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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, June 26, 2016
Brexit: If it Could Happen There...: 'BradCast' 6/24/16
Also: NC voter suppression back in court; TX spending millions on unlawful Photo ID law; Did NY voter purge hurt Sanders or Clinton more?; Climate change death toll rising in WV, China...
SCOTUS on Immigration, Aff-Action; Dems End Gun 'Sit-in': 'BradCast' 6/23/16
Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser explains new Court rulings; and we cover far more breaking news than we can even fit here...
'Green News Report' 6/23/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Last CA nuke plant will close; Judge nixes Obama's fracking rules; Study: Toxic chemicals found in residents near fracking sites; PLUS: Researchers turn carbon emissions into stone...
Previous GNRs: 6/21/16 - 6/16/16 - Archives...
FL Rep.: Dems to 'Sit-In' Until Vote or GOP 'Hauls People Off Floor': 'BradCast' 6/22/16
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) explains House protest, calls GOP shutdown of C-SPAN 'astonishing', lack of vote on guns 'disgusting'...
Was Orlando the 'Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History?': 'BradCast' 6/21/16
Guest: USC historian Ariela J. Gross | ALSO: Trump's disastrous fundraising numbers; New polls; And our 700th 'Green News Report'!...
'Green News Report' 6/21/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
OUR 700TH EPISODE!!! Record heat in S.W.; CA snowpack gone; Bernie wants YOU to fight climate change; PLUS: Obama warns climate change coming for national parks...
Previous GNRs: 6/16/16 - 6/14/16 - Archives...
About That 'Stolen' Democratic Primary: 'BradCast' 6/20/16
Plus: Sanders' call for progressive candidates, the GOP/NRA/Trump lies and obstruction on guns, and more evidence elections matter...
Sunday Keepin' Bear Toons
As you might imagine, the nation's political cartoonists have a few thoughts following Orlando. 'PDiddie' rounds up the best of them on that topic and more at the end of Primary season...
Broken Party; Bernie's Message; Hillary Rising: 'BradCast' 6/17/16
A year into Trump and GOP wheels are now off. Meanwhile, Sanders 'revolution' could just be starting and 'red' states could turn 'blue'...
Former CDC Injury Chief on Federal Gun Research 'Ban': 'BradCast' 6/16/16
Dr. Mark Rosenberg explains his 1996 'Dickey Amendment' showdown w/ Congress, NRA; Also: Dem 'filibuster' forces Senate gun votes, Obama speaks to Orlando victims' families...
'Green News Report' 6/16/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP to roll back pollution standards; May 2016 was hottest on record; Clean Power Plan saves U.S. $38b/year; PLUS: Trump was for climate action before he was against it...
Previous GNRs: 6/14/16 - 6/9/16 - Archives...
Bullets and Ballots:
'BradCast' 6/15/16
The fights over both continue, after the Orlando Massacre and the end of Presidential primary voting following the D.C. Primary. We cover the latest on both, take listener calls, and more...
Nearing an End to SCOTUS' Willful Misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment?
With carnage piling ever higher and the death of Scalia, the Court needs to overturn Heller...
It's the Guns, Stupid: Falling for Trump's 'Islam' Bait: 'BradCast' 6/14/16
Plus: D.C. Statehood and 'political slavery' with Anise Jenkins of FreeDC.org...
'Green News Report' 6/14/16
India PM in U.S. Congress; Bankrupt coal co. secretly funded deniers; U.S. coal use plunges; More oil cos. abandon Arctic; PLUS: Norway first to ban deforestation...
'An Act of Terror and Hate':
'BradCast' 6/13/2016
How the NRA and GOP fought to help assure the Orlando Massacre...
Sunday Toons of the Broken Glass Moment
'PDiddie' rounds up the week's best toons as Hillary rises, Sanders falls and Trump...gets trumped...
Should Sanders Quit?; L.A. Responds to Provisional Ballot Nos.: 'BradCast' 6/9/16
TPM's John Judis on history of convention floor fights; L.A. Election Chief on 240k provisional ballots...
'Green News Report' 6/9/16
S.F. adopts climate tax; Alberta, Canada adopts carbon tax; Congress updates toxic chem regs; Britain's solar crushes coal; PLUS: Artificial leaf breakthrough...
Special Coverage: CA, NJ, ND, SD, NM, MT Primary Results, Fallout & Voting Probs: 'BradCast' 6/8/16
PLUS: Bonus SECOND hour of calls from SoCal voters and poll workers, live from KPFK!
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...


