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By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2010 8:56pm PT  

As largely expected, the Alaska Supreme Court has rejected GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's contest against the Division of Elections, which has unofficially determined write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski bested both Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams on November 2nd.

Via Sean Cockerham at Anchorage Daily News...

The Alaska Supreme Court today ruled against Joe Miller on all counts, a decision that leaves his challenge of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s victory on life support.

“There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified,” the Supreme Court declared in its unanimous ruling.

Murkowski leads Miller by more than 10,000 votes. Miller is quickly running out of options but he still has a chance to press his claim in federal court.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline today gave Miller until Monday morning to argue the federal courts should take up any remaining constitutional issues.
...
Miller has indicated he might fight the election all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But his spokesman said today that Miller is weighing his next move.

See Cockerham's ADN article for more details on the high court's findings.

Here's Miller's original state complaint [PDF], his appeal to the AK Supreme Court [PDF] and the AK Supremes' 24-page ruling [PDF] on it (which we haven't gotten to read in full yet, so we may update based on our review.)

And here's our detailed report from yesterday, describing the general issues at stake, and offering what seems to have been a pretty accurate preview of what the court appears to have decided today. The decision once again leaving thousands of paper ballots completely unexamined by human eyes, tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer systems, just as NY's highest court did earlier this week in a race that was far closer than the Miller/Murkowski/McAdams race.

The fight to see paper ballots actually be counted --- as per Democracy's Gold Standard --- continues.

* * *
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In public, and hopefully on Election Night...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2010 7:45pm PT  

[Update 12/22/10: Alaska Supreme Court decides against Joe Miller on all counts. Details here...]

* * *

Having paper ballots is one thing. Seeing them actually be counted, unfortunately, continues to be quite another matter.

For those of you who may not understand why it's not enough to merely have hand-marked paper ballots that are tallied only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated computers --- even if those paper ballots could be counted by human beings "in the event there are questions about the results", as supporters of such systems like to say --- need look no further than the extraordinary finding on Monday from New York's highest court, its Court of Appeals.

And, for that matter, what is likely to happen in Alaska very soon, where Republican Joe Miller continues to wait for a similar decision from that state's Supreme Court in his fight for a hand-count of all paper ballots in his still-uncertified U.S. Senate race against Republican write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2010 1:34pm PT  

I'm preparing to host tonight's Mike Malloy Show, so not much time to go into details or deep background. Suffice to say, once again, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show have shamed the bulk of the mainstream media by demonstrating, in just a matter of minutes, what journalism looks like. Or is supposed to. His entire show last night became devoted to one single issue.

It starts here, in the first segment, with Stewart taking his final shot of the year (on his final show of the year) at Senate Republicans who have shamefully "filibustered" to avoid voting on the "Zadroga Bill", an act to provide health care funding for 9/11 first responders, many of them suffering and dying from severe issues, including cancer and other serious respiratory disease, along with the failure of Fox "News" and the major broadcast networks (ABC/NBC/CBS) to even mention the story and the outrageous insult by those who have, for years, pretended to give a damn about 9/11 and those who gave their lives in responding to it...

Next, in perhaps the most important/journalistic segment, Stewart interviewed, in studio, four New York City first responders, some of them suffering from cancer following the toxic, hazardous conditions they worked in, with inadequate protection, on the day of, and in the months following 9/11, and allowed them to respond directly to the behavior of GOP Senators and Fox "News"...

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

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[Now UPDATED With Audio Archive of Interview]
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2010 2:14pm PT  

I'll be joined by GLENN GREEWALD, Salon's great blogger, constitutional attorney and author (of How Would a Patriot Act?, A Tragic Legacy, and Great American Hypocrites LIVE today during the 3p PT/6p ET hour on KPFK, the Pacific Radio outlet in Los Angeles (90.7FM), San Diego (93.7FM), Santa Barbara (98.7FM) and China Lake (99.5FM) where I'm sitting in one more day for Harrison. The show will again be streamed live via KPFK.org.

We'll be picking up where things left off a bit, following my interview last week with "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and the extraordinary events that have happened since, as the all-out assault on WikiLeaks --- by the U.S. Government, both major political parties and, most disturbingly, the media --- continues to grow.

