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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 16, 2014
'Green News Report' 9/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hottest year on record in CA, hottest Aug. on record for planet; Record hurricane hits Cabo San Lucas; Warm-water fish found in Alaska; PLUS: Burlington, VT now 100% renewable!...
Previous GNRs: 9/11/14 - 9/9/14 - Archives...
Wife-Beating Federal Judge Finally Mentioned on MSNBC
MSNBC contributor asks about lack of outrage, impeachment for federal judge Mark Fuller who beat his wife bloody in August...
Outrage Slowly Grows After Wife-Beating Federal Judge Avoids Prosecution
Fellow GOP District Court judge calls for accountability, says 'no one should trust Mark Fuller's judgment in a federal trial courtroom'...
GOP PHOTO ID RESTRICTION LAW RESTORED IN WI
Republican voter suppression laws getting huge boosts from GOP-appointed federal judges in NC, where 100s recently disenfranchised, and now in WI, in advance of critical mid-terms...
Not Taking the ISIS Bait
The media and the U.S. Government have decided to give the latest barbaric idiots to rise up in the Middle East all the publicity they crave, despite the 'exaggerated' threat posed to the U.S., or even in the region. We're not interested in playing along...
'Green News Report' 9/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Greenhouse gas emissions jump at record rate; Australia's emissions soar after carbon tax axed; Oceans acidifying at historic rate; PLUS: Some good news: Ozone Hole begone!...
Previous GNRs: 9/9/14 - 9/4/14 - Archives...
Accountability for Judge Fuller?; O, Mighty ISIS!:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Will Alabama's wife-beating U.S. District Court Judge face impeachment? Plus: Callers, lots of 'em, on what to do about ISIS...
Wife-Beaters: Rice Loses Job; Judge Fuller Continues Lifetime Appointment
America was outraged by the NFL superstar. So, what about Alabama's federal judge who beat his wife bloody and is now off scot-free?...
'Green News Report' 9/9/14
Floods: Catastrophic in Pakistan, Historic in Phoenix; Hillary on Global Warming; Rand Paul dismisses; PLUS: Lobster Boat Blockade wins!...
GA GOP State Senator: Too Many Black People Will Vote in DeKalb County!
Vows to close 'election loophole' allowing convenient Early Voting in area 'dominated by African Americans'; UPDATE: Says just wants 'more educated voters'...
GOP Allows 'Citizens United' Amendment to Move Forward, Will Vote Against
Koch Brothers' beneficiary Sen. Rand Paul wouldn't even allow that much...
NYT Public Editor Calls Out Paper for Phony 'Balance' on 'Voter Fraud', Global Warming
Margaret Sullivan's no weasel (unlike a predecessor). She's calling out the 'paper of record' again for misreporting on GOP myths...
Siegelman's Judge Strikes Deal to Avoid Trial After Beating Wife Bloody
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller to have record expunged following drug/alcohol evaluation, domestic abuse counseling...
ObamaCare 'Nightmare': 2015 Premiums Rates to DECLINE in Many Major Cities
This whole 'tyrannical government takeover of health care' thing is really a disaster...for Republicans...
Federal Judge Orders Restoration of Early Voting Hours in OH -- Again
'Ohio GOP keeps trying to cut early voting and federal courts keep striking the cuts down'...
'Green News Report' 9/4/14
Accountability for BP in Gulf Oil Spill Disaster and for PG&E in deadly pipeline explosion; CA bans plastic bags, regulates groundwater for first time in history...
The Corruption of U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman: KPFK 'BradCast'
GUEST: Attorney and BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
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...


Ken Hajjar, Director of Diebold's Exclusive Sales & Service Provider in New England Pled Guilty to Criminal Charges in 90's
Does the Sec. of State of NH --- or CT or MA or VT or ME --- Even Know About It?...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2008 8:47pm PT  

Does the Secretary of State of New Hampshire have any idea that a key executive in the private firm that programs and "counts" 80% of the state's ballots on hackable, error-prone Diebold voting machines is a convicted narcotics trafficker?

