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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 5:01pm PT  

The Oregon Department of Justice is confirming today that it is investigating a case of ballot tampering by an elections official in Clackamas County, OR after it was discovered that she was allegedly filling in unvoted ballots for Republican candidates.

According to Willamette Week today...

A Clackamas County elections worker is under criminal investigation for tampering with ballots, WW has learned.

The underlying allegation is that the woman, whose name has not been released, filled in blanks on ballots turned into the county for the Nov. 6 general election.

Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters.

Elections law makes marking another person's ballot a class C felony.

The Oregonian reports, that the state Department of Justice spokesperson Jeff Manning says: "We can confirm we are currently investigating criminal felony violations of Oregon's elections laws, which allegedly took place in Clackamas County and allegedly involved a temporary county elections employee tampering with cast ballots."

Manning says it is currently unknown how many ballots may have been affected. "One of the primary goals of the investigation is to determine that," he said.

Oregon uses a state-wide Vote-by-Mail system which, as we hear every time we write about it, its voters seem to love a great deal. We don't, and, back in 2008, described just some of our reasons for that here: "Why 'Vote-by-Mail' Elections are a Terrible Idea for Democracy".

This case points to one of the reasons why we've long argued that voting by mail, either via Absentee ballot, or a full Vote-by-Mail system like Oregon's, is a bad idea. There are simply too many people in the chain of custody between your casting of the ballot (usually by dropping it into the ultimate "black box": a mail box) and the time that it is hopefully tabulated, usually on oft-failed, easily-manipulated, unoverseeable optical-scan computer systems which either count it accurately or inaccurately, there is no way to know.

When a hand-marked paper ballot is cast at the precinct --- at least where there are precinct-based optical-scanners or, better yet, public hand-counting --- the odds of someone being able to tamper with your ballot before it's actually tabulated, as has allegedly occurred in Clackamas County, OR, are greatly decreased.

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UPDATE 11/29/12: The election official in question, Deanna Swenson, has now been indicted by a grand jury with six felony and two misdemeanor counts related to her alleged tampering with Vote-by-Mail ballots in Clackamas County. According to the Portland Tribune, "The first four charges are Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years imprisonment (as determined by applicable state felony sentencing guidelines,) and a $125,000 fine. The official misconduct charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine."

Oregon Public Broadcasting adds that "Investigators believe the ballots were marked in favor of Republican candidates."

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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 1:03pm PT  

Via Laura Conaway at MaddowBlog...

After days of long lines and long waits for early voting, Florida Democrats asked Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, to extend early voting. It now ends on Saturday, because Republicans cut the number of days for early voting in half. Citing heavy turnout, Dems and League of Women Voters asked Governor Scott to restore voting this Sunday, the last day for "Souls to the Polls" drives before the election.

Governor Scott said no. From the Broward/Palm-Beach New Times:

"Early voting will end Saturday night," Scott told reporters in response to the request. "But I want everybody to get out to vote."

Scott's Republican predecessor, Governor Charlie Christ, extended early voting in 2008 because voters were waiting in line for several hours. Then Barack Obama won the state, and Florida Republicans decided fewer days would be better somehow.

The Palm Beach Post also notes:

The attempt to hold down Democratic turnout is obvious. In prior years, more Democrats than Republicans have taken advantage of early voting. Many African-American church congregations organized trips to the polls after Sunday services.

So, this year Republicans allowed only one Sunday of early voting.

And Michael Grunwald from Time's "Swampland" blog described his own experience attempting to Early Vote under the new Republican regime in Florida earlier this week:

I tried to vote early on Saturday, but there were two-hour lines at the only open polling station in South Beach. So I gave up. I tried again Monday, but the wait was still an hour and a half. So I decided to come back Tuesday. It took 45 minutes in line, plus 15 minutes wading through 10 pages of intentionally incomprehensible ballot questions, but I voted. If I didn’t have such a flexible work schedule—and if I didn’t write about public policy for a living—maybe I wouldn’t have.

The fight to simply cast a vote this year in the United States is a disgrace. One which the world, once again, is watching.