See Greenwald's piece last week at Salon on Sen. Joe Lieberman "emulating Chinese dictators" by what seems to be an abuse of his post as Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in helping to intimidate WikiLeaks' Internet server Amazon.com into shutting them down, and some in the MSM's support of the notion that WikiLeaks is the bad actor here, despite having broken no laws and being charged with no crime.

That was last week, and things have gone quickly downhilll from there, with U.S. colleges warning students not to read or link to WikiLeaks, Government agencies (including the Library of Congress) restricting access to them, PayPal cutting off their account, and now even Switzerland freezing their defense fund account.

This seems to be all out "Information/Cyber War", at the very least, and like nothing we've ever seen in this country. Greenwald has more on all of this today, and it's chilling --- particularly his UPDATE on that link.

We'll talk LIVE about all of that and much more on today's show beginning at 3pm PT! Please tune in live here...

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The complete interview with Greenwald follows. Lots of interesting stuff to dig into. Enjoy...

Download MP3 or listen online [appx. 48 mins]

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By Brad Friedman on 12/2/2010 6:05am PT  

Daniel Ellsberg, the legendary "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower, is an ardent supporter of the WikiLeaks project and of its co-founder Julian Assange, who finds himself under attack from many corners. The man whom Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once called "the most dangerous man in America" recently traveled to London to appear at a press conference with the besieged Australian in support of his release of some 400,000 classified Iraq War logs. But, as Ellsberg revealed during my interview with him on Wednesday, he disagrees with Assange on at least one point in regard to the latest round of documents released by the controversial organization. Unlike Assange, Ellsberg does not believe Hillary Clinton needs to resign.

In an interview with TIME magazine earlier this week, in the wake of WikiLeaks' recent release of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables, Assange responded to a question from managing editor Richard Stengel, saying that he felt the U.S. Secretary of State should step down.

"She should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up," Assange told TIME. "Yes, she should resign over that."

But Ellsberg disagrees. During my on-air interview with him Wednesday, when I asked about that point and whether he agrees with Assange's assessment, he was direct in his response: "In a word, no," he told me.

Despite information from the released cables --- in this case, revealing that the State Department, under the approval of Clinton, ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on their foreign counterparts by secretly collecting personal information such as credit card numbers, frequent flier membership records, email addresses, even fingerprints and DNA --- Ellsberg does not believe the disclosure, which he concedes reveals illegalities, merits her resignation.

"I've come to respect Assange's judgment in a lot of these matters a lot more than I do the Pentagon spokespersons," Ellsberg said. "In this case, I don't agree with him."

Richard Nixon's former enemy, and the subject of the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America, explained during our live interview on Pacific Radio's KPFK in Los Angeles on Wednesday that, in this case, at least, Assange may be "far too idealistic and romantic"...

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

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[Now UPDATED with audio archives from today's show]
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2010 1:38pm PT  

I'll be interviewing the 1970s legendary "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg live today during the 3p PT/6p ET hour on KPFK, the Pacific Radio outlet in Los Angeles (90.7FM), San Diego (93.7FM), Santa Barbara (98.7FM) and China Lake (99.5FM). It will also be streamed live via KPFK.org

I'll be talking with Ellsberg, "The Most Dangerous Man in America," about WikiLeaks, it's founder Julian Assange (now "The Most Dangerous Man in the World"???), and all things related.

In early 2008, as I noted over the weekend, Ellsberg wrote an op/ed for The BRAD BLOG in which he noted:

Many, if not most, covert operations deserve to be disclosed by a free press. They are often covert not only because they are illegal but because they are wildly ill-conceived and reckless. "Sensitive" and "covert" are often synonyms for "half-assed," "idiotic," and "dangerous to national security," as well as "criminal."

Those comments, and ones from JFK in 1961 which I also posted in the same weekend article, in which he calls "the very word 'secrecy'...repugnant in a free and open society", seem to offer a bit of perspective on these recently released documents. I'll ask Ellsberg about those comments, and much more today --- including his support for Assange and his recent assertions, prior to the WikiLeaks release of hundreds of thousands of Iraq War Logs last that month, that he's been waiting for such a release of documents for 40 years.

