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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, June 30, 2016
Sanders, Clinton Surrogates Clash Over Democratic Party Platform: 'BradCast' 6/29/16
Guest: Ben Norton of Salon on the fight for progressive reform; Also: Trump seeks torture, CA seeks weed, some seek 'Texit'...
1000s of CA Primary Votes 'Saved' by Citizen Observer: 'BradCast' 6/28/16
'Ballots for Bernie' vote count observer Julie Tyler explains how she helped change L.A. County's provisional tally rules...
'Green News Report' 6/28/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly WV flooding, CA fires; World emissions pact undermined by Brexit?; VW to pay $15B in emissions scandal; PLUS: TransCanada demands $15B from U.S. for KXL rejection...
Previous GNRs: 6/23/16 - 6/21/16 - Archives...
Sunday Stay or Go Toons
Some sit in, others find the exit in Pdiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons from all sides of the pond...
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; 700th 'GNR'!...
'Green News Report' 6/21/16
OUR 700TH EPISODE!!! Record heat in S.W.; Bernie wants YOU to fight climate change; PLUS: Obama climate change warning for national parks...
About That 'Stolen' Democratic Primary: 'BradCast' 6/20/16
Brad has a few thoughts. Plus: Sanders' call for progressive candidates and GOP/NRA/Trump gun lies, and more evidence elections matter...
Sunday Keepin' Bear Toons
The nation's political cartoonists on Orlando. 'PDiddie' rounds up political cartoonists response to Orlando and the end of Primary season...
Broken Party; Bernie's Message; Hillary Rising: 'BradCast' 6/17/16
A year into Trump. Sanders 'revolution' just starting? 'Red' states could turn 'blue'...
Former CDC Injury Chief on Federal Gun Research 'Ban': 'BradCast' 6/16/16
Dr. Mark Rosenberg on his 1996 'Dickey Amendment' showdown w/ Congress, NRA; Also: Dem 'filibuster' forces gun votes, Obama in Orlando...
'Green News Report' 6/16/16
House GOP to roll back pollution standards; May 2016 hottest on record; Clean Power Plan saves $38b/year; PLUS: Trump for climate action before against it...
Bullets and Ballots: 'BradCast' 6/15/16
Fights over both continue, after Orlando Massacre and Presidential primary voting. We cover the latest on both, take listener calls, and 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...


State AG: 'These [Diebold] systems are very, very bad'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2009 12:05am PT  

The AP has finally noticed the long-sought criminal investigation ballot count of the 2006 Pima County (Tucson), AZ, special election. State Attorney General Terry Goddard's hand-count of the disputed Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) election was concluded, at least for now, in Phoenix on Wednesday. That's when AP filed its report on the matter that we've been covering here at The BRAD BLOG in a number of special reports and exclusives, in great detail, this week, last week, and for several years prior.

AP's coverage was fairly cursory (recent inside joke: AP didn't report who the AG's office had found to be the "leading vote-getter"), but it hit a few points worth noting, including one of the key take-aways from the entire, epic morality tale still playing out on behalf of the entire U.S., in Arizona:

Maricopa County election workers have been hand counting ballots from a 2006 Pima County transportation election to determine if the vote was rigged by tampering with optical-scan polling machines and turning “no” votes into “yes” votes.
...
What may be of even greater concern is the voting machines in Pima County, which includes Tucson, are similar to those used in 12 of Arizona’s 15 counties and in hundreds of jurisdictions across the country.

If it turns out the election was rigged by manipulating Diebold Elections Systems (now Premier Election Solutions Inc.) computer election programs, as some fear, it will show weaknesses in electronic balloting that could endanger the democratic process.

There you have it. That's why this story matters, and why it's far more than simply a "local story."

It also matters on a still-broader level because, even if the 2006 Tucson RTA election wasn't rigged --- and it's three years on, and nobody yet actually seems to know for certain --- due to the god-awful, privatized, untested, hackable, oft-failed, secret vote-counting machines we now use in our public elections, it's become virtually impossible to know if any elections counted on such machines were accurately tabulated.

