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Ladies and Gentleman, Lenar Whitney...
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What We Do Now
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
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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
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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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...

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CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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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
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VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Hysterical fund raising letter from Michael Steele charges MN's 'Democrat' Senator-elect's apparent victory a 'tragic injustice,' 'outrageous power grab'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2009 2:40pm PT  

The "one and only true party of the people" hoping to "rebuild...from the grassroots up," according to an email from its new chairman Michael Steele, seems to be having trouble doing anything differently from the old GOP party. At least if the latest fund raising letter from Steele, charging "liberal Democrat comedian Al Franken" as "stealing Norm Coleman's U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota," is any indication.

On the same day that former Senator Coleman rested his so-far failed case in his election contest in St. Paul against apparent Senator-elect Al Franken, the new GOP chair sent a missive to supporters, begging for money, using the same old failed tactics of the RNC of old; namely, lying to supporters about facts, offering specious, unsupported allegations of Democrats "stealing" elections (despite all evidence to the contrary), making liberal use of the word "liberal," and referring to Democratic party members as "Democrat" party members.

Steele's shameless email (posted in full at the end of this article) echoes the RNC's so-far failed conspiracy-theory strategy to "win" the Senate seat, as previously used by the Coleman camp, the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (RSCC), the Republican National Lawyer's Association (RNLA), and GOP propagandists from Hannity to Rush to the wingnut blogosphere which dutifully repeat all of their tin-foil hattery, and/or supply it to them in the first place...

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

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Franken team moves to strike Norm's claim of 100 'double-counted ballots' following revelation
UPDATE: Coleman fined by judges...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2009 4:36pm PT  

On Day 1 of the Coleman/Franken U.S. Senate election contest in Minnesota, the Coleman team was busted doctoring evidence.

Earlier this week, the Coleman camp was busted having withheld notes from Franken's team, and today, the end of Week 5, "all hell just broke loose in the Minnesota courtroom," according to TPM's Eric Kleefeld, when it was revealed that Coleman's team has also been hiding a witness, as revealed by secret email!

"Al Franken's lawyers [caught] Team Coleman in the act of yet more concealing of evidence --- and they've now made a motion to totally strike the Coleman camp's claims about double-counting of ballots, which the Coleman camp has hoped to use to subtract over 100 votes from Franken's lead."

Add to that what attorney Ernest Canning guest blogged here last week, explaining how Coleman's attorneys need to be sanctioned for having moved to un-count 933 ballots they'd previously signed a stipulation for, agreeing they were legitimately added to the total.

Just imagine what this case would look like by now, had Franken --- or any Democrat, anywhere, anytime --- been busted doing any of those things in regard to an election or an election contest.

On the roll, literally, in Phoenix right now, so please see Kleefeld for the details on the amazing fireworks today in the courtroom...

UPDATE 3/3/09: Coleman fined for the incident. Slap on wrist includes stern warning that case could be dismissed if it happens again, according to the Star-Tribune:

One of the more contentious episodes in the trial so far ended Monday when the judges slapped Coleman with a $7,500 fine for failing to disclose a document from a Republican election judge who claimed votes were double-counted in Minneapolis. But they allowed her testimony to become evidence.

"In the event this sanction fails to deter future conduct on the part of [Coleman's] counsel, the court will not hesitate to impose harsher sanctions, up to and including dismissal [of the case]," the judges wrote.

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Sanctions are now warranted against the former Republican Senator, according to the legal analysis of a veteran attorney and political science scholar...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/22/2009 2:05pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

I am a California attorney. After 31 years of practice, I find myself in the enviable position of semi-retirement. As my practice winds down, I have had the luxury to follow the Coleman election challenge closely, both reading court filings and watching a good deal of the proceedings. I consider The BRAD BLOG the most extensive and thorough source of the dangers of E-voting. I felt, however, it would be useful to provide a legal analysis of the present state of the Coleman challenge.

Brad Friedman's described the latest effort by team Coleman to challenge absentee ballots it had previously agreed were properly opened and counted, as a "flip-flop,". While accurate, the term does not begin describe the deep legal dilemma now faced by Norm Coleman's attorneys in the U.S. Senate election contest in Minnesota...

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

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But there's method, of a sort, to the certifiable madness...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2009 11:50am PT  

Two quick updates to the Coleman/Franken Election Contest/Mini-Series playing out in Minnesota, both via TPM's Eric Kleefeld, since we're on another deadline today...

