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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, May 22, 2015
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
'The Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natural gas billions...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/15 - 5/12/15 - Archives...
Walker and GOP Turn First Amendment On Its Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox:
'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing; MORE...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and the corporate MSM tell us they fear Bernie Sanders could 'pull Hillary to the left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP deal to tragedy in Philadelphia to the GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in Texas, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History
& GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Dumb Jeb Still Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
OUR 600th EPISODE! -- Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on Keystone XL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
Previous GNRs: 5/12/15 - 5/7/15 - Archives...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with their President (for now); Plus: First election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/12/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Fire & oil spill at NY nuke plant; Shell approved for Arctic drilling; More CA water cuts; GOP slashes NASA Earth research; PLUS: Solar-powered plane's most dangerous journey...
Previous GNRs: 5/7/15 - 5/5/15 - Archives...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; NC's Mysteriously Vanishing Voter Registrations:
'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
Sunday Toons: 'Loon Star State' and Beyond
It's getting crazy in Texas and in the GOP 2016 race and...oh...just pick a place...
Unverifiable Voting Machines (& How to Hack Them): 'BradCast' 5/8/15
Guest: Computer scientist Jeremy Epstein of Verified Voting on the decertification of 1/5 of Virginia's voting machines; MUCH MORE...
Broken Political Machines (& How to Fix Them): 'BradCast' 5/7/15
Guests: TX blogger Perry 'PDiddie' Dorrell on Rick Perry's felonies; Ernie Canning on Bernie Sanders and the 'democracy deficit'; & MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/7/15
Huge, political win for progressives in Alberta; New rules for oil 'bomb trains'; C02 emmissions milestone; PLUS: Elon Musk and Tesla revolutionize batteries...again...
Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) and the Conservative Case for Climate Action: 'BradCast' 5/6/15
Finally! A Republican on The BradCast! Plus: Fox 'News' v. RWers; Another oil train explosion in ND and more!...
Perry's Ace in the Hole in Felony Trial
The former TX Governor is preparing to run for President, even while facing felony charges. He doesn't seem worried. Maybe this is why...
Equal Justice for All?: 'BradCast' 5/5/15
Constitutional law expert and reporter Ian Millhiser on last week's oral hearings in the landmark marriage equality case at SCOTUS. Plus: 'BridgeGate'; Huckabee; more...
'Green News Report' 5/5/15
2016 GOP nomination race just doubled in size with Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee (deniers all) all jumping in; PLUS: The Pope's moral message on climate change...
'Free Speech' Versus 'Hate Speech': 'BradCast' 5/4/15
Brad and comedian Jimmy Dore continue debate they've had since 'Charlie Hebdo' following another 'Mohammed cartoon' shooting; Plus: FEC dysfunction & 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...


GOP 'voter fraud' fraudster Catherine Engelbrecht warns of 'trickle down tyranny', 'civil unrest' at Senate AG confirmation hearings...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2015 6:03am PT  

"I am not a victim," Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the Rightwing voter suppression group calling themselves "True the Vote" told members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning. It was an odd turn of phrase given all that came before it in her testimony, both written and oral, at the confirmation hearings for U.S. Attorney General-nominee Loretta Lynch.

"I'm here today because I was targeted by the government for daring to speak out," the non-victim informed the Senators and those watching via C-Span at the very top of her remarks, much of which followed her written testimony [PDF] submitted in advance, and much of which did not. She is, she explained, just "one of thousands of Americans who have become living examples of a kind of trickle down tyranny that is actively endorsed by the current Administration and rigorously enforced by the Department of Justice."

"Over the years it has become clear to me that they don't just want True the Vote shut down, they want me broken," Engelbrecht wrote dramatically, but, for some reason, didn't say during her spoken testimony [video posted at the end of this article].

But, remember, she is "not a victim" at all. She is, on the other hand, the head of a wingnut Tea Party grifter organization which has, as we described in detail earlier this week, stepped on one rake after another since its ignominious appearance on the "voting rights" scene in 2010 when, in their introductory video, the group included a Photoshopped photo of an African-American woman holding a sign at a protest reading: "I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!" Another faked sign behind her head read "I'M WITH STUPID." (In actuality, as the original photos from a protest during the Presidential election theft in Florida in 2000 show, the woman's sign read: "DON'T MESS WITH OUR VOTES." The sign behind her had read "Gore/Lieberman 2000.")