In 1990, Ken Hajjar, the Director of Sales and Marketing for LHS Associates, and childhood friend of company owner John Silvestro, was arrested and pled guilty to charges of "Sale/CND" (Sale of Controlled Narcotics/Drugs) which earned him a 12 month sentence, according to documents received via a public records request and posted this evening at BlackBoxVoting.org.

LHS Associates, as BBV's Bev Harris points out, programs "every single voting machine in New Hampshire, Connecticut, almost all of Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine."

Hajjar himself is also the the guy who showed up in BRAD BLOG comments, at one point last summer, to let us know we are "totally full of shit" and "deluded...paranoid...looney idealogues" to boot. Well, maybe. But at least we don't have a secret felony conviction, even while owning almost complete control over every vote cast and "counted" in New England.

The newly-revealed felon's impolitic rant here earned him the boot from the Secretary of State of Connecticut, where he is now barred from working, as guest blogger Dori Smith pointed out in another BRAD BLOG story last November, detailing the horrors that are LHS Associates, Silvestro and Hajjar.

When Smith asked Hajjar about his admission that he and his company regularly replace voting machine memory cards (the keys to the kingdom!) at will, in the middle of elections, he told her, "I mean, I don't pay attention to every little law."

We'll say!

Go check out Harris' new article tonight, which includes more details and the arrest record --- along with the note that "until recently, LHS employees were listed on the company Web site. Now the pages identifying who programs New England voting machines have been taken down."

Now ya know why.

Even if you still don't know who actually won the New Hampshire Primary.

(What say we actually count the ballots and put the questions to rest? Just sayin'...)

For good measure, we'll also post again below the rare video footage of Silvestro, along with the first-hand BBV footage of the infamous and stunning Leon County, FL hack of a Diebold optical-scan machine --- the very same ones used across NH on Tuesday --- and the one originally seen in HBO's Emmy-nominated Hacking Democracy...

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

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Reports of 'Voter Fraud' in Dixville Notch, Dem Ballots Unavailable to Voters, Both Debunked by The BRAD BLOG
Though Reasons Remain for Concern About Tabulation on Diebold Machines...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2008 5:42pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

Our Spidey-sense started tingling before going to bed last night and hearing reports, on MSNBC, that there were 17 paper ballots cast in Dixville Notch, NH, in its midnight, first-in-the-country voting. The report said that there were only 16 registered voters in the tiny voting precinct, yet 17 votes had been cast --- suggesting that somehow, paper ballot "voter fraud" skullduggery was afoot.

Following on that, reports throughout the day appeared that NH precincts were out of paper ballots, and voters were unable to vote.

Trouble is, both reports are either completely untrue, or wholly misleading, or both, as The BRAD BLOG was able to confirm with two simple phone calls.

Each of those reports, however, would seem to go a long way towards giving the impression that paper ballots are a bad idea, and that "voter fraud" is easy to commit when using them. Given that one of those reports seems to have begun on The DRUDGE REPORT earlier today, we're not particularly surprised that the MSM kept repeating the easily-debunked stories running all day.

That, even while there are reasons to be concerned about how the paper ballots used in the New Hampshire Primary will actually be counted by the hackable Diebold optical-scan systems used in the state, as controlled and programmed by an outrageously bad private contractor there...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Republican Vote Suppression Scheme, Said to be 'Most Important Voting Rights Case Since Bush v. Gore' to be Judged by Republican Supreme Court
[UPDATE: USA Today Allows Discredited GOP Vote Suppressor, Con Man, Thor Hearne to Blog on Their Website in Reply!]
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2008 6:40pm PT  

In advance of Wednesday's hearing in the U.S. Supreme Court on the landmark case concerning the Republican Photo ID polling place restrictions in the state of Indiana, USA Today reports...

