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Federal lawsuit to prevent mass disenfranchisement may be imminent...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/22/2012 12:35pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Pennsylvania has refused to turn over documents that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had sought in order to determine whether the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law is in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and other federal laws.

As previously reported by The BRAD BLOG, on July 23, Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez submitted a four-page letter [PDF] to Carol Aichele, the Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (coincidentally, the wife of Gov. Tom Corbett's Chief of Staff), requesting information in electronic format for 16 broad categories of documents that the DoJ felt were needed to evaluate whether the Keystone State's Photo ID law complied with federal laws barring discriminatory election laws.

In an Aug. 17 letter [PDF], the Commonwealth's General Counsel, James D. Schultz, responded to Perez, by telling him that PA would not comply with what Schultz described as an "unprecedented attempt to compel [PA], a state not within the purview Section 5 of the VRA, to present information concerning compliance with Section 2 of the VRA."

Section 5 of the VRA requires some 16 different jurisdictions in the U.S., with a history of racial discrimination, to get pre-clearance for new election-related laws. Pennsylvania is not one of those jurisdictions. However, all 50 states are barred from instituting discriminatory laws under Section 2 of the act.

Schultz accused the DoJ of targeting "a growing number of states…simply because they instituted legislation designed to insure the integrity of the voting process"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2012 7:45am PT  

I actually feel sorry for Pat Kerby, the Republican delegate to the Republican National Convention from Nevada who attempted to add an amendment calling for paper ballots --- so nobody would have to trust in the "voter machine fairy" --- at the RNC's Platform Committee on Tuesday.

The poor fellow seemed to want the right thing, but by the time other members of the Committee amended the amendment, several times over, the original was completely gutted in favor of electronic computer tallies with no actual way to verify the accuracy of those tallies.

It seems the good-natured Kerby never knew what hit him, as he generously supported each change to his amendment, deferring to others who appeared to know more about voting, like fellow committee member Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (responsible for the state's polling place Photo ID restrictions to help curb non-existent polling place voter fraud in Kansas, as well as serving as the author of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant "Papers Please" law, most of which was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court recently.)

It was a good idea, but Kerby wasn't clear on the exact language he needed to use and that opened up the door for others on the committee --- who have more confidence in unverifiable electronic voting machines than in paper ballots --- to completely gut the original amendment, compared to the one originally introduced during the proceedings.

Kerby's initial amendment read as follows:

We recognize that paper ballots are the best way to insure [sic] a fair election. "Let ambition counter ambition," as Madison said. When all parties have representatives observing the counting of ballots in a transparent process, integrity is assured. We strongly suggest that all electronic voting systems have a printed paper ballot so that preliminary electronic results can be verified by a hard count of paper ballots.

While (most) electronic voting systems don't print "paper ballots" in general --- they print so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) which may or may not reflect the actual intent of the voter, may or may not be verified by the voter as accurate, and are not actually counted by anyone, in any case (the internally recorded electronic results are used instead) --- it seems as if Kerby had the right idea, in general. At least as he offered a perfect description of his reasons for wanting to add include the amendment in the party's platform...

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

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Otherwise excellent investigative news project still forwards several unsubstantiated 'voter fraud' myths...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2012 11:20am PT  

As with their excellent analysis and database last week finding just ten (10), total, cases of in-person voter fraud in all 50 states since 2000 which might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions, News 21 --- an investigative reporting project of the Carnegie Corporation and Knight Foundation, based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism --- has published yet another report today that will come as little surprise to long time readers of The BRAD BLOG.

Still, it's helpful to see such reports published at outlets like NBCNews.com which is serving as a partner in the project, since, apparently, it's not enough for us to offer nearly a decade of independently verifiable reports blowing the same whistle on the same scams.

Today's new report focuses on the Rightwing/corporatist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)'s role in promoting disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws, as proposed by Republican legislators in dozens of states over the past two years...

Lawmakers proposed 62 photo ID bills in 37 states in the 2011 and 2012 sessions, with multiple bills introduced in some states. Ten states have passed strict photo ID laws since 2008, though several may not be in effect in November because of legal challenges.