During her testimony, Engelbrecht, after years of faking voter fraud statistics to try and help the GOP case for polling place Photo ID restrictions, even had the temerity to describe her organization as "a national non-profit initiative to protect voters' rights and promote election integrity."

Faking the truth seems to come easy to Engelbrecht and her group, as they've spent years attempting to intimidate voters at the polls under the guise of protecting against pretend Democratic "voter fraud". At the Senate hearing on Thursday, however, it was often what she didn't say during her oral testimony, as contrasted with her written testimony submitted beforehand, that may have been most revealing.

For some reason, for example, she --- or, perhaps a staffer on the new Republican-majority Senate committee --- must have thought it better not to discuss "pigment of skin" in polite company at the confirmation hearings for the first African-American woman to be nominated as the nation's chief law enforcement official. That part didn't make it into to Engelbrecht's spoken outrage...

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

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GUEST: Attorney John S. Moot | AND: Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2015 6:45pm PT  

If you were looking for a fresh reminder as to why Vote-by-Mail is a terrible idea, why provisional ballots are not the same as actually casting a vote, and why there needs to be more accountability for and oversight of election officials, today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio should fit the bill.

In short, we cover the election contest now pending in the race for City Council (Seat 1) in the San Diego County city of Chula Vista, CA. The certified results from the November 2014 election show a 2-vote margin between the John McCann (R) and Steve Padilla (D) in a race with some 37,000 ballots cast. McCann has been certified as the "winner".

Trouble is, according to the lawsuit [PDF], at least 15 mail-in and provisional ballots were rejected, even though the signatures on them matched the signatures from the voters' registrations on file. That, argues attorney John S. Moot (my guest this week, and a former Chula Vista City Council Member himself), is in violation of the law.

The other trouble is, those ballots were rejected by San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu, who was the infamous Election Director of Cuyahoga County, Ohio's most populist (and most Democratic) county during the 2004 Presidential election, when two of his immediate subordinates were indicted and found guilty of rigging the Presidential "recount" in Cuyahoga. Yes, if you didn't know or don't remember, there was a partial "recount" of that election, across the entire Buckeye State, as requested by the Green and Libertarian Parties. And, yes, it was found to have been rigged in a court of law.

Vu, who was protected at the time by the Republicans who ran the Cuyahoga Election Board, was never charged and was happily hired not long thereafter by San Diego County, where elections have been little more than a joke for many years, even before Vu got there.

For the full story on this, listen to this week's show and Moot's commentary on the suit he's filed on behalf of his client, a long-time poll worker and voter from Chula Vista.

ALSO on this week's program: Accountability, finally, for an election official elsewhere (in St. Louis County, MO), and the fake "voter fraud" activist set to testify at AG-nominee Loretta Lynch's very real U.S. Senate nomination proceedings. Plus, as usual, much more, including Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.

Enjoy!...

Download MP3 here or listen online below...

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Catherine Engelbrecht's work has been described as 'downright goofy' by revered Reagan-appointed conservative judge...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2015 6:27pm PT  

While it's amusing enough that former CBS News reporter Sharyl "BENGHAZI!!!" Attkisson has been scheduled by Republicans to appear at this week's Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, another "expert witness" called by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans is, arguably, even more absurd.

Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the fraudulent Republican "voter fraud" group calling themselves True the Vote, is also scheduled to be called as a witness. Last September, as Dave Weigel notes at Bloomberg, when AG Eric Holder announced his intention to resign after a replacement was confirmed, Engelbrecht accused Holder of having carried out a "radical, racialist assault on voting rights."

That's her opinion, of course, but for her own sake, given her group's hilarious track record of failure, prevarication and complete fabrication, the GOP may not want to force this woman to be sworn in before she testifies this week...

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

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Removal of Rita Days follows our exclusive report on warnings sent before the election about likelihood of paper ballot shortages...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2015 12:03am PT  

St. Louis County Director of Elections Rita Days, a former Democratic state Senator who we reported on last November, was unanimously removed from office by the County Board of Elections Commissioners on Tuesday night, according to a late report from KMOV...

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) --- After coming under scrutiny for problems during last year's elections, the St. Louis County Director of Elections is being forced out of her position.