By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2009 10:55pm PT  

Okay. Allow me to be as fair as possible, right off the top, following that headline. The all-day symposium which LA County Registrar/Recorder & County Clerk Dean Logan was kind enough to personally invite me to attend today at the California Institute of Technology, put "Technology" before "Democracy" at least in the title of the event...

...So technology came titularly before democracy, if not more so, as I good-naturedly chided Logan this afternoon. Though, in truth, it also tended to take the lead in at least those parts of the day that I was able to attend. But its hard to blame Logan for that. It's become the trend in the "election industry" over the last few years, where techno-scientists, private corporations and others (both well-meaning and less so) have seized the day (and the tax-payer dollars), to place techno-"solutions" far ahead of the real needs of citizens and their Constitutional requirements for true, democratic self-governance.

To his credit, that wasn't necessarily Logan's purpose in scheduling or naming this symposium, meant to begin opening the process of selecting a new voting system for the nation's largest voting jurisdiction to selected "stake-holders". And the good news is, the ultimate solution (complete transparency) to our voting system woes, did tend to bubble up towards the top, to the apparent surprise of some, as the day worn on...

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




Hand-Marked, Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, Publicly Tabulated at Every Polling Place in America...
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2009 10:30am PT  

-- Brad Friedman

[While I was off the grid for a brief vacation for a week in August, a short Op-Ed version of a piece I wrote for Commonweal Institute, where I am a Fellow, was published at CommonDreams.org. Unfortunately, I was off the grid, so couldn't respond to some of the off-base coments left on the piece over there. In any case, here now is the full-length version of that Op-Ed. -BF]

Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.

Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court's unambiguous, landmark finding:

  • "No 'specialized technical knowledge' can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts."
  • There is a "constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count."
  • "[T]he government substitution of its own check or what we’d probably call an 'audit' is no substitute at all for public observation."
  • "A paper trail simply does not suffice to meet the above standards.
  • "As a result of these principles,...'all independent observers' conclude that 'electronic voting machines are totally banned in Germany' because no conceivable computerized voting system can cast and count votes that meet the twin requirements of...being both 'observable' and also not requiring specialized technical knowledge.

After the verdict in the case --- filed by a computer expert and his political scientist son --- Lehto wondered how it could be that open, observable democracy is seemingly an inviolable right for "conquered Nazis," but not, apparently, for citizens of the United States...

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




Dear Teabaggers: Here's something REAL you can actually worry about and/or take action on...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2009 2:18pm PT  

As we recently noted in some detail, Diebold's election division (now calling themselves Premier Election Solutions) has been purchased by their larger rival ES&S who, as we described at the time, has a well-established record for being tops in the election industry, both in size, and when it comes to thuggish, mafioso-like business tactics.

Saturday's Evansville Courier & Press highlighted just one minor example of such tactics:

[J]eers go this week to an old and extremely bothersome issue with Election Systems & Software, the company that manufactured and serviced the county's electronic voting system. The county is contesting some $112,000 it says the company owes it. One of the items on that list is $38,019 for precinct kits. The company charged Vanderburgh County about $120 each for these kits, supposedly designed to meet workers' needs at voting precincts. The kits consisted of cardboard boxes containing Scotch tape, paper election forms, rubber bands and pens. Local election workers found they could make their own for about $1 each.

While that one case is fairly small potatoes, it's fairly representative of the way this company does business. In the meantime, while the teabaggers have their panties in a collective wad about imaginary things they fear may someday happen to take away their rights, right now, immediately under their noses --- the same noses which failed to notice the stench of the unprecedented raping and looting of the federal government by their own Republican pals over the last eight years --- their right to a transparent, verifiable, citizen-overseen public election has also been stolen from them. Yet they're too busy watching Fox "News" and drawing pictures of Barack Obama as The Joker to notice.