1) All of a sudden yesterday, the trial began rapidly picking up pace for some reason. A record "nine and a half" officials were "sworn in, direct-examined, cross-examined, re-direct-examined and excused"

2) Coleman may be setting an all-time flip-floppery record, as he has changed positions, yet again, on originally rejected absentee ballots that he agreed should be counted during the post-election hand-count. The counting of those ballots resulted in a 176 net gain for Franken, leading to his final 225 vote lead over Coleman at the end of that hand-count. As Kleefeld, who details the back-story here, describes it: "Coleman was originally against counting them, then for it, then against it, then for it, and now against it, in that order."

While the new position seems nearly insane (both on a legal, and practical level), the method to the madness is becoming clearer and clearer: Coleman, and his top legal hatchet-man/arsonist, "Swiftboat" Ben Ginsberg, are setting up the case for an appeal to higher authorities, to argue that the election was simply too close to call, the results within the "margin of error", beset with "illegally" counted ballots, and otherwise "fatally-flawed", and the election contest trial itself "a legal quagmire". All in hopes of asking somebody, anybody, (SCOTUS please?) for a do-over election.

We discussed that gambit, and its likelihood of success in this previous article. All of Coleman's moves, of late, seem to support that same general legal strategy.

Amusingly and ironically enough, it was Franken who the nutty Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) recently described as "desperate". Go figure.

The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system, tirelessly, fiercely and independently for years, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work, which only you help to fund, with a donation to help us continue the work so few are willing to do. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...
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More evidence they may be preparing an appeal strategy to call for a 'do-over' in MN's U.S. Senate Election
UPDATE: 'Swiftboat' Ben Ginsberg declares trial a 'legal quagmire'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2009 11:27am PT  

[Updated at end of article.]

While God may have chosen him, if not the voters of Minnesota, evidence is growing that former Sen. Norm Coleman may be preparing for a "do-over" gambit. We'd offered speculation on this front a week or two ago, and yesterday, following another slog of a day at the U.S. Senate Election Contest court in St. Paul, the Republican's top legal spokes, Ben Ginsberg, described the election as "fatally-flawed" in his post-trial presser. The freshly floated phrase has re-ignited speculation about Coleman's longer-term legal strategy...

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

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Republican National Lawyers Association Says Goodbye to Any Credibility They May Have Once Had...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2009 6:05am PT  

If the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) ever had any actual legitimacy, self-respect, or credibility as a professional organization --- and I think they used to have all three --- they have now, officially, thrown any last pretense of any of that down the drain, and have come out of the closet as hard-right, conspiracy theory-based, propagandist loons.

On the day that presumptive Senator-elect Al Franken (D) won a huge victory during former Senator Norm Coleman's (R) election contest in Minnesota, the RNLA issued an hysterical email with the subject line: "Al Franken Loses Legal Battle, He Is Very Desperate."

See below for the embarrassing email that the once-respectable-now-whack-job RNLA sent out via their equally looney-toons "media arm" partners at HumanEvents.com this past week, in hopes of raising funds to "Stop Al Franken From Stealing The Election"...

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

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Late Friday ruling limits 'Ballot Universe' of those still under consideration for counting, to only those 'legally cast under relevant law'
Franken team pleased that at least 13 of 19 categories of previously rejected absentee ballots will not be counted...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2009 3:56pm PT  

[Updated several times at bottom of article.]

A late Friday finding from the 3-judge panel presiding over the Coleman/Franken U.S. Senate election contest in Minnesota has limited the number of previously rejected absentee ballots that may be reviewed for possible counting.

The 17-page order [PDF], issued late today, will likely come as a blow to former Senator Norm Coleman's (R) chances of overtaking presumptive Senator-elect Al Franken's (D) current lead of some 250 votes out of approximately 2.9 million ballots cast last November...

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

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'Not a whiff of fraud here,' says Repub MN Senate contest attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2009 1:21pm PT  

Might we suggest these Republicans get their lies straight before going public?

From Republican State Representative Tom Emmer's press release today, on the defeat of his restrictive Photo ID voting bill in the MN legislature this morning:

"The U.S. Senate recount has given us evidence of twenty-five precincts in Minnesota where more votes were cast than the rolls had registered voters," said Emmer. "How does a situation like that not cry out for a safeguard that will return confidence in our election process to Minnesota voters?"

Just now, from attorney James Langdon, arguing on behalf of former Republican Senator Norm Coleman, in the U.S. Senate election contest in MN:

"There hasn't been a whiff here, of any fraud."

