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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, October 31, 2014
GOP v. Registration Nation
50,000 new voter registrations said 'missing' in GA; Millions of voters threatened by faulty GOP 'Crosscheck' database scheme; About that 'non-citizen' voter 'study' at WaPo that all the RWers are talking about...
'Green News Report' 10/30/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Shut up!': NJ's Sandy recovery stalled, 2 years later; Weather Channel repudiates climate-denying co-founder; PLUS: 'Not too late': Stark, if hopeful message in UN's climate report...
Previous GNRs: 10/28/14 - 10/21/14 - Archives...
Why Dems Shouldn't Get Too Excited About Encouraging Pre-Election Polls in GA
A very brief reminder of the state's long and disturbing history with 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems...
Touch-Screen Votes Reportedly Flip R to D in MD
Diebold systems have been failing in Maryland since the state was the first to install them (and cover up their failures) in 2002. So why should 2014 be any different?...
'Green News Report' 10/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate Change and Election 2014: High stakes at the ballot box on energy, the environment, and global warming...
Previous GNRs: 10/21/14 - 10/14/14 - Archives...
Deja Vu All Over Again.
Again.
Brad's appearance this week on Thom Hartmann's 'Big Picture' TV show, as touch-screen votes starting flipping across the country yet again...
NM 'Motor Voter' Registration Rates Dive Under GOP SoS
Facing tight re-election bid, 'voter fraud' fraudster and Sec. of State Dianna Duran stands to benefit from failed, unlawful new reg process in race against Dem challenger...
NJ's Emergency 'Internet Vote' Scheme After Sandy Failed Disastrously
Aside from being illegal, a new report finds Chris Christie's order resulted in tens of thousands of unauthenticated votes during the 2012 Presidential Election in NJ...
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After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...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)
Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it (please?)...
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...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Vets' ID can be used to vote under TX' new GOP voting restriction. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts missing from U.S. justice system...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
GOPers still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year ever; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attny dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical'...
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
Maddow: 'Now we watch for ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


But perhaps he's one of the 'rogues', 'strumpets' or 'wandering Arabs' the Commonwealth Court Judge may have been concerned about when citing an 1869 case to uphold the new law...
By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2012 5:09pm PT  

CNBC's Mad Money host, Jim Cramer, tweeted the following earlier today...

Cramer's father, however, is hardly alone. Some 1.6 million otherwise eligible voters in the state of Pennsylvania --- many of them elderly, minorities, students and the poor --- may be unable to vote this November under the state's GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law, unless the absurd ruling of Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson is overturned on appeal, or unless the U.S. Dept. of Justice finally decides to file a federal challenge that successfully blocks the state's completely unnecessary law as violation of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.

But Cramer's father can take heart. Scott Keyes at Think Progress reports: "A House Democratic Twitter account responded to Cramer with a promise that Rep. Jim [*Bob] Brady (D-PA), who represents part of Philadelphia, would "personally see to it that your dad gets the necessary ID and transportation to vote."

See? The new Republican law won't actually disenfranchise anybody! All you need to do is make sure you have a family member host a popular TV show, and your problem will be solved when a U.S. Congressman notices and promises to intervene. Democracy saved!

By the way, the ruling by the Commonwealth Court Judge who upheld the voter suppression law recently, may be even more absurd than originally believed or as detailed by The BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning upon appeal. As Nicole Flatow explains, the law that Judge Simpson relied on to support his ruling was an 1869 case, Patterson v. Barlow, in which the majority warned of "rogues", "strumpets" and "wandering Arabs" who, it was feared, might commit voter fraud in Philadelphia that year.

Even back then, as the dissenting opinion in the 143-year old case reveals, the minority Justices were concerned "that among the barriers so ingeniously contrived to prevent [voter fraud], the defeat of the duly qualified voters must inevitably occur."

The dissenters went on to offer advice that would be useful today to those concerned about actual voter fraud (versus the Republicans who instituted today's Photo ID restrictions, solely to keep largely Democratic-leaning voters from casting their legal vote at all):

If frauds were imminent by simulated voters, let penalties be provided for the rogues, and set honest and vigilant men to watch them, but let not the rights of honest voters be sacrificed to these apprehensions.