With the ES&S takeover of Diebold/Premier, their nearest competitor, the privately-run election Goliath now has an un-overseeable lock on virtually every election in the United States of America.

Take a look at these two startling maps --- showing control of U.S. elections, before and after the takeover --- which Glenn Beck has yet to instruct his brain-dead zombies to give a damn about...

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




Bargain-basement sale price; Anti-trust complaints to be filed; Dreadful history of failure by both companies
Merger causes concern among Election Integrity experts...
By Brad Friedman on 9/3/2009 7:10pm PT  

The world's largest corporate e-voting supplier is about to become even larger. Today, TX-based Premier Election Solutions, the beleaguered and oft-failed voting division of OH-based parent company Diebold, Inc., announced they have been purchased by oft-failed e-voting goliath Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S). The move, if allowed to stand, would "consolidate most U.S. voting under one privately held manufacturer," according to one election watchdog who has announced plans to file an anti-trust complaint concerning the sale with the Department of Justice.

Diebold, facing lost money, lost reputation, lost votes and multiple legal battles, has been trying to unload its election division for several years. Having failed at first, the company created an "independent" entity, Premier --- same pig, damned near same lipstick --- in hopes of regaining money and reputation, if not votes. That failed too.

But somehow, as reported today, Diebold was able to convince Nebraska-based ES&S, the nation's largest election company and supplier of 100% unverifiable voting systems, to agree to the purchase.

Diebold says it purchased the election division from Global Election Systems, Inc., for $31 million in 2002. Today, Diebold announced it will sell to ES&S for just $5 million, plus 70% of any cash from outstanding accounts receivable as of August 31.

Unless they've made special arrangements already with Diebold, the people at ES&S --- no stranger to lost votes themselves --- may quickly be saddled with a fair amount of liability from the storied past and continuing failures of Diebold products across the country.

That is, if the acquisition, which is sure to quash any such "competition" in the market which might still exist, is allowed to stand in the first place...

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




Media, Congress yawn...
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2009 10:05am PT  

RAW STORY's coverage of the news, and the release of the video demonstration of how to hack a Sequoia AVC Advantage electronic voting machine, began this way last week:

A team of computer scientists at University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan and Princeton University announced a new way to electronically steal votes Monday.

"We wanted to find if a real criminal could do this, starting from scratch, with no access to source code or other closely guarded technical information," the announcer begins. "We faced several challenges: getting a voting machine, figuring out how it works, discovering a weakness, overcoming the machine's security features and constructing attack software."

"In the end we found that it is possible to undetectably change votes and that such an attack takes a lot less time and money than one might expect," the announcer said.

A Princeton professor was able to acquire five voting machines for just $82 that had been resold on a government surplus website. The acquired machines were originally sold by Sequoia Voting Systems.

Hacks of our electronic voting systems used to be big news. Now though, it's been done so many times, and is apparently so simple to do, that the news hardly registers in the corporate mainstream media (if it ever did in the first place). Yet, almost nothing has been done about virtually any of it to date.

We reported on the Princeton professor, Andrew Appel, acquiring the five Sequoia AVC machines two and a half years ago, that he was able to pick the lock "in seven seconds", and change the chips inside to do anything he might want the machine to do, including change votes after the close of polls on Election Day. The five machines that Appel purchased for $82 on the Internet were purchased by New Jersey just a few years earlier for $10,000 a piece. The state still uses the same hackable, 100% unverifiable voting machines, despite numerous failures during actual elections.

At the time of Appel's purchase, Sequoia Voting System had been touting their "tamperproof products, including ... the AVC Advantage," which, they said, "are sought after from coast to coast for their accuracy and reliability."...