* * *

UPDATE 11/4/12: Disgraceful. Voters forced to wait 6 hours to Early Vote in Democratic-leaning county after Democratic-leaning county. Take a look at the pictures in Maddow's coverage Saturday night below...


* * *
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PA, TN, IA Photo ID Messes; Early/Absentee Votes Lost in FL?; GOP Poll Watcher Lies in WI; CO Skullduggery; Votes Flipping R to D Says GOP; Voter Suppression Billboard Funder Unmasked...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 6:35am PT  

We're still having trouble, of late, keeping up with all the chicanery, dirty tricks and skullduggery now rolling across the country. So here, once again is our very quick take on just some of the most noteworthy items over the past few days that you'll want to keep in mind as we creep towards Election Day next Tuesday...

CBS Radio Affiliate in PA Inaccurate Says Photo ID Needed To Vote: "CBS Pittsburgh radio station KDKA...is running an ad claiming that voters will need photo identification to go to the polls on November 6th, despite the fact that while voters may be asked to show ID, it is not required to vote. The ad aired on October 26," despite the fact that it's been almost a month since the PA courts determined that no Photo ID will be necessary to vote this year in the Keystone State. The ad says: "The Voter ID law was just recently signed by the governor ... You're not going to be allowed to vote unless you present an acceptable photo identification. Get to a PennDOT licensing center and get a photo ID at the drivers' license center." The ad is completely inaccurate.

Broward County, FL Early Votes Disappearing?: Just one of the many reasons we advise against early voting, unless it's absolutely necessary: "An analysis of the unofficial totals by early voting location on the Broward Supervisor of Elections website from Saturday, compared to the tallies posted on Sunday, shows that in one location, the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Pompano Beach, the revised totals showed 1,003 fewer votes. The initial tally reported from the polling place in the heavily black neighborhood showed 2,945 votes, but the revised tally was 1,401. Across the 17 Broward polling locations, 15 saw their vote totals revised, mostly by minute amounts of between 1 and 7 votes. But the three more significant changes, including the addition of 398 votes in Tamarac (a racially mixed community) and adding 99 votes to the totals from Pompano Beach City Hall, whose demographic is majority white." ... Political consultant David Brown, who is working for three Broward candidates, "said that when he inquired about the numbers, he was told by the elections office that the changes had resulted from a 'computer glitch.'"

Loophole in FL Law May Disenfranchise Absentee Voters: Not sure this is necessarily in the "War on Democracy" category, but Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith have found a very interesting, if troubling, quirk in FL law that could result in legal voters being disenfranchised if they cast their absentee ballot and then move to a different county and re-register there before Election Day. Best to read their take to fully appreciate it, though it makes us wonder how many other states around the country have a similar loophole in their absentee ballot and registration laws and how many voters could actually be affected by such a loophole.

Romney Campaign Training WI Poll Watchers to Lie: "One blatant falsehood occurs on page 5 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any 'person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery' isn't eligible to vote. This is not true." ... "The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 3 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a 'concerned citizen' instead." After the story was published, "the Romney campaign's schedule of poll watcher trainings was changed to private."

Update: Romney Poll Watchers also being mis-trained in Iowa, being told that Photo ID is required to vote there. It isn't.

Keep an Eye on Colorado: So recommends Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, and for very good reason. Not only is CO a key battleground this year, said to be a virtual tie in most of the polls, but "Colorado election integrity and transparency is now officially out the window, with a series of corruption protection rules and new laws." Among those laws? Ballots that can be tied back to the voter; A new law that makes ballots and other election materials no longer public records, at least not before 45 days after an election; Extreme Tea Party Rightwing Sec. of State Scott Gessler's new rules that "remove requirements for continuous video surveillance" under the guise of "cost-saving"; the reduction in the number of so-called tamper-evident seals on voting machines; and more...

GOP Says Votes Flipping From Romney to Obama on Touch-screens in 6 States [PDF]: We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.