A News21 analysis found that more than half of the 62 bills were sponsored by members or conference attendees of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C., tax-exempt organization.

ALEC has nearly 2,000 state legislator members who pay $100 in dues every two years. Most of ALEC’s money comes from nonprofits and corporations — from AT&T to Bank of America to Chevron to eBay — which pay thousands of dollars in dues each year.
...
ALEC members drafted a voter ID bill in 2009, a year when the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization had $5.3 million in undisclosed corporate and nonprofit contributions, according to Internal Revenue Service documents.

While Ethan Magoc's News21 report mentions ALEC founder (and "conservative movement" demi-god) Paul Weyrich, this :40 second clip of Weyrich --- which we refer to as The Rosetta Stone of the Modern-Day Republican Voter Suppression Movement --- supplies the full context for ALEC's push to disenfranchise largely Democratic-leaning voters through the polling place Photo ID restriction legislation that its members have been introducing in state after state over the past two years...

Go read News21's report in full, though we'd like to offer just one or two minor quibbles to it...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2012 12:35pm PT  

Longtime readers of The BRAD BLOG know, by now, that disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions have nothing to do with stopping voter fraud, and everything to do with stopping legal, Democratic-leaning voters from casting their legal vote.

They also know that while Republicans have long pretended there is massive Democratic voter fraud occurring, what they don't want you to know is how many Republicans --- very high-level Republicans, in fact --- are actually committing real fraud (both election fraud and voter fraud), as we summarized once again last week after four GOP U.S. House staffers of Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) were charged with 36 criminal felony and misdemeanor election fraud-related charges for allegedly turning in fake signatures and petitions in a failed scheme to get McCotter on the ballot this year.

And what do we learn just days later? Another Republican appears to be involved in another massive election scheme --- this time, to fraudulently defeat a fellow Republican. And, as is almost always the case, no polling place Photo ID restrictions in the world would have deterred the allegedly fraudulent absentee ballot scheme (which is said to have included illegally changing Democratic registrations into Republican ones, among other appalling crimes)...

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

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But Election Day Registration still at risk because of proposed Photo ID ballot measure...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/18/2012 10:34am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank dismissed an amended complaint seeking to end Election Day Registration in Minnesota, as filed by a number of right-wing organizations in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Ritchie.

In his 22-page Memorandum of Opinion and Order [PDF], Judge Frank rejected the plaintiffs central claim that MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and other election officials "violated the rights of eligible voters by diluting their votes with the votes of EDRs [Election Day Registered voters]."

Plaintiffs claims, the court stated, were "based on the erroneous premise that election officials must verify voters' eligibility before their votes are counted." Citing appellate authority, the court noted that "flawless elections are not constitutionally guaranteed" and that the plaintiffs had failed to allege facts that would establish that state election officials "engaged in invidious discrimination or intentional misconduct."

Judge Frank also ruled that the plaintiffs had admittedly failed to exhaust state remedies which would have permitted them to challenge an individual's eligibility to vote.

While Election Day Registration in MN is preserved, for now, it remains at risk thanks to a second prong attack on the state's popular, and inclusive, program ...

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

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Similarly failed systems set for use in all 50 states this November...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2012 11:33am PT  

By Ernest A. Canning and Brad Friedman

We now have yet another ominous sign of trouble that may be on the horizon for this November's election. As if we needed yet another sign. And, once again, the concerns come via failures on paper ballot-based optical-scan computer tally systems.

Election officials in Genessee County, Michigan have acknowledged failures by the county's M-100 model optical-scan system, made by Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), during its Aug. 7 primary.

According to the county's Supervisor of Elections and Vital Records, Doreen D. Fulcher, the system experienced paper jams that resulted in ballots being fed through the system more than once. Fulcher, who also noted that there were a "number of ballots cast" that "didn't initially match poll book numbers," downplayed the scope of the problem. Flint's MLive, however, reported that the County Board of Canvassers were "still unraveling" the problem ten days after the election.