Hope you'll tune in!

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The audio from the complete hour today follows. It includes a bit of my own commentary on Ellsberg and the WikiLeak situation in the first half hour --- along with a check-in from Cary Harrison (the show's regular host who I was filling in for today) on World Aids Day. My interview with Ellsberg begins at approximately the :34 mark.

I spoke with Ellsberg, a bit, after the show to follow up on a few points, particularly concerning Hillary Clinton, and hope to have an article a bit later on both the on-air interview, as well as some of the points we discussed aftewards.

For now though, here's the complete hour, including the full on-air interview (Text transcript of the Ellsberg interview is now posted here.)

Download MP3, or listen online (complete show is appx 58 mins. Ellsberg interview is about 23 mins)...

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Question of misspelled write-in ballots belongs in state court, says judge...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2010 7:54pm PT  

Via Huffington Post...

JUNEAU, Alaska — An Alaska federal judge ruled Friday that Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller's challenge to the counting of write-in ballots raises "serious" legal issues but is a matter for a state, not federal, court to decide.

Yet in deferring to an Alaska state court for a final decision, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline said he would grant a temporary injunction to halt official certification of the Nov. 2 election – an action Miller is seeking – so long as Miller takes his case to the state court by Monday. Miller told The Associated Press late Friday that he intended to do so.

Beistline's unusual action was intended to "ensure that these serious state law issues are resolved prior to certification of the election," the ruling said.

See HuffPo for more details on the ruling. Miller's campaign has issued a brief statement here.

And see The BRAD BLOG's detailed analysis from Wednesday explaining why, in our opinion, Miller would be wise to call for a full, transparent hand-count and reconciliation of all ballots cast in Alaska's U.S. Senate election.

Earlier this week AP called the election in favor of incumbent Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski. But, as we described, there are a number of reasons --- including Alaska's recent history of impossible election results as reported by their flawed, oft-failed, easily-manipulated and non-transparent Diebold optical-scan system --- which suggest that Miller would be performing a service to the voters of Alaska and the rest of the country if he used his standing to insist on a full, public hand-count. By the way, Democratic candidate Scott McAdams would be performing a similar service if he used his standing to join Miller in that pursuit...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/19/2010 4:45pm PT  

"Our campaign had an undeniable, unmistakable message," he told his supporters during his victory speech on Election Night, "and that message could be summed up in three words, three words which were on every one of our 4 billion highway signs: 'stop voter fraud.'"

"And now that clear message becomes transformed into a clear mandate," Kansas' Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach (R) told his fans that night, promising "significant reforms" to the state's election system. Answered with cheers in the Topeka ballroom Kobach promised: "We are gonna have Photo ID at the polls."

As he stated himself, Kobach's campaign was almost entirely built on the promise of putting a stop to the state's out-of-control (and also, non-existent, but ssshhh, don't tell anybody) "voter fraud" epidemic. But now that the election's over, he's having trouble identifying any actual instances of the horrible scourge he helped trick Republican voters into believing actually existed.

Talking Points Memo, who has done a bang-up job of keeping tabs on Kobach's duplicity over the past year, caught up with the SoS-elect yesterday after he spoke on a "civil rights" panel at the Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention and asked him how the hunt is going.

He, um, had trouble actually citing any evidence of voter fraud since, as of now, he "hadn't heard of any." "There have been a few cases where I've heard allegations of voter fraud," he says, "but we're just a few weeks out from the election."

No doubt, the evidence will come rolling in soon. The only question is will it come in before or after Kobach and his anti-democracy GOP cronies enact disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions at the polling place, as promised, despite the fact that such laws have been shown time and again to keep millions of legal minority, elderly, and student (read: Democratic-leaning) voters from being able to cast their ballots.

Here's TPM's short video interview with Kobach in which --- just in case you hadn't any doubt about the bankruptcy of his claims --- he also alludes to the long-discredited Rightwing scam-artist/"voter fraud" fraudster John Fund, whose book on "voter fraud" has, itself, been debunked as a fraud over and again...