Rita Days was unanimously voted out of the position by the Board of Elections Commission.

Days came under criticism last November when thousands of voters had to wait longer than expected because polling stations ran out of paper ballots.

There is not yet word on who will replace Days.

In the weeks following the November 2014 election, The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively on emails sent to Days by local Election Integrity advocates in advance of the election, advising that her plan for deploying paper ballots would likely fall short of demand on Election Day. It did. As St. Louis Public Radio reported on the day after the election, "unexpected demand for paper ballots caused a shortage at about 95 polling places throughout the county Tuesday. That's more than 20 percent of the county's 444 balloting sites."

But, as we detailed in our own report, the demand was not "unexpected", as Days had been warned, well in advance, about the likelihood of paper ballots running out...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

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

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Or, 'The British Version of Me'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/22/2014 12:47pm PT  

This guy, Tom Scott of Computerphile, is right on the money in every respect, when it comes to electronic voting --- be it via touch-screen computers, paper ballot optical-scan systems or, God forbid, Internet Voting. If I was British, and younger, and better looking, and smarter, this would be me...

After almost 11 years at this, it's great to see that at least a few folks are finally getting it. While many understand some of the problems of e-voting, too many still think those probs can be solved with "paper trails" or "open source systems" or Vote-by-Mail or, somehow, even Internet Voting (via phone, tablet or elsewhere). Scott clearly understands, and smartly explains in the short video above, why the problems of electronic voting and tabulating cannot be solved by any of those methods, no matter how much many otherwise well-intentioned folks may wish they could be.

Scott starts off by citing the extraordinary failure of Gov. Chris Christie's emergency Internet Voting scheme, hurriedly (and disastrously) implemented in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Beyond that, he goes on to make a number of spot-on points, though all of them are predicated on one key notion that, while it may still be true in Great Britain, is becoming more and more of a distant memory in the U.S. every day: An election where everyone in the public is allowed to observe the removal of hand-marked paper ballots from the ballot box, and watch them being counted right then and there, is the most secure and "trustworthy" election possible --- at least based on hundreds of years of vote counting in democracies...

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

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Mind-boggling response to BRAD BLOG: 'No correction warranted'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2014 2:19pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Francis Barry, whose bio identifies him as having "previously served as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg," had a piece published by Bloomberg View (the op-ed arm of the Bloomberg News outlet), portending to examine whether Photo ID voting laws had an adverse effect on turnout this year.

Specifically, as the very first paragraph of his piece explained, Barry claims to have been looking at whether "voter identification laws suppress turnout" since, as he opined in the same graf, "Liberals" argue "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls."

The piece, headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID", went out of its way to make the case that such laws had nothing to do with turnout this year, as some states with such laws even saw higher turnout than others without them. While one could attempt to make such an argument, in this case, unfortunately, Barry used extraordinarily deceptive data and moving goal posts in order to do so, as detailed in the emails (posted below) between me, him and one of his editors.

The main trick he employed was an apples to oranges comparison of turnout rates in "21 states that had a competitive gubernatorial or Senate race", where, he misleadingly claimed, "Fourteen of the 21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't".

But here's the thing. Barry deceptively swapped the type of very specific Photo ID laws cited in his first paragraph, with very non-restrictive ID laws that are in use without objection in many states.

When I explained all of this in detail to him and his editors via email (all posted below), the response I received back was, as I noted, "mind-boggling, to be frank"...

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

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4,600 rejected Vote-by-Mail ballots will remain uncounted in contest decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2014 3:05pm PT  

Proponents of Oregon's Measure 92, a GMO labeling initiative, are conceding defeat in what had become the most expensive ballot campaign in state history. The proponents from RightToKnow.org were unsuccessful in their lawsuit this week arguing that some 4,600 ballots were illegally left uncounted and should be included in the final tally from the razor-thin November 4th contest.

"Oregonians will never know the true outcome of this election," Paige Richardson, Campaign Director for Yes on 92 said, after a judge rejected the group's attempt to block final certification of the automatic statewide "recount" that followed the extraordinarily close computer-tallied results of the contest.

A hand-count of some 1.5 million hand-marked Vote-by-Mail (VBM) paper ballots cast and previously tallied only by optical-scan computers was triggered after the initially certified margin of defeat for the initiative was just 812 votes, or .02 percent, or just 812 votes. State law requires hand counts for elections with an initial margin of less than .5 percent.