It is not the first time the M-100, set to be used in 32 different states again this November, has caused headaches for election officials and voters. The systems have a documented record of failing to count the same ballots the same way twice during pre-election testing. Nor is it the only optical-scan system made by ES&S, the largest e-voting vendor in the nation, that has failed time and again during elections.

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, ballots obtained by the New York Daily News through a public records request revealed that ES&S op-scan systems used in a South Bronx precinct in 2010 failed to count some 70% of the paper ballots correctly in that year's primary election. In November's general election that year, some 54% of the ballots were mistallied at the same precinct.

The South Bronx used the newer ES&S model DS200, which the company confirmed could overheat, causing anywhere from 30% to 70% of the votes scanned by the machines to be erroneously discarded or erroneously counted. Thus, in the case of New York, that meant that tens of thousands of perfectly valid votes went uncounted, while thousands of "phantom votes" in races that voters hadn't intended to vote in at all were counted as valid.

The confirmation of the New York failure came almost two years after the election, once the newspaper was finally able to review the paper ballots by hand, under public records laws.

While Genessee County used the earlier ES&S Model M100, as we previously reported, the unreliability of opaque optical-scan computer tallying systems are, by no means, confined to the DS200 or, for that matter, to ES&S systems. Similar systems will once again be used across the entire country this November, to tally the Presidential election and all the races below it...either accurately or not...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2012 10:58pm PT  

Some good-ish news late tonight for Florida voters, and more bad-ish news for Republican Gov. Rick Scott and friends, as reported by AP:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal court says a Florida law that restricts the number of early-voting days could result in a dramatic reduction in participation by blacks.

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature last year cut the number of early-voting days to 8 from 12.

But the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled late Thursday that because of the law's potential impact on minority voters, it would not allow Florida to put the changes in place in five Florida counties covered by federal voting laws.

The 119-page ruling did say there were ways that the state could ultimately come up with a plan to change early voting that would not adversely affect minority voting rights.

Still, the ruling raises the prospect that Florida will have two different types of early voting for this year's crucial presidential election.

To unpack this (without having looked at the actual ruling yet), while this is certainly positive news in general, it only applies to the five counties in Florida covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Those jurisdictions require pre-clearance from either the U.S. Dept. of Justice or a 3-judge panel from the U.S. District Court in D.C. for new election-related laws, thanks to the long history of racial discrimination in those jurisdictions.

Three of the counties, Hardee, Hendry and Monroe are fairly small, with fewer than 100,000 voters. Collier (home of Naples) has a population of more than 300,000 and the largest of the five, Hillsborough, is home to Tampa, with a population of about 1.2 million voters. It will also be the home of the upcoming Republican National Convention.

As AP notes, that could mean that only those five counties have 12 days of early voting, while the rest of the state (the other 62 counties), are still restricted to 8. Given that Republicans hung a hat on pretending to demand consistent rules across the state for vote counting during the Bush v. Gore fight in 2000, and that the state Supreme Court agreed, I imagine another fight may be in store on this matter, and how the Republican-run state will --- or won't --- enact consistent Early Voting hours across the state.

This case was decided by the U.S. District Court in D.C. because the state of Florida decided to bypass the DoJ, thinking they'd have better luck with the court system. They were wrong.

It's been a tough year for the state of Florida's attempt to game the voting system in their favor this year, so far, under the rule of their Tea Party Governor. Though, lord knows, they've tried.

In May, a federal judge blocked the bulk of their new voter registration restrictions which had forced the League of Women Voters to call off their registration drive in the Sunshine State for the first time in 72 years, rather than face onerous new rules, fines and even jail time. Last month, after almost all of the state's Supervisors of Elections refused to carry out a hugely flawed voter roll purge of "potential non-citizen voters" (almost all of whom were not), Scott and his hand-picked Sec. of State Ken Detzner were forced to halt their purge (subsequently misreported by the corporate mainstream media), even after pretending the federal government was blocking the purge to keep non-citizen voters on the rolls (they weren't, and Florida knew it, as documents we published exclusively proved.)

Oh, and then there was the former state Republican Chair who admitted, under oath, in a 630-page deposition, that party officials "were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting," during his tenure.