Legal Voters With Library Cards Forced to Vote Provisionally in Shelby County (Memphis), TN: "A Shelby County election official said voters who are showing up at polls with only a Memphis library card as their photo identification are being given provisional ballots. ... Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said Monday that he's working to find out how many voters have been given provisional ballots after showing their Memphis library card during early voting ahead of the November 6 election. ... The state Court of Appeals ruled [last] Thursday that a new law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is constitutional but also said the library card qualifies as a government-issued photo ID. State election officials filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that the Memphis library ID should not be allowed because it wasn't issued by state government." This Thursday, the Supremes decided that library cards may be used as voting ID, but will review the case in full after the election.

Funder of Those Voter Suppression Billboards in WI and OH Identified: Last week, we told you about those "Voter Fraud" billboards placed throughout minority neighborhoods in OH in WI, by an unnamed family foundation, and that Clear Channel finally agreed to take them down. This week, the folks at theGrio and One Wisconsin Now figured out who paid for them. You'll be shocked to learn it was a Rightwing hedge fund manager who says he was only try to perform a "public service because voter fraud - whether by Republicans or Democrats - undermines our democratic process." He failed to explain why his "public service" billboards only appeared in minority neighborhoods.

One Wisconsin Now notes that "In 2010, [Reince] Priebus [who is from Wisconsin, but is now the RNC Chairman] was cited by name, in an aborted voter caging plot targeting minorities and college students involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin's Tea Party leaders, including documents that referenced 'billboards' as part of the scheme multiple times. ... That this anti-American garbage is turning up in other states now that Priebus is running the RNC is of no surprise to us in Wisconsin given his career of scheming to deny legal voters their right to the franchise."

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2012 2:05pm PT  

[This article was cross-published by Salon.]

With just 5 days to go until the nation holds its next Presidential Election, power remains out in large swaths of the Eastern Seaboard, according to Google Maps' special Hurricane Sandy power outage map.

The outages persist in a number of states which force the majority of their voters to use 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines to cast their votes at the polls on Election Day. If power is out at the polling place on Election Day in those states, voters may not be able to cast their vote at all.

As we warned before Sandy barreled ashore earlier this week, the ability of voters to vote at all --- presuming polling places are not flooded and voters are able to get to them --- is imperiled by states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and even Ohio, all of which force all, or some of their voters to vote on systems which simply do not work if they do not have power.

While most of those states require a small percentage of emergency paper ballots be made available at the precincts, that number is unlikely to be enough in the event that voting machines are unavailable all day at the polls on November 6th. Moreover, battery backups on the electronic touch-screen systems are unreliable at best and, even when working, can only be counted on for a small number of hours.

In Pennsylvania, for example, as noted yesterday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "In case of power loss, local election officials are encouraged to keep enough paper ballots on hand for 20 and 25 percent of their registered voters."

While the PA Dept. of State claimed in the same report that voting machines can run on backup batteries "about six hours," a Lehigh County, PA election official offers a more realistic assessment, noting their touch-screen system backup batteries last just 2 and a half hours at best.

The BRAD BLOG has long warned that power loss on Election Day is just another, among a myriad of reasons why forcing voters to use such systems is insane and extraordinarily disrespectful to the electorate in such jurisdictions. Other reasons why these type of voting systems should never be used: They are 100% unverifiable in every case (whether they include a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" or not, as some do) and computer scientists and security experts have long warned, in virtually every instance where these type of systems have been examined over the past decade, that they are both prone to failure and easily manipulated, by both election insiders and hackers alike, in ways that are unlikely to ever be detected.

At The Nation today, Ari Berman notes that "Thanks to a wave of new voting restrictions passed by Republicans, the 2012 election was already shaping up to be pretty chaotic before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, which left 8.2 million households without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia."

He then goes on to detail some of the worst hotspots for concern...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2012 9:19pm PT  

It's that time of year. I've been doing a lot of talking lately, on a bunch of media outlets. That means I haven't been able to write and report here as much as I might like of late. In any case, below is one of those appearances, from earlier today, on RT America with anchor Kristine Frazao, in reference to a Christian Science Monitor article from last Friday, by Mark Clayton, accurately headlined: "Could e-voting machines in Election 2012 be hacked? Yes."

