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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 19, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
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'Special Coverage' Archives
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...


Tuesday's Election Will be 'Unrecountable, Unverifiable, and Unauditable'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2008 8:05am PT  

On Tuesday night, you will be told who the winner of the Pennsylvania Primary is. You will accept it. You will have no choice. No matter who the winner really is. Or isn't.

This Tuesday's crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As VerifiedVoting.org summarizes the crucial contest, it "will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

Most of the votes, more than 85%, will be cast on such DRE systems which do not provide so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs), as their use has been found unconstitutional in the state, since its been determined, accurately, that ballot secrecy cannot be guaranteed when using such paper trail systems. Not that it matters.

With or without a so-called "paper trail" printer, all touch-screen/push-button/DRE voting machines are equally unverifiable and antithetical to American democracy. Period.

So, as with South Carolina's primary, so so long ago, and other states since, whatever the officials tell you at the end of the election is what you, and we, will have to accept. Whether votes are counted accurately is completely out of anyone's hands at this point. It's strictly Democracy of the Gods...

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

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UPDATE: Priest Destroying O'Reilly's Ambush Reporter is Chicago's Michael Pfleger; Only 5 Seconds of Interview Shown on Fox Before O'Reilly Runs Segment Calling on Catholic Church to 'Sanction' Him!
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2008 10:05am PT  

This guy --- and I'm sorry I don't know his name --- is my new hero. Can't really set up the following must-watch killer video any better than "Rat" of RatTube, from whence it was found, did:

Rat Says: Wow… this priest is sharp! The little Fox reporter wasn’t expecting someone this studied. “Was Bill O’Reilly a Marine?” ……………….I’m speechless, this guy is good!

Yes. Very good. Can we please get the good father his own TV show? Perhaps at 8pm ET on Fox "News" where they currently show nothing but Anti-American trash?...


And that's what America really looks like. Which is why you normally don't get to see it on TV. Not sure where the video actually aired, if anywhere. Though the questioner was O'Reilly's reporter/hitman, not surprisingly, I've yet to see any clips of that interview on his show (though, admittedly, I don't get to take out the trash every day.)

(Hat-tip to "CD")

UPDATE 8:34pm PT: Turns out the man in the video above is a Catholic priest by the name of Rev. Michael Pfleger, and apparently Bill O'Reilly did use a part of the interview above on his show. Approximately 5 seconds of it. On April 2. And yet, despite how well Pfleger deflects the nonsense tossed at him by O'Reilly's ambush reporter (as seen in the above, not on his show) O'Reilly has been flogging the same "racist, hate-monger" nonsense for weeks.

As if that's not bad enough, after the 5 seconds shown from the above interview, O'Reilly went on to do a full 6 minute segment discussing whether or not...wait for it...Pfleger should be sanctioned by the Catholic Church!

I wish I was kidding. Watch for yourselves...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2008 9:44am PT  

Recently, Barack Obama indicated he would "immediately investigate" if "there [are] possibilities of genuine crimes" having been carried out by this White House, should he become President. He said he'd direct his DoJ and AG to "immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued."

In his comment, which seems to have carefully played every side of the street and both side of the fence, Obama told AttyTood's Will Bunch:

I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General --- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now --- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity.

You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances.

Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law --- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.

On the other hand, last night, during her appearance on the Colbert Report in Philadelphia, his wife Michelle was remarkably impressive, I thought. Really. For whatever that may be worth. Here's the video...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2008 4:06pm PT  

(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG comic sherpa, Pokey Anderson)

Please support The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive and our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available for new contributors!
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Blog Supporters Upgrade Concerns of Appropriate Clinton Caucus Oversight into Full Blown Charges of 'Vote Suppression,' Attempts to 'Steal' Tomorrow's Race in Texas...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2008 6:19pm PT  

Perhaps we're missing something here?

Our friends at BuzzFlash have their top screaming headline set currently as...

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Clinton campaign training materials regarding Tuesday night's caucuses ominously advise supporters to take control of caucus sign-in sheets and vote tallies especially "if our supporters are outnumbered."

...which links over to a quick report over at the Texas blog Burnt Orange Report (also good folks, as much as we know about them.)

"Ominously"?

