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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 25, 2014
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
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Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
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Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
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GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
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Everything Old is Texas Again
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Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
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SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
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Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
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WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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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
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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...

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'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2008 9:07am PT  

In all my "free time," I've been working for quite a while on programming a number of updates and reformatting to the site. I'm rolling some of that out today, and welcome your feedback.

Some of the updates are meant to freshen up the format a bit, allow for more future additions and expansion, and, hopefully, to improve the speed issues a bit.

You may need to hit shift-refresh once to get all the updated graphics and such, but thereafter I hope you enjoy the new changes, along with more to come as mentioned. If you have any problems on any pages, or any other concerns, complaints, other thoughts (even positive ones) or requests for the future here, I hope you'll feel free to share them in comments.

Thanks for your patience as I smooth out any bumps and, as always, for your continuing support, without which we'd have never even made it this far.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2008 7:05am PT  

Earlier this week I posted my invitation to address the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), on behalf of The BRAD BLOG, at a roundtable of "Voter Advocates" to discuss the proposed 2007 federal Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG).

Given the primary in PA this week and other considerations, as I noted then, it seemed wiser for me to stay back here in LA rather than travel to and from DC this week. So I asked computer security expert and e-voting specialist Dr. Rebecca Mercuri to sit in for us. She did so yesterday, and will be joining Peter B. Collins and me tonight on his radio show, during my weekly Friday guest appearance (5pm PT, 8pm ET, listen online here) to report on how things went.

I was, at least, able to submit my own written statement to the EAC, with my fairly direct thoughts on the VVSG and the nightmare such federal certification standards have wrought. The statement is now posted [PDF] at the EAC website, along with some of the statements from some of the other participants, and it's also posted in full below.

I'll try to update this item with the audio from the PBC show later tonight, and Dr. Mercuri will likely post her own report in full here at The BRAD BLOG in the coming days.

Update: Audio from the PBC Show, with myself and Dr. Mercuri discussing the EAC roundtable, now available for download [MP3], or online listening here (commercials removed, appx 42 mins)...

My written testimony/statement to the EAC follows in full below. Please enjoy, and feel free to let me know what you think in comments...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/22/2008 1:41pm PT  

We were both pleased and mildly surprised to see the invitation arrive from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) a few weeks back, asking us to come to DC, on their dime, to participate this coming Thursday in a one day "Voting Advocate Roundtable Discussion" on the proposed 2007 federal Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG).

Our invitation, from EAC Chair Rosemary Rodriguez, is posted at the end of this article.

Even while we've been nothing short of merciless in our criticism of the EAC, over the years here at The BRAD BLOG, the outreach is both welcome and appreciated, even as we are always very aware of all of the pitfalls associated with participating in such a process. Yet, with our eyes wide open, we see the opportunity to participate in the process, in hopes --- futile or otherwise --- of attempting to steer it back towards the rails which were jumped at the federal level long ago, as a hopefully positive one. Call us eternal optimists, but, as long time readers here likely recognize, we have never been one to slap down an olive branch offered, for whatever reason it may have been offered in the first place.

As you might suspect, we have some very strong opinions about the VVSG --- all 598 dizzying, yet wholly inadequate pages of it [PDF] --- and the disastrous course it will continue to enable for our election system, if accepted as currently proposed.

For a number of reasons, not the least of which was today's important primary in PA, we thought it better to be in or near the BRAD BLOG Anchor Desk this week, rather than in the air all day Wednesday, off the grid all day Thursday for the meeting, and back in the air all day Friday...

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

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Beacon News' Dan Campana Commits 4 Acts of Journalism in 2 Days...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2008 1:08pm PT  

Wow...We're blown away by this article in today's Beacon News. [Article now hidden behind paid archives, here's a local repost.] It begins this way:

The little blog that did
For four years, Bradblog.com has reported on voting machine problems

April 14, 2008
By Dan Campana dcampana@scn1.com

If the mass media ever did its job, Brad Friedman could go back to his former life, the one before 2004 when election scandals became his full-time vocation...

We're greatly appreciative of Campana's coverage. Not only because he's very kind to us, but because --- as a total of four of his stories filed over the last two days reveal --- he has actually done what so few corporate journalists seem able to do today: Actual journalism.