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




Editorial on key national election reform bill egregiously misrepresented by both the 'Paper of Record' and the Democratic U.S. Congressman who authored it...
By Brad Friedman on 7/15/2009 12:27pm PT  

It's been nearly a month since the New York Times misinformed readers by describing NJ Democratic Congressman Rush Holt's national election reform bill (H.R. 2894) by inaccurately writing that it "would require paper ballots to be used for every vote cast in November 2010."

As it's currently written, it will do no such thing. It won't be until 2014 that a paper ballot for "every vote cast" will be required.

Election integrity expert Ellen Theisen, of VotersUnite.org (who had previously endorsed the bill, until withdrawing the group's endorsement after a different provision was amended prior to final introduction), told us earlier this month she believed the Times' assertion, in the unbylined editorial, was a "glaring inaccuracy" and a "complete misrepresentation of the bill."

Election attorney John Bonifaz, director of VoterAction.org, which has fervently endorsed this version of Holt's bill, later concurred, in response to a request for comment from The BRAD BLOG, that the Times was inaccurate in its representation of the bill.

While the Times has yet to take note, or issue a correction, Holt himself has responded to our concerns by somewhat re-writing the bullet-point on his website --- which had previously offered inaccurate language describing the bill almost identical to the Times' mischaracterization --- in order to somewhat more accurately describe what the bill actually does...

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




A week later, the 'paper of record' fails to correct egregious 'paper ballots' error in endorsement editorial
Democratic Congressman's own website touts endorsement, repeats same fictitious information about bill...
By Brad Friedman on 7/1/2009 1:19pm PT  

It was a "glaring inaccuracy," according to VotersUnite.org's Ellen Theisen last week.

Yet, even though it's been more than a full week since the New York Times ran an editorial endorsing Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)'s new election reform bill (H.R. 2894), in which they included a huge factual error about the legislation, they have failed to issue a correction. Neither have they even bothered to respond to letters to the editor detailing the error, sent to them when we first pointed out the problem last week.

While several aspects of their editorial misled readers about the bill, as we detailed in our original article, one assertion made by the "paper of record" was just out and out incorrect, when they erroneously asserted the following:

Mr. Holt's bill would require paper ballots to be used for every vote cast in November 2010.

On that point, the Times is just plain wrong. Any reading of the bill would quickly reveal as much. Theisen would later call it a "complete misrepresentation."

While the bill, as currently written, would require Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting machines to print "paper trails" (otherwise known as "voter verifiable paper audit trails" or "VVPAT") by 2010, it decidely does not "require a paper ballot to be used for every vote cast in November 2010." Paper ballots for every voter will not be required by Holt's bill, as it's currently written, and as it's been introduced in the House, until 2014. That's two federal elections away, including one Presidential election. The Times is off by four years in their assertion.

That the NYTimes --- again, known as the "paper of record" for a reason --- would get something as important as that blatantly wrong in an editorial endorsing such a sweeping piece of legislation, is rather incredible in the first place. That they've not bothered to issue a correction, or even respond to a letter pointing out the error, is mind-boggling.

But their appears at least one reason --- though hardly an excuse --- that the Times might have gotten it so wrong. Congressman Holt makes the same wholly erroneous assertion about his own bill on his own Congressional webpage...

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




By Ellen Theisen on 6/29/2009 5:01pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org

Co-Editors: Dave Klein and John Washburn

In Pierce County, WA, indications are that Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) may be a failed experiment. 63% of the voters didn’t like it, and the auditor says scrapping it would save the county $600,000. The County Council voted to amend the county charter to repeal the mandate for RCV; the voters will make the final decision in November.

Smartmatic still hasn’t submitted its incorporation papers to the Philippines Comelec, and its local partner, TIM, has pulled out of the joint venture.

Internet voting is now being considered in Canada and Nova Scotia. Is there no end to the wack-a-mole of unobservable ballots? Prove in one place that Internet ballots are an exercise in unjustified trust, and the idea pops up its head in another.

Today's articles about the Voting Rights Act deal with how to minimize future challenges....

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




Editorial endorsing Rep. Holt's Election Bill Misleads, Gets Facts Wrong...
By Brad Friedman on 6/23/2009 3:28pm PT  

The New York Times just doesn't get it. You'd think, by now, they would. But they don't. And they should print a correction immediately.

