law and with all federal regulations and requirements simply isn't accurate."

Under Elections Code Sections 19250 and 19251, all direct recording electronic (DRE) voting systems have to come with an accessible voter verified paper audit trail (AVVPAT). The AVVPAT must be "provided or conveyed to voters via both a visual and a nonvisual method, such as through an audio component." The Diebold TSx doesn't contain that feature, therefore making the AVVPAT that all DREs are required to have as of January 1, 2006, useless for blind or visually-impaired voters.

###

VOTING SYSTEMS HEARINGS, MARCH 1:
Also of note is the announcement of public hearings (as mentioned in Bowen's release) persuant to the certification of various voting systems, many of which are still not federally qualified. This announcement is not accompanied by any of the test reports necessary for citizens to go to this hearing with any knowledge of what the state found in their testing. Perhaps this is because none of these systems have been tested by the state yet?

...DEVELOPING...MUCH MORE BELOW...UPDATES, ACTION ITEMS, ADDITIONAL INFO...

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

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By John Gideon on 1/11/2006 5:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org and VoteTrustUSA.Org

While a dozen Northern California counties consider going vote-by-mail in order to get themselves out of the 'voting machines morass' Riverside Co. decides to pay over $6M to upgrade their present Sequoia voting machines to newer machines. These 'newer' machines are federally qualified to 1990 standards and do not meet HAVA mandates for accessibility. Those of you who have responded to the Action Alert from VoteTrustUSA have sent 15,097 emails to the EAC along with 1870 letters demanding the ITA be made to do their job....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/13/2005 12:57pm PT  

The Terminator earns his name...and his bones.

The Death Penalty is a disgrace to our country. Our collective national shame...

VERY LATE UPDATE 12/15/05: This Madison Capital Times editorial is 100% correct. Murder is Murder... (Thanks Katrina!)

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Mainstream Media Reports Indicating Scheduled Attempt to 'Hack' Voting Machines Appear to Be Incorrect
State, Activists Still Negotiating Paramaters, Scheduling of Test as State and Federal Deadlines Draw Near?
By Brad Friedman on 11/27/2005 7:03pm PT  

With Additional Reporting by John Gideon

On Friday, November 25, a news story appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle by political writer John Wildermuth reporting that the California Secretary of State's office would be allowing Election Reform activists to perform an attempted hack of voting machines on Wednesday, November 30th. That report was soon picked up by the Associated Press and other outlets where it was repeated, in part, in newspapers, radio and television across the nation. Headlines along the line of "Hacker to try to attack state voting machines" were blared across the media throughout the holiday weekend.

While the story seems to be based in some reality, reporting by The BRAD BLOG over the last several days has revealed that the matter seems to be a far cry from the way it has been reported by the Mainstream Media. In fact, while negotiations for such a test are ongoing, the parameters to be used are still being hashed out, no definite schedule has yet to be determined, and Finnish computer scientist Harry Hursti, who created this particular method for hacking into Diebold voting machines has made no plans at this time to travel to the United States to perform the hack attempt.

Such a test, if performed, could be crucial to a decision soon to be made by CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson about whether to allow various Diebold voting systems in the state. That decision, in turn, will likely effect decisions by other states and counties around the U.S., all of whom are facing a January 1, 2006 deadline set by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to be met if jurisdictions are to receive millions of dollars in Federal money to help pay for "upgraded" Electoral Systems.

California's Republican Sec. of State McPherson had famously refused to re-certified Diebold's AccuVote TSx touch-screen voting machines over the summer after a major test in the state had found that some 20% of the machines had failed to perform as promised with printers jamming and screens freezing at an unacceptable rate. Diebold's machines had previously been de-certified by former Democratic Sec. of State Kevin Shelley. McPherson's sudden about-face concerning Diebold has caught many by surprise. The potential change of position towards Diebold was discovered recently and sent a shockwave through the Election Reform activist community who then converged on Sacramento to complain about the apparent flip-flop by the Sec. of State.

The Mainstream Media --- Apparently Misled by the Sec. of State --- Gets It All Wrong?

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

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Governator First Instructed to Use a Provisional Ballot, Given Normal Ballot Anyway!
LA County Registrar, Diebold Supporter Admits 'Protocol Breached in Advance of Election'
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2005 2:01pm PT  

Due to a problem with Electronic Voting Machines in Los Angeles County, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was told he had already voted when he showed up at the polls today to cast his ballot in the Special Election that he himself declared for California today!