Before we saw the piece mentioned above today, we had kind words about his coverage yesterday of the wholly under-reported Hart InterCivic federal fraud suit. But beyond that detailed piece, his follow-up story today and "related coverage" offered on both days has been top-notch. Here are links to each of his stories today and yesterday...

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what journalism is supposed to look like. And yes, if we had a few more hundred (we'd settle for a few more dozen) like Campana, we'd be more than thrilled to go back to what we were doing prior to falling into this remarkable American Nightmare. We look forward to the day we can take down our shingle entirely and leave all of the heavy lifting to folks like him who actually get paid to do this stuff.

(But until then, whatever support you can afford to help keep us going is appreciated...You are all we've actually got. So, please see below, and please keep spreading the word.)

Prices now slashed in The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive! Please support 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 starting at just $5!
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Along With Some Very Kind Words About The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2008 10:43am PT  

Sitting in this week for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, David Bender joins Ring of Fire co-host/attorney Mike Papantonio to discuss, in the first five minutes of the show, the finally-unsealed qui tam fraud suit brought by Pap and RFK Jr's law firms against voting machine company Hart InterCivic, on behalf of former employee/computer technician turned whistleblower William Singer.

In the following clip, which will air this weekend on Air America's Ring of Fire program, both Bender and Pap offer exceedingly kind words for The BRAD BLOG and yours truly. (Thank you kindly, gents.)

We had originally broken Singer's remarkable story back in 2006. Our conversations shortly thereafter with Kennedy, and then with Papantonio's lawfirm, led to the filing of the suit, alleging a host of improprieties and criminally fraudulent behavior by the voting machine company as they dummied up voting machines during sales presentations, and concealed known failures, such as the possibilities of lost and miscounted votes, in their systems.

Pap also notes, during discussion of the case, that the nearly-two years it had to stay sealed by law --- while the DoJ ate up time in deciding whether or not to join the case --- is unusual in and of itself. Normally, in such qui tam cases, the DoJ is given just 60 days to decide whether or not to join with the whistleblower on behalf of the United States. Pap also goes on to note what may, or may not, be a coincidence: the US Attorney in CO, where the suit was filed, was removed shortly after this case was brought in his district, but before the decision was ultimately made by the DoJ not to join the suit...For now...


UPDATE: Here is an audio version of the first five minutes of the show, for those who had problems using the video player above...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2008 6:35am PT  

From Noah Schactman at Wired's "Danger Room" blog...

Military Report: Secretly 'Recruit or Hire Bloggers'

A study written for U.S. Special Operations Command suggested "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers."

Since the start of the Iraq war, there's been a raucous debate in military circles over how to handle blogs --- and the servicemembers who want to keep them. One faction sees blogs as security risks, and a collective waste of troops' time. The other (which includes top officers, like Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell) considers
blogs to be a valuable source of information, and a way for ordinary
troops to shape opinions, both at home and abroad.

This 2006 report for the Joint Special Operations University, "Blogs and Military Information Strategy," offers a third approach --- co-opting bloggers, or even putting them on the payroll. "Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering," write the report's co-authors, James Kinniburgh and Dororthy Denning.

Seriously, people. Why won't somebody please buy me off?! I'm a "prominent blogger," or close enough to it. I'm starving over here. Where are you, CIA? Military? George Soros? It's tax time for crying out loud, and rent is due!

In lieu of the big bucks, hopefully you will consider buying me off. Therefore, with plenty of premiums to "sell" you in return, I am now cutting the price for 'em!

See this post for how you can receive your choice of any or all of the following, beginning at just $5...

  • DVD of Uncounted, signed by the filmmaker, David Earnhardt
  • CD of Duhmocracy, signed by the singer/songwriter Victoria Parks
  • Copy of Troubletown Told Ya So book, signed by cartoonist/author Lloyd Dangle
  • Copy of Politics as Usual board game, signed by nobody (though I'll sign it if you really want me to!)

Take your pick from the premiums above, most available beginning at just $5/month sustaining subscription to The BRAD BLOG. We could use it. Seriously.