Here's a thought, Florida Republicans: Come up with good ideas that help the citizens of the state by improving their general welfare and domestic tranquility and maybe they'll just vote for you all by themselves without you having to game the system and suppress the vote. Or, you can just keep doing what you're doing.

[Hat-tip @JeffersonObama on the Twitters.]

* * *
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Exhaustive analysis finds fraud that might be deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions 'virtually non-existent'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2012 10:04pm PT  

Of course, we've been spending the better part of the last ten years making the exact same case, so none of this should come as a surprise to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG. But now a major new nationwide analysis by News21 of all known cases of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000 underscores our years of accurate and detailed reporting once again...

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting project "News21" sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

10 cases. 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation that might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions out of hundreds of millions of votes cast in all 50 states since 2000 --- restrictions which, according to study after study, could keep as many as 21 million perfectly legal eligible voters from being able to cast their legal vote.

But, again, the Republicans who have been enacting these laws are doing it for exactly that reason: to keep those who are most likely to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID required to vote under these new restrictions --- the elderly, minorities, the poor and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters) --- from being able to cast their legal vote.

For those in the corporate mainstream media still unaware of what this is called (this includes you, NPR), it's called Voter Suppression.

And this exhaustive new study, once again, makes that case crystal clear...

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

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Plaintiffs vow to appeal ruling by Republican judge as 1.6 million legal votes said to be imperiled by new law this November...
UPDATED: Plaintiffs filed formal notice of appeal...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2012 12:02pm PT  

A state court has upheld the state constitutionality of the new Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Pennsylvania which critics say may imperil the votes of more than a million legally registered voters in the Keystone State this November.

In his 70-page ruling [PDF] issued today, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson acknowledged that the plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations, "did an excellent job of 'putting a face' to those burdened by the voter ID requirement," but failed to demonstrate "facial unconstitutionality". The judge did not rule on the merits of the case, but on whether or not it could be enjoined by the court.

That, despite the fact that:

  • The Pennsylvania state Constitution guarantees that "Every citizen 21 years of age [lowered to 18 years of age by the twenty-sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution]...shall be entitled to vote at all elections," subject to certain restrictions by the General Assembly as to who may register to vote.
  • Independent studies have determined that some 1.6 million otherwise eligible voters in PA, including nearly a million in Democratic-leaning Philadelphia alone, may lack an unexpired state-issued driver's license by this November's Presidential election, which is just 83 days away.
  • The state admitted, before the trial even began, that they were unaware of any "investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania"; that they "are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere"; and that the state would offer no evidence at the trial "that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law."
  • The Republican Secretary of the Commonwealth, charged with implementing the law, admitted on the stand that she does not "know what the law says."
  • The Republican Governor who signed the bill, and lied about "voter fraud" in the state, does not even know what type of ID would now be eligible for voting under the new restrictions.
  • The Republican House Majority Leader admitted that the bill, passed in the state legislature without a single Democratic vote, was meant to "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania" this year.
  • During the trial, as described by plaintiffs, "[S]tate officials admitted they underestimated the number of registered voters without acceptable photo ID, admitted the law will disenfranchise voters, admitted the law will hold different voters to different standards, admitted voters casting an absentee ballot will be able to vote without ID."

Given all of the above, following the close of the trial, the plaintiffs had predicted a "slam dunk" ruling in their favor. We had also predicted that the law was likely to "go down in flames."

We're still reviewing the opinion of Judge Simpson, who is a Republican, and will have a more detailed analysis of the specifics of his ruling in the coming days.

Plaintiffs have already vowed to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court, where four votes will be needed to overturn the Commonwealth Court's ruling. Currently, there is a 3-3 Republican/Democratic split on the high court, as the 7th jurist, a Republican, has stepped aside for the moment pending a corruption investigation. If the state Supreme Court splits on the verdict, Simpson's ruling would hold. Though, depending on how the state Supremes decide, and if federal rulings are a part of whatever decision they may make, it is possible the plaintiffs could later take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in the event that the state Supreme Court fails to overturn the lower court's verdict.