It's nice to see stories we reported here at The BRAD BLOG as long as six years ago, many of them exclusively, finally covered in mainstream media outlets, as the CS Monitor piece does. It's also fun to see them quoting the term "sleepover" --- in regard to vulnerable voting machines being sent home with poll workers for days or weeks before Election Day --- a phrase that this blog has been credited with coining about six years ago as well.

I realize that sounds sarcastic, but I don't actually mean it that way. If it all leads to more public discussion and awareness of these concerns, even six years late and six days before a Presidential Election, when it is, by and large, too late to do a damned thing about any of it before the election, I'll take it --- no matter how late it comes...

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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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TONIGHT: One week until Election Day! With Ari Berman, Victoria Collier, Matt Pascarella, Hurricane Sandy and MUCH MORE!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2012 4:26pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with full audio archives below!]

One week until Election Day, so imagine what we'll be talking about on the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show as I guest host while Mike and Kathy take another rare night off.

As usual, we're BradCasting LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from 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):

  • ARI BERMAN of The Nation, on the voter suppression we'll be facing next Tuesday. (Weather and power permitting!)
  • VICTORIA COLLIER, author of Harper's November cover story: "How to Rig an Election" on the fight against corporations and their proprietary electronic voting systems having taken over our once-public elections. (And the pushback against her article from the left since it's publication.)
  • MATT PASCARELLA, Project Director at VideoTheVote.org on how you and your cell phone camera just might save Election 2012!
  • PLUS! Breaking Hurricane Sandy news, lots of updates from the War on Democracy, and as many of your calls as we can possible get to 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 our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (tell them you're from "Minnesota" when asked). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: Tonight's show flew by! Lots of good stuff (and a few rants) as Election Day, theoretically, is exactly one week away! Commercial free archives are below for your listening pleasure, as well as the chat room archives. Enjoy!...

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

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Post office 'glitch' rejecting absentee ballots in Philadelphia
Inaccurate radio ads saying Photo ID needed to vote still running...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2012 12:41pm PT  

This item is less reassuring than it appears at first, once one pays attention to the details. Philadelphia Inquirer reporting...

Hurricane Sandy hit Pennsylvania just as the state's voters faced deadlines for acquiring and submitting absentee ballots, a situation that could affect thousands of votes in the close presidential election.

Gov. Corbett [R] announced Monday night that he was extending the deadline for voters to request absentee ballots - originally 5 p.m. Tuesday - by up to two days, depending on how many days county offices were forced to close because of the storm.

That will give registered voters in Philadelphia, where offices were to be closed Monday and Tuesday, until Thursday at 5 p.m. to show up in person at county election offices, fill out an absentee ballot request, mark the ballot, and vote on the spot. The new deadline would be Wednesday for government offices closed only one day.
...
It will be too late to use that extended deadline to send an absentee ballot through the mail, because Corbett said he was not extending the Friday deadline for completed absentee ballots to arrive at county election offices.

Any use of the mail could be problematic because the storm has curtailed mail service in Philadelphia and the suburbs. Further cutbacks are likely throughout the state, depending on the course of the storm the remainder of the week.

The article was called to our attention on Twitter by MN's Sec. of State Mark Ritchie who asks: "Maybe other states will follow" in extending their absentee deadlines? But, again, please note that extended deadline only works for those showing up in person to cast their absentee ballot.

And then the Inquirer article also adds this troubling tidbit...

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

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Final Debate between Green, Libertarian candidates set for Oct. 30...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/30/2012 9:35am PT  

The Oct. 23, 2012 Third Party Presidential Debate between four candidates vying, along with President Obama and Mitt Romney, for the office of the U.S. Presidency, provided a rare, yet valuable glimpse at what a genuine, representative American democracy might look like. The worthy discussion, at the very least, should be read via text transcript, exclusively available here at The BRAD BLOG, for those who lack the time to watch the ninety minute video, embedded below.

Unlike Democracy Now's three expanded debates, which presented third party candidate responses to the questions posed at the three "official" Presidential debates and one Vice-Presidential debate sponsored by the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates, the Oct. 23 debate provided a forum that was not tethered to what co-moderator Christina Tobin of the Free and Equal Foundation, the organizers, described as "the private interests who control our beliefs, our opinions and our lives." Here, questions were neither posed directly by, nor filtered through corporate media-controlled moderators. Rather, they were presented, word-for-word, as submitted by citizens through social media.