...At least until Wal-Mart, Diebold, or the U.S. Army come knocking.

And if you don't wish to become a sustaining monthly supporter but still want to support, you can, of course, just toss us a few bucks. We'll take that too. $50 or more tossed this way, will get you that signed copy of Uncounted, a gazillion dollar value!

(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG read "TH")

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'We're talking about remodeling the furniture in the house, while the house is burning down'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2008 6:35am PT  

As mentioned last Friday, over the weekend, I spoke at CA Common Cause's "Media Reform Conference" out in Pasadena. The panel discussion, "Have the media undermined our democracy?" included myself, along with Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA), Alex Nogales of National Hispanic Media Coalition, Jonathan Taplin of USC Annenberg School of Comm. and Kevin Uhrich of the Pasadena Weekly. It was moderated by Tracy Westen of the Center for Governmental Studies.

The short video of my opening remarks, naming names and doing what I do, along with my comments on the panel --- naming still more names and still doing what I do --- during the Q&A section, follows below. Text transcript (courtesy of VelvetRevolution's Emily Levy), follows below that...


Text transcript of the remarks follows below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2008 1:48pm PT  

"Mission: To encourage citizen ownership
of transparent, participatory democracy."

- Creekside Declaration, 3/22/08

The statement is deceptively simple. Yet I think it best underscores all that we fight for here, and what we hope those who claim to be toiling for the same cause will measure themselves against.

I was privileged to spend last weekend with a dozen or so Election Integrity advocates and heroes of mine in Palo Alto, CA, at the Creekside Inn. Those in attendance had experience in election administration, data analysis, media watchdogging, voting rights activism, voter advocacy, computer programming and security, boots-on-the-ground oversight, election auditing, and even voting system vendor perspective. We stayed, after viewing the near-final cut of Dorothy Fadiman's soon-to-be-released Stealing America: Vote by Vote on Thursday night, to chat, strategize, and otherwise spend some time in person with a few of the folks we so often spend only virtual time with.

The declaration was created as several of us determined it would be helpful to define the cause as specifically and directly as possible. Once it was finalized, I signed it first, in large letters, as the Hancock legend goes, "so that King George can read it without his glasses."

My hope is that anyone --- any person or organization, or even candidate for office, claiming to be in the fight for clean, fair, honest, accurate democracy --- would both commit to this simply stated mission, and then measure his or her efforts against it.

Will People for the American Way, Common Cause, Verified Voting, and Rep. Rush Holt sign on to the mission stated above? If so, does advocating for touch-screen voting systems with so-called "paper trails" encourage citizen ownership of transparent, participatory democracy? Does vote-by-mail?

Will our current crop of Presidential candidates, D and R and anything else, pledge to support the mission inherent in the Creekside Declaration? If so, will they then stand up for a paper ballot --- one that is actually counted --- for every vote cast in America?

The BRAD BLOG pledges to adhere, and fight for, the values contained in the Creekside Declaration. Will your Election Integrity group do so? I hope you will ask them, and yourselves. And if so, I hope you'll state as much publicly, and will then proceed to test all that you do, and fight for, and stand for, against the simple, yet monumentally important, ideas in that declaration.

Tribune Media Columnist Bob Koehler, who joined us over the weekend, is one of the few voices within the corporate mainstream media who seem to truly understand what's at stake, the price it may take to ensure it, and the cost of not doing so. He has more in his column this week, on both the weekend, the declaration, and the ideals that I believe we are all duty-bound, as Americans --- and even as World Citizens --- to pledge to fight for.

His column begins this way:

The ground feels a little soft, but we’re going to stand it.

Premise one: Having a fair election — all votes counted, all who are eligible and want to vote allowed to vote — is far, far more important, even in 2008, than who wins.

Premise two: Fair elections are not a given. They never have been, but things are worse now than ever before because of a perfect storm, you might say, of factors that have converged in the new millennium: officialdom’s seduction by unsafe, high-tech voting systems; the seizure of power by a party of ruthless true believers who feel entitled to rule and will do anything to win; a polite, confused opposition party that won’t make a stink about raw injustice; and an arrogantly complacent media embedded in the political and economic status quo.