Separately, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has opened it's own investigation of the law to determine whether or not it may be in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and/or the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause. They may decide to file their own federal case to block the law in the weeks ahead.

UPDATE 8/18/12: On Aug. 16 plaintiffs filed a formal notice of appeal. Once the opening brief is available, The BRAD BLOG will furnish a detailed analysis of that appeal in the context of the rationale applied by Simpson, along with an assessment of the alternative litigation which the U.S. Department of Justice could potentially file in U.S. District Court.

UPDATE 9/4/12: The plaintiffs have now filed their appeal to the PA Supreme Court. Our legal analyst Ernest Canning details their appeal and some of the absurdities they point out in the original ruling by the Commonwealth Court judge 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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State and local officials confirm the public records have been moved to off-site storage, though they remain in the custody of County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 9:26pm PT  

The ballots cast in Waukesha County during the June 5th Gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin appear to be safe from destruction at the hands of one of the nation's most notorious election officials.

For now.

In our exclusive exposé earlier today, we detailed the threat made by the infamous Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to "destroy" the county's ballots from the historic recall election between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as early as noon today, in apparent contravention of state law. The threat to destroy the ballots was made even as they (and the rest of the ballots cast in the election across the state) are still subjects of public records requests by a number of citizen groups attempting to verify the otherwise completely unverified results of the race by examining the ballots by hand for the first time.

Nickolaus had denied the request by the largest group attempting to oversee the results of the election, and informed the requesters (see our previous article for her full responses): "Unless I receive a court order by noon on Monday, August 13, 2012 directing otherwise, I will proceed to retain or destroy the election materials from the June 5, 2012 Recall election according to state statute and GAB guidelines."

Her arbitrary deadline, the citizen auditors charge is in contravention of state public records statutes requiring 60 days after a request has been denied, before action can be taken. The BRAD BLOG has been able to confirm the legal 60 day requirement with several state officials today. Nickolaus' July 17th denial to grant the requesters access to the ballots means that, by law, she is barred from destroying the public records until at least September 15th.

After our story was published this morning, folks in WI seem to have sprung into action, leading the County District Attorney, the Waukesha County Corporation Counsel (who serves as Nickolaus' attorney) and the state's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) to respond with confirmation that the ballots in question will not be destroyed at this time, and were, instead, being moved from the Clerk's office, where they have been since the election, to off-site storage as of this afternoon.

"It would not be proper to destroy such materials at this time," County D.A. Brad Schimel confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, noting that "no records would be destroyed today, nor would they be destroyed until at least 60 days after the denial of the public records request"...

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

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Bi-partisan citizen effort to oversee completely unverified June 5th results 'illegally' blocked by Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 6:35am PT  

[LATE UPDATE:The recall ballots from Waukesha County have been saved from destruction, for now. Full details posted in our follow-up now here...]

One of the most notorious election officials in the nation may be mercifully retiring at the end of this year, but that hasn't stopped her from attempting to block citizens hoping to oversee the accuracy of their own elections in one of the most right-leaning counties in Wisconsin, following one of the most contentious elections of the year and certainly in state history.

Waukesha, WI County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus had, at one time, after the repeated controversies around her failed administration of several elections, promised to step aside and allow her deputy to administer the June 5th recall elections, only to reverse course weeks later. Now, clearly back in the saddle, she has notified an Election Integrity group which has organized hand-counts across the state, that she was preparing to "destroy" the paper ballots cast in the election before they can be hand-counted by the group, unless she receives a court order to do otherwise by noon today.

She had previously informed the group that she was denying them access to examine ballots on the basis that she found their request to be "overly burdensome" on her office. In her response she also added her personal opinion, for some reason, that she does not "believe the public records law should be utilized for the purpose of allowing citizens to conduct hand recounts of an election, especially one in which there was such a large quantity of votes cast."

Among reasons for concerns about the June 5th recall election results are recent failures by similar electronic tabulation systems, same-day Exit Poll results reported by all of the news networks indicating a much closer race in the contest between Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as well as discoveries that have been made by the group over the past several weeks during their examination of ballots and poll-tapes in several counties.

