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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Critical Mass:
'BradCast' 10/12/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler discusses the tragic, U.S. gun epidemic with author Cliff Schecter and the 'Populist Candidate Scorecard' with CAF's Robert Borosage...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Feeling Safer' Edition
This week's collection of the week's best toons is grim and often gruesome...From the new outbreaks of gun violence to disaster's in Syria, Afghanistan and the U.S. House...
GOP's U.S. House Soap Opera & Enough w/ the Shootings!: 'BradCast' 10/9/15
Guest host Nicole Sandler welcomes Huffington Post's Ryan Grim and Australia's former Dep. Prime Minister Tim Fischer...
Caught on Tape: FL GOP's Race-Based Scheme To Dilute Minority Representation
State Rep is heard revealing plot to oust black U.S. Congresswoman with gerrymandering scheme, as a somewhat related landmark U.S. Supreme Court hearing looms...
Speaker Interrupted: 'BradCast' 10/8/15
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) joins guest host Nicole Sandler to discuss stunning turns of events in GOP plan to replace Boehner; Also: Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler on U.S. bombing of hospitcal in Afghanistan...
'Green News Report' 10/8/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Sen. Graham wants aid for SC flooding, voted against it for Hurricane Sandy!; Enviros slam TPP; New pesticide rules; Fracking waste; PLUS: Obama creates new sanctuaries...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 10/6/15 - Archives...
Shredding the NRA's 'Good Guy With a Gun' Myth:
'BradCast' 10/7/15
The Nation's Joshua Holland explains why combat vets laugh at the ridiculous lie. Also: GOP Rep. who defunded gun research regrets it; Boehner could stay Speaker; and more!...
Electric BUG-Aloo: How VW Can Save Itself and the World: 'BradCast' 10/6/15
Author Steve LaVine on e-cars and our battery-powered near-future; ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham's short memory; GOP bum fight for U.S. House Speaker; and Jeb's 'death rattle'...
'Green News Report' 10/6/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record rain, flooding in South Carolina -- is this the new normal?; India will cut its carbon emissions; PLUS: EPA announces new ozone rules to cut dangerous air pollution...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 9/29/15 - Archives...
'New Normal': Climate Change and SC's '1000-Year Flood': 'BradCast' 10/5/15
Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann joins us to discuss that and much more. Plus: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Making Sense' Edition
A grim week in the Toons, though 'PDiddie' manages to find a few laughs in his latest curated collection of the week's best...
AL Shuts Down Photo ID Offices; IA Blocks Former Felons: 'BradCast' 10/1/15
With ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein; PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
'Green News Report' 10/1/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jeb wants more oil and gas in US; Alberta, home of tar sands oil, wants to phase it out; New standards for refineries; PLUS: Tesla unveils world's first all-electric SUV...
Previous GNRs: 9/29/15 - 9/24/15 - Archives...
Hand-Counting Paper Ballots in Columbia County, NY: 'BradCast' 9/29/15
Guests: Both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners of Columbia County! Plus: Rush on Mars; MSNBC snubs Bernie...
'Green News Report' 9/29/15
China to launch cap and trade system; Pope calls for UN climate treaty; Report: World can move to 100% renewables in just 35 years; PLUS: Shell quits the Arctic...
Exxon Knew All Along: 'BradCast' 9/28/15
Neela Banerjee on Exxon's long knowledge of global warming and their efforts to obscure it. Also: Shell quits the Arctic; NASA's big discovery; Obama, Putin at U.N....
Sunday Toons: 'Political Climate Change'
PDiddie's latest curated collection of an explosive week in political toonery...
Bye, Bye, Boehner; Hello (Again), Florida Vote Suppression: 'BradCast' 9/25/15
And many other breaking world affairs at the end of an insanely busy news week...
Sanders' Three-Phase 'Political Revolution'
Ernest Canning on Bernie's battle for the 2016 Dem nomination, what happens if he receives it, and how he'd be able to govern as President of the United States...
The Pope & the Dopes - Francis Goes to Congress: 'BradCast' 9/24/15
Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network...
'Green News Report' 9/24/15
Pope delivers climate change message in D.C.; 11 House GOPers call for climate action; Big biz pledges to go renewable; PLUS: Hillary finally announces KXL position...
Pope Francis and the GOP! VW and the Voting Scam!: 'BradCast' 9/23/15
Plus a bunch of callers on all of the above (some quite amusing) and much more!...
Walker's Failed Campaign; Fuller's Serial Spousal Abuse: 'BradCast' 9/22/15
Guest: WI native John Nichols of The Nation. PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position Keystone XL!...
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)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