AP notes that Goddard seems to finally be understanding that larger point, at least:

No matter which way the recount goes, state Attorney General Terry Goddard said he is convinced the equipment jeopardizes election integrity.

“These (Premier) systems are very, very bad,” Goddard said. “(They) are not state of the art in terms of security. They are not state of the art in terms of transparency.”

The Arizona Republic's Dennis Wagner pulled some details from AP's cursory coverage and augmented it substantially for more lengthy, detailed coverage filed on Wednesday as well, which we're happy to see and recommend.

* * *

In a related note: Tucson election integrity advocate John Brakey saw charges against him dismissed by a judge today, following his arrest ordered by Pima County election officials last year during a state-mandated, post-election hand-count --- a statutory mandate that likely would not have existed were it not for Brakey's advocacy for such post-election "audits."

The county's case against him was so bad Brakey wasn't even required to put on his own defense before the judge dismissed the case entirely after hearing the county's testimony. The recent criminal investigation hand count carried out by Goddard, and all of the issues discussed above, would also likely never have come to light in Arizona, had it not been for the tenacity, courage, and tireless determination of Brakey. Exclusive details on today's dismissed charges against him posted earlier here...

As long promised, The BRAD BLOG has covered your electoral system 2008, fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going. If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details on that right here...



AG-selected party observers barred from taking notes, or video-taping long-sought manual tabulation of paper ballots from disputed 2006 election...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2009 11:52am PT  

We wrote late last week, in some detail, about Arizona AG Terry Goddard's long overdue hand-count of paper ballots from the dubious 2006 Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) bond special election in Pima County (Tucson). The count of all 120,821 paper ballots from the election begins today in Phoenix as part of a criminal investigation, following years of allegations and court cases, in which a trans-partisan group of Election Integrity advocates in Tucson have sought transparency and public oversight following indications that Diebold tabulator databases may have been manipulated by election insiders.

Goddard's restrictions on political party observers --- just one per party, selected by the AG, not by the parties themselves --- was the cause of criticism by all of the involved parties (Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, etc.). But a letter [PDF] late last week from the AG's office indicated, at least, that a live, eight-camera video feed would be available on the Internet.

"Eight cameras will stream live video of the examination proceedings to the internet courtesy of the Maricopa County Elections Department," the AG promised. And, as the count began this morning, that feed is now up and running here.

Unfortunately, unlike Minnesota's recent, very transparent hand-count of 2.9 million ballots from the state's still-contested U.S. Senate race, the video from the Maricopa County Ballot Tabulation Center (BTC) is all but worthless, as critics had previously worried, in determining if counts are being carried out accurately.

Here are screen shots from this morning, as counting began, from all eight camera-views --- only two of which show any actual counting at all, while six of them are focused on different areas in the Phoenix counting facility (click a photo to see the live streaming shot)...

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




65 25 vote margin for Democrat, with 100% precincts reporting
Will all come down to absentee ballots...again...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2009 10:39pm PT  

[Update 4/1/09: Murphy's lead shrank to just 25 votes "after local election officials began double-checking totals and their math today".]

Can't you citizens make up your minds?! Please?! The NY-20 U.S. House Special Election held today to fill the vacant seat of now Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is, of course, too close to call. Big time. Sigh.

The Democratic candidate Scott Murphy leads the Republican Jim Tedisco by just 65 25 votes out of more than 150,000 votes cast at the polls (lever machines, the last state to have them), with 100% of the precincts now having reported in tonight. It would be quite a come-from-behind victory for Murphy if he's able to pull it off, as Tedisco had been leading in the polls, in the heavily Republican district, until just a few days ago.

Of course, this will all now come down to the absentee ballots cast in the race. Just like Minnesota. The NY Board of Elections must now work out a schedule for their counting, as there are still a number of days for those to come in. It's being reported tonight that some 10,055 absentee ballots went out, "including 1,882 military and overseas ballots, of which 5,907 total had been returned" so far.