WASHINGTON — The League of Women Voters has tried to put names and faces on the people who could be hurt by a strict Indiana voter-identification law that the Supreme Court will take up Wednesday.

The league, in a court filing, refers to Mary Wayne Montgomery Eble, 92, who had no driver's license or ready access to the birth certificate she needed to get an alternative ID.

Ray Wardell, a stroke victim, made one trip to a state office for an alternative ID in vain. He did not have the proper document and returned home on foot with the aid of his walker.

Kim Tilman, a mother of seven whose husband, a janitor, is the family's sole source of income, found it would cost $26-$50 to round up the necessary papers for a proper ID.

The league is among the groups backing Indiana challengers to the law who say it impinges on the right to vote and mostly hurts elderly, disabled, poor and minority voters. A Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure in 2005.

Backers of the law have been unable to cite a single case of "voter fraud", apparently in Indiana history, that would have been prevented by this law, which is, as BRAD BLOG readers know well by now, meant to do little more than keep as many Democratic-leaning voters from being able to exercise their right to cast a legal vote in an election.

UPDATE 1/8/08: Where USA Today did themselves proud with the article linked above, they did themselves in by giving space to discredited GOP operative, snake-oil salesman, vote suppression front man, Thor Hearne to blog in reply. Hearne shouldn't be allowed outside of a jail cell, much less allowed to post his lies, disinformation and propaganda with impunity at USA Today. And I've said as much in the comments section (typos and all, in my middle-of-the-night, outraged response) below his blog item at the newspaper's website.

It's incredible that USA Today did not note Hearne's dozens of conflicts of interest with the very item he wrote on their pages. As to Hearne, it would hardly be the first time this conman has slid by without telling the truth about who he actually is.

Shame on USA Today. If readers here are unaware who and what Thor Hearne is, see our years long special coverage on him and the GOP propaganda scam he has been running right here: www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.

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Cover Graphic Shows Exploding Voting Booth with 'WARNING' Label: 'Your vote may be lost, destroyed, miscounted, wrongly attributed or hacked'
By Brad Friedman on 1/4/2008 2:50pm PT  

The entire debate over e-voting may well be just about to change. Hopefully for the better. Big time.

Editor & Publisher's editor Greg Mitchell, has tipped off The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, that the New York Times Magazine is set to run a "massive" cover-story this Sunday, on the entire e-voting disaster titled "The Bugs in the Machines."

Better late than never?

Mitchell describes the story as "quite chilling" in the exclusive preview he's just posted to his new personal blog. Here's the first coupla grafs from his scoop...

Coming between the Iowa and New Hampshire tallies, this Sunday's cover of The New York Times Magazine ought to strike a chord. It shows a man inside an exploding voting booth with a WARNING label over it and the words: "Your vote may be lost, destroyed, miscounted, wrongly attributed or hacked."

The massive Clive Thompson article, titled "The Bugs in the Machines," is quite chilling. "After the 2000 election," it opens, "counties around the country rushed to buy new computerized voting machines. But it turns out that these machines may cause problems worse than hanging chads. Is America ready for another contested election?" One key passage: "The earliest critiques of digital voting booths came from the fringe --- disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks --- but the fears have now risen to the highest levels of government."

One expert says that "about 10 percent" of the devices fail in each election.

UPDATE 1/5/08: The entire, nearly 8,000 world article, is now out, and posted right here. It looks very good on first glance. But more later as we get a chance to review it in full.

And no, for those who've asked, The BRAD BLOG was neither consulted for, nor mentioned in the Times lengthy story (unless you consider "fringe...disgruntled citizens and scared-senseless computer geeks" to be a mention. Though we guess it's better than the Times original take on us, from November 20, 2004, which referred to election integrity issues as "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers," just after we began investigating and reporting on the very issues which make up the basis of today's 8,000 word, better-late-than-never, New York Times report.)