TONIGHT: All of your worst 2012 nightmares, plus great news out of Wisconsin!
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2012 3:58pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with tonight's nightmarish audio archives below! Enjoy!!!]

Mike has the night off! So we're back! Guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show on Friday the 13th! It's a Nightmare on Malloy Street!...

We'll be BradCasting all the horror LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

  • YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE! Me! With three hours over our public airwaves to talk about Iowa, New Hampshire & South Carolina voting nightmares! The nightmare that is Election 2012! And other related and unrelated nightmares!
  • GRAEME ZIELINSKI, Spokesman from the Wisconsin state Democratic Party, with some late breaking news on the "Recall Scott Walker" effort in the Badger State!
  • PLUS! The fraud that is James O'Keefe; the "cold" War against Iran; the failure that is the NY Times; the GOP wants more corporate money in campaigns; and all the nightmares on your minds, via your calls over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate KPTR 1450 in Palm Springs or at WhiteRose Society or via

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Tonight's show was a NIGHTMARE! Don't believe me? You can now listen to the full show, sans commercials, in the archives posted below. (You can also read the nightmarish chat room archives below too!) Be afraid...Be very afraid!...

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

ReddIt this story!

By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2012 6:05am PT  

Long ago discredited, federally convicted criminal, Rightwing con-artist, pretend journalist, and accomplished liar James O'Keefe is pimping another secretly-taped and selectively-edited video sure to be a sensation on Fox "News" and at other Republican propaganda venues. It purports to show several voters showing up at polling places during New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday and giving the names of recently deceased voters to poll workers before procuring ballots to vote under those names.

The video, about which O'Keefe lies on his own website, is certain to add more phony fuel to Republicans' long-unsupported claims that people are regularly impersonating dead people at the polling place in order to vote illegally, an allegation which has absolutely no evidence to support it. The aim of the video is clearly is to shore up GOP attempts to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions, meant to do little more than disenfranchise Democratic-leaning constituencies such as the elderly, minorities and student voters, under the fraudulent guise of curbing "voter fraud."

As New Hampshire does not require a Photo ID before one is allowed to cast a legal vote, O'Keefe uses the video to try and create the impression that voting under the name of a recently deceased person is both simple and regularly done. It isn't. But that's his scam this week.

As usual, O'Keefe's video looks as if it represents something that is damning. That's his stock in fraudulent trade, and that's usually more than enough to reinforce the biases of the incurious who've been long-brainwashed, through a well-organized and well-funded GOP effort, into believing that something Rightwingers say is happening certainly must be happening --- despite a dearth of evidence to show that it actually is happening.

The video was released Wednesday morning at the website of O'Keefe's ironically named Project Veritas organization. It was also published "exclusively" by Tucker Carlson's rightwing pretend news site, Daily Caller. Naturally, the websites of Andrew Breitbart, a fellow professional liar, as well as O'Keefe's employer and a co-conspirator on his phony ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos, quickly followed suit in publicizing the same misleadingly-edited version of the video.

At the Project Veritas site, O'Keefe lies about the video, claiming at the end of his short article accompanying it, that "the unedited videos from part one of the Voter Fraud investigation" have been made available as well. They haven't. He has lied about that. Again. Moreover, as several other sites reported on Wednesday, it's possible that O'Keefe and his band of merry fraudsters have also broken both federal and state laws.