The quick BOR article by Glenn Smith is headlined "Clinton Caucus Disruption/Vote Suppression" and appears to be at the end of a chain of increasingly panicked blog items which began with a report from Dallas Morning News, quoted as follows by Smith...

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

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Misrepresents a BRAD BLOG Article to Help Disinform Rightwing Readers...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2008 3:32pm PT  

Some guy named Patrick Ruffini, at the right-wing Townhall blog of right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt, is using the space to disinform readers as to the reasons for the current shutdown of the FEC. And he's dishonestly misrepresenting a BRAD BLOG article from last year (we're the "left-wing blogger" he links to in his comments below) in order to help fool his presumably gullible readers...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2008 5:46pm PT  

WTF?

(Hat-tip RAW STORY)

UPDATE 2/22/08: Secret Service responds. Says "no security lapses at that venue."

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Cites 'Widespread Reports' of Problems During Today's Primary, as Registration Issues in State After State Begin to Emerge
New Statewide Computerized Voter Roll Systems, Mandated by Help America Vote Act, Privatized by Voting Machine Companies Criticized by Experts...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2008 12:30am PT  

More voter registration problems. This time in Louisiana during today's Democratic Party Primary. From the Obama campaign website just after 7pm ET tonight...

BATON ROUGE, LA— The Obama campaign submitted an urgent request for assistance to the Secretary of State’s Division of Elections today, after receiving widespread reports from Democrats across Louisiana who reported that they were not allowed to vote because their party affiliation had been switched. Hundreds of Louisiana democrats went to the polls to vote in today’s presidential primary and found that they were now on registration lists as Independent or Unaffiliated voters.

For what it's worth, Obama reportedly won today's primary, but problems with voter registration rolls are quickly emerging this year as a huge problem in state after state. Our reporting from just the last week reveals problem after problem...

Georgia: Widespread bottlenecks for voters as problems occur with Diebold's new e-pollbook system and the state's new Photo ID restrictions. Voters waited in line for up to two hours in some places.

New Mexico: 17,000 (11%) forced to vote on provisional ballots in Democratic Caucus as previously registered Democrats find they are no longer on voter rolls recently privatized by voting machine company ES&S.

Arizona: We've begun receiving reports from voters and local officials of polling places where some 40% of voters were forced to vote on provisionals, after state registration system outsourced to ES&S. [UPDATE: One such report is now published here, from a poll worker who reports that of 1291 ballots cast at her polling place, 540 --- some 41% --- were forced to vote provisionally.]

California: Various reports of voters registered for one party to find they were switched to another, or not registered at all. Confusion about how to handle non-partisan voters in Los Angeles County leads to nearly 100,000 votes which may not be counted properly.

Many states are just now fully implementing new, statewide, computerized registration rolls as mandated by the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The systems are being outsourced to private companies in many states, and more and more Election Days seem to be turning into Beta Tests for the new systems...

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

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17,000 Voters Forced to Vote on Provisional Ballots After Being Dropped from Registration Rolls 'Maintained' by SoS and Voting Machine Company, ES&S
Few Explanations Available Yet for Any of It, Governor Richardson 'Deeply Disturbed' by Reports...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2008 6:31pm PT  

The good news: New Mexico now votes on paper ballots, since their touch-screen debacle in the 2004 Presidential Election left Gov. Bill Richardson with little legal choice but to move to paper.

The bad news: The huge turnout in yesterday's Democratic Primary led to long lines, voters who found they were no longer on the registration rolls for some still-unexplained reason, 17,000 votes had to be cast on provisional ballots which remain uncounted today, and now it's being reported --- incredibly --- that at least three ballot boxes were kept overnight last night, uncounted, at the home of a Democratic County Party Chairwoman.

What makes it all worse, as if all that is not troubling enough, is that the current razor-thin margin between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the caucus stands at just 217 votes out of 136 thousand ballots cast.

The governor's apologizing, the party is prevaricating, the candidates' representatives are negotiating, and, as usual, it's the voters who are left hanging, wondering if their voices will actually be heard...

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

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Including Anti-War Rally Footage You Are Unlikely To See On CNN
By Alan Breslauer on 2/1/2008 11:54am PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


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And Other Recent News from the Election Contests in New Hampshire...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 3:01am PT  

Now that we're finally back at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters in Los Angeles (for a few days at least) and have shaken off our road buzz (for now), gotten through the latest Sibel Edmonds blockbusters (until the next shoe drops) and have overcome last Friday's maddening 24 hour Internet outage, we've got some catching up to do on New Hampshire's continuing mess of a "recount."