With the single exception of the failure of Libertarian Candidate and former New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson to say where he stood on "top-two" primaries (aka "Cajun primaries"), it was a debate in which all candidates left no room for doubt as to where they stood. It was a debate that included in-depth discussion on a wide variety of issues of vital importance, many of which were understandably evaded not only by the two major party Presidential candidates, but by the corporate media in the official debates, because those issues conflict with corporate wealth and power, including the wealth of the corporate-owned media.

It was a debate that began with Tobin's promise of future debates between "more candidates at every level of government" and ended with her surprise announcement of a final, foreign policy debate, next Tuesday, Oct. 30, commencing at 9:00 p.m. ET, broadcast via RT America, between two of the four candidates to be selected via an [ugh] online, instant run-off vote...

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

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Sequoia touch-screen systems, found vulnerable to failure and undetectable manipulation, to be used again in 13 states...
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2012 2:47pm PT  

President Barack Obama may have voted for Mitt Romney yesterday when he cast his Early Vote at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago's 4th Ward. Nobody knows for sure. Even him.

He cast his vote on a 100% unverifiable touch-screen e-voting system made by Sequoia Voting Systems (which is now owned by a Canadian firm named Dominion Voting.) It is scientifically impossible to ever know if his vote was recorded accurately, as per his itent, or not on that type of voting system.

"I can't tell you who I voted for," the President joked, as noted by our colleague Mark Crispin Miller in a short blog item today wryly headlined "Obama votes for Romney". The President's joke may not have been nearly as funny as he had intended it.

We confirmed with the Chicago Board of Elections that Early Voters in the Windy City must do so on the oft-failed, incredibly-vulnerable, and easily-hacked (see below for details) Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting system which is still used according to VerifiedVoting.org's database for Early, Disabled-Accessible or Standard polling place voting in some 234 jurisdictions across all or part of some 13 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

On Election Day, the Board's Communication Director told The BRAD BLOG, voters are allowed to vote on their choice of either paper ballots (also tallied by Sequoia's incredibly faulty computer tabulators --- the same ones which announced losing candidates as "winners" in 3 different elections in Palm Beach County, FL earlier this year) or Sequoia's 100% unverifiable AVC Edge touch-screens.

The Intellectual Property of those Sequoia systems is still a proprietary trade secret owned by a Venezuelan firm named Smartmatic, which has been tied to the country's long-time President Hugo Chavez. That point was lied about by Sequoia's then CEO Jack Blaine when he was asked directly about it by a Chicago Alderman some years ago, as The BRAD BLOG detailed exclusively back in 2008.

Sequoia has since been purchased by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting, which also subsequently lied about the company's Intellectual Property being owned by the Chavez-tied company when they announced their takeover of Sequoia in 2010. Dominion confirmed as much when we called them on it after their announcement. And, yes, we are still the only ones to have reported that as well.

A few other quick points of note which should deeply concern every voter in the nation --- of any party, or none at all --- about the 100% unverifiable Sequoia touch-screen voting systems that the President foolishly entrusted yesterday to accurately record his vote...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2012 11:31am PT  

A new conspiracy theory being floated by apparatchik bloggers funded by Democratic Party bosses claims that a private equity firm that has invested in ship building companies, and is tied to a Mitt Romney adviser, is the sole reason why the GOP candidate has been pushing for a larger Navy in recent weeks. The theory, circulated by Think Progress, suggests that Romney is calling for a larger Navy expressly in hopes of padding the pockets of adviser John Lehman, a former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan who is now an investment banker with stakes in several ship building companies. Based on that connection, the theorists at Think Progress are alleging Romney will fulfill a direct quid pro quo promised to Lehman in exchange for his serving as one of Romney's top military advisers in the campaign.

Of course, much of what I've just written in the paragraph above is complete bullshit...

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

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DoJ, U.N. observers deployed; Clear Channel takes down offensive billboards; OH's 'un-American' SoS; Photo ID confusion in PA...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2012 10:41am PT  

These are now coming in too quickly for us to cover 'em all in detail. But let's see if we can try and help get a few more eyeballs on at least some of the most noteworthy, with more in-depth coverage to come as/if time allows...