But setting his various lies and possible criminal actions aside for now, let's first look at the supposedly "unedited" version of the videos O'Keefe offers up, and then I'll be happy to dismantle the underpinnings of this ruse below it...

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

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TONIGHT: Occupying the Iowa Caucuses, the 'Voter Fraud' Fraud, the LAPD & much more!
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 12/29/2011 3:33pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives from tonight posted below!]

We're back again tonight (and tomorrow night) guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show as the end of the hellish year draws near and the next hellish year will soon begin. LOTS to discuss tonight, so hope you'll tune in!

We're BradCasting again LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

  • THE GOP LOVES VOTER FRAUD! And tonight, I'll prove it! With lots of "fraud" news to cover from the caucuses of Iowa to the primary ballots of Virginia and beyond!
  • OCCUPYING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY I'll be joined in studio by several OccupyLA'ers who will share their stories of horrific treatment at the hands of the LAPD, as we try to bring some accountability. Also will speak with the great independent citizen journalist/web-streamer Spencer "OakFoSho" Mills on his quest for accountability for LAPD Officer Escamilla.
  • PLUS! More than I have time to mention here, and everything else that's on your minds as the 2012 circus is about to begin to begin, via your calls over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or at WhiteRose Society or via

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: A whole lotta show in three short hours! Now you can listen to the whole thing in about an hour and half in the commercial-free audio archives posted below. I believe that you'll find it well worth the time! Money back if not! (And see ya tomorrow night!)...

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

ReddIt this story!

By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2011 9:09pm PT  

My appearance last night on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann was a round-up of a bunch of the latest voting news, from the DoJ's rejection of South Carolina's Photo ID restriction, to Newt's failure to get enough signatures to make it onto the VA Primary ballot, to the 93-year old woman who cleaned the TN state capitol for decades being told she may not be able to vote with her expired state ID, to the U.S. EAC finding, finally, that hackable ES&S paper ballot op-scan computers fail to count some votes without notice to anybody...

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TONIGHT: A VERY MERRY Christmas Show tonight! Trust me!
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2011 4:17pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives below!...]

We thought it'd be a slow-ish night while guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show on Christmas Eve Eve tonight. Boy were we wrong! (We'll also be filling in next Thursday and Friday, by the way.) Hope you can tune in tonight! It'll be worth it!

We'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising, pre-Christmas globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

  • A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS SHOW! Man alive do we have a ton of good (and some less-than-good) news stories to, happily, cover tonight! Including, but not limited to, the voter fraud-charged GOP Sec. of State being ordered removed in IN yesterday; the DoJ's rejection today of SC's voter suppression law; the findings of flawed op-scan ballot machines in OH; the GOP folding in their attempt to raise taxes on 160 million Americans; Arrests in violent assaults on "Recall Walker" workers; news about Progressive radio staying on air in San Francisco; long-overdue new EPA rules to curb pollution and much more!
  • LORI COMPAS, the leading organizer of WI's "Recall Fitzgerald" campaign, demanding an apology from state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald who inaccurately claimed that she and her fellow petitioners were committing fraud in their signature gathering efforts to have him recalled along with Gov. Scott Walker.
  • PLUS! Everything else that's on your minds, via your calls over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or at WhiteRose Society or via

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: It was a Christmas miracle! Nothing but good news (mostly) on the Malloy Show tonight! How often does that happen?! (Ever?) Plus some rockin' holiday music from our awesome engineer Tony Sorrentino! Lots of stuff to keep you feelin' good over the holiday weekend, all now posted below, commercial-free as our holiday gift to you! Enjoy!...

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

ReddIt this story!

By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2011 3:25pm PT  

No time to detail this one for the moment, as I'm preparing to guest host the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show tonight, so I'll just link to TPM's breaking coverage for the moment. I'll almost certainly have more to say on this on the show tonight, but for now, it looks like we've got still more good news this Christmas!