As Gregg Levine at FDL noticed earlier this afternoon, in a peculiar legal move, the NY Republican Party filed a strange legal motion [PDF], long before the polls were even closed, including this pre-emptive election challenge:

Ordering the respondent New York State Board of Elections and the Commissioners thereof to certify the name of James Tedisco as elected to the public office of Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, 20th Congressional District, in Dutchess, New York, at the Special Election held therefor on the 31st Day of March, 2009, or alternatively enjoining the improper issuance of a certificate of election for the said public office.

That part of the motion, Levine reports in a followup was "struck out by the court on the spot". They didn't buy the old "heads I win, tails you lose" routine from the GOP, apparently.

But the last graf of Eric Kleefeld's TPM coverage of the NY-20 race tonight deserves an all-time special prize:

This race is headed to the court system, which will oversee the counting and recounting of votes. One problem Murphy might have is that Al Franken's lawyers aren't available right now. And in Tedisco's favor, Norm Coleman's attorneys are busy, too.

UPDATE 4/8/09: Over the past week, the lead has shifted back and forth several times between Murpy and Tedisco in advance of the hand-count of some 7,000 absentee paper ballots set to begin today. We've got a quick update on the week's roller coaster ride as the count gets underway, now posted here...




'Final' draft for introduction, committee process sees important improvement following criticism from BRAD BLOG last month; But substantive concerns still remain
A review of the good, the bad and the still ugly...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2009 2:32pm PT  

Due, in no small part, to the concerns expressed in our February analysis of the January draft version of this year's Election Reform bill being introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) in the U.S. House, along with a bit of "lobbying" his office for a key change after the publication of that article, the updated version of the bill [PDF], said by his office to be the "final" one before introduction, has been slightly --- one might even say, significantly --- improved to meet one of our major concerns.

Still, while there is a lot of much-needed reform in this federal legislation, there remain many concerns with it as well. So let's take a quick, updated look at the good, the bad and the ugly in the soon-to-be-introduced "final" version of Holt's "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2009"...

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




Presentation to election officials underscores years of reporting at The BRAD BLOG, including dangers of voting machine 'sleepovers,' and Sequoia Voting Systems' continuing ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2009 4:02pm PT  

- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

"I follow the vote. And wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to...make bad things happen," CIA cybersecurity expert Steven Stigall explained, in a stunning presentation to a U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) field hearing held one month ago in Orlando.

As initially reported earlier this week by Greg Gordon at McClatchy, "Stigall said that voting equipment connected to the Internet could be hacked, and machines that weren't connected could be compromised wirelessly. Eleven U.S. states have banned or limited wireless capability in voting equipment, but Stigall said that election officials didn't always know it when wireless cards were embedded in their machines."

"The CIA got interested in electronic systems a few years ago," Gordon reports Stigall as explaining at the EAC hearing, "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

But as disturbing as Stigall's presentation was, what's almost as disturbing is that it took more than 11 days, McClatchy's coverage, a number of FOIA requests from VotersUnite's John Gideon (a frequent guest blogger here), and a couple of articles from BRAD BLOG alum, Michael Richardson of the Examiner (his coverage is here and here), before the EAC finally released the complete transcript of the meeting [WORD], including Stigall's remarks.

"The presenter did not provide the presentation, 'Computers and Elections: The Growing Potential for Cyber Vote Fraud', to the EAC, so we have no materials responsive to your request," Gideon was told in response to his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the EAC, as reported by Richardson. "We received the transcript on March 16, 2009, and it will be publicly available in the next few days."

As of last night, 10 days since the EAC admits they received the transcript of their own event which had taken place 20 days earlier, they had neither sent it to Gideon in response to his request, nor posted it on their website. As of this morning, a month since the hearing, it's finally up on their website, thanks in part, no doubt, to the pressure brought on the EAC by the public to do so. Even then, Stigall's remarks are not posted separately, as other presentations are, but rather, one has to go looking for the full transcript of the actual event to find it. So why both the delay and obfuscation from the famously dysfunctional (a nice way to put it) federal agency? Make your own best guesses, since there is no official explanation for the moment.