In a brief, unbylined editorial yesterday, headlined "How to Trust Electronic Voting," the paper endorses this year's version of Rep. Rush Holt's election reform bill (H.R. 2894). The editorial is misleading and, even worse, blatantly (and inexcusably) inaccurate on at least one important point...

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




State officials say case of alleged voting improprieties in 2002 and 2004 'still pending' nearly five months since complaint filed...
By Brad Friedman on 6/22/2009 5:05am PT  

It's been nearly five months since the official complaint about Ann Coulter's alleged voter fraud in 2002 and 2004 was filed in Connecticut, yet state election officials continue to refuse comment on the status of the case beyond acknowledging that it's "still pending," as recently confirmed by The BRAD BLOG.

Several charges of absentee voter fraud were alleged in the complaint against Coulter in Connecticut, where evidence shows she cast absentee ballots illegally while living in her then permanent New York City residence.

In addition to the head of the California GOP's voter registration firm pleading guilty to fraud last week (his company, Young Political Majors, is under investigation in several other states as well, and is alleged to have secretly changed thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican, denying voters the ability to cast votes in last year's primary), and the Republican election official in Kentucky who last month pleaded guilty to participating in a massive election fraud conspiracy beginning in 2002, there still remains the outstanding official investigation into the allegations against Coulter, the GOP's storied Queen of Voter Fraud.

If all you watched was the Fox "News" Channel, however, and their increasingly bizarre --- and yet still evidence-free --- "investigation" into "voter fraud" by ACORN, you'd have no idea. That, even though Coulter herself continues to parade in front of their cameras as a regular guest without ever being asked about the official inquiry in the second state to investigate voting improprieties by the GOP superstar.

"The delay in this case is inexplicable given they need to prove two things: where she registered to vote/voted and where she lived when she registered to vote/voted," the complainant in the case, Daniel Borchers, a Christian conservative who has long opposed Coulter's behavior, told The BRAD BLOG. "Both are easily proven."...

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




Progressive Marcy Winograd tells The BRAD BLOG why she plans to run against L.A.'s powerful U.S. Rep once again...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/21/2009 12:21pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ernest A. Canning

[Ed Note: Winograd will be one of my guests on the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show, which I'll be guest hosting all this week from 6p-9p PT, 9p-Mid. ET, on Monday night. Please tune in! - BF]

On October 20, 2005 Time magazine reported that when confronted with the prospect of an FBI investigation into whether she improperly enlisted the support of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) left a voicemail stating that any investigation of her would be "irresponsible, laughable and scurrilous."

Yet, as reported by Jeff Stein of CQ Politics on April 19, 2009, Harman “was overheard on a 2005 National Security Agency wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two former [AIPAC] officials. “In return, the Israeli agent pledged to help lobby for Harman to become chairwoman of the House Intelligence Committee,” Stein reported.

According to Tim Rutten in the LA Times on April 22, 2009, however, "Harman denies any inappropriate actions, let alone a quid pro quo, and Tuesday sent an angry letter to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. demanding that the full transcripts be released." Rutten, who described it as a "faux scandal," points out that Harman neither "intervened on behalf of the lobbyists" nor became chairwoman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Recently, Marcy Winograd, President of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles (PDLA), whose 2006 campaign was covered by The BRAD BLOG, announced her intentions to challenge Harman again in the 2010 Democratic primary election. In an email response to our query asking about her intention to run again against Harman, against whom she lost in '06, and about some specific issues of interest to our readers, Winograd noted that she has been a champion of election integrity issues, taking on a Republican CA Secretary of State for his direct work with Diebold lobbyists, as well as challenging U.S. Rep Rush Holt (D-NJ) for his 2007 election reform bill because of "its institutionalization of electronic voting systems."

She also said she intends to hold President Obama "accountable, whether it be closing Guantanamo or ending military tribunals or promoting diplomacy over war," even as she notes that she was "alarmed" by the "recent news reports of Harman's quid pro quo with AIPAC," and writes: "I feel it is my responsibility to run [against Harman], to offer constituents a choice, a real choice."