We accept your apology.


One quick inaccuracy in the story, for now, which is small, but we feel important to correct for the record: Once again, Prof. Ed Felten of Princeton University has misled the NY Times about the origins of the Diebold touch-screen system his team used for their landmark virus hack in the summer of 2006.

He is interviewed in the story, in relation to the study, in which his team was able to easily implant a virus. It's reported, in the story, that the machine was "anonymously donated" to him. It was not. Which he well knows...

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

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Brunner's New Directive Also Requires Such Ballots Actually Be Counted Before Unofficial Results are Released to the Public, Media
Concerns Remain About Centralized County Tabulation, However...
By Brad Friedman on 1/3/2008 11:01am PT  

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued a short, unambiguous and to-the-point directive [PDF] last night, to all 56 counties in Ohio still employing unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines, that they must make a paper ballot available at the polling place to any voter who wishes to vote on one.

Brava!

Her directive even goes so far as to require those paper ballots actually be counted "on election night as part of the unofficial canvass."

Brava again! The requirement to actually count those paper ballots before unofficial results are release to the public and media is a key component that has been missing from the various federal legislative efforts, including Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) latest bill as currently drafted, as well as his previous one (HR811), that would begin to put paper back into the polling place.

Every state in the country should follow suit! As well, we recommend that, at the very least, Brunner issue a further directive that signs shall be conspicuously and clearly posted in each polling place to inform voters of their right to vote on paper, if they wish. Better still, a directive that requires every voter to be asked by voting officials, before they vote, if they wish to vote on paper. We have previously recommended such a "paper or plastic?" requirement for any jurisdiction in America that still allows for the use of horrible DRE systems (including those with or without a useless, so-called "paper trail").

Until then, Democracy advocates in the Buckeye state will need to launch an important, and potentially expensive (but crucial), education campaign to inform voters of their right to vote on paper!

With the very good general news from Brunner, let's hope she soon realizes the underlying reasons for serious concerns about, and the great dangers of, not counting and posting precinct voting results at the precinct, before they are sent back to county headquarters for central tabulation.

Brunner's recent independent testing of Ohio's e-voting systems (known as EVEREST) led her to recommend the abolishment of all DRE systems in the state, although she did not issue a binding directive to that end. At the same time, her recommendation to ban precinct-based counting, in favor of central-based counting, has drawn a great deal of criticism from Election Integrity advocates. Rightly so, in our opinion, even if she came to her recommendation through well-meaning advice from some of the folks who advised on the study, including computer security experts, and election officials of the sort who would be inappropriately entrusted with complete control over that dangerously centralized counting process.

(You can read our direct challenges to Brunner on that point, and her explanations for the decision, in our recent exclusive interview with her, just after the release of EVEREST.)

One quick note to Mark Niquette and Columbus Dispatch concerning their coverage of this issue in this morning's paper...

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

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Please Take Note, Ohio, Vote-by-Mail Supporters, and Iowa Caucus Monitors!
By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2008 1:33pm PT  

Reports of hundreds dead in violent riots following Kenya's recent Presidential election continue. In the contested race, the incumbent President Kibaki was announced the winner, despite "pre-election opinion polls and early media tallies" which suggest that the challenger, Odinga, should have won.

Of particular note however, was this instructive graf, from AFX News Limited's coverage over the holiday, which caught our eye...

[Chief EU observer Alexander Graf Lambsdorff] said his mission had evidence of presidential tallies announced in polling stations on the election being inflated by the time they were released by the electoral commission in Nairobi.

Got that? Because results were announced at the polling place before being sent away, it was possible for there to be checks and balances by election observers against the official central count as released, and possibly gamed, by the centralized election officials.