But why quibble when we might be able to disenfranchise (Democratic-leaning) voters in a democracy? By the way, the RNC seems to agree with Langdon, not Emmer:

Not that any of that will stop any Republican anywhere from doing everything they can to keep legal (Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their legal votes through Photo ID restrictions, or anything else they can think of.

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Even as the Republican argues to include ballots of voters who forged signatures and ballots they previously rejected
Plus: A bit more to bring you up to date with the latest...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2009 2:23pm PT  

While Norm Coleman may believe that "God wants [him] to serve," the voters of MN, and a ruling yesterday from the 3-judge panel presiding over his U.S. Senate election contest, still seem to indicate otherwise.

Yes, at it turns out, something actually happened during Coleman's ongoing trial yesterday, and it resulted in still more votes for Al Franken.

That, and other late developments follow...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2009 1:05pm PT  

Speaking on wingnut radio Friday, MN's former Republican Senator Norm Coleman announced: "God wants me to serve."

No explanation was offered, however, for why God seems to have given more votes to his challenger, the apparent winner of the U.S. Senate race there, Democrat Al Franken.

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Plus: An interview with TheUpTake.org's Noah Kunin, live from Minneapolis...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2009 6:19pm PT  

To quote myself from coverage earlier this week, in case you hadn't read it all the way to the end: "Had Democrats ever fought as hard for every single vote as Republicans always do in any election that even approximates being close, President Gore or President Kerry would likely have ensured a very different judicial balance on [the U.S. Supreme Court] by now."

Thanks to the tremendous work by TheUptake.org, I've been hypnotized for hours at a time this week by live video coverage from the Coleman/Franken U.S. Senate election contest in MN, via their live feed from the courtroom, attorney pressers and "post game" analysis each day. Their coverage, as citizen journalists, has been exceptional each day, and MN, as well as the nation, owes them a big thanks. The work of the TheUptake.org is the very prototype of "what's to come" in news coverage as we move forward into the brave new century.

[Disclosure: VelvetRevolution.us, an organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, has contributed in the past to TheUptake.org. Also: TheUptake.org needs funding to continue what they're doing! Please help them here if you can!]

Watching their coverage, and the various findings from the 3-judge panel in St. Paul this week, has both made my brain hurt, and made clear again what I've quoted myself noting above: Republicans will say anything, do anything, make any legal arguments --- no matter how much in wild contradiction with their very own previous statements and positions --- that they need, in order to fight for every vote they think they earned (and even many they know they didn't. In the bargain, nobody has called them cry-baby, tin-foil hat wearing sore losers or conspiracy theorists, and their strategy has already resulted in political gains (Al Franken, the apparent winner of the election by 225 votes, has not been able to offer his Democratic vote in the U.S. Senate while the trial continues), and could, if miracles and/or SCOTUS happens, result in an overturned election. Though that much remains very much a long shot.

While many of the GOP tactics here have been reprehensible, their strategy, of fighting for every single vote, is to be commended. The Democrats should --- but probably won't --- learn from it.

With all of that in mind, and in hopes again of not going too far into weeds, which is tough not to do (see our recent previous coverage, here, here and here, for example), what follows is my best stab at a very quick summary of the most notable events and rulings, etc. out of Minnesota this week.

Also, my audio interview with TheUptake's Senior Political Correspondent, Noah Kunin, from Minneapolis, as taped during my weekly Friday appearance on last night's Peter B. Collins Show, is also posted below...

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

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With only 98 Senators seated, the number needed to hold off GOP obstructionism drops to 59...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2009 3:36pm PT  

Presuming President Obama's nomination of NH's Republican Sen. Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary will be confirmed by his fellow Senators, and presuming the Democratic Governor of NH keeps his backroom "deal" and appoints a Republican to fill Gregg's vacated seat, then Democrats in the Senate ought to take advantage of some arcane filibuster math, and hold up the seating of that replacement until MN's Senate seat is properly filled.

As things stand now, while former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman is taking his sweet time in throwing everything he can think of against the wall to see what might stick, in hopes of winning his MN election contest against presumptive Senator-elect Al Franken, the Dems need two cross-over Republican votes, for a total of 60, to stymie any attempted GOP filibuster. (That math presumes that independent Senators Sanders and Lieberman both vote with the 56 currently-seated Dems, as they do on most matters.)

However, the Senate rule requiring a supermajority (three-fifths of the Senate) to shut down attempted fillibusters with a cloture vote, is based on the number of "Senators duly chosen and sworn" --- in other words, currently seated Senators.