He was told he'd have to use a provisional ballot, but unlike most American voters, he was eventually allowed to use a regular ballot anyway.

Los Angeles County Registrar, Conny McCormack (a huge fan of Diebold machines, and a very good friend of their sales rep here in Southern California) is trying to mitigate the damage...big time...Though she admits that someone "breached protocol in advance of the election"

It should be further noted, that the Governator was attempting to vote in Brentwood (in Los Angeles County), but the "breach" --- which would have kept a normal non-Gubernatorial citizen from voting on anything but a provisional ballot --- occurred in Pasadena, about a 30 to 45 minute drive from Brentwood. Early voting, on paperless Diebold Touch-Screen Voting Machines, has been occurring in Los Angles County for the last several weeks.

From Los Angeles Times... [emphasis added]

Schwarzenegger Hits Snag at Polling Place

SACRAMENTO --- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up to his Brentwood neighborhood polling station today to cast his ballot in the special election --- and was told he had already voted.

Elections officials said a Los Angeles County poll worker had entered Schwarzenegger's name into an electronic voting touch screen station in Pasadena on Oct. 25. The worker, who was not identified, was testing the voting machine in preparation for early voting that began the next day.
...
Schwarzenegger's aides were informed of the problem when they arrived this morning to survey the governor's polling station. The poll worker told the governor's staff he would have to use a "provisional" ballot that allows elections workers to verify if two votes were made by the same person. McCormack said the poll worker did the correct thing.

The governor, however, was allowed to use a regular ballot.
...
"This is someone who breached our protocol and was playing around in advance of the election," she said.

Tom Hiltachk, the governor's attorney, said: "I have no reason to believe anything nefarious occurred.

But Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation, said the problem highlights the need for better verification of electronic voting.

"If the governor is going to have a mix-up on his ballot," she said, "it will make other voters wonder what is going to happen with their ballots."

(Thanks to John Gideon of www.votersunite.org for alerting us about this one!)

CORRECTION: The original version of this article had said that Schwarzenegger had voted in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger had, in fact, voted at his Brentwood precinct, which is in Los Angeles County. The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.

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In Radio Interview, Demonstrates New Sequoia Touch-Screens, Secret Software, Asks Voters to 'Trust Him' on Accuracy and Reliability!
Brad Joins Him and Peter B. Collins for Remarkable Hour on KXRA 540-am...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2005 9:22pm PT  

I just finished a radio appearance a couple of hours ago with our friend Peter B. Collins on KXRA 540AM up in Monterey, CA. Peter was joined, in studio, by Tony Anchundo, the Registrar of Voters in Monterey County, CA for a demonstration of a brand-spankin' new Sequoia DRE (touch-screen) voting machine that Achundo was very proud to announce would be in use for the first time in the special State Election coming up out here on November 8th.

Achundo walked Peter through the use of the machine, which prints out a "paper record" (as Achundo referred to it) that voters are to "verify" before leaving the voting booth. That "paper record" is printed on a small thermal-ink roll of paper, akin to what you get with a credit card purchase, and stays behind plexiglass, never to be touched by the voter.

The votes, however, are counted on a "memory cartridge" in the machine, not on the "paper record." This raises the question (which I attempted to ask many times, in many different ways) as to what good that "paper record" actually is in the first place...beyond giving the voter a completely false sense of security and confidence.

I was able to get Anchundo to confirm that the entire technology used to count votes in Monterey County, California will have to be "faith-based". We'll just have to "trust" him, and his 30 years of experience as Registrar, that everything is fine and that votes will be counted accurately.

Peter has asked me to to join him by phone for the hour to help ask questions of Anchundo. I was happy and honored to do so. The results of the hour, I believe, are astounding.

The audio of the full hour is here in MP3 format. I think BRAD BLOG readers will find it as enlightening --- and troubling --- as I did.

[UPDATE] Here is a full transcript of the hour! It should be very useful to have a "paper record" of the conversation for the future. Perhaps for November 9th.

As the front page of Monterey County's website says, "The most serious threat to our democracy is the notion that it has already been achieved. The quality of our leaders and the direction of our Country depends on the participation of our people." I've therefore include Contact info for the Registrar's office at the end of this post, so you folks can participate as you see fit.

Amongst the many highlights (based on my short-term memory) of the hour just spent with Peter trying to get direct answers from Anchundo on a variety of related issues (and you'll likely come across many more yourself)...