* * *

* CORRECTION: It appears that ThinkProgress' Scott Keyes misstated the first name of the PA Congressman who has promised to help Cramer's father get a Photo ID to vote. PA Election Integrity advocate Marybeth Kuznik of VotePA.us writes in with this correction: "The Democratic Rep in PA-1 (part of Philly) is Bob Brady. I guess he goes by Robert Brady officially, but everyone in the state calls him Bob. He's a very powerful Democratic Rep in PA (head of the Philadelphia Caucus in the PA Democratic State Committee) and, as you may know, is Minority Chair of the U.S. House Admin Committee, so he is a gatekeeper on anything regarding voting. There is no Jim Brady in the PA Delegation." We've corrected the Congressman's first name in the article above.

* * *
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 Ernest A. Canning on 9/10/2012 6:35am PT  

Chalk up another blow to transparency and an informed electorate, and another judicial victory for the democratic perversion known as corporate "free speech."

Last week, in Minnesota Citizens for Life, Inc. v Swanson, six of the eleven jurists serving on the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeal struck down the provisions of a Minnesota statute requiring corporations which create separate political funds in excess of $100 to file periodic financial disclosure reports with the state.

The case had been filed by three corporations, all of which contended that the reporting requirements were so onerous as to amount to a de facto ban on corporate free speech that violated Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF]. That argument had been rejected first by a U.S. District Court Judge and then by way of a 2-1 Eighth Circuit panel decision. The majority on that panel had noted that even Citizens United recognized the government's right to "regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements" so long as the government did "not suppress that speech altogether."

On rehearing before the full 8th Circuit, Chief Judge William C. Reilly, a George W. Bush appointee, writing for the six member majority, acknowledged that the Minnesota statute "does not prohibit corporate speech." The majority ruled, however, that that state statute entailed excessive regulation which included an "ongoing" reporting requirement on the part of the corporate political fund that continues unless or until the corporation dissolves the fund. Chief Judge Reilly described that burden as both "onerous" and "monstrous."

The five dissenting jurists, which also included George W. Bush appointees, vigorously disagreed...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2012 10:44am PT  

I'm in a TV studio all day today, so largely off grid. But I wanted to take a moment to at least point you towards Lambert Strether's very smart and very welcome piece on "What voting can look like", wherein he points to Canadian elections and German elections and, yes, The BRAD BLOG's own piece on "Democracy's Gold Standard", to make the case for hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted at the polling place, with results posted at the precinct before they are moved anywhere.

He gets it. So, thank you, sir. Please go read him and a show a little love for one of the few folks in a busy election season who has bothered to stop and take notice of the forest for the trees, and the effect that track-conditions can and will have on the horse races themselves (yes, races, as there are many more elections than just a Presidential one this year!), even as everyone else in the media is largely obsessed only with the latter.

* * *
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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Highlights 96-year old Dorothy Cooper's fight to vote this year...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2012 6:35am PT  

There is much, much more in-between our cuts here, including a storyline involving a hacking scandal that mirrors Rupert Murdoch and Newscorp's, but at the core of the recent Season 1 finale of HBO's "must-see" Aaron Sorkin series The Newsroom, was the nationwide Republican voter suppression effort.

Specifically, the finale centers around the GOP-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction laws that may serve to keep tens of thousands, including 96-year old Tennessee resident Dorothy Cooper (who The BRAD BLOG reported on last year) from being able to cast her vote this year, even after she's been legally voting there for 75 years without a problem --- even during the Jim Crow era in the South.

Is Sorkin reading The BRAD BLOG? Among other evidence throughout the season that suggests as much, one character, as you'll hear in the clip below, charges, as we often have, that this issue deserves much greater prominence in the corporate mainstream media. In regard Cooper and the spate of Republican voter suppression laws that may well determine the outcome of this year's elections, the character demands to know: "I wanna know why I don't see it on the news?!...Why isn't this the first story on the news every night?!"...

(For much more of the news monologue by Will Macavoy (Jeff Daniels) on Republicans and the Tea Party in this particular episode, see this version which has received almost 2 million views on YouTube, and includes his entire speech, though it lacks the key hospital scene seen above.)