The result: Benjamin Franklin’s worst nightmare.

I hope you'll read the rest...

Folks in photo identified here...

Prices now slashed in The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive! Please support 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 starting at just $5!
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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 2/17/2008 4:41pm PT  

UPDATE: We desperately need your support. So we're cutting prices in half on our monthly sustainer Premium Offers! -BF

We hate to ask, but we must. We've promised to continue our fight for American democracy in 2008, and against the continuing failures of the mainstream corporate media (and even against the failures of the supposedly-Progressive blogosphere and any other organizations who are failing their promise.) We believe we're keeping our promise, but we continue to need your help.

Please consider a sustaining monthly contribution to The BRAD BLOG. Sooner, rather than later, if possible.

Please see the blue form on the right side of this, and every, page to quickly sign up for a monthly sustaining subscription for any amount you like. We're also happy for a one-time contribution as well, of course, but sustaining our work on a regular basis is very much needed right now!

Remember, your crappy cable subscription likely costs you upwards of $50 or more per month already. Isn't what we're doing here at The BRAD BLOG worth at least a fraction of that? We wake up every day hoping so.

We receive no corporate or foundational support for our work, so it's all up to you! Hopefully, what we do is already well worth your support, but we're happy to up the ante with a few new collector's edition premium offers courtesy of several generous folks. See below to take your pick of one or more of 'em!...

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

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BRAD BLOG an 'Irresponsible Nutter Site' Doing the Cause of Election Integrity 'Far More Harm Than Good', According to Irresponsible, Evidence-Free Comment Posted by Front-Page Diarist at Once-Prestigous Blogsite...
UPDATE: The Daily Kos Swiftboater 'DHinMI' is Actually Dana Houle, Recently Resigned Chief of Staff of Rush Holt/Steny Hoyer Supporter, NH's U.S. Rep Paul Hodes
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2008 3:38pm PT  

[UPDATED: See end of article for information on who this "DHinMI" tool actually is.]

Markos Moulitsas and the band of self-important anonymous losers that he's allowed to dominate the front page at the world's largest supposedly-Progressive blogsite continue their cowardly march towards full self-destruction.

Today's example comes by way of a comment from the anonymous (read: cowardly) "DHinMI", one of the loudest, most obnoxious and knowledge-challenged of Kos' stable of front-page sidekicks hell-bent on further discrediting the once-prestigious website:

Though, unlike Bev Harris and ourselves, who put our real names behind everything we do, "DHinMI" enjoys anonymity as he/she spews his/her unsupported, fact-free allegations. He/she does, however, offer an email address where folks might try to offer this numbskull a few facts if he/she ever becomes interested in any (which seems rather unlikely at this point): DHinMI@yahoo.com

"DHinMI's" comment, ironically enough, is posted in support of a front page article by Moulitsas himself today, in regard to a NYTimes article reporting that some 80 precincts in some of NYC's most African-American dominated precincts registered 0 votes for Barack Obama in their unofficial tallies. Kos then goes on to wonder if the article thus indicates that NYC's "voting machines don't spit out paper ballots? That should be SOP for these things."

NYC, of course, still uses the old lever machines which, of course, do not "spit out paper ballots", something that it seems great champions for the cause of Election Integrity, such as Kos and "DHinMI", ought to know by now.

What "should be SOP for these things," is that people who write at high-profile, influential Internet sites ought to learn what they're writing about before they write about them so that they don't mislead folks into believing they know what they're talking about.

Today's Daily Dose of Daily Kos loser-dom comes on the heels of yesterday's report in which they ominously threatened former CIA agent, Larry Johnson, with permanent banning should he have the temerity to continue his support of Hillary Clinton on their site. Why they seem hell-bent on proving Bill O'Reilly right over there remains a mystery to us, and further begs the question of how long it'll be before the dKos readers who tend to "get it", even as the front-pagers don't, will continue on at that place.

Previous BRAD BLOG-reported examples of dKos front-pagers, including "DHinMI" and Kos himself, busily destroying dKos' previously good name can be found here.