Her email response follows in full below...

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




Modern elections have become a parlor game dangerously and needlessly imperiling democracy in the bargain...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2009 3:29pm PT  

At the risk of undermining the vigorous debate and discussion now ongoing in response to my Saturday morning article drawing a comparison between Iran's '09 election and Ohio's '04 election (and the ongoing speculation about the reported Iranian results going on just about everywhere else today), allow me to amplify a bit on the point I was hoping to get at in that piece, written as reports were just coming in about skepticism in the reported results.

Since The BRAD BLOG began reporting on issues of democracy and concerns about elections, most intensely beginning on or about the early morning hours of November 3rd, 2004 and continuing ever since, we've likely investigated, researched and/or written as much or more on virtually every aspect of the topic as any other media outlet in the world.

In the process of observing one election after another since that time, and the increasingly inevitable ensuing questions about, as well as disbelief and/or belief in the validity of each election's results, one thing has become crystal clear: without complete transparency and 100% citizen oversight of every aspect of any given election, most notably the tabulation of its ballots, certainty in any given officially-announced result has become nearly impossible.

Without the transparency required for democracy to actually work, each "democratic" election, whether in this country, or in any other, has become more and more like Russian Roulette, but without the certainty...

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




Without citizen oversight and transparency, 'faith-based' elections threaten democracy no matter where they are held...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2009 11:19am PT  

It sounds a lot like Ohio 2004. A less than popular old-line incumbent facing massive public demonstrations against him and in favor of his main progressive challenger promising reform; polls that suggest a swell of support for the challenger; unprecedented turnout on Election Day; long lines at polling places; paper ballot shortages and names missing from voter rolls; widespread rumors, concerns, and evidence of voter intimidation and vote-rigging, all accompanied nonetheless by a general feeling among the populace that the incumbent has been turned out, only to learn from officials, late on Election Night, after secret vote counting, that the incumbent has been declared the winner of a second term.

The most substantive difference from Ohio 2004, however: the declared winner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is said to have defeated his main opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi by a 63% to 34% "landslide," instead of the razor-thin margin seen in Ohio (and across the popular vote in the rest of the nation). In Iran, a result of anything less than 50% + 1 for the leading candidate would have triggered a national runoff election.

The other main differences between Iran '09 and Ohio '04: New York Times is already asking "Landslide or Fraud?" this morning; in Iran, supporters of the challenger are taking to the streets; and the challenger himself has already called the election results a "fraud"...

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




Joins 'Internet Voting' and 'Vote-by-Mail' schemes as the latest bad ideas poised to further cripple American democracy
PLUS: IRV count fails in Aspen's first instant runoff election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2009 1:38pm PT  

[Updated with a response from L.A. County Registrar Dean Logan. See end of item for his complete email in response to this article.]

Gautum Dutta, of the Democratic-leaning Asian American Action Fund blog notes a recent L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting which "discussed a study on the cost of special elections and Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)" [emphasis added]...

While speaking to the Board of Supervisors, Registrar Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan testified how low voter turnout and high costs have plagued our special elections. Logan urged the County to seriously consider anything that would reduce voter fatigue and save money.

In the past two years alone, $9.3 million of taxpayer dollars have been spent on special elections. Of that amount, over $3.6 million dollars were spent on special runoff elections (counting the upcoming July 14 runoff in CA’s 32nd Congressional District).

If IRV had been used instead of special runoff elections, taxpayers could have saved up to $3.6 million.

Note to Messrs. Dutta and Logan: Taxpayers could save even more money if we simply allow you two to just decide for us who gets elected!

As Logan, chief election official of the nation's largest voting jurisdiction (larger than 43 states combined see Logan's correction to this at end of article) has had more than enough problems with the current voting system which can't even add one plus one plus one accurately, such that it is virtually impossible for anybody to verify the accuracy of results, the last thing this county needs is to complicate the math even further by confusing matters with IRV's complicate scheme of ranked choice voting where voters are asked to select a first and second place choices, etc.