Some 13,000 ballots across Oregon --- which holds its elections only by mail-in ballot --- were rejected and never counted due to signatures on the ballot envelopes judged by election officials to not match those on voter registration cards on file. Voters with signature problems on their ballots are sent a letter to notify them, allowing them two weeks to contact officials to confirm that they were the one to have cast the ballot in question.

Additionally, a new state law requires the Sec. of State to publicly release the names of such voters. That allowed proponents to try and contact those voters to urge them to cure their signature problems with county election officials. 8,600 voters responded and ultimately had their ballots included in the tally, while 4,600 did not. Those 4,600 rejected ballots, more than enough to potentially flip the final results of the election, were left uncounted...

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

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Hand-counting vindicated, voter intent served in dramatic twist...
By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2014 2:32pm PT  

In the tiny seaside town of Long Island, Maine --- and for the national media that followed it --- it was an inscrutable mystery fit for Murder She Wrote's Jessica Fletcher. Except that it wasn't murder at the heart of this mystery, it was a potentially 'stolen' election, which, upon additional investigation, has now been 'unstolen', with the state Senate candidate rightfully elected by the people of Maine's District 25 finally set to take her seat in the state legislature after another dramatic turn of events this week.

We recently detailed the fascinating story of 21 "phantom ballots", all cast for Republican state Senate candidate Cathleen Manchester, which, when reportedly "discovered" during a November 18th recount of the very close Maine Senate race, ended up flipping the results from the slim victory Democratic candidate Catherine Breen thought she had achieved on Election Night to a "win" for her GOP opponent.

The tantalizing mystery in the town of Long Island included 171 ballots tallied by hand there on the night of the November 4th election and the same number of voters confirmed to have voted in the town's official Voter Manifest, either by absentee ballot or at the tiny town's only polling place.

Like the public hand-count of all the town's ballots at the end of Election Night, Long Island's only polling place was overseen all day by its Town Clerk Brenda Singo (who, over the past week or so, had strangely, yet repeatedly refused to answer what we thought were fairly simple, straightforward queries from The BRAD BLOG about the town's precinct-based Election Night hand-count and the chain of custody process thereafter for its hand-marked paper ballots.)

During the recount of paper ballots in the seven towns comprising Maine's Senate District 25, however, a funny thing happened. 21 "new" ballots showed up in Long Island, all for the Republican Manchester, resulting in her being certified as the "winner" of the recount overseen by the Secretary of State's office and the Democratic Breen's subsequent contest of the recount results falling to the Republican-majority state Senate to be investigated and ultimately decided there.

Before the Special Committee, comprised of four Republicans and three Democrats, could convene, the outcome didn't look good for the Democrats. The GOP majority "provisionally seated" Manchester, despite strenuous objections from state Dems.

The resolution of the mystery on Tuesday, however --- which resulted in one state official declaring "I'd eat my hat if I had one" --- has flipped the final results back to the Democrat once again, cleared the Town Clerk Singo and other election officials of further suspicion and, as we noted in our original report, underscored once again the undeniable fact that hand counting hand-marked paper ballots at the precinct on Election Night is the most reliable and publicly overseeable way of assuring that election results actually reflect the true intent of the voters...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 12/9/2014 6:35am PT  

We'll let our friend Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks handle this one...

"Deep irony", indeed.

In addition to the bizarre questions from Louisiana's literacy test for African-American voters in the 1960s that Cenk cites above, here are some of the ridiculously difficult questions from one of Alabama's Jim Crow-era tests [PDF] that we cited back in 2010 when immigration foe and former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo was similarly calling for literacy tests:

"If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"

"If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"

"If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."

Yes, it's ironic that these idiots from Fox "News" and elsewhere on the right seem to know so little about American history that they'd call for literacy tests for voters without understanding that such tests were found to be illegal and unconstitutional as practiced in the Jim Crow South. Aside from being ironic, however, it's also very lucky for brain-dead Fox viewers that literacy tests aren't required for voting, given that study after study after study find them among the least informed Americans.