So far, according to group's organizer, they have been allowed to examine ballots in 10 other counties across the state, with another 15 counties already scheduled for examination in the coming weeks. In a number of those counties, the group has explained to The BRAD BLOG, hand-counted tallies "have differed, sometimes significantly, from the recorded numbers," tallied on Election Night by the computer tabulation systems.

But Nickolaus, as has been her practice during her controversial tenure, appears to be taking a different tack from many of her fellow County Clerks, by denying access to hand examinations of the ballots and, worse, she is now threatening to destroy them entirely, save for a court order and despite provisions in the state law requiring the retention of those public records for at least 60 days after the denial of the request.

Nickolaus' threat to destroy the paper ballots and other elections records, as sent to the organizers of Hand-Count Votes Now! (HCVN) coalition in a series of emails obtained by The BRAD BLOG, flies in the face of state statutes which apply to public records, according to contentions made in response to Nickolaus by the group and their legal advisers. HCVN has been working for several weeks, as have several other organizations, in their effort to count ballots by hand in each of the Badger State's 72 counties in an unprecedented statewide public records oversight project.

The effort, the groups charge, is necessary, given the lack of verification of Election Night computer tallies on systems which have reported incorrect "winners" in the past, as recently as March of this year, when the nearly-identical systems to those used in Waukesha named a number of losing candidates to be the "winners" in Palm Beach County, FL. In that case, it was only a partial post-election hand-count examination of paper ballots by the local Supervisor of Elections which revealed that the computers had gotten the results entirely wrong, leading to a complete hand-count and the results of several municipal elections being overturned as a result...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2012 12:19pm PT  

WaPo's Ezra Klein described it as a "Freudian gaffe"...

To be fair, Romney's not the first Presidential candidate in recent history to have made a similar mistake.

Stumbling starts aside though, a Ryan/Romney Romney/Ryan vs. Obama/Biden contest might have made for a very welcome debate on two fairly, some might say starkly, different visions for this country's future, at least on fiscal and domestic policy issues. A very clear governing mandate for one of those two different directions might have helped move this country forward for a change.

If we had a level playing field with a system of publicly financed elections, access for all to the voting booth and a citizen-overseeable voting and tabulation system in this country so that this nation could have deliberated, spoken and have been heard in a crystal clear voice this November, this one might have been a really good and healthy election.

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MI prosecutors: 'Blatant', 'disgraceful' aides 'lost moral compass', were 'completely indifferent to requirements of law'
ALSO: 10+ recent cases of voter fraud by very high-profile GOPers...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2012 3:10pm PT  

Given disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws Republicans have enacted in nearly a dozen states over the past year, you'd think there was an epidemic of Democratic "voter fraud" in this nation. That's certainly the way the GOP has framed it, fooled the corporate mainstream media into reporting it, and even scammed the White House and Congressional Democrats into going along with it when they signed legislation that defunded ACORN, a four-decade old community organization never found to have committed voter fraud, or even helped to see a single fraudulent vote cast in any election anywhere.

As it turns out, not only is there no such epidemic of Democratic voter fraud, but the opposite is true. Over the past year, very high profile Republicans --- including this year's presumed standard bearer, Mitt Romney; the Sec. of State of Indiana (the first state to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions) Charlie White; one time GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich; MO's new GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate Todd Akin; and the group hired the Sacramento, CA Republican Party to collect voter registrations this year for Rep. Dan Lungren; among others (all detailed below) --- have each been revealed as having committed or participated in election fraud --- both voter registration fraud and actual voter fraud --- in state after state.

One might even call it "an epidemic". Or, if you prefer, "one of the greatest frauds in voter history, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy," as then GOP Presidential nominee John McCain described what Republicans pretended ACORN was doing back in 2008 (just before it was revealed he had previously been the group's keynote speaker where he told ACORN's members they were "what makes America special.")