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

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10% of Screens Freeze, Printers Jam in 'Massive Mock Election Test'
Ohio Unconcerned, Sticking with Diebold
By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2005 1:00pm PT  

Great news from today's Oakland Tribune! California, the country's largest voting "market" rejects Diebold. Again...And hopefully for the last time...

After possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system, California has rejected Diebold's flagship electronic voting machine because of printer jams and screen freezes, sending local elections officials scrambling for other means of voting.

"There was a failure rate of about 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the voters of California and not good enough for me," Secretary of State Bruce McPherson said.
...
"We certainly can't take any kind of risk like that with this kind of device on California voters," McPherson said.

Rejection of the TSx by California, the nation's largest voting-system market, could influence local elections officials from Utah, Mississippi and Ohio, home of Diebold corporate headquarters, where dozens of counties are poised to purchase the latest Diebold touch screens.

State elections officials in Ohio say they still have confidence in the machines.

"Absolutely," said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State's Office.
...
McPherson denied approval of the TSx after a series of failed tests, culminating in a massive, mock election conducted on 96 of the machines in a San Joaquin County warehouse. San Joaquin is one of three California counties that purchased a total of 13,000 TSx machines in 2003 for more than $40 million and have paid to warehouse them ever since.
...
Elections officials and voting activists said they had never heard of more extensive testing for a single voting system, outside of an actual election.
...
Ordinarily, states and the National Association of State Elections Directors approve voting systems after labs hired by the manufacturers perform tests on a handful of machines. The Diebold TSx managed to get through those tests ? twice. But none of the testing standards addresses printers on electronic voting machines, even though more than 20 states either require a so-called paper trail or are debating such a requirement.

For years, voters have reported frozen screens and other glitches in the polling place.

"It's always been the voters' word against election officials' and the vendors'," Alexander said. "Now we have real proof right before the eyes of state elections officials."

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By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2005 12:27pm PT  

According to the LA Times...

City Clerk Frank Martinez used a different voting system, which meant few problems Tuesday with collecting ballots and counting votes.
...
In place of the InkaVote system, voters Tuesday were handed a simple paper ballot that listed each race or issue and required them to use a marker to fill in an oval next to their choices.

Imagine that.

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While 150,000 Votes Already Miscounted or Lost!
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 11:50am PT  

Yesterday Bev Harris' BlackBoxVoting.org site began issuing "Bandwidth Exceeded" messages to users attempting to access the site. Such a message generally occurs when more users are attempting to access the site than the server can comfortably handle or when the bandwidth allocated by the domain's Internet Provider is exceeded.

Today, attempts to access the site now simply return a "Cannot Find Server" page, leading me to believe that hack attempts and/or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have been successful for the time being. [UPDATE: BlackBoxVoting.org is now finally back online. At least for now.]

We have had such attacks here at the BRAD BLOG for the last three days which have taken us similarly down and/or greatly slowed page retrieval at various times. Given the much higher profile BBV has had, it's little surprise that folks who'd rather see patriotic efforts like theirs discontinued would work feverishly to disrupt it.

Ms. Harris and BBV has been spearheading a huge "Freedom of Information Act" filing to collect and review audit logs and other materials from the election in some 3,000 US counties, and thus, her group has attracted quite a bit of attention in the past week. BBV has been attempting to warn Americans for at least the past year about the ticking time-bombs of unregulated, unauditable, and privately owned Electronic Voting machines and their corporate owners (the vast majority of them very closely tied to the Republican party).

Attempts to silence and/or disrupt sites like hers and ours, I believe, speak volumes in support of the underlying charges that we've been making. If there was nothing to fear in examining the inner-workings of these companies, and the way that our votes our counted --- specifically in last week's election --- there would be no reason to attempt to silence and disrupt those who are attempting to do so.

In other words, if the election was clean and fair, what's the fear of giving it a close inspection?

Now perhaps the problem at BBV really is simply related to an overage of bandwidth demand, however, given past attacks the site has received, similar attacks here, and the message changing from "Bandwidth Exceeded" to "Cannot Find Server", I'm inclined to believe that the problem is hostile attacks.

To those who claim that the roughly 150,000 (so far) documented votes that have been reported and confirmed by Election Officials as being mis-allocated would not have changed any election results, I'd point out:

1) Those are just the numbers reported by a mainstream media which by and large went "on vacation" after Kerry's "concession" last Wednesday.