Luckily for us, as we've been traveling for the last few days, and pulling off other related miracles, the hand counters in Concord took a break as of last Friday for a long weekend, which includes today's Martin Luther King Day holiday. As we all know, MLK would have hated the idea of anybody actually counting votes on his holiday, so we're glad the folks from the NH SoS office decided to let the ballots sit around and cool off in the darkness for three long days in a vault somewhere (maybe). The counting, which has so far covered just a small portion of all of the ballots, will resume on Tuesday.

So...From the latest hand count numbers, to the latest media coverage, to the latest reports from Election Integrity experts on the ground --- including one amazing photo essay illustrating New Hampshire's "chain of custody" protocol for its ballots, 80% of which have never been counted or examined by a single human being (that we know of) --- let's get caught up a bit.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your Pinto has a full tank of gas...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2008 4:34pm PT  

Who says Hillary doesn't have what it takes to beat Republicans at their own game next November?

According to Steve Rosenfeld at AlterNet...

Barrack Obama's campaign is calling on the Nevada Democratic Party to investigate whether voters were wrongly turned away at the doors of numerous presidential caucus sites on Saturday. The campaign also is asking its campaign workers to report other unfair electioneering practices from the presidential vote.

In an afternoon press conference, the campaign's State Director David Cohen and Washington-based election attorney Bob Bauer said that an indeterminate number of caucus locations closed their doors at 11:30 AM --- a half hour before the noon starting time --- because manuals provided by Hillary Clinton's campaign incorrectly stated the earlier start time. Once the door to a caucus are closed, no other voters may participate, according to party rules.
...
Earlier in the day, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe sent this statement to volunteers:

“We currently have reports of over 200 separate incidents of trouble at caucus sites, including doors being closed up to thirty minutes early, registration forms running out so people were turned away, and ID being requested and checked in a non-uniform fashion. This is in addition to the Clinton campaign’s efforts to confuse voters and call into question the at-large caucus sites which clearly had an affect on turnout at these locations. These kinds of Clinton campaign tactics were part of an entire week’s worth of false, divisive, attacks designed to mislead caucus-goers and discredit the caucus itself."
...
At the Sunday afternoon press conference, the campaign said it had 300 election incident reports.

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Scores of Votes Mistallied for Every Major Democratic Candidate
UPDATE: NH Union Leader Says Disparities Discovered in Hand Count Due to Veep Votes Added to Prez Totals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 6:26pm PT  

As mentioned last night in this disturbing article, the early results of the hand counts of one Diebold precinct in Dennis Kucinich's election contest in New Hampshire are now being posted, as they come in, at this New Hampshire SoS page.

As mentioned earlier today, NH SoS Bill Gardner told WMUR in NH that "We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same...Some went up by a vote or two." He didn't, of course, note that a lot of the vote counts (most of them) were off by 5 or more.

And now, the rest of the numbers from the rest of the Manchester wards are coming on. And get a load of Ward 5:

Diebold
Result
Hand
Count
CLINTON 683 619
EDWARDS 255 217
OBAMA 404 365

All of the other candidates seem to have lost votes as well. No clue who received them instead, and must run out to tonight's Oakland screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. But I thought you'd want to know.

WMUR might want to know too. Since their only source seems to be whatever Gardner tells them. They can be contacted here.

There are more fresh numbers there, but we haven't yet had time to review 'em. Other than that, everything is fine with your election system. Or, as WMUR "reported" at 6pm ET today: "The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems."

UPDATE: The New Hampshire Union Leader reports this as the reason for the huge disparities discovered via the hand count:

The widest variations so far were in Manchester's Ward 5. Vote counters there mistakenly transposed write-in votes for vice president as votes for presidential candidate. As a result, all major candidates lost votes. Kucinich lost three in the ward and has a total of 20 votes there. Hillary Clinton lost 64 with a new total of 619; John Edwards lost 38 and has 217 votes; Barack Obama lost 39 and has 365, and Bill Richardson lost seven, leaving him 39.