UPDATE: "DHinMI" isn't that anonymous after all. And whaddaya know, he's a member of the official Democratic Party machine. Knock us over with a feather...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2008 2:39pm PT  

The BRAD BLOG is four years old today! Though it feels like 40 for some reason.

If you're in the mood to leave us a much-needed birthday gift, we'll happily and gratefully accept it right here.

If you're in the mood to really make this year "count", please consider creating an automatic monthly support subscription of any $ amount you wish. It'll take you about 60 seconds. See the blue form on the right side of this page to set it up quickly.

We'll send a gift (we've got a number of cool premiums we'll contact you about) to anyone who signs up for $10 or more per month.

NOTE: I'll be "celebrating" by driving back up to Northern California for the bulk of the day, to speak this weekend at an alternative media conference in Santa Cruz. So I'll be "off the grid" until later tonight. If you're near Santa Cruz, please come on by if you can! There will be a bunch of great folks there, including (ironically enough) a panel I'll be speaking on Friday night, along with Elizabeth Kucinich and Elizabeth de la Vega (author of The U.S. v. George W. Bush). While I've spoken to both Elizabeths on the phone previously, I'll look forward to meeting them in person. Especially now!

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Or, Counting Voters' Ballots in American Elections, and Other 'Conspiracy Theories'
Or, the Mainstream Media and the 'Progressive' Blogworld...One Big Happy Family...With Liberty and Democracy for None...
By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2008 10:53am PT  

-- By Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

Counting ballots is not done to find out what went wrong, but rather, to assure the results are right.

ATMs are fairly reliable. But I have a feeling if you get $300 from one of them, you'll likely count, by hand, all three hundred dollar bills to make sure they are there. Right? You'd be an irresponsible fool to do otherwise.

But with election results? Um, not so much.

Mahjoun at "Drunkard’s Lamppost" --- a blog which brands itself as "Politics with a spreadsheet and a calculator" --- offers a concise and easy to read summary of the results, as reported, in Diebold vs. Hand-Counted precincts in New Hampshire, along with a very sober analysis (notable for such a "Drunkard") of what may, and may not, be taken away from such an analysis.

Writes Mahjoun:

There are so many variables in an election result that to put Hillary’s win down to jiggery-pokery without any real evidence is over the top.

We concur. Although earlier in his piece, perhaps inadvertently, Mahjoun does a bit of "jiggery-pokery without any real evidence" himself, by stating:

In the end, Clinton won because she was more popular in the large precincts which happen to be tallied by Diebold machines.

Did she? Is there any evidence for that?

As they like to say over at Daily Kos, after all, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." But that only seems to work one way. So, what exactly is the "extraordinary evidence" for the "extraordinary claim" that for the first time in United States history, a woman has won a Presidential Primary Election, while staring down the barrel of dozens of independent pre-election polls, all predicting she would take a thumping?

Mahjoun's point might have been more accurately stated as "In the end, Clinton won because Diebold machines reported having tallied the ballots more in her favor in large precincts."

That can be proven, after all. The Diebold machines did report, after they, and they alone, counted the paper ballots, without examination or independent verification, that Clinton received more votes in enough precincts to be announced the winner of the election. But unless there's something I'm missing, that's the only thing in this whole matter which can proven.

Some democracy, huh?

In conclusion though, Mahjoun gets it dead right, by pointing out what is, perhaps, the most important take-away from this entire mess, unless you are the sort, unlike me, who enjoys seeing these nightmares and questions repeated over and over again, in election after election in this country:

For democracy to work, the system must be transparent and maintain the confidence of its participants. Proprietary voting machines fail both these tests. Americans, as far as I know, are still capable of counting, so should return exclusively to the paper ballot.

Bingo. Buy that drunkard another drink!

But such responsible coverage, from the mainstream media --- or, more disappointingly, the supposedly-Progressive blogosphere, which has had no shortage of new epithets for The BRAD BLOG and its founding father, Brad Friedman, over the past week --- has not been easy to come by.

Rigging the Coverage...