The Dept. of Justice has denied preclearance [PDF] of the South Carolina GOP's new polling place Photo ID restriction law, finding it was likely to disenfranchise voters, particularly minority voters, as "the state’s own statistics demonstrated that the photo identification requirement would have a much greater impact on non-white residents, DOJ said in a letter to the state on Friday," according to TPM.

The racial disparity seen by the DoJ is similar to the hardships, from such laws, to students and elderly voters (you know, the ones who tend to vote for Democrats, which is why the GOP is instituting these voter suppression laws in the first place.)

The GOP has long used the lie about an an epidemic of "voter fraud" by voter impersonation at the polling place, though they have failed to document virtually any instances of it. Nonetheless, they've been using such false claims to institute these types of laws around the country after Republicans took over a number of state legislatures in 2010. States that are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 must receive preclearance for such laws before they can be enacted, given the history of racism in the covered jurisdictions.

The BRAD BLOG's own crack legal analyst, Ernie Canning, detailed the concerns that the DoJ had about the disenfranchising affects of the law back in September, noting that they seemed to be signaling at the time that preclearance would be unlikely, given many serious flaws in the state law.

A final decision on DoJ preclearance is still pending in Texas where the agency has also indicated they are likely to reject the new Photo ID laws. Meanwhile, in states not covered by Section 5, such as Wisconsin, it's fallen to non-governmental organizations, such as the ACLU, to challenge the new laws in the court system, as they did earlier this month.

All of this follows on Indiana's first-in-the-nation Photo ID restriction law, approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. Ironically enough, yesterday in the Hoosier State, the Republican Secretary of State Charlie White, now facing seven criminal felony counts, including three of them for voter fraud, was ordered removed from his post by a circuit court judge who found he was not eligible to vote or be on the ballot at all in 2010. The judge has ordered White be replaced by the second-highest vote-getter, Democrat Vop Osili. Our coverage of that incredible "White Christmas" story is right 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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Last minute 'security by obscurity' defense unlikely to ensure integrity of results...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2011 2:10pm PT  

Well, whaddaya know? Suddenly, after all these years of warnings from The BRAD BLOG that electronic voting systems are exceedingly vulnerable to manipulation by insider election officials as well as outside hackers from almost anywhere, such as China or Iran or even al Qaeda, the GOP is now worried about electronic vote hacking in their Iowa Caucuses on January 3rd.

"Their fear," as AP reports today, is triggered by little more than a two-minute video posted on the Internet in early November, purportedly created by the "hacktivist" collective known as Anonymous, calling on members, in a trademark computer-generated voice, to "peacefully shut down the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses." [The complete video is posted at the end of this article.]

Progressive radio and television host Thom Hartmann covered the AP story on his radio show this morning, suggesting that while the GOP may have concerns about Anonymous shutting down or manipulating the results of the Iowa caucuses, they may also attempt to use the opportunity of heightened security to ensure that Republican candidate Ron Paul is not named the winner. A poll released last night by Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows Paul vaulting into the lead in Iowa, as previous front-runner Newt Gingrich's numbers have collapsed in the Hawkeye State. Paul now leads over Romney in Iowa, according to PPP's poll, with 23%, followed by Romney at 20% and Gingrich at 14%.

[NOTE: I will be appearing on Hartmann's TV program, The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, this evening to discuss this story. --- UPDATE: My appearance with Hartmann is now posted here.]

According to AP's report, the GOP is now concerned about "an Iowa caucus marred by hackers who corrupt the database used to gather votes and crash the website used to inform the public about results that can shape the campaign for the White House."

They go on to report that "Experts in computer security said such concerns are valid."

Unfortunately, however, it appears as though the steps the GOP are planning to take to try and counter the threat will do little ensure the public can trust the results that the party eventually reports to the public. (In the Iowa Caucuses, party officials, rather than state election officials, tally and report results to the media and public.)