When we first wrote about The Newsroom in July after its premiere, we suggested that the show was worth subscribing to HBO for, all on its own. While it continues to be flawed in some respects --- most notably in some of its soap opera-ish elements, and some of the casting --- it is still absolutely must-see TV in our opinion.

The show's focus on what it might look like if a mainstream corporate media outlet actually decided to focus on covering the actual news that the nation needs to become a more informed electorate --- exposing the many Breitbartian scams of Fox "News" and today's GOP and the Koch Brothers and their astroturf Tea Party along the way, using real breaking news events and footage along the way --- could well, as we wrote at the time, "change the way actual news is reported in this nation." There is even evidence, perhaps, that it may have even already done so, to an extent.

Though the first season is now over, the show has been renewed for Season 2. In the meantime, all of the episodes are available to HBO subscribers via On Demand and HBO GO, so it's still well worth jumping into from the start (the first episode is available to all here), before the next season begins.

* * *
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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Republicans going 'whole nine yards' to suppress vote in OH, says former President in advance of DNC speech
UPDATE: Clinton cites GOP voter suppression during DNC speech...
By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2012 11:16am PT  

"Do you really want to live in a country where one party is so desperate to win the White House that they go around trying to make it harder for people to vote if they’re people of color, poor people or first generation immigrants?," Bill Clinton asked rhetorically on Tuesday night during an event organized by the Arkansas Democratic Party.

In what The Nation's Ari Berman highlighted as a possible "preview" of the former President's remarks tonight in Charlotte, where he'll be headlining at the DNC, Clinton savaged the Republican efforts, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio, to suppress the Democratic vote:

“Do you really want to live in a country where one party is so desperate to win the White House that they go around trying to make it harder for people to vote if they’re people of color, poor people or first generation immigrants?

“In Pennsylvania, where they passed all these voter ID requirements, the House Republican leader who passed it said it was one of the most important achievements because it will enable Governor Romney to defeat the president in Pennsylvania.

“In Ohio, they passed the whole nine yards. The problem was in Ohio you can actually put this stuff on the ballot pretty easily to overturn it. So they went back in—you gotta give it to Republicans, they’re good. They vetoed it, then they snuck in an end to advance voting. Then they allowed the counties—and every county in Ohio has an election commission of three Democrats and three Republicans [Ed Note: actually it's two and two]—to decide if they were going to go around advance voting. The Democrats, we were for it. So in every county that was Republican, Democrats said ‘OK, we’ll have advance voting.’ And in every single county that is overwhelming Democratic, the Republicans voted against allowing advance voting.

Berman goes on to note that Clinton offered similar sentiments during a speech he made last year, when he decried the "Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today":

In last year's speech, a clip of which we'll post again below, Clinton said:

I can’t help thinking, since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty, that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.
...
Why is all this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate.

Will Clinton offer similar sentiments tonight during his speech in Charlotte?

UPDATE 9:10pm PT: In fact, Clinton did give a shout out against GOP voter suppression during his rousing convention speech tonight: "If you want ever American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority, and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama!"

* * *

The short clip from President Bill Clinton's 7/6/2011 speech to student voters, in which he slammed Republicans for their voter suppression efforts follows below.

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

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By his own admission, they argue, hundreds of thousands of legal voters may be disenfranchised by the GOP-enacted law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2012 6:35am PT  

The petitioners challenging the Republican polling place Photo ID restriction law as a violation of the state Constitution in Pennsylvania, have filed their appeal to the state's Supreme Court, after being caught off-guard by a surprising and stinging defeat at the hands of a Republican Commonwealth Judge last month.

In their 68-page Pennsylvania Supreme Court brief [PDF], the petitioners in Applewhite vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania set forth a compelling legal case to demonstrate the need for a preliminary injunction in advance of the November 2012 President Election in order to prevent what they describe as the potential disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of lawfully registered voters.

The brief does much more than simply urge that Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson, erred in applying the federal "minimum scrutiny" standard instead of subjecting Photo ID to "strict scrutiny" under state law because, they argue, it threatens to deprive hundreds of thousands of Keystone State citizens of a fundamental right to vote. The brief lays bare many of the GOP myths about the purpose of polling place Photo ID restrictions, while demonstrating why the GOP-enacted Pennsylvania law would not qualify as constitutional even under the less demanding test laid down by six of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine Justices in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, their 2008 decision approving Indiana's version of a similar restriction on voting in that state...