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

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A fully transparent reconciliation would well serve democracy, particularly given AK's dreadful election history...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2010 8:45pm PT  

- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

After a week of hand-counting paper write-in ballots in Alaska's three-way U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (who ran as an independent write-in candidate), Republican candidate Joe Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams, the Associate Press called the race this afternoon for Murkowski.

Trailing by some 10,000 votes behind Murkowski, however, and with several lawsuits concerning the tabulation of ballots still pending, Miller is suggesting it's likely that his campaign will call for a "hand count" of all of the ballots cast in the race, not just those in contention during the counting of write-in ballots over the last week.

Given Alaska's years-long record of often-inexplicable election results, going back at least as far as the 2004 Presidential Election (and the first election as Senator for Murkowski who had previously been named by her father to replace him in the U.S. Senate when he became Governor in 2002); the repeated failure and insecurity of the state's Diebold election system; and the AK Division of Elections' truly remarkable history of blocking citizen oversight of election results --- much of which has been documented at The BRAD BLOG since late 2005 --- a thorough reconciliation of results by the Miller team would be both appropriate and helpful for all future elections in the state (and even for other states, where similar nearly-impossible-to-oversee optical-scan ballot systems are similarly used.)

We have no particular dog in this race, as our coverage of issues of Election Integrity is, as always, non-partisan. Our only concern is for the voters, that they get to vote if they wish, that their votes are counted accurately if they do, and that the counts are performed transparently so that all citizens can know that the results are, indeed, accurate.

To that end, though we haven't consulted directly with any of the campaigns in the Alaska race, we have been following the tabulation closely since Election Day two weeks ago, and have been speaking with a number of sources in the state who have, we're told, been sharing various thoughts we've offered with both the McAdams and Miller campaigns. The advise we've offered --- as we would to anyone who asked, including Murkowski's campaign --- appears to have been taken to heart by the Miller team, at least if one of their lawsuits, and a number of their public statements given over the last week are any indication.

As mentioned, Alaska's history of election results that seem to defy mathematical explanation, along with (understating the problem here) less than transparent processes and a failure to make recommended changes to their election system and procedures, leads to a case where a full, manual, reconciliation of all ballots cast and counted --- as called for by the Miller camp, or any other --- would provide a valuable service to the state and all of its voters...

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

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Senate Minority Leader sought withdrawal of troops from Iraq while excoriating Dems for 'cutting and running'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/13/2010 4:41pm PT  

If you had any doubt of the shamelessness of Republicans, the following report should end any such questions. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow details how, in 2006, at the exact same moment Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was publicly sliming Democrats for their push for a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, he was privately and directly requesting to George W. Bush that he remove troops in hopes of retaining control of the U.S. Congress in the run-up to the midterm elections.

Got that? McConnell was cynically, and hypocritically, accusing Dems of putting this nation at a national security risk for what he described as their interest in "cutting and running," "retreat," and "waving a white flag" in Iraq, even as he was privately pleading with Bush to bring troops home for purely --- and entirely --- partisan political reasons.

All of that, as learned via a revelation from George W. Bush's new book, Decision Points. McConnell has failed to deny the allegation, and the Senator's hometown paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, decries the new revelation as "contemptible hypocrisy and obsessive partisanship that have come to mark the senator's time in office." From their editorial late this week:

Unless he is prepared to call a former president of his own party a liar, Mr. McConnell has a choice. He can admit that he did not actually believe the Iraq mission was vital to American security, regardless of what he said at the time. Or he can explain why the fortunes of the Republican Party are of greater importance than the safety of the United States.

As Maddow explains, the paper is calling for an explanation --- as should all Americans...


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By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2010 2:01pm PT  

I'm prepping for tonight's Mike Malloy Show which I will be, once again, guest hosting this evening (9-Mid ET / 6-9p PT, with listen links and live chat right here at BradBlog.com later), but took a short break to chat with Shannyn Moore on Alaska's KUDO about the state of the state's elections right now as the Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski campaign's duke it out in regard to counting (or not counting) write-in ballots from the U.S. Senate race.

As we discussed, there is, of course, every reason to be concerned about Alaska's horrible, error-prone Diebold system. Here's just one such reason that we discussed. As well, after Murkowski announced her write-in bid last August I wrote about how the race is likely to test the oft-failed system they use up there.