DoJ Monitoring Early Voting in TX: "The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor portions of the early voting period for the Nov. 6, 2012, general election in Dallas and Harris Counties, Texas, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

UN Monitoring U.S. Precincts on Election Day: In March, we noted that the NAACP requested U.N. monitors to observe the U.S. election, based on concerns about disenfranchisement by GOP polling place Photo ID restrictions and other voter suppression tactics. Now they're getting them. "The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It's part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries."

Oddly, Republican-funded "non-partisan" group "True The Vote", which claims to be monitoring polling places to prevent fraud (but appears to be there to challenge legitimate voters, intimidate them and cause havoc instead), is against the idea. If they wanted to prevent fraud wouldn't they say the more observers the better?

"Voter Fraud" Billboards Coming Down: After they've already been up in minority neighborhoods for two weeks..."Clear Channel Outdoor will remove 30 billboards across the city that drew complaints of racism and intimidation with their message of "Voter fraud is a felony," the company said Saturday night." Clear Channel also says it'll donate "10 other billboards that will have messages to counter the offending ones." They'll read "Voting Is a Right. Not a Crime!" See Jamil Smith's take on why the billboards, placed in minority areas, were so disturbing.

OH SoS Says Order to Restore Early Voting "Un-American" - Yes, that's what Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted, vying to become the J. Kenneth Blackwell for 2012, actually said during his keynote speech at an election law symposium at University of Toledo on Friday. Apparently the remarks were not well received by the actual Election Law experts on hand. See our summary of Husted unsuccessful, "Un-American" attempt to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to help him keep legal voters from voting right here.

State Ads Causing Confusion in PA Following Photo ID Ruling: As we predicted when the Republican Commonwealth Court Judge's ruling was issued, confusion is now reigning in PA. The ruling barred the GOP's polling place Photo ID requirement (this November, anyway), but decided that poll workers could ask for it anyway. Moreover, the Judge refused to enjoin the part of the law that allocates millions in tax-payer dollars to "voter education" about the Photo ID law. "That critical detail in Simpson’s opinion — that photo ID is not required in this election — has been lost in much of the $5 million advertising campaign by the Pennsylvania Department of State, voters rights advocates charge. On buses, an ad displays a photo ID with 'SHOW IT' in big block lettering. In smaller type, it says photo ID is not mandatory. Moreover, state officials acknowledge that it was not until Tuesday, a full two weeks after the court opinion, that the last of the pre-decision billboards announcing photo ID as a requirement came down."

"Late Friday, the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization, filed a petition asking [Commonwealth Court Judge Robert] Simpson to order Pennsylvania officials to cease advertising and distributing information about the photo ID requirement."

* * *
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A few questions for the popular pundit that may help better educate both him and the nation's electorate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2012 12:56pm PT  

This morning, NBC News' top election expert, Chuck Todd, tweeted the following...

Todd was responding, no doubt, to the many folks who have been justifiably concerned of late, since it was discovered that a bunch of Bain Capital investors, led by Mitt Romney's son Tagg, via a company called H.I.G. Capital (believed to stand for Hart Intercivic Group) took over control of Hart Intercivic, the nation's third largest voting machine company, in 2011.

The Austin-based Hart company, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, supplies electronic voting machines and paper ballot tabulators that will be used to tally votes in the Presidential Election this year in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

I offered my point of view about those concerns earlier this month, explaining that it was not just the private ownership of Hart's machines by Romney backers which voters should be concerned about, but the private ownership of the similar systems in all fifty states that will once again be used to tabulate the results of this year's Presidential Election with little --- and very often zero --- possibility of oversight by the public or even by election officials.

Todd does an extraordinary disservice to the electorate with Tweets like the one above, and I'd be happy to come on his daily MSNBC show any time to explain why, as I have told him via Twitter in response to the above.

As Todd has not responded in kind, and to expand upon my response to Todd there, I'd like to ask him these few respectful questions...