For that matter, unless, and until, we can simplify our election procedures such that any and all citizens are able to oversee and verify the accuracy of their election results, no jurisdiction in this country should employ schemes like IRV, no matter how well-meaning supporters of it may be in hoping to allow a broader range of candidates and parties to have a shot at winning an election.

Along with the emerging nightmares of Internet Voting and Vote-by-Mail, IRV is yet another one of the horrible wack-a-mole schemes being endlessly advanced by advocates and profiteers who put winning elections and making money off them, over the idea of transparent, verifiable, secure democracy and self-governance expressed of the people, by the people and for the people.

Addendum... From last Friday's Aspen Daily News:

More than three weeks after Aspen’s first-ever instant-runoff election, city officials announced an error in the tabulation of the final-round vote totals for mayor. ... The error did not surface in either of the council tallies or in any other rounds of the mayoral instant runoff voting tally, officials said. ... Accuracy tests were publicly conducted before the election but they did not catch the problem that ultimately occurred.

Clarification & UPDATE, 8:52pm PT:...

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




Paul DeGregorio's 'Everyone Counts' was paid to carry out fully unverifiable, unsecure Internet, phone election in Honolulu
Voter participation plummets 83% to boot...
By Brad Friedman on 5/28/2009 12:20pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

As if the former U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio hadn't done enough damage to our nation's electoral system during his disastrous reign as a commissioner from 2003 to 2007, it looks like he's now more than happy to cash in on his Bush-appointed public post in the private sector as Chief Operating Officer for a dubious Internet voting operation.

Everyone Counts (E1C) is the San Diego-based firm which ran "America's first all-digital online and telephone election" in Honolulu, which was completed last week. That's the way it was described by Aaron Contorer, the company's Chief of Products and Partnership, in a very thinly disguised press release, sadly posted, as if a news article, recently by Huffington Post. [Full Disclosure: We also contribute articles to HuffPo, though we try to offer news, rather than press releases.]

As COO of Everyone Counts, DeGregorio has posted a video commercial (and a bad one at that, see the bottom of this article where it's re-posted) on his bio page at the company website. His face is also featured on the front page of their site. In the short video, DeGregorio crows about his 22 years in the election "business" while posing in front of the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument in D.C.

Trading on his former self-proclaimed status as "America's chief election official," DeGregorio endorses the private company for which he now works, noting in the video: "I've been involved in this business for 22 years, having risen to the, America's Chief election official. And I have found that Everyone Counts is the place for me to be, because it's the only organization that provides transparency, accessibility, security and choice. And I think that's the most important thing for any election official, anywhere in the world."

While evidently accuracy doesn't even make DeGregorio's list of "most important thing[s] for any election official" --- not surprising, given his oversight, during his tenure at the EAC, of federal approval for myriad electronic voting systems that fail to meet federal accuracy standards --- the idea that EC's Internet voting schemes provide "transparency" seems to be entirely without evidence, as The BRAD BLOG confirmed with a representative of the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office which sponsored last week's election.

Moreover, Everyone Counts' virtual election in Hawaii, according to late news reports this week, seems to have been a dismal failure, at least if the 83% plummet in voter participation might be taken as any indication, in addition to the election's lack of transparency and verifiability.

Numerous commenters, including us, left responses to Contorer's misleading and disinformative HuffPo item, noting serious concerns about E1C's "all-digital" voting scheme. Concerns were expressed by many posters about citizens' lack of ability to verify the accuracy of votes cast, and of transparency and security in the system which, Contorer claims, employs "military-grade encryption technology." He goes on to try to convince readers that it's also "faster, more reliable, and more secure than if they had voted on paper." He failed to answer to any of our critical comments, however, and neither did he offer evidence to back up his claims about his company's superior reliability and security over fully-transparent, paper-ballot voting.

Despite his shameless promotion, and an offer in his video to contact him with any questions, DeGregorio himself did no better in responding to our request for comment in regard to our concerns...

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




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