We'd hope the above point will be carefully noted by folks like Ohio SoS Jennifer Brunner, who has recently recommended against decentralized precinct-based counting, in favor of central county-level counting (see our recent exclusive interview with her on those points); those who have been pushing for all Vote-by-Mail elections of late; and those folks who are monitoring Iowa's caucuses on Thursday.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2008 12:04pm PT  

As expected, the barrage of stories in the national media concerning problems with e-voting systems --- as usual, too late to make much of a difference before the next election cycle --- continues...

"As primaries draw near," reports Wolf Blitzer, "some states are finding serious problems already with their electronic voting machines --- and they're ready to give e-voting a grade of 'F'"

RAW STORY has the video...

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They're Late to the Game, But We'll Take Whatever We Can Get....
By Brad Friedman on 1/2/2008 10:33am PT  

The Election Integrity advocate gets quoted in graf 3 of an AP story on Election Integrity. Go figure...

DENVER - With the presidential race in full swing, some U.S. states have found critical flaws in the accuracy and security of their electronic voting machines, forcing officials to scramble to return to the paper ballots they abandoned after the 2000 Florida debacle.

In December alone, top election officials in Ohio and Colorado declared that widely used voting equipment is unfit for elections.

"Every system that is out there, one state or another has found that they are no good," said John Gideon of the advocacy group Voters Unite. "Everybody is starting to look at this now and starting to realize that there is something wrong."

Nice. That, as opposed to the EI expert showing up, maybe, in the penultimate graf, only to be finally countered at the end by the voting machine company spokeshole or election official who then lies: "Everything's just fine! Our machines work great!"

What runs via AP matters, as its picked up by, um, everybody. So it's good to see them covering this issue finally, with our buddy John Gideon getting the featured prominence he deserves, in a story which will likely be widely read.

And now to be both beggar and chooser: there's a minor error or two, a couple of dubious points in the story, and, most notably, a quote or two (one from the CO SoS) that underscores the failure of AP, and the rest of the corporate media, to adequately report on this issue, at least up until now...

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

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Watchdog Group Calls for 'Citizen Army' to Monitor, Document Less-Than-Transparent Tallying Procedures of Both Parties...
By Brad Friedman on 12/31/2007 11:24am PT  

We don't pretend to fully understand the strange and confusing mechanics of the Iowa Caucuses (the Hawkeye Caucii, as Rush refers to them), nor do we make predictions about the results of such things (Edwards and Huckabee), but BlackBoxVoting.org sent out a missive over the weekend, with some very helpful information about how the Election Integrity aspect of the two respective party caucuses will, or won't, work, along with a the request to forward the info to folks in Iowa.

As the corporate MSM will undoubtedly be watching the horses only as they cross the finish line --- not bothering to notice what their owners and jockies are up to on the way there --- we're happy to help with anything that increases citizen participation and transparency in the process, and empowers citizen vigilance and reporting. So with that, we pass along the following important and interesting info from BBV's Bev Harris...

BUILDING A CITIZEN ARMY TO MONITOR ELECTIONS - All of us, in all 50 states, should be very concerned about what's going to happen on January 3. The stated results --- generated with secret central tabulation --- will play a large role in which candidate YOU can vote for in your state.

Black Box Voting has only a few members in Iowa. We need your help to forward this message to other distribution outlets and to every single person you know in Iowa. By positioning itself as the first presidential preference contest in the nation, Iowa has a disproportionate influence on candidate viability --- which candidates can stay in the race, and how well they'll do.

Although some will tell you that the system has checks and balances because delegates assigned at the Jan. 3 Iowa precinct caucuses will go to a county convention where their vote will be clear, this is misleading. Iowa's convention is months away --- more than a month AFTER "Super Duper Tuesday" and many if not most candidates will have dropped out by then, so the delegates at the county conventions ALWAYS are reapportioned and NEVER match the original caucus results.

The situation is very serious, especially for Republican election integrity but also for the Democrats.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? If you live in Iowa, instructions are within the message below. If you do not live in Iowa, but can go observe, photograph and act as a citizen reporter, that would be magnificent. But, if you don't want to freeze your buns in Iowa in January, here's what you CAN do: FORWARD THIS E-MAIL BLOG ITEM TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW IN IOWA.