[Hat-tip @DRTucker]

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With razor-thin 812 vote margin, proponents charge 4,600 ballots remain illegally uncounted due to 'problems' with signatures
Questions about state procedures underscore shortcomings of Vote-by-Mail balloting...
By Brad Friedman on 12/8/2014 2:44pm PT  

[Update: An 'emergency lawsuit' has now been filed by proponents. See details at bottom of this article.]

A statewide hand-count of millions of hand-marked paper ballots is currently underway in Oregon, as proponents of a GMO-related ballot initiative hope to overcome the computer-tallied margin of less than one-fifth of one percent, as reported by the state following the November 4th election.

But proponents of the measure are expressing concern about the process of the count, including corporate interference and thousands of votes that have been excluded, due to questions about signatures on mail-in ballots.

We recently detailed how the "Yes on Measure 92" campaign trailed by just over 800 votes (.02%) out of more than 1.5 million cast, in what has become the most expensive ballot measure battle in Oregon state history. $21 million dollars were reportedly spent to defeat the measure by corporate opponents of the "Right to Know" initiative. Monsanto, DuPont, Kraft, Pepsico and other national food companies had worked to block Measure 92's mandate requiring food sold in the state containing genetically modified products be labeled as such. Proponents reportedly spent just $9 million in support of the initiative.

As the statewide "recount" is now underway (we use quotes around the word to denote that, until now, the paper ballots have never actually been counted by human beings, only by oft-failed, easily-manipulated, sometimes wildly-inaccurate computer optical-scanners), proponents are citing a number of concerns about the way the state is carrying out the hand count, including what they describe as attempted illegal interference by Measure 92's corporate opponents, and the exclusion of thousands of ballots which, proponents believe, are being inappropriately left out of the final count.

While the number of ballots excluded from the tally could be more than enough to reverse the results of the contest, according to proponents, the complaints also serve to underscore a number of serious drawbacks to Oregon's all Vote-by-Mail election system, as well as mail-in voting in other states...

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State Republicans' attempt to delay next summer's trial described as 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
UPDATE: Court Denies Motion to Delay Trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/5/2014 2:03pm PT  

North Carolina Republicans are now seeking to delay the full federal trial challenging their massive election reform law, which has been described as the worst-in-the-nation and as a "monster" voter suppression law.

The tactic threatens to, once again, undermine any ruling by the court, should it be made too close to the state's 2016 elections. The trial in the case had previously been set, according to a timetable established in federal court in December of 2013, to take place during the July 2015 trial calendar. State Republicans, however, now argue that a separate state court challenge to one section of its massive voter suppression law, scheduled during the same period next summer, will "severely prejudice" their ability to defend themselves in the federal case which follows it.

Plaintiffs argue in response that the move is "another step in Defendants continued attempts to delay the ultimate resolution of this action."

The attempt to re-schedule comes from the same North Carolina Republicans who, this past October, successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court order restoring a number of voter registration and voting provisions that were blocked by the state GOP's law, simply because the court order restoring those voting rights was issued too close to the Nov. 4, 2014 election.

The state's argument at the time was that "Court orders affecting elections...can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase."

The trial which the state is now attempting to stall is in response to the same federal lawsuit involving legal challenges to the state's Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA"). This site, and many others, described the legislation as the "nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era," when state Republicans enacted the extraordinarily wide-reaching restrictions on voting and registration in NC within days of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in the summer of 2013...

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Razor-thin margin, failed tabulators, untallied ballots, terrible 'recount' provisions leave Barber-McSally contest unsettled...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2014 3:46pm PT  

Yes, we're still working on Election 2014 around here. As we've told you many times, problems in elections often take days, weeks or even months or years to reveal themselves, even after the mainstream media has long since moved on.

Last week we told you about the "recount" that awaits the GMO labeling ballot initiative in the state of Oregon and the amazing appearance of 21 "new" mystery ballots that flipped the results of a state Senate recount in Maine. And now, a "recount" lies ahead for the one remaining "too close to call" U.S. Congressional election in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District.

The state's first-ever "recount" of a Congressional race will be very different from the one that will be carried out for Oregon's Measure 92 and --- as demonstrated via a federal court ruling issued on Thanksgiving Day that disallowed the tally of some 133 provisional and early ballots before today's state certification of the race --- much more controversial. We can only hope no mystery ballots appear, as occurred in the still-unexplained contest in Maine.