We've been on the road, and thus, unable to confirm that explanation one way or another, or even add this update from yesterday's paper until now. But we're happy to share it with you nonetheless (even as some dKos fans in comments, have suggested our lack of pointing it out as some sort of "conspiracy theory". Get over yourself, kids. And stand up for democracy while you're at it!)

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary.
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By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 4:55pm PT  

Also meanwhile...Out there in MSM world, where reality creates its own definition, WMUR is reporting that all is fine in New Hampshire:

CONCORD, N.H. --- The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems.

Well, they're sort of correct. "Voting" problems aren't the concern. As we frequently point out, the voters are still doing fine. Leave them alone. The election problems, and the horrible administration thereof, are another matter entirely. And on that front, loads of problems have been "found." But only if you bother to look at them, of course.

Given WMUR's following quote from NH Sec. of State Bill Gardner, which is demonstrably wrong in 3 seconds time if you bother to look at the SoS's very own web page for hand count results, it's not a surprise that WMUR thinks everything is just rosy:

"We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same," Gardner said. "Some went up by a vote or two."

That is what we in the business of actual reporting would call: a lie. Check the numbers for yourself. Yeah, it's technical true that "a lot of the votes were exactly the same," as Gardner says, in the same way that a lot of the troops who go to Iraq don't get killed.

But many more vote counts were not at all the same, ranging anywhere from 5 to 8 votes off in regular cases, across almost all candidates.

And before you say that's no big deal, we'll remind you that in 2004, had just 6 votes per precinct been registered in Ohio for John Kerry instead of George W. Bush, we'd have a different person sitting in the White House right now.

Other than that, and the fact that Gardner has no idea where the memory cards are for his Diebold machines, and all other matter of horrible election oversight, yeah, everything's just fine in New Hampshire.

...CONTACT...
WMUR Newsroom contact page

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Also: Diebold Memory Cards Unaccounted For; Public Record Request by Election Integrity Advocates on Ground Reveal 550+ Votes Read as Blank by Op-Scanner in Stratham...
Clinton, Kucinich Observers There, Nobody from Obama or Edwards, Says Election Attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2008 8:09pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from on the road...

(As mentioned in previous items, I'm now on the road --- currently in Oakland for the Thursday night screening of the more-ironically-named-than-ever documentary, UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections --- and doing my best to keep up while moving. So apologies for the terse reports for the moment, as I continue to roll and have limited time online.)

LATEST OUT OF NH: Disparities being found during hand-counts of ballots, in many wards, many candidates. Diebold op-scan memory cards unaccounted for at the moment, Secretary of State (SoS) doesn't track them after elections, doesn't track error reports during elections. LHS Associates (see below) handles all of it instead, according to reports on the ground. Public records request reveals hundreds of ballots in one area scanned as blank due to incorrect ink used on ballots, and other problems on LHS problem report forms.

* * *

Numbers are now being posted from both the Democratic and Republican hand-counts in the NH Primary Election contest. So far, only wards in Manchester (Hillsborough County) have been hand-counted, and disparities between the original counts from the Diebold optical-scan machine and the hand inspections seem to be occurring in many wards, and for many candidates.

Here is the SoS Recount page with the totals, that I haven't yet been able to review in full.

While sources on the ground at the counting today have told me that officials were not announcing the originally counted results at the counting room, the SoS web page lists what they claim are the original counts --- previously verified by nobody --- versus the recounted numbers.

The disparities, as I've quickly been able to review them, are small, but consistent, in ward after ward, across almost all of the candidates. I'm told that the manufacturers of the optical-scan machines (in this case, Diebold) have estimated an expected error rate of 1% on this type of tallying device which, as noted by one of our contacts in NH, is ridiculous, if you consider that most states and counties only kick in "automatic recounts" when the margin between the two leading candidates is less than .5% or so.

ADDITIONALLY...Public records requests are being made on the spot, for errors and malfunctions at various voting precincts. An early review of the error forms turned over from the public record request made by Election Integrity experts overseeing the counting, has revealed that in Stratham there were some 550 ballots that were not read by the op-scan at all. They were seen as blank ballots. Officials there noticed the problem, and then hand-counted some 3000 ballots after the error was discovered.

Apparently, as we've seen elsewhere, voters were given the wrong pen to use and the op-scanners did not "see" this particular type of ink.