If you don't know someone in Iowa, forward this e-mail to activism groups and write letters to news organizations.

"Problems and issues with the Iowa Caucuses" --- for both the Democratic and Republican parties, including the lack of precinct-based reporting of tallies, and even an apparently Republican-leaning company who is running one of the Democratic caucus web servers --- "And what every Iowan can do" about it, follow below from the BBV newsletter...

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

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Simplified Legislation Offers Money to Jurisdictions Who Wish to Move to Paper Ballots, Optional Audits...
By Brad Friedman on 12/28/2007 1:31pm PT  

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) is trying again. After learning a lesson or two, from his failed attempt to push an unpopular Election Reform bill (HR811) through Congress, he's scaling back in hopes of getting something passed that may help bring accountability to the 2008 election cycle.

The latest version of the bill, coming in at a relatively slim 20 pages, is available here [PDF].

We certainly applaud the effort in general, and note that it mirrors some of the simple, doable-by-'08 initiatives we've been speaking with a few folks in Congress about behind the scenes.

In brief, the bill we've been discussing, with several Congressional offices, after common ground discussions with a number of EI advocates, a representative from the National Association of Counties (NaCO) and even a Republican who had initially worked on the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), but disliked the resulting bill, would call for the following:

  • Money to states and/or counties who wish to move to paper ballot systems.
  • A requirement that all voters be asked before voting if they wish to vote on paper (and that those paper ballots actually be counted before unofficial tallies are released to the media).
  • Grant money to further study disability voting technology and hand-counting systems.
  • Restrictions to no more than one DRE per polling place to marginally meet HAVA's mandate for voters with disabilities.

Holt's new bill would do a few, if not all of those things.

In his run at it this time, his bill would simply offer federal funding for jurisdictions who wish to move to paper ballots (that's good), and also offer money to help pay for post-election audits of those ballots...if they choose to do so. It also sets aside money for study of disability voting technology, as we'd also recommended.

Perhaps he has become a bit too timid after his previous unfortunate experience. Though the bill has not yet been introduced officially --- so language is not yet finalized, thus we'll hold full fire until we see the final product --- the audits recommended in his bill would be optional. As well, there are currently no requirements in his bill to mandate that Election Officials actually count those paper ballots, paid for with federal dollars, before releasing unofficial vote tallies to the media. That last is no small point (just ask Al Gore or Christine Jennings).

And most puzzling of all, in the bill which would only apply to the 2008 general election, there is also no requirement at all to make those federally-funded paper ballots available to all voters who'd like to vote on them.

It seems to us that if a state or county chooses to take federal money to pay for their paper ballots, attaching a few common sense strings, like the ones mentioned above, would be perfectly appropriate. Perhaps such changes can be made during the committee process or on the Senate side.

But hey, no bill's perfect, and this one certainly appears to be a welcome step, at least, in the right direction. It would help to begin turning the Titanic around by making the move to paper ballots much easier. And, most notably, it would not federally institutionalize secret software and Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, touch-screen) voting machines as Holt's previous HR811 would have. That bill, and the many concerns about it, was exhaustively covered by The BRAD BLOG over the past year. (See our special coverage here.)

Steve Rosenfeld at Alternet has details on Holt's new initiative, along with a few scintillating --- and mostly accurate --- quoted comments in reply from yours truly and a few others.

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End of Year Letter Describes Plan to Identify, Challenge Voters in 2008...
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2007 12:15pm PT  

"To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!" brags Kansas GOP chairman Kris Kobach in his end-of-year letter.

Blue Tide Rising has the scoop, along with details on what "vote caging" is, for those who don't know by now. We should note, however, it's not immediately clear from Kobach's letter what exactly he means by his use of the term, and if he's referring to the illegal type of caging or not.