With two seats vacant then, from MN and NH, after Gregg's departure, that would put the number of "duly chosen and sworn" Senators needed to stop a filibuster at just 59 (or, 58.8, to be precise, but since we're not allowed to count Lieberman as .8 of a human, the number needed for cloture would be 59)...

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

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Wherein we all guess what the hell Coleman's ultimate endgame may be, even as he makes it up while going along...
By Brad Friedman on 2/3/2009 12:36am PT  

Remember back in 2000 when the Republicanists belittled elderly (and minority) voters, claiming that 'if they failed to fill out their ballots correctly, and failed to follow the simple voting rules, then they're idiots and their votes shouldn't be counted'? They made the case over and over again, cynically, of course, because it would mean that, even though more voters had intended to vote for Al Gore than George W. Bush (and actually did [PDF], had they bothered to count them all) Bush should still be allowed to "win" the Presidency.

Well, as we've had to say so many times during our previous coverage of the GOP flip-floppery that is the election contest of former Senator Norm Coleman against Al Franken in MN: that was then and this is now.

At right, take a look at the short, approximately 1-minute video of Coleman (and FL 2000 Bush v. Gore) attorney Ben Ginsberg, trying to keep a straight face in a presser after his team argued today that yet another cherry-picked voter/witness whose absentee ballot was legitimately rejected --- in this case because she failed to sign the ballot --- should have her vote counted anyway.

(Video courtesy of TheUptake.org. Disclosure: VelvetRevolution.us, co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, is a financial contributor to TheUptake.)

Like we said, that was then and this now. So never mind that whole "voter fraud" argument. Not useful today for the GOP opportunists. And now, while I'll try to stay out of the deep weeds tonight on today's proceedings at the Coleman/Franken circus (you're welcome), Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com argues convincingly --- based on fairly reliable reads of usually-predictable WSJ and other Wingnut Tea Leaves --- that Team Coleman may ultimately be angling for a do-over. That is, a re-vote for the entire election.

He may be right. Though there may be another plan, even though admittedly, the Coleman campaign is largely making all of this up as they go along, and any or all of the following guesswork may end up being their "strategy"...

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

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Wherein everybody flip-flops, Coleman makes a successful argument, but may have blown it with a 'phony' website crash and an horrendous argument for Internet voting...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2009 3:41pm PT  

This afternoon, Day 5 of the U.S. Senate election contest between former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and apparent winner of the '08 election Al Franken (D), Coleman offered another reason, just in case you needed one, to oppose his return to the Senate:

In a press conference outside the courtroom held just a short while ago, Norm Coleman announced that if he gets back into the Senate, he'll work on ways to make it easier for young people to vote online.

While we're in favor of "young people," and as many other legal voters who wish to vote, actually getting to cast their votes and have them accurately counted, if you like our currently unreliable electronic vote counting systems, which employ untested, unsecured, hackable garbage, then you'll love seeing that system opened up to the Internet!

All that said, however, where Coleman's case began on Monday as little more than a comedy of one error after another, as we explained in some detail earlier this week, over Days 4 (yesterday) and 5 (today), his legal team seems to have found a bit of footing, even if they've had to counter most of their own legal arguments that they'd made previously to keep ballots from being counted during the post-election hand-counting of ballots.

At the end of that process, Franken was found, by the state canvassing board, to have defeated Coleman by 225 votes, out of 2.9 million cast, even though Coleman was slightly ahead in the vote count during most of that time, and thus, argued adamantly against including as many previously rejected absentee ballots as he could.

But that was then, when he thought he was winning, and this is now, when he seems to be losing...

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

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Wherein 'voter fraud' no longer matters to Republicans...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2009 4:07pm PT  

While former radio talk show host and author Al Franken is consistently described in corporate media reports as "comedian Al Franken," it seems it's the legal team of former Senator Norm Coleman who are providing the laughs in the first days of the U.S. Senate election contest up in Minnesota.

When even the unapologetic, rightwing, "Franken is stealing the election!" nutcases and conspiracy theorists at Powerline describe Coleman's legal case as being of "Three Stooges quality," you know these guys must really be falling apart.

Such seems the case again on yesterday's Day 2 of the trial, following the disastrous Day 1 when the 3-judge panel tossed out doctored evidence, as submitted by Coleman's team. Today's Day 3 doesn't seem to be going much better for them, either.

Yesterday, two of the six voter/witnesses called by Coleman, to testify how they were disenfranchised when their absentee ballots were rejected, actually admitted that their ballots were properly tossed because they were, in some way, incorrectly --- or even fraudulently --- cast...

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

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