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

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Larry King to moderate additional third party debate on Oct. 23...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/20/2012 7:33pm PT  

Democracy Now!'s "extended second debate" (see video below), featuring third-party candidate responses to questions from last week's "official" Presidential Debate at Hofstra University side-by-side with the two main party candidates, illustrates the malaise of an American electorate which senses a fundamental disconnect between the promise of "change we can believe in" offered up by one of two corporate sponsored candidates, even as political and economic inequality, outsourcing and war have expanded over the past four years.

Yet, the only other voice generally offered to the American electorate is the 21st century equivalent to a snake-oil salesman, whose entire work in the private sector, along with a brief stint as a governor, have been devoted to outsourcing, predatory capitalism and greater inequality. He is a candidate who not only seeks to retain the deficit-exploding Bush tax cuts, but wants to pile on with a $5 trillion pig-in-a-poke tax cut for the billionaire class. That tax-cut, coupled with a massive give-away to the military-industrial complex would, of necessity, reduce government to the point that it would be incapable of performing its constitutionally recognized core function of promoting the general welfare.

The comments made by Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party Presidential candidate, at the time of her unsuccessful attempt to enter the second Presidential debate --- an attempt which resulted in her being arrested and cuffed to a chair for eight hours --- along with the substantive dialogue produced by Stein, Justice Party Presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, and Constitution Party Presidential candidate Virgil Goode, Jr., during Democracy Now's "extended second debate", underscore what Noam Chomsky referred to in Failed States as the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the vast majority of American citizens and the political elites who supposedly represent them...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2012 11:33pm PT  

We've been remiss in highlighting the smart work of comedian, activist and very smart social satirist Lee Camp here at The BRAD BLOG. He's done some terrific stuff on Election Integrity, voter suppression and e-voting issues, here for example. Or just do yourself a favor and browse his full YouTube channel here.

So, as I'm still clawing my way out from under the weather this week, allow me to let Camp fill you in on what happened last night when Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala --- who will be on 85% of the ballots in the U.S. this November, qualifying them for more than enough electorate votes to actually, ya know, win the Presidency --- were arrested and then reportedly shackled to metal chairs for 8 hours thereafter, for little more than having the temerity to show up and try to gain entrance to the "official" Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in New York.

I'm more than happy to associate myself with Camp's outrage...

Video of the arrest of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, for "blocking traffic", and the somewhat remarkable transcript of what was said during the first part of it, courtesy of Democracy Now!, follows below...

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

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Republican Sec. of State Husted finally forced to announce Early Voting hours for final three days before Election Day...
UPDATE: Order denying stay issued by entire Court without dissent
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/16/2012 3:12pm PT  

The old baseball adage that three strikes and you are out applies to Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted and his underhanded effort to emulate his predecessor, the infamous J. Kenneth Blackwell (R), by preventing Early Voting for all over the last three days before the November 6, 2012 election.

That effort, to restrict voting in those days to active-duty military voters only, was first rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus (strike one!) whose decision was upheld in all aspects by a three judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal --- strike two!

Now comes an order from the U.S. Supreme Court summarily rejecting Husted's eleventh hour request for a stay of Judge Economus' decision --- strike three!

When Brad Friedman interviewed the former Democratic Ohio Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in mid-August, she explained how Husted's efforts to limit early voting were "clearly aimed at 'Souls to the Polls,'" the very successful effort by African-American churches to encourage their congregations to get out and vote on the Sunday before Election Day. During the 2008 election, nearly 100,000 largely Democratic-leaning voters cast their vote over that weekend.

Husted, who previously backed off an earlier effort to obstruct Judge Economus' initial order, filing an apology to the court in early September, has now issued a directive informing all County Election Boards "to open for early voting from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 3, 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 5," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Contrary to the initial lie spun by the right wing echo chamber and by Mitt Romney himself, this case in no way impacted the right of military voters to cast Early Absentee ballots. To the contrary, it assured that all lawfully registered voters could do so.

This is a very clear victory for democracy.

UPDATE: The order [PDF] reveals that although Husted filed the application for a stay with Justice Kagan, she referred the request "to the Court," which, in turn, denied the stay without any dissents.

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