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

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But stops short of a call to end 'corporate personhood'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2012 6:42pm PT  
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER?
President Obama, during his surprise Reddit chat last Wednesday, jumps into the Citizens United fray.

"I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it)," President Barack Obama wrote last week during a surprise public Reddit chat.

"Consider mobilizing?" Groups like Move to Amend and Public Citizen initiated that mobilization shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court's radical-right quintet handed down that infamous decision in 2010. By July of this year, California had become the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen's United.

"Assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it?" The Court had an opportunity to revisit Citizens United earlier this year, or at least to limit its impact to federal elections. Instead, the same radical-right quintet expanded the reach of that democracy destroying decision by overturning a Montana Supreme Court decision which had sought to uphold a century old, state anti-corruption law.

While the President's remarks will no doubt be welcomed by the already-mobilized movement, one should not lose sight of the fact that they fall far short of an endorsement of either Vermont's proposed constitutional amendment or the measure introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the U.S. Senate. Both efforts call for the end to "corporate personhood" and a determination that money does not equal free speech under the First Amendment.

If the President truly desires to spotlight what amounts to a hostile corporate takeover of our democracy, he will confront Mitt "corporations are people, my friend" Romney in the upcoming Presidential debates with an openly stated support for a constitutional amendment that, as the Sanders measure provides, establishes that the "rights protected by the Constitution...are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes." Indeed, that position could frame the issue for all candidates seeking public office in the 2012 election.

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TONIGHT: Former AL Gov. Don Siegelman; RNC Unwound; Big Voting Rights Victories; MORE!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2012 3:12pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives below! Enjoy!]

Mike is off tonight, so we're back guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show once again.

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:

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 'em you're in MN if asked!). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: We had a very lively show, and one maddening interview with Gov. Siegelman. The commercial-free audio archives all now follow below (as well as the chat room archives.) Enjoy 'em over the holiday weekend on me!...

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

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Finds 'arbitrary' restrictions for all but military voters disproportionately harms low-income and minority voters
Decision continues recent spate of federal voting rights victories...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2012 1:16pm PT  

The recent spate of federal court victories in favor of voting rights across the nation continued today, as a U.S. District Court judge in Ohio sided with Democrats and the Obama campaign, finding that the removal of in-person Early Voting for all voters on the final three days before Election Day in the Buckeye State was an "arbitrary" decision made by the state's Republican lawmakers and Secretary of State.

The removal of in-person Early Voting in those last three days before the election --- when some 100,000 voters had cast their votes in the state during the 2008 Presidential Election --- for all but active-duty military voters, is likely to "irreparably harm" the voting rights of "low-income and minority voters [who] are disproportionately affected by the elimination of those voting days," according to the ruling by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus [PDF].

The ruling is another major win for Ohio voters, as the judge ruled in favor of the Democratic complaint seeking a temporary injunction on the state's new voting restrictions.

Through a convoluted series of legislative actions by Republican state lawmakers and rulings by Sec. of State John Husted, which we detailed earlier this month, Ohio had restricted Early Voting on the final weekend before the Tuesday election to all but active duty military voters. We also explained in that same article how the Romney campaign --- based on a false assertion initially posited by the Republican propaganda website Breitbart.com and subsequently forwarded loudly by Fox "News" --- argued dishonestly that the Obama campaign was attempting to "undermine" and restrict voting rights of the military, which the GOP nominee described on his Facebook page as an "outrage".

In fact, as the very first paragraph of the Obama complaint [PDF] made quite clear, the Democrats were not attempting to restrict the rights of military voters, but, in reality, suing to "restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day," including for some 900,000 veterans in the state whose rights had similarly been removed by the Ohio Republicans.

Today, the Democrats' argument prevailed in federal court, as Economus found that "Plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected right to participate in the 2012 election --- and all elections --- on an equal basis with all Ohio voters, including [active duty military] voters"...

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

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3-judge panel finds law discriminatory under Voting Rights Act, would 'disenfranchise minorities and the poor'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2012 9:57am PT  

Following on the U.S. Dept. of Justice finding last March that the Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Texas was discriminatory, in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act (VRA), a three-judge U.S. District Court panel has again blocked the law from being implemented.