As predicted, the fight for oversight and reconciliation of the results is on right now, and the Miller camp has brought in one of the great Rightwing extremists, Floyd Brown (he of the Willie Horton ads, Obama "birtherism" and much more) to take the lead in the campaign's fight for oversight.

Where Brown is inappropriately suggesting "voter fraud" without evidence to back it up, he is exactly right in calling for the right for the campaign to be allowed to reconcile the poll rosters to determine if the lower-than-expected number of ballots so far tabulated are, indeed, accurate. To that, I'm more than happy to support his efforts or any other citizens who want to fight to try to ensure their elections are being counted accurately and transparently.

Shannyn and I discussed all of the above and more for about 30 mins or so. Here's that discussion:

Download MP3, or listen online below...

* * *

UPDATE 11/13/10: Jeanne "AKMuckraker" Devon has more on the developing sitch up there, all the strange bedfellows tucking themselves in, and this hilarious admission: "So, it is with a whiplash-addled heart that I commend…. (pauses for a shot of vodka)… that I say kudos to (mops brow)… that I agree with (deep breath)… Joe Miller."

UPDATE 11/17/10: Joe Miller now suggests his campaign may call for a complete 'hand count' of all ballots. A detailed analysis of Alaska's recent history of impossible election results and it's oft-failed Diebold tabulators suggest Miller would be performing a service to all voters with such a full, transparent reconciliation. Details now here...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2010 1:41pm PT  

[Note: This piece was originally written for and published by Truthout earlier this week, prior to escalated, and often breathless, allegations now being made from the Right of "voter fraud!" and "election theft!" by the Reid campaign in NV. Many of those claims are baseless and evidence-free at this time, though some have roots, at least, in legitimacy. The article which follows offers evidence for the legitimacy of some of their claims. But I will try, if time allows, to post another piece soon, separating important fact from irresponsible and even sometimes silly fiction in many of GOP/Fox/Drudge/Breitbart-fueled allegations in NV. - BF]

Sharron Angle should start filing the lawsuits right now. Then again, so should Harry Reid. However, it might be a bit more difficult politically for the Senate majority leader, given the undeserved support Reid has shown in the past for Nevada's 100 percent unverifiable, error-prone, hackable, illegally-certified, electronic voting systems the state forces all voters to use at the polling place.

Given that the Angle/Reid contest in Nevada is likely to be among the closest - and most closely-watched - races for the US Senate this November 2, both parties would be wise to get to court and file for an order to ensure all of the hard drives, flash memory chips and memory cartridges to be used in their electronic voting machines during both early voting and on Election Day are securely retained for 22 months after the election.

The federal law requiring as much, Retention of Voting Documentation (42 USC. 1974 through 1974e), has, however, never been followed in any state to my knowledge, at least in regard to the sensitive memory cards and hard drives from electronic voting systems. Those devices hold both ballot programming and the way the computers have recorded - accurately or not - the way voters have voted. They might also hold the only evidence of any system malfunction or malfeasance. Nonetheless, officials routinely scrub those materials not long after the polls have closed. Key evidence - perhaps the only actual evidence - of how voters had hoped to vote and of any obstruction to that intent, is thereby lost forever.

The voting machine still used across the Silver State - the horrible, hackable, failure-prone Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting machines with VeriVote "paper trail" printer add-on - has a storied history. There is also a recent history of very close elections in Nevada. Consequently, both candidates would be wise to bring on experienced Election Integrity experts to advise them in what can and will go wrong with those voting systems this year.

Unfortunately, while Reid seems to have long been in denial about the unverifiability and outright failure of the systems used in his state, Angle has likely been duped into buying into her own party's propaganda about "voter fraud," when the real problem is election fraud ... or just plain failure. Particularly in Nevada ...

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UPDATE: Late-night stay issued by AK Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2010 2:28pm PT  

[The AK Supreme Court has put a stay on the Superior Court Judge's order. For now. See important update at bottom of article.]

As we've been suggesting in our two previous articles on the issue, the Alaska Division of Election's unprecedented move to supply printed lists of write-in candidates to polling places, purportedly to "assist" voters seeking help, violates state election procedures.