The razor-thin contest in AZ-2 is between incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D) and his challenger Martha McSally (R). Out of some 220,000 votes cast in the AZ-2 race --- in Pima and Cochise Counties --- the paper ballot computer tabulators report a margin of "victory" for McSally over Barber of just 161 votes, according to results posted by the Sec. of State.

The U.S. House seat in Arizona's 2nd District was formerly occupied by Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) until she was critically injured in a 2011 mass shooting that killed six and wounded 13 during a public event in Tucson. After Giffords' resignation following the shooting, she was replaced in a special election by Barber, one of her top staffers who was also shot twice himself during the massacre. Barber then went on to defeat McSally in the 2012 general election by less than one percent.

Prior to today's certification of this year's rematch, there were a number of oddities and controversies during the tabulation period. Among the problems, the reported Election Night failure of the paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators in Cochise County to read a number of memory cards from the Early Voting period. Those sensitive cards store results of precinct-scanned paper ballots. They had to be flown by helicopter to another county before their contents could be discerned (even though paper ballots existed that could have simply been counted by human beings, rather than relying on electronic tallying systems.)

In addition to the troubling ruling last week by the U.S. District Court and the flawed electronic tabulation of some early ballots, local election integrity experts are also concerned about the state mandated process for "recounting" the ballots, a process which includes using the same flawed electronic scanners once again to determine if the initial scan was carried out accurately...

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11-vote edge given to GOPer after 21 unexplained ballots - all for her - mysteriously appear in tiny Town of Long Island...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2014 8:21pm PT  

An election fraud mystery has emerged in Maine's tiny Town of Long Island. The strange case has not only changed the previously announced "winner" of the election, but the contested results affect the entire state Senate and are now the subject of an investigation demanded by the Maine Democratic Party.

On Election Night this year, Democrat Catherine Breen reportedly won the race for state Senate by a very slim 32 votes in Maine's Senate District 25, according to the then-unofficial tally. However, during a hand recount of the votes last week, 21 previously unaccounted-for ballots were discovered to be in the locked Long Island ballot box. All of the "new" ballots included votes for Cathleen Manchester, the Republican candidate who had requested the recount.

Those 21 "new" ballots were above and beyond the 171 votes counted by hand on Election Night (which proved to be an otherwise perfect count) and the 171 voters listed as having voted on the "voter manifest" at Long Island's only precinct.

The "new" votes, combined with a few other adjustments to the tallies in the 25th District's six other towns, were enough to reverse the results, giving an 11-vote victory to the Republican candidate after the recount, even as neither party is able to explain the appearance of the "phantom ballots" in Long Island...

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Hand-count of paper ballots likely after computer tallies report margin of fewer than 900 votes out of over 1.5 million cast...
By Brad Friedman on 11/24/2014 2:48pm PT  

The November 4, 2014 elections are not over in several parts of the country. One of those places is Oregon, where progressive candidates and ballot measures were largely successful in bucking the rightward trend of election results produced by much of the rest of the nation. Nonetheless, a GMO-related ballot measure requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods appeared to have failed on Election Night in the wake of a record amount of campaign cash spent by food manufacturers to defeat it.

The measure, however, now appears headed toward a statewide "recount" as the official computer-reported results have greatly narrowed in the weeks following Election Day, with the race now regarded as "too close to call" by some. The "No" margin decreased to less than 1,500 votes as of late last week, after the Yes on 92 campaign was said to have been "reaching out to 13,000 voters whose ballots had signature problems and weren't counted," according to Oregon's KPTV.

[Note: The BRAD BLOG tends to use quotes around the word "recount", since most ballots in the U.S., even hand-marked paper ballots, are never actually counted by human beings in the first place, with most jurisdictions relying only on easily-manipulated and sometimes wildly inaccurate computer tabulators which tally ballots either correctly or incorrectly. Without an actual hand-count by human beings, its impossible to know either way.]

For the first time this year, the state publicly released the names of voters whose ballots had signature problems. That transparency allowed Measure 92's supporters to attempt to notify those voters to request they contact election officials to work out any discrepancies in order to have their ballots tallied.

As of Monday afternoon, numbers posted on the Oregon Sec. of State's results page show the margin having narrowed even further, with just 809 "No" votes outpacing "Yes" votes, out of more than 1.5 million ballots cast across the state. Finalized results are due from all counties by 5pm today...

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

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