The decision by the federal panel, which included one judge appointed by George W. Bush, was unanimous.

Texas had appealed the DoJ decision earlier this year, seeking a declaratory judgment from the court, after the federal agency had found the state had not met its "burden of showing that a submitted change [to an election law] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect," under Section 5 of the VRA, which requires preclearance for new election laws in 16 different U.S. jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. The Lone Star State is one of those jurisdictions.

The DoJ had determined [PDF] that, based on the state's own statistics, the law would have disproportionately disenfranchised registered Hispanic voters in the state. They found that registered Hispanics are anywhere from 46% to 120% more likely than non-Hispanics to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID that would have now been required to vote under the new law.

The 56-page ruling by the U.S. District court panel in D.C. today [PDF] found that "the law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect" as "it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas [who] are disproportionately likely to live in poverty."

"Crucially," the court added, "the Texas legislature defeated several amendments that could have made this a far closer case" when they ignored warnings that the law "as written, would disenfranchise minorities and the poor."

In Texas, as Democratic lawmakers had pointed out while the bill was being debated, some registered voters would have to travel as far as 250 miles round trip to receive their "free" ID from a state Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) driver's license facility, presuming they owned or were able to afford buy the underlying documentation required to obtain that "free" ID. The burden would be especially difficult for those without drivers licenses in the first place. Moreover, as the DoJ had previously found, "in 81 of the state’s 254 counties, there are no operational driver’s license offices," and many of them have limited hours of operation.

The court blasted both the Republican lawmakers and the attorneys who presented their case. "Everything Texas has submitted as affirmative evidence is unpersuasive, invalid, or both. Moreover, uncontested record evidence conclusively shows that the implicit costs of obtaining [Photo ID that would satisfy the new law] will fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty. We therefore conclude that SB 14 is likely to lead to 'retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.'"

This was the second stinging loss for Texas Republicans in one week. On Monday, their plan for Congressional Redistricting in the state, on the heels of four new seats gained after the 2010 Census, was also struck down by a three-judge federal panel for violations of the VRA...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2012 1:48pm PT  

As we reported last September, the U.S. Dept. of Justice found that the state Republicans' Congressional redistricting map for Texas, as signed by Gov. Rick Perry, was in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. The DoJ found that the new plan --- which added four Congressional seats in the state after an increase in population was found by the 2010 Census --- was purposefully discriminatory against minority voters.

The DoJ asserted that the plan "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."

Texas appealed that ruling to a Federal District court which made its ruling yesterday. They agreed with the DoJ that the state was discriminating against it's own minority citizens, as Ari Berman reports at The Nation...

Today a three-judge federal court in Washington concurred with DOJ, writing that Texas’s redistricting plans were “enacted with discriminatory purpose” and did not deserve preclearance under Section 5 [of the federal Voting Rights Act.]

Here are the relevant facts of the case: Texas gained 4.3 million new residents from 2000–10. Nearly 90 percent of that growth came from minority citizens (65 percent Hispanic, 13 percent African-American, 10 percent Asian). As a result, Texas gained four new Congressional seats, from thirty-two to thirty-six. Yet under the Congressional redistricting map passed by Texas Republicans following the 2010 election, white Republicans were awarded three of the four new seats that resulted from Democratic-leaning minority population growth. The League of Women Voters called the plan “the most extreme example of racial gerrymandering among all the redistricting proposals passed by lawmakers so far this year.”

Berman has more details on the specific findings in the ruling, and notes that a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups late last year asserts that "even though Whites’ share of the population declined from 52 percent to 45 percent, they remain the majority in 70 percent of Congressional Districts." He also notes that the court found "Texas Republicans not only failed to grant new power to minority voters in the state, they also took away vital economic resources from minority Democratic members of Congress."

The state may now, and likely will, appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, says Berman, "An interim map drawn by a federal court in San Antonio in February will be used for the 2012 election."

Earlier this year, the DoJ similarly rejected a new polling place Photo ID restriction law enacted by Republicans also in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Based on two differing sets of data supplied by the state, the DoJ found [PDF] that currently registered Hispanic voters were anywhere from 46.5% to 120% more likely than registered white voters to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID which would now be required to vote under the GOP's new law.