If Republicans in Iowa, or anywhere else for that matter, truly fear the manipulation of results, there is only one way to help make such manipulation as difficult as possible. Similarly, if supporters of Ron Paul are concerned about same --- and they have every good reason to be, particularly considering the well-documented history of vote manipulation by supporters of Mitt Romney in the past --- they ought to be calling for the very same solution to help ensure the integrity of results in Iowa (and, frankly, everywhere else) in 2012...

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

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Battle for independent election investigation rages in rural Republican county, pitting renegade Election Board against County Commission, giant E-Vote firm ES&S...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2011 2:11pm PT  

According to the Initial Report from a landmark independent forensic audit of the Venango County, PA, touch-screen voting system --- the same system used in dozens of counties across the state and country --- someone used a computer that was not a part of county's election network to remotely access the central election tabulator computer, illegally, "on multiple occasions." Despite the disturbing report, as obtained by The BRAD BLOG and posted in full below, we may never get to learn who did it or why, if Venango's County Commissioners, a local judge, and the nation's largest e-voting company have their way. And that's not all we won't get to find out about.

The battle for election integrity continues in Venango, with the County Commissioners teaming up with e-voting vendor Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) on one side, and the county's renegade interim Republican-majority Board of Elections on the other. The Commissioners and ES&S have been working to spike the independent scientific forensic audit of the county's failed electronic voting machines that was commissioned by the interim Board of Elections. Making matters worse, the Board has now been removed from power by a county judge, a decision they are attempting to appeal as the three-person board and their supporters continue to fight the entrenched establishment for transparency and accountability in the rural Western Pennsylvania county.

The extraordinary battle began when the interim Board was appointed by a county judge to oversee elections in the Republican-leaning PA county last spring. Normally the County Commissioners serve as the Board of Elections. But when they themselves are up for election, as they were this year, the county court judge names a specially appointed Board to cover the election and serve until the end of the year, or until they are dismissed by the same court.

When the interim Board of Elections --- comprising two Republicans and one Democrat --- took power this year in Venango, they unanimously set about commissioning the landmark, independent forensic audit of the county's 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting systems, on the heels of sworn testimony from voters about several failed elections over recent years, beginning in 2008.

After months of legal wrangling, with County Commissioners in opposition, the special Election Board's independent study of the County's ES&S iVotronic voting system finally got under way in late September. At that time, a hard drive clone of the computer which runs the ES&S central tabulator system (known as the "Unity Election Reporting Manager") was created and given, along with other data, to two Carnegie Mellon computer science professors who had volunteered to carry out the analysis on behalf of the Board. The Board also announced that the November election this year would be carried out on an optically-scanned paper ballot system, also made by the county's vendor, ES&S, while the reported anomalies from their May 2011 primary election, run on the unverifiable touch-screen systems, were being examined by the scientists.

But now, as documents and letters obtained by The BRAD BLOG reveal, the voting machine company, Omaha-based ES&S, which had issued no objections prior to the start of the study, but changed its mind quickly after it began (as we detailed in an Exclusive report in late October) has now hardened their position, sending threatening legal letters to both the county and the two computer scientists. The e-voting firm has warned them they are likely to face a lawsuit if they do not agree to complete confidentiality and if results of their analysis are released publicly without their prior review and approval.

Shortly after ES&S' legal threats were issued last month, a county judge released the interim Board from their duties (a move now being appealed by the Board) and the County Commissioners, who had fought tooth and nail against the analysis even being undertaken in the first place, are now back at the helm. According to members of the interim Board, the County Commissioners seem likely to "white wash" and/or quash the entire analysis and a plan for continuing the investigation before it can be completed or even see the light of day.

The BRAD BLOG, however, has obtained a copy of the Initial Draft of one of the forensic studies by the Carnegie Mellon computer scientists. Findings from the report [linked in full below, along with ES&S' threat letters], include a number of disturbing, and so-far unexplained revelations that should raise alarm bells for voters in virtually every corner of the nation as we head into another Presidential election year.