In any case, it's clear that the undemocratic (small "d") practice of working to keep Democratic (large "D") voters off the rolls, through any means necessary, in order to keep them from voting, through any means necessary, has been mainlined as perhaps the top strategy for the GOP in 2008. Even Bush's Dept. of Justice, under the hand of John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, has now been officially mobilized to direct such practices on behalf of the Republican States of America.

For more, see PBS's long-overdue video report from last summer, on the GOP's sordid history of vote caging and the corporate American mainstream media's failure to cover it when it might have mattered.

Plus, Crooks & Liars has details on the piece of work that is this Kris Kobach, a former counsel to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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Once-Great, Now-Disgraced American Company Also Facing SEC Probe, Lawsuits, Upcoming 2008 Election Meltdowns
Not to Say We Told Ya So, Diebold Shareholders...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2007 11:27am PT  

The death spiral for the 131 year-old company, once respectfully known as Diebold, continues, as its stock price falls to a 5-year low today, near year's end (currently $29.23/share and still sinking, from a 52-week high of $54.50/share), along with the additional news that the U.S. Department of Justice has now joined the SEC in an investigation concerning the company's "Enron-like" bookkeeping tricks...

Diebold Inc. (NYSE: DBD) said it has learned that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation that parallels a previously disclosed investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the company’s discontinued practice of recognizing certain revenue on a “bill and hold” basis.

Diebold announced in early October that it has been engaged in an ongoing discussion with the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant regarding its former use of the "bill and hold" method of recognizing revenue.

Under bill and hold, ownership of a product contractually passes to a customer and revenue is recognized by the supplier prior to delivery of the product to the customer.

Diebold said it’s in continuing talks with the Office of the Chief Accountant so that it can determine what the company termed “the most appropriate revenue recognition method” to replace its bill and hold practice.

The BRAD BLOG, of course, originally reported on the SEC's investigation into Diebold's book-keeping chicanery back in May of 2006, just a few months after our first exclusive report, based on information from a company insider we dubbed DIEB-THROAT, preceded a 20% stock-price plunge just days afterward.

At the time, back in late September 2005, the stock price plunged to a 52-week low of about $44.37/share (which we're sure they'd kill for now --- not that we wish to give them any ideas) and DIEB-THROAT told us in response to the related news: "the last time this kind of deception occurred it was called Enron."

Then came a class action securities fraud suit against the company in December 2005, as first broken by The BRAD BLOG natch, before the parallel SEC investigation first became public.

Since then, following one independent study after another after another after another, finding their electronic voting systems to be virus-prone, hackable, unreliable and inaccurate, the company finally dumped it's controversial CEO who had infamously promised in a Republican fundraising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to" George W. Bush in 2004, before attempting again to fool the American public by renaming its election division "Premiere Elections Solutions" (same pig, fresh lipstick), just after stock prices plummeted again in August of this year to $47.60 as The BRAD BLOG noticed what appeared to us, and at least one financial analyst, to be possible insider trading among a number of company officials.

Prices have continued to fall ever since --- a lucky coincidence, no doubt, for those executives who just happened to unload a bunch of stock near the year's high at $53.05 - to today's 5-year low of $29.20.

Additional bad news arrived last Friday for Diebold when a new study by the state of Ohio found their systems to be easily hackable (again), with better news coming last Tuesday as the state of Colorado's own certification tests, surprisingly, gave their their machines a pass while decertifying many others. Yesterday, however, the reason for the inexplicable get-out-of-jail card they received in CO may have become a bit clearer: As it turns out, the Republican Secretary of State who oversaw the new certification testing, Mike Coffman, is running for Congress, and his campaign shares the same consultants as Diebold/Premier in the state. Go figure.

Diebold/Premiere's spokeshole, Chris Riggall told the Rocky Mountain News in response yesterday, that the company just had no idea about the extraordinary conflict of interest. But with the mission already accomplished, he announced to the paper: "Effective tonight that relationship is terminated."