So really, should we be surprised to learn that four aides to former long-shot GOP Presidential candidate and U.S. House Rep. Thaddeus McCotter --- Representative of the state's 11th and one of its most Republican districts --- were indicted yesterday on dozens of criminal felony and misdemeanor election fraud charges for having turned in over 1,500 forged and falsified signatures in a "blatant" and "disgraceful" attempt, as the state's Republican AG described it, to qualify the Congressman for this year's ballot?...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2012 8:45pm PT  

The stories are coming in faster and furiouser as we get closer to the November Presidential Election, and as Republican Secretaries of State around the country scramble to exercise and/or abuse their power to game the system in favor of their party any way they legally-ish can do so.

(If anybody finds Democratic Secretaries of State doing same, please feel free to let us know.)

So here are a few quick (and by no means complete) news updates on voter suppression techniques being implemented by GOP Secretaries of State over the past few days in Michigan, Iowa and Ohio, as this election, less than 100 days away, now begins to enter it's even uglier phase...

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Mainstream media fall for yet another Breitbart hoax...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2012 6:35am PT  

No, the Obama Campaign is not attempting to keep military voters from voting, no matter how much the Romney Campaign and their surrogates in the media and on Fox "News" are willing to shamelessly lie about it for ugly partisan purposes at the expense of electoral democracy.

The whole story appears to have begun as little more than another hoax by the Andrew Breitbart scam artists and, as always, the mainstream corporate media have fallen for it, as if it's a legitimate story. So here's what's actually going on, since the MSM seems incapable of explaining to you.

Following the disastrous, partisan and arguably criminal oversight of the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio by then Republican Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (in any other era in our nation's history, people would have gone to jail for what happened there), when a wildly and purposefully disparate distribution of voting machines led to Election Day voting lines of anywhere from 2 to 12 hours, mostly in Democratic-leaning jurisdictions, reforms were enacted to make it easier for all voters to cast their legal vote in the Buckeye State.

After the 2004 debacle, the law was changed in 2005 to allow for any voter to vote by absentee ballot, without an excuse, including by "early in-person absentee voting" at polling places in the weeks leading up to Election Day. Hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters took advantage of this new opportunity to cast their vote, helping to radically increase turnout, including during Early and Absentee voting in subsequent years:

In the 2008 election, in the three days prior to Election Day, some 93,000 voters in the state took advantage of their ability to cast a vote over the weekend just before the Tuesday election. Many of those voters, according to a University of Akron study of Early Voting in Ohio [PDF], were voters who might have trouble voting on Election Day, because they were working that day, or were elderly and unable to wait in long lines. African American churches encouraged voters to head to the early polls after church on the Sunday before the election, during a so-called "Souls to the Polls" effort.

This, Republicans legislators in Ohio determined, had to be stopped. And so they did. Or tried to, by passing HB 194, shortening the period of early voting for all Buckeye State voters, and adding other restrictions to make it more difficult for legal voters to cast their legal vote and have it counted.

The people of Ohio then rose up against HB 194 by turning in almost 100,000 more signatures than the number required to forestall the implementation of the new voting restrictions and to place the law --- which had passed on party lines by the Republican-controlled legislature before being signed by the state's Republican Governor John Kasich --- onto the November 2012 ballot, where the people could decide whether or not they wanted the new restrictions on voting rights.

But a funny thing happened on the way to that November 2012 Referendum. The state Republicans came up with a bit of a work around, at least for active duty military voters (who, we are told, tend to vote Republican, rather than Democratic). And while the Obama Campaign and fellow Democrats are busy trying to ensure that all voters, not just active duty military voters in Ohio get to enjoy Early Voting in those three days before the Election, the Romney Campaign has continued their extraordinary record of simply lying about everything.

That's not a partisan observation. That's just a fact. And for anyone in the media to suggest otherwise, in regard to this story, amounts to little more than journalistic malpractice at very best, and, more accurately, an insidious act of blatantly cynical partisanship disguised as "journalism" at the expense of the very core of our (small "d") democratic system of governance.

Such insidious acts of blatantly cynical partisanship disguised as "journalism" is, of course, what the folks at the late con-man Andrew Breitbart's website do best...

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

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