Happily, there were others at the meeting who had transcribed the CIA cybersecurity expert's startling remarks --- decimating the idea of supposedly "secure" e-voting --- independently, who then helped to bring it to the public's attention. Clearly, the strongly pro-e-voting EAC had/has little intention of doing so themselves.

Stigall's presentation, and we've got much more of it excerpted below, include a passel of disturbing thoughts. Many of them we've tried to impart on these pages for years, including comments which point up the dangers we've tried to warn about concerning pre-election voting machine "sleepovers" at the houses of pollworkers, and more indications of the dangers of Sequoia Voting Systems clandestine, on-going relationship with the Hugo Chavez-tied Venezuelan e-voting firm Smartmatic, as we reported exclusively here one year ago --- to little interest from the corporate media, despite Sequoia's claims to federal investigators that they had severed all ties with the firm...

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




Terminates all contracts - including voter registration system - following California county's discovery, disclosure of major flaws in Diebold/Premier voting systems...
By Parke Bostrom on 3/25/2009 1:42pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Parke Bostrom of the Humboldt Transparency Project

At the California Secretary of State's public hearing regarding the possible decertification of Diebold's tabulator systems, GEMS v1.18.19, in relation to the "Deck Zero" covert deletion of 197 ballots in the November election, the audit log's magical "clear" button, and the GEMS audit logs failing to report when ballots were manually deleted by the operator, Diebold/Premier representatives tried to shift blame for the 197 deleted ballots onto the Humboldt County, CA, Registrar of Voters, Carolyn Crnich.

Crnich responded, "If you're saying that your system needs to be checked every damn time we turn it on, I agree with you."

Crnich's use of an expletive seems to have pushed Diebold/Premier's legal counsel over the edge, causing them to reach for and firmly press the "nuke" button in response, by petulantly informing the county of termination of licensing for the use of any of the company's products.

Several days after returning to Humboldt, following the hearing in Sacramento, Crnich received two letters from Premier. Both letters arrived in a single envelope, but unlike Premier Khrushchev's two letters to President Kennedy, Crnich did not get to choose which letter to respond to....

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




By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2009 1:43pm PT  

"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."
Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf (aka "Baghdad Bob"),
Iraqi Information Minister, April 2003

Michelle Shafer is the "Baghdad Bob"-in-chief of the e-voting industry. She's the VP and spokesperson for Sequoia Voting Systems and spokesperson for the e-voting industry as a whole via the Election Technology Council (ETC), a "trade group" created and sponsored by the nation's top four e-voting companies (ES&S, Sequoia, Diebold/Premier, and Hart Intercivic) to help spread their anti-science, anti-reality, pro-e-voting propaganda.

In the very last line of an article published on Thursday, on yet another e-voting related issue (which we may cover in more detail later), Michelle "Baghdad Bob" Shafer is quoted thusly:

Sequoia spokeswoman Michelle Shafer noted, however, that no electronic voting system has been compromised in an election.

As irony would have it, Thursday was also the very same day that news broke of the arrest of a cabal of election official insiders --- including a circuit court judge, the school superintendent, and a number of both Democratic and Republican polling place judges --- charged with having used the electronic voting system to compromise election after election, from 2002 to 2006 in Clay County, Kentucky.

Of course, very strong evidence exists that many other elections have been similarly manipulated on electronic voting systems by election insiders (see here, for just one example), including by both election officials and employees of the various private vendors whom Shafer represents. Much of that evidence, however, has been held at arm's length from citizen election integrity advocates under the absurd argument that that information is a proprietary, legally-protected trade secret. That specious argument has been made for years by the very government-funded corporate welfare queens, like Shafer's companies, that have been paid by our government to privatize our public elections.