Among those findings: details on unexplained, out-of-sequence activity log entries in the computer tabulation system, indications that the system was mounted several times with a "USB 'flash drive'" device, and, perhaps most troubling, evidence that the system was repeatedly accessed by an unidentified remote computer, for lengthy periods of time, on "multiple occasions."

The entire affair has left members of the interim Board --- which includes the Chair and Treasurer of the local Republican Party, as well as the former Chair of the Democratic Party --- hopping mad. They're asking questions about motivations of both the County Commissioners and ES&S and describing their actions as a "cover up," even as they take legal action to try and complete the work they had begun months ago, after first hearing sworn testimony from voters, describing major failures with e-voting machines at the polling place in recent elections...

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

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ALSO: For benefit of Venango County's still-in-denial neighbors in Erie County, a brief history of ES&S' epic failures...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/3/2011 10:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"What is a vote worth?" Venango County, PA's Election Board Chairman Craig Adams, a Republican, asked last week. "If the vote is counted it is priceless. If it is not counted, I don't care what it costs. Let's get a right."

"After months of legal wrangling," Marybeth Kuznik of the non-partisan Election Integrity advocacy group VotePA told The BRAD BLOG last week, Venango County's landmark independent forensic examination of the notoriously unreliable and 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, most often touch-screen) e-voting system finally got under way.

Kuznik explained that the study comes in the wake of the heavily Republican-leaning county having experienced "numerous reports of vote-flipping, candidates missing from screens, write-ins missing, and high undervote rates in their May 17 Primary." Some candidates on the ballots even were reported by the voting machines to have received zero votes...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 5:41pm PT  

There are two important late Friday announcements from the newly revived, post-Bush Voting Unit at U.S. Dept. of Justice's Civil Rights Division this afternoon. In both cases, they've raised serious concerns about discrimination by Republican Presidential front-runner Rick Perry's Texas against Hispanic and African-American voters.

Given the Lone Star State's history of discrimination against racial minorities, new laws and regulations which relate to elections and voting must be pre-cleared by the Dept. of Justice before they can be put into effect, as per Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act.

In one finding, the DoJ sees purposeful discrimination against minorities in the state's redistricting plans [PDF] for apportioning both new statehouse districts, as well as four new U.S. House seats being added in the wake of the 2010 census. The new seats are being added due to an increase in the TX population, thanks in no small part, ironically enough, to huge growth in the state's Hispanic population. The DoJ finds the proposed statehouse plan violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stating that it "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."

The TX plan for the U.S. House didn't fare much better (see below), with similar findings that minorities are likely to see a "retrogressive effect" in their ability "to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the United States House of Representatives" under Perry's approved scheme.

Moreover, in a letter that echoes questions recently sent by the DoJ to the state of South Carolina about their new polling place Photo ID restrictions, as The BRAD BLOG detailed earlier this month, the DoJ has a series of questions concerning Texas' new, very similar restrictions. As the law mirrors the one in South Carolina --- and in many of the other states where the GOP has been able to ram through similar voter suppression bills over the past year --- many of the questions from the DoJ to TX also ask about the their plans for notification about the law, and issuance of free IDs to the more than 600,000 otherwise-legally qualified voters who don't currently own state-issued ID that would meet the strict new requirements to cast a vote at the polls on Election Day.

In TX, the DoJ voting unit is curious about how many of those residents who don't have such IDs also happen to have Spanish surnames...

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State AG vows to litigate 'up to U.S. Supreme Court'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2011 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an Aug. 29, 2011 letter, T. Christian Herren, Jr., Chief of the Obama DOJ's Civil Rights Division, not only demanded that South Carolina, within 60 days, provide additional information about its recently enacted polling place photo ID restriction law, but stated that if SC failed to provide a timely "response...the [U.S.] Attorney General may object to the proposed changes consistent with the burden of proof placed upon the submitting authority."

Herren noted that SC has the "burden of demonstrating" that the new polling place photo ID law was neither enacted "for a discriminatory purpose nor will have a retrogressive effect."