The state appealed that ruling as well to the same federal District Court panel in D.C. which heard the redistricting case. Their ruling on the Photo ID restriction law is expected very soon.

* * *

UPDATE 8/30/12: The federal court has similarly rejected the Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID restriction law, finding it, like the Congressional Redistricting map, to be purposefully discriminatory against minorities. Full details on that ruling now here...

* * *
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Same vulnerable systems set for use in 24 states this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 12:42pm PT  

Apparently, they never learn. Or they just don't care.

It's Primary Election day in Alaska today, with voters heading to the polls to cast mostly paper ballots for U.S. House of Representative candidates, state House and Senate candidates and two ballot measures (one concerning property taxes and another concerning new Alaska Coastal Management Program standards for the review of projects in coastal areas.)

While turnout is expected to be low, at least the Diebold optical-scan machines are fully rested and ready to go after their lengthy "sleepovers" at poll workers' houses in the days prior to today's elections! Yes, the state of Alaska still sends their incredibly vulnerable Diebold optical-scan systems home with poll workers days before the election, where they can do whatever they like with them, so they can bring them to the polls on the morning of Election Day.

For example, here's a photo of one of those machines that will be in use today, as obtained from an Alaskan source over the weekend by The BRAD BLOG. The machine appears as if it has received a full going over at the workshop of one of the poll workers who enjoyed the time spent with their machine during the several days of "sleepover" over the past week...

Alaska, like some 24 states across the country, still uses the exact same system which was used to flip an entire mock election in Leon County, FL in such a way that only a manual hand-count of the paper ballots would have revealed that the results had been reversed after the machine's memory card was accessed and manipulated by a computer security expert. The haunting event was revealed in the climactic final scene of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. [The full scene is also embedded below.]

The photo above from an Alaskan poll worker is the same system seen being hacked in Leon County, FL in the HBO film. The only difference is that Diebold removed their name from many machines afterward, given the hit their company took when their then CEO promised to deliver the state of Ohio to George W. Bush in a Republican fund raising letter before the 2004 election.

Of course, there are "tamper-evident" security seals placed over some of the most vulnerable parts of the optical-scan systems, and those could never be defeated without leaving visual clues behind, right?

Well, funny thing. In Alaska, when a security seal is discovered broken on their tabulation computers --- if they are discovered broken --- poll workers are instructed to simply replace it with another one and start the voting, as both several poll workers, as well as an Alaska election official (who has now been fired) confirmed with The BRAD BLOG. Several seals, the now former Alaska election official told us when she still had a job, are provided to poll workers to make replacing broken seals very simple, as seen in this next photo...

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

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OH Sec. of State Husted quickly becoming more Blackwell than Brunner...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 6:35am PT  

Otherwise valid provisional ballots cast at the wrong precincts in Ohio, through no fault of the voters, must be counted, according to a ruling issued by a federal judge on Monday.

The decision, which otherwise seems like common sense, comes in the wake of tens of thousands of provisional ballots going uncounted after the 2008 Presidential election thanks to a provision in Ohio law which discards such ballots, even in the case where a poll worker has improperly instructed a voter to cast his or her ballot in the wrong place.

The ruling is a defeat for Ohio's Republican Sec. of State who, after working towards inclusiveness and voting rights earlier in his tenure, seems to have taken a hard right turn in many of his decisions of late, as the Presidential Election nears.

As we noted last month, an investigative report by the Cincinnati Enquirer's Barry M. Horstman found that some 40,000 provisional ballots cast in the 2008 general election were never tallied, even though many of them were cast in the right polling place, but at the wrong "precinct" table, as precincts have been combined into the same building over the years in the Buckeye State.

A voter might line up to vote at the wrong table/precinct, for example, only to be told they weren't found on that precinct's voter rolls and, rather than be directed by the poll worker to the correct "precinct", instructed to cast a provisional ballot at that table instead. That vote, before Monday's ruling, under existing Ohio law, would go uncounted. Many of those provisional ballots were cast in predominantly Democratic-leaning counties.