Some of the election day error and incident reports, as read to me over the phone just now by Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Paddy Shaffer of Ohio Election Justice Campaign, both of whom are on the ground in NH overseeing the counts, and assisting Republican contest candidate Albert Howard...

(Town of Stratham, 9:00pm)

PROBLEM: Printout indicated 550 "blank voted" ballots which indicated that bad pens were used.
SOLUTION: Went to Stratham to confirm that approximately 15 bad pens were used on election day. The town had, by that time, hand counted and announced those results as official.

PROBLEM: Too many blanks, used wrong marking pens
SOLUTION: Sent Gerry and Tina with lucid machines.

(Town of Lebanon, precinct #2, 9:00 (am or pm?))

PROBLEM: Corrupt Count.
SOLUTION: Shut off and back on. Count back to 155.

(Town of Manchester, 9:30pm)

PROBLEM: P/U 3rd Bad Machine per John S. (likely refers to John Silvestro, owner of LHS)
SOLUTION:

I spoke with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, who is also on the ground in NH, and she asks: "If it wasn't 550 ballots, but just 55 or so in some places, would they even have seen it and known to recount ALL of the ballots?"

She also noted that the error report came from LHS Associates, the private company (with the, um, less-than-reputable background) that is the sole Diebold vendor, programmer, operator and service provider in NH and most of the other New England states.

(UPDATE: Harris has more of her own first-hand observations now posted here at BBV.)

LHS, apparently, is the one responsible for tracking (or not) and reporting (or not) any such errors, rather than the Secretary of State or local election officials. That tracks with previous BRAD BLOG reporting on LHS, and how they operate in Connecticut, where there are similar concerns for whether or not the SoS even knows what the error rates are for the system they use, since problem reports are given to LHS instead of to public officials.

The BRAD BLOG has reported within the past few days machine problems during the election in a number of towns. In fact, of the first four towns we called that used the Diebold machines, all four reported machine failures of one type or another.

FURTHER...Voting Rights attorney John Bonifaz, legal director of VoterAction.org, was on the scene today, and just told me that he has great concerns about the transparency of both the initial election and the hand-count auditing process that got under way in earnest today.

"I'm very concerned that this is not a fully transparent process that is happening there," he told me.

The sensitive memory cards containing the programming and tabulation from the Diebold optical-scanners are apparently "missing in action" for the moment. Those cards, as viewers of HBO's Hacking Democracy know by now, may be used to hack an election, such that only a proper hand-count of the paper ballots afterwards will reveal the hack. (See the video of that hack for yourself right here. The same exact machine being hacked in that film was used across the state to count 80% of the ballots in NH in last week's primary.)

And yet, says Bonifaz who spent time today speaking with New Hampshire Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Attorney General, nobody seems to have any idea where those cards are and what has become of them.

He says he was told by Secretary of State William Gardner that his office doesn't get involved in tracking what happens to those memory cards. Some have reportedly been returned to LHS, and may have had their memory erased already.

"When you have a private company counting 80% of the votes, and you later learn that the memory cards are unaccounted for, you have a serious question about the transparency and accountability in that process," Bonifaz said.

He notes that federal law requires all materials from elections be preserved for 22 months after the election. So if those materials have already been lost, destroyed, or over-written, there are legal questions that must be addressed.

Bonifaz also noted that while representatives and observers for the Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich campaigns were on site, nobody at all seemed to be there from either the Barack Obama or John Edwards camps. (Incredibly enough, I might add!)

* * *

Our earlier report today had a number of important updates that you may wish to review. Including the fact that the Kucinich people have asked for more observers (with video cameras if you have them!) at the State Archives Bldg., 71 South Fruit Street, Concord, New Hampshire, to help oversee the 6 counting teams. Much more in that report as well...

UPDATE 1/17/08 6:25 PM PST by Emily Levy: There are enough volunteers for tomorrow's counting. After Friday's counting, the count will be suspended for the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and is scheduled to resume next Tuesday. Folks on the ground in NH ask that you not show up there without talking with someone first, as they don't want anyone to make the trip unless they're needed. Volunteering will be coordinated, and that system is being set up now. Check back here for updates.

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary. And please consider donating to our efforts to continue to report on issues of Election Integrity in NH and elsewhere, as what virtually nobody else in the media (MSM or blogosphere!) seems willing to do at this time.
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