SC's Republican Attorney General, Alan Wilson, in an apparent recognition that pre-clearance is likely to be denied, told those in attendance at a GOP fundraiser that he had "no faith" that the DOJ "will do the right thing." He vowed to litigate the matter "up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary."

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, on Aug. 5 the ACLU submitted a 15-page letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking a denial of pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of South Carolina’s polling place photo ID restriction law. The letter argues that proponents’ unsubstantiated claims of "voter fraud" were but a pretext for unlawful discrimination and that statistics suggest that the new law would operate as an illegal poll tax, especially for the disproportionate number of African Americans who live below the federal poverty level in the state.

Last Friday, SC's Senate Democrats weighed in as well, asking the DOJ to deny pre-clearance for what they contend is the nation's harshest polling place ID restrictions, which could potentially disenfranchise, for example, someone whose driver's license has been suspended.

While denial of pre-clearance due to the retrogressive effect of photo ID restrictions in SC would be a positive step, it will not serve to protect democracy and the sanctity of the vote in other jurisdictions not subject to pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As described by John Nichols in The Nation (see video below), and again by Ari Berman in Rolling Stone --- as we detailed yesterday --- state-after-state across the nation has come under a well-coordinated assault by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and GOP legislators bent on rigging electoral outcome as part of their war on the middle class...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2011 7:52am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Yesterday, The Post & Courier of Charleston, South Carolina reported that a local "Council of Governments [COG] approved a resolution...asking for the state to audit how its voting machines are working."

The "machines" are the 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems.

The Post & Courier not only mentions the fact that state election officials insist that the "iVotronic machines reliably tally votes," but buys into the canard that "increased skepticism" is based upon [emphasis added] "human errors made during last year's elections." It adds that the COG resolution expressed "a concern [that the] voting not incorporate a 'paper trail' that could facilitate unequivocal confirmation of election results."

If there is any state in the nation that should realize that casting a vote on the ES&S iVotronic amounts to an exercise in blind-faith, with or without a so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT), it would be South Carolina...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2011 7:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last Friday, Aug. 5, in a 15-page letter [PDF], the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the U.S. Department of Justice to deny pre-clearance of South Carolina's photo ID law, as signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley (R), pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Pre-clearance must be denied if the law was enacted for a discriminatory purpose or if it has "the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color."

As the Voting Rights Act of 1965 addressed specific barriers to voting that had been enacted by the Jim Crow South, the ACLU letter, of necessity, focuses upon the disproportionate impact upon South Carolina's African-American electorate who are amongst the 178,175 registered South Carolina voters who do not possess the forms of photo identification required by the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law. However, the ACLU's discussion of pretextual justifications for the Palmetto State's new law exposes a GOP intent to suppress the vote on the basis of class as well as race not only in South Carolina but in the spate of similar photo ID laws that are being pushed in state after state by the GOP, and supported by their paid partisan shills in the right-wing media...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/23/2011 6:43pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"I don’t want everybody to vote," Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the billionaire-funded Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, said while addressing a right-wing Christian audience in 1980. "[O]ur leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down," he added after he denigrated those who seek "good government" through maximum, informed voter participation as people who suffer from the "goo goo syndrome."

Voter suppression has long been a staple of American politics, but the tsunami of new restrictions on the polling place now being rammed through by newly-elected Republican majorities in state after state is unprecedented, certainly since the era of Jim Crow was supposed to have been ended by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

While most Americans may think of the poll tax and literacy tests as forms of voter suppression associated the Jim Crow South, the confirmation hearings of the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Renquist included sworn testimony from former U.S. Attorney James Brosnahan and others reflecting that, as an early 60's GOP activist, Renquist intimidated African-American and Hispanic voters in AZ by challenging their ability to read.

1965's Voting Rights Act outlawed both the poll tax and literacy tests. In more recent times, pursuant to a 1987 federal court consent decree, and a subsequent provision of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, another GOP suppression tactic, "caging lists," was banned, though as documented by the BBC's Greg Palast, the Bush administration-led Plutocrats didn't let a little matter like illegality get in the way of their use.