2) Many of those mistabulated and/or lost votes discovered were due to software errors that likely exist on many other identical computers in many other counties in America where they may not yet have been noticed and/or reported.

3) The results of at least one ballot initiative last Tuesday has already been reversed when 70,000 previously mis-counted votes due to "software error" were "discovered" in Broward County, FL!

4) There has been a long record of elections in this country being mis-tabulated and/or reversed due to Electronic Voting Machine error in recent history.

Chapter 2 of Bev Harris' book, Black Box Voting outlines tons of those recently overturned elections. Here's the PDF version of Chapter 2, but since it's currently offline as of this posting, here's a summary of just a few such recent incidents summarized courtesy of Hunter over at DailyKos:

In the 2002 general election, a computer miscount overturned the House District 11 result in Wayne County, North Carolina. Incorrect programming caused machines to skip several thousand partyline votes, both Republican and Democratic. Fixing the error turned up 5,500 more votes and reversed the election for state representative.
...
Voting machines failed to tally "yes" votes on the 2002 school bond issue in Gretna, Nebraska. This error gave the false impression that the measure had failed miserably, but it actually passed by a 2 to 1 margin. Responsibility for the errors was attributed to ES&S, the Omaha company that had provided the ballots and the machines.
...
An Orange County, California, election computer made a 100 percent error during the April 1998 school bond referendum. The Registrar of Voters Office initially announced that the bond issue had lost by a wide margin; in fact, it was supported by a majority of the ballots cast. The error was attributed to a programmer's reversing the "yes" and "no" answers in the software used to count the votes.
...
Software programming errors, sorry. Oh, and reverse that election, we announced the wrong winner. In the 2002 Clay County, Kansas, commissioner primary, voting machines said Jerry Mayo ran a close race but lost, garnering 48 percent of the vote, but a hand recount revealed Mayo had won by a landslide, receiving 76 percent of the vote.
...
In the November 2002 general election in Scurry County, Texas, poll workers got suspicious about a landslide victory for two Republican commissioner candidates. Told that a "bad chip" was to blame, they had a new computer chip flown in and also counted the votes by hand --- and found out that Democrats actually had won by wide margins, overturning the election.
...
In 1986 the wrong candidate was declared the winner in Georgia. Incumbent Democrat Donn Peevy was running for state senator in District 48. The machines said he lost the election. After an investigation revealed that a Republican elections official had kept uncounted ballots in the trunk of his car, officials also admitted that a computerized voting program had miscounted. Peevy insisted on a recount. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "When the count finished around 1 a.m., they [the elections board] walked into a room and shut the door," recalls Peevy. "When they came out, they said, `Mr. Peevy, you won.' That was it. They never apologized. They never explained."
...
A software programming error gave the election to the wrong candidate in November 1999 in Onondaga County, New York. Bob Faulkner, a political newcomer, went to bed on election night confident he had helped complete a Republican sweep of three open council seats. But after Onondaga County Board of Elections staffers rechecked the totals, Faulkner had lost to Democratic incumbent Elaine Lytel. Just a few hours later, election officials discovered that a software programming error had given too many absentee ballot votes to Lytel. Faulkner took the lead.
...
In a 1998 Salt Lake City election, 1,413 votes never showed up in the total. A programming error caused a batch of ballots not to count, though they had been run through the machine like all the others. When the 1,413 missing votes were counted, they reversed the election.

If an official investigation doesn't take place immediately, there is little hope of determing the correct winner of any number of races from last week's election. Not the least of which is the race for President of the United States. And I would think, especially after four years of questions about George W. Bush's legitimacy as "President" that even the Right Wingnuts would like to be able to demonstrate once and for all to the American People that he was, in fact, legitimately elected this time.

For more on the suddenly silent Right Wingers, see my recent BuzzFlash Editorial. And be sure to sign this Online Petition calling for an immediate investigation!

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By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2004 1:02pm PT  

From Electoral-Vote.com:

The state of California has decided to sue Diebold, the nation's largest manufacturer of electronic (touch screen) voting machines because the company lied about the machines' security. The machines have a special feature that creates fake vote totals when a secret 2-digit code is typed in. The LA Times article about the lawsuit does not specify whether there are separate codes to fake a Bush victory and fake a Kerry victory or whether one candidate's victory has been programmed in advance or whether election officials can enter any result they want. However, Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, has said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president." The suit comes 6 months after the machines failed in the March primary. The machines are used in 19 California counties and many states nationwide.
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