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

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Syndicated Columnist Robert Koehler Writes for Tomorrow's Papers: 'Possibility of Tainted Results, a Prospect Most of Media Can't Bear'
Notes Problems With NH's Diebold Machines 'Remain Unsolved'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2008 4:35pm PT  

Syndicated Tribune Media Services columnist Bob Koehler bumps up our serious concerns about last night's wholly untransparent, and still-uncounted (by anything but a hackable Diebold computer, and a company with an executive criminal past, to say the least) New Hampshire Primary election results, from "blogger conspiracy theory" to mainstream media concern.

Here are the first few grafs of his column, set to run in tomorrow's editions of subscribing mainstream media papers...

PRIMARY CONCERNS
By Robert C. Koehler
Tribune Media Services

As the breathless sports coverage of the presidential primaries bursts around me this morning, I’m doing my best to resist surrendering to the contrived drama about “comeback kids” and the flying shrapnel of numbers and hold onto my troubled skepticism about the electoral process, or at least most of it.

First of all, before we get too enthusiastic about feminist solidarity or wax knowingly about New Hampshire Democrats’ traditional soft-heartedness toward the Clinton family, let’s ponder yet again the possibility of tainted results, which is such an unfun prospect most of the media can’t bear to remember that all the problems we’ve had with electronic voting machines — and Diebold machines in particular, which dominate New Hampshire polling places — remain unsolved.

Did the Hillary campaign really defy the pollsters? She had been trailing Barack Obama by 13 percentage points, 42 to 29, in a recent Zogby poll, as election watchdog Brad Friedman pointed out. And the weekend’s “rapturous packed rallies for Mr. Obama,” as the New York Times put it, “suggested Mrs. Clinton was in dire shape.”

So when she emerged from the Tuesday primary with an 8,000-vote and 3-percentage-point victory over Obama, perhaps — considering the notorious unreliability, not to mention hackability, of Diebold machines — the media might have hoisted a few red flags in the coverage, rather than immediately chalk the results up to Clinton’s tears and voter unpredictability. (Oh, if only more reporters considered red flags patriotic.)

The fact is, whatever actually happened in New Hampshire voting booths on Tuesday, our elections are horrifically insecure. For instance, Bev Harris, of the highly respected voting watchdog organization Black Box Voting, recently wrote that the Diebold 1.94w optical scan machines used in some 55 percent of New Hampshire precincts (representing more than 80 percent of the state’s voters) are “the exact same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting project in Leon County (Florida)” a few years ago. They haven’t been upgraded; the security problems haven’t been fixed.

National, or at least media, denial about this situation doesn’t say much for the strength of our democracy.

The rest of the column is just as good, in which he discusses the MSM's "inability to incorporate news of ongoing voting-machine insecurity into actual election coverage."

Full column now posted here...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2008 7:35am PT  

I was interviewed last week by IT Business Edge technology reporter, Carl Weinschenk, on the current state of e-voting as we head into yet another big election year.

During the course of the conversation, poor Carl was clearly growing increasingly distressed by the answers I had to offer to his questions. Understandably, he was looking for signs of hope. Here's a few snippets from what we'll call "the hopeful sections" of the full interview published over the week, and headlined "Bits, Bytes and Votes"...

Question: Are there hopeful signs?
Friedman: We're beginning to turn the Titanic around. I think that people finally are beginning to understand.
...
Some folks like me have been running around with their hair on fire for years but were being virtually ignored by corporate mainstream media, government and election officials. The voting machine companies ran expensive campaigns to turn people like me into conspiracy theorists. As we now have seen, particularly late [last] year, one study after another is showing that those of us with those concerns are not conspiracy theorists. Now that all scientific reports across the country show that it is no longer just a theory that the system is vulnerable. Furthermore, and most disturbing, is that it doesn't take a conspiracy [to impact an election] because a single person can flip an entire election without detection.
...
Question: You said the Titanic is beginning to turn. While I may have used another ship in the metaphor, the sense is that there is at least some good news.
Friedman: Here's the good news: More people understand the threat and are concerned. More citizens are watching, more are paying attention, working at polls, asking questions. That makes it harder and harder for bad guys to mess with elections or for errors to go undetected. The answer is not to rely on media, not to relay [sic] on government because it will fail us, but to rely on people. People are really, really concerned about the issue and are paying attention.

The entire Q&A, including the less hopeful sections, is published right here...

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