21st Century voter suppression operates under cover. Or it had, until the new wave of legislation being passed by GOP legislatures across the country began hitting its stride. Until FL's then-governor Charlie Crist overturned it, for example, the state banned convicted felons from voting even years after they'd been released from prison. In Armed Madhouse, Palast asserts that prior to the 2000 Presidential election, FL's then Sec. of State Katherine Harris, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the brother of candidate George W. Bush, purged 94,000 "felons" from the state's computerized voter rolls, though the only "crime" at least 91,000 were guilty of was "being Black, Democrat or both."

Over much of the past decade, voter suppression efforts have been bolstered by bogus "voter fraud" claims leveled at groups like ACORN, who aided in the registration of those who might be likely to vote against the GOP (minorities and the working class); "non-partisan" GOP astroturf groups like the phony American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) created after the 2004 election solely to create and spread false propaganda about a Democratic "voter fraud" epidemic; laws meant to increase the legal risk to real non-partisan organizations for assisting in registration; draconian polling place "photo ID" restriction laws, and in a reduction of opportunities for early voting.

With the tide of GOP victories at the ballot box last November, those efforts have now been ramped up and are now front and center in some 30 state legislatures across the country...

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By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2011 5:39pm PT  

It is now officially impossible to know whether thousands of paper ballots being counted in the state of Wisconsin's Supreme Court election "recount" are the same ones actually cast on Election Day. It didn't have to be that way, unlike in Kentucky, where the voters never had a chance, and where high-ranking election officials have now been sentenced to more than 150 years in federal jail following "decades" of manipulated elections.

Thanks to serious chain of custody violations in Wisconsin --- such as ballot bags discovered to have been left "wide open" and unsealed in Waukesha County, and ballots left completely unsecured for weeks in the office of the Verona City Clerk in Dane County --- that now make it quite likely the real winner of the April 5th election for a 10-year term on the bench of that state's highest court will never be known for certain. That, even though thousands of votes have now been verified as having been miscounted during the state's partial hand-count, and even as the hotly-contested seat in question will determine the ideological balance of the court during one of the most contentious moments in Badger State history.

The majority of voters in Wisconsin cast their votes on hand-marked paper ballots. However, due to a failure to count those ballots publicly on Election Night, at the precinct, in front of the public (as per "Democracy's Gold Standard"), citizens are left guessing and forced to place misguided trust in partisan election officials like GOP activist and Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus and her unsecure chain of custody and election reporting procedures.

With results that will never be known for certain, the razor-thin contest has now become a fully "faith-based election," in contradiction to the checks and balances necessary for true self-governance.

But where Wisconsin could have had an overseeable and fully verifiable election in which voters might have had confidence, voters in Kentucky, for years, never even had a chance as they were forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines.

The good-ish news? That is changing, as much of the Bluegrass State is finally turning to the use of hand-marked paper ballots, though they plan on tallying them similarly to Wisconsin, via oft-failed, easily-manipulated optical-scan systems manufactured by private vendors, rather than counting them transparently in front of the public.

Given Kentucky's recent history, that's a particularly troubling prospect, as underscored by several developments in two different counties in the state of late.

In 2009, a spate of high-ranking election officials in Clay County, KY --- including the County Clerk, a Circuit Court Judge, the School Superintendent, a former Magistrate, and several polling place officials --- were arrested in a massive vote buying/selling and electronic vote-machine rigging conspiracy which netted the criminals millions of dollars over the past decade. The federal charges included the County Clerk and other members of the Board of Elections having intentionally falsified election reports to include inaccurate voting results when submitted to the state.

One Republican election official pleaded guilty after the arrest two years ago, and the other eight were found guilty and convicted last year in federal court. They were sentenced this past March to a total of more than 1,871 months in federal prison.

And last week, in a separate, newly developing case, state officials impounded electronic voting machines in Perry County, KY, after Republican candidates in last November's election complained of "vote rigging" on the county's 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines...

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