The Enquirer warned in their report last month that "tens of thousands of ballots are likely to be disqualified" once again in the key swing-state, during the 2012 Presidential election unless the provision was changed, as recommended by state election officials after the 2008 election.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley, citing Bush v. Gore of all things, ruled against Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted (R), whose spokesman responded: "We respectfully disagree with the judge's ruling and will likely appeal."

Marbley found that Husted's belief that such ballots should not be counted "belies a fundamentally misguided view that the state need not protect the right to vote of individuals who, for any number of reasons, are required to cast a provisional ballot"...

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

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Freedom of political choice vs. slavery in post-'Citizens United' America...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/27/2012 2:39pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In a case where the employment of several members of the United Public Workers (UPW) was terminated after they failed to fully participate in unpaid, off-duty campaign activities on behalf of a union-supported Congressional candidate, three Republican members of the Federal Elections Commission produced an astounding Aug. 21 decision. They ruled that it is perfectly lawful for unions and corporations to compel their members and employees to engage in such activities, sans compensation, as part of "independent campaign efforts."

In their "Statement of Reasons" [PDF], the three GOP Commissioners explained the basis for their remarkable ruling.

They acknowledged that the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 USC §441b(a), as well as FEC "regulations prohibit a labor organization [or a corporation] from facilitating the making of a contribution by means of 'coercion, such as the threat of a detrimental job action...to make a contribution or engage in fundraising activities on behalf of a candidate." But, they wrote: "These provisions do not apply to UPW's independent campaign efforts."

UPW's independent use of its paid workforce to campaign for a federal candidate post-Citizen's United was not contemplated by Congress and, consequently, is not prohibited by either the Act or Commission regulations.

The FEC's three Republican appointees thus presented not only a novel but a remarkable extension of Citizens United given that 2 USC §441b(c) makes it "unlawful" even for a corporation's or union's "segregated fund" to provide "anything of value" that is secured by a threat of financial reprisal. The statute mandates that employees must be told about their "right to refuse to so contribute without any reprisal."

In their separate "Statement of Reasons" [PDF], the three FEC Democrats, along with Office of General Counsel (OGC), found a clear-cut violation of Section 441b. "Nothing in Citizens United," the FEC Democrats opined, "suggests...that the Court intended to expand the rights of corporations and unions at the expense of their employees' longstanding rights to be free from coercion and to express or decline to express their political views."

According to the Congressional Research Service [PDF], at least four votes are required for the FEC "to exercise core functions." Thus, the 3-3 deadlock prevented the FEC from disciplining the union for anything beyond the fine for non-reporting of the "independent expenditure."

Setting aside the fact that the OGC's and FEC Democrats' interpretation appears to find direct support in the language of Section 441b of the U.S. Code, there's a fundamental constitutional issue that arises from the disturbing GOP interpretation of Citizens United which neither side addressed --- slavery!...

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

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Some restrictions may apply, however, even as expansion of voting rights is a welcome change of pace to GOP contraction
UPDATE: Bill passes, is on way to Governor's desk...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2012 6:35am PT  

Late last week, Scott Keyes at ThinkProgess reported on a "Majority Victory for Voting Rights Advocates as California Legislature Approves Election Day Registration".

The new EDR law, which is, as Keyes reports, "on the cusp of passing", is expected to be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and would, indeed, be a victory for voters in the Golden State.

According to the NYU's Brennan Center for Justice, "Election Day registration boosts turnout by approximately 5–7 points in those states that allow eligible citizens to register on Election Day --- with a decreased dependence on provisional ballots and without any reported increase in voter fraud."

If passed and signed as expected, however, the law --- a welcome expansion to the franchise amidst recent draconian Republican efforts to restrict voting rights --- would not take effect until 2015 or later, according to Dean Logan, the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk for Los Angeles County, the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation.

"The bill's implementation is tied to completion of the Vote Cal statewide voter registration database; which is a ways off," he told The BRAD BLOG on Friday. Logan says he is "Generally...supportive of the bill and to expanding access and options for voters," though he notes that "L.A. County has not taken a formal position on it."

While the new law will, no doubt, be a net plus for voters here in California, and for the pro-democracy movement across the country over all, there are a few other issues with the way the law has been written which might make it slightly less of a plus for voters than apparent at first blush, as Logan helped us to understand...

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

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