With their stock-price still spiraling this morning, Diebold is quoted by Crain's Cleveland Business today as saying the company "anticipates [the DoJ] review will be completed in the first quarter of 2008" ... Though rest assured, The BRAD BLOG's review of the company won't be completed by then. Not by a long shot.

Merry Christmas, Diebold!

And if you'd like to wish The BRAD BLOG a Merry Christmas, we hope you'll feel free to consider sending a much needed ONLINE DONATION --- in dishonor of Diebold! --- as the holiday grows near.
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Jennifer Brunner Responds to Kudos, Criticism Following State's Massive and Disturbing E-Voting Assessment
'The last thing I want for my state, is to be looked at as a pariah, like it was for 2004'
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2007 1:18pm PT  

-- By Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

The BRAD BLOG spoke on Wednesday, by telephone, with Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, for an exclusive in-depth interview following the release of her state's unprecedented "Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing" (EVEREST) review of e-voting systems.

While the bi-partisan, multi-teamed, scientific testing carried out, by a unique combination of both corporate and academic computer scientists and security experts, has won praise from most, if not all (see, predictably, here and here) quarters, the specific recommendations for changes to Ohio's voting system in its wake, as made by Brunner, have garnered a fair amount of criticism and concern from Election Integrity and Administration experts. Indeed, The BRAD BLOG has reported a number of our own concerns about those recommendations, as detailed last Friday upon the release of the report.

One thing is clear: the view from EVEREST is a mountain of "critical security failures" in Ohio's electronic voting systems --- the very same systems which will also be in use in other states and counties all across the U.S. in 2008. The question now is what can be done to mitigate the chances of yet another Ohio election meltdown next year, given the short time before before the state's primary in March, and the rapidly-approaching November general election when many eyes, no doubt, will again be on the Buckeye State.

In our interview --- the first of its kind to be published post-EVEREST --- we challenged the state's new Democratic Secretary, a former state judge, to answer to a number of growing concerns about her '08 recommendations, and whether she may be open to changing them in light of concerns. As well, we asked her about the criticism leveed against her by on-the-ground citizen Election Integrity advocates in the state, who have been critical of her for not having done enough to bring accountability following the J. Kenneth Blackwell regime, under whom Ohio's election system was so infamously gamed in 2004.

Our in-depth, exclusive interview with Ohio's new, and already embattled Secretary of State, follows in full...

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

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Complaint Alleges New Post-Election Audit Requirements in Close Elections Are Too Expensive, Create Too Much Work for Them...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2007 7:01pm PT  

Newly missing e-voting chips isn't the only election news to break out of the People's Republic of San Diego County today.

The sunny Southern California enclave, which has succeeded in making an infamous name for itself over the last several years by running some of the most poorly administrated and least transparent elections in the nation, is now suing California's Sec. of State Debra Bowen for her new security mitigation mandate requiring a hand audit of a random 10% sampling of ballots, in elections where the final result margin is less than one-half of 1%.

The full complaint may be downloaded here [PDF].

Deborah Seiler, the former sales rep for voting machine companies Diebold and Sequoia, who was recently named Registrar of Voters for San Diego County, believes Bowen's mandate is onerous in that it would "create extra work and delays" for her office following elections, as the North County Times described it.

Seiler and the county are "alleging that Bowen overstepped her authority in requiring new recount procedures in close races beginning in February," according to the paper, which quotes a spokesperson from Bowen's office defending the legal right of the Secretary to issue such directives as she sees fit.

Bowen's spokesperson, Nicole Winger, confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that the office is confident the Secretary of State may issue such "use procedures," along with voting system certification, which must be followed by counties that choose to use those particular systems. She adds that prior administrations have issued similar use procedures along with system certification, and that their statutory right to do so has held up in past court cases.

According to Winger...

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

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