A judge today ruled in favor of the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP), as well as the state Republicans who joined the suit, by issuing a temporary restraining order finding the DoE's practice a "clear violation of Alaska administrative regulation."

We covered the issue over the weekend when it first came up, as letters went back and forth between the ADP, who charged the procedure amounted to "electioneering" inside the polling place, and the DoE, who claimed they were required by state and federal law to provide such assistance to voters.

We covered it again last night, when the DoE responded to our public records request for previous lists of printed write-in candidates by denying the request, since, as DoE Director Gail Fenumiai wrote, "The requested records do not exist."

State Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner agreed that the state's argument "rings hollow", noting, "If it were important 'assistance' for the division to provide voters with lists of write-in candidates, then the division has been asleep at the switch for the past 50 years. The division first developed the need for a write-in candidate list 12 days ago."

The ruling comes as a blow to incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who tossed her hat into the ring as a write-in candidate after her primary loss to the GOP's Joe Miller. Along with Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, a fierce three-way battle has ensued for the open U.S. Senate seat from Alaska. Although it's unclear what leg they have to stand on, the state has said they will appeal Pfiffner's decision ordering the immediate removal of the printed list of "certified" write-in candidates from polling places across the state. The judge also ruled that pollworkers may not mention Murkowski's, or any write-in candidate's name, to voters.

As reported by Erika Bolstad in today's Anchorage Daily News...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2010 5:57pm PT  

After reports of ES&S touch-screen votes flipping away from Republicans, for a change, over the last several days in North Carolina and in Texas, reports are now coming in from Nevada about similar occurrences on that state's Sequoia touch-screens, just in time to underscore the importance of my story published today at Truthout, "Hacking Harry Reid (or Sharron's Angle)" arguing that one or both of the candidates locked in the Silver State Senate Standoff need to get to a court immediately, even though neither of them are likely to do so.

First, the reports of touch-screen troubles today in NV (which closely mirror the scores of reports in the same state that I detailed exclusively in 2008 as affecting Obama and the Democrats during early voting). This time, however, it's Republican voters charging trouble with touch-screens...

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In response to our records request in for previous printed lists, DoE concedes they 'do not exist'
First time such 'assistance' provided to voters in U.S. Senate race...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2010 2:47pm PT  

Over the weekend we covered the dispute between Alaska's Division of Elections (DoE), who has been handing out printed lists of write-in candidates to early voting sites, and the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP) who says doing so amounts to inappropriate electioneering at the polling place for write-in U.S. Senate candidate Lisa Murkowski in support of her challenge against GOP nominee Joe Miller and the Democrat's Scott McAdams.

The ADP went to court yesterday to file for an injunction, an official told The BRAD BLOG late today. The judge will issue his finding on Wednesday morning. But an admission we received today from Gail Fenumiai, Director of the DoE, may make it more difficult for the state to make their case.

As we detailed Saturday, in letters back and forth between the parties, the Fenumiai has been arguing that the list of candidates --- which reminds voters that Murkowski is running, and shows how to spell her name (a potential matter of dispute when determining which write-ballots should be counted or thrown out) --- is required by state and federal law in order to "to provide assistance to voters in the polling place upon request." She claims "The list of write-in candidates is the best way for poll workers to provide consistent information and assistance to voters if requested, regarding write-in candidates."

In response, ADP attorneys argued "There is no statutory or other legal basis for generating and making available to voters a list of write-in candidates and we are unaware, in the fifty-year history of the state, that such a list has ever previously been generated or used."

Indeed, as other names may be written in on ballots, in addition to those on the list, and the deadline is still open for write-in candidates to file a declaration of intent (giving them certain post-election privileges), the procedure seems legally dubious as well as historically unprecedented as ADP attorneys have charged.

To get to the bottom of it, and to find out if, in fact, the DoE has ever taken such action to "provide assistance" in previous elections, as Fenumiai claims is required by both state and federal law, The BRAD BLOG dashed off a public records request for any similar printed lists of write-in candidate provided to polling places during any previous elections.

This afternoon we received our reply from the DoE's Director, denying our public records request because, as she explains, the DoE has never supplied such a list prior to these 2010 general elections, so there are no records to send in response to our request.

Here's the pertinent part of her response [which is linked in full below]...

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