So it's been difficult, at least until last week, to point disinformation experts like Shafer to the very evidence that reveal her statement, repeated time and again, to be a lie --- thanks in no small part to the "trade secret" claims of folks like Shafer. Get it? It's a helluva self-perpetuating scam...

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




By John Gideon on 3/19/2009 4:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

More bad news for a voting machine vendor. This time the California Secretary of State’s office has announced that they have settled their lawsuit against ES&S. It was back in 2007 that the state discovered that ES&S had ignored state laws and sold uncertified voting machines to some counties as if they were certified. CA filed a $15 million lawsuit against the company, and now ES&S has agreed to provide $3.2 M to the state’s coffers by way of settling the suit.

Will it make any difference in the long run? Probably not. ES&S will continue their past bad business practices and many of their customers will continue thinking they only have the choice provided by ES&S....

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




US Attorney said to have worked with state was installed after US Attorney firings; Strongly suggests DoJ violations...
By Brad Jacobson on 3/18/2009 2:40pm PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

Part of the reason I've been off the radar for so long --- my latest investigative report for RAW STORY:

Federal agencies were involved in the decision to raid the office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Nevada last October, just weeks before Election Day, the offices of Nevada’s Secretary of State and Attorney General say.

The allegations raise questions of whether politics played a part in the raid and calls into question assertions by the US Attorney’s office that they were uninvolved. Federal guidelines instruct agencies investigating election fraud to avoid action that might impact the elective process.

Bob Walsh, a spokesman for Nevada’s Secretary of State, and Edie Cartwright, a spokeswoman for Nevada’s Attorney General, said that not only were the Nevada US Attorney’s Office and the FBI involved in investigating Nevada ACORN on allegations of voter registration fraud but that all four agencies jointly made the decision to conduct the raid. Both the investigation and the raid were conducted as part of the joint federal-state Election Integrity Task Force announced last July, the spokespersons said.

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




By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2009 2:00pm PT  

I guess I'm just in the minority here, but I'm having a bit of trouble getting exercised about $165 million (just to put that into perspective, the movie sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian had a budget of $200 million) in bonuses to AIG employees.

Yeah, it's a shame that approximately one-tenth of one-percent of the $144 billion made available to the company by the federal government in bailout monies went to such bonuses, but where is all the furor from public officials, media outlets and bloggers --- from both Right and Left --- over the 12 billions of dollars (with a "b") sent over to Iraq as pallets of cash (literally, shrink-wrapped $100 bills), which then simply disappeared into that trillion (with a "t") dollar rat hole without accounting or explanation?

Where is the outrage and accountability there? Nowhere.

How about the $4 billion (with a "b") that went to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 to purchase privately made electronic voting systems which don't work and don't meet the federal standards it was claimed that they did?

It's curious, but not particularly surprising by now, the stuff that folks in Congress get selectively pissed off about, the stuff that media (both mainstream and blogosphere) go selectively wall-to-wall over, versus the stuff they don't.

You'll pardon me if I'm not particularly moved much at all by the latest round of AIG sturm-und-drang, hand-wringing, navel-gazing, finger-pointing and speechifying. Oh, and about the still-free bin Laden, and the still-free anthrax killer...well, don't get me started. Guess those things don't much matter.




Startling admission made during public hearing in CA to consider decertification of the company's voting and tabulation software...
By Mitch Trachtenberg on 3/17/2009 11:06pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Mitch Trachtenberg, with Brad Friedman

Even the audit log system on current versions of Premier Election Solutions' (formerly Diebold's) electronic voting and tabulating systems --- used in some 34 states across the nation --- fail to record the wholesale deletion of ballots. Even when ballots are deleted on the same day as an election. That's the shocking admission heard today from Justin Bales, Premier's Western Region manager, at a State of California public hearing on the possible decertification of Diebold/Premier's tabulator system, GEMS v. 1.18.19.

An election system's audit logs are meant to record all activity during the system's actual counting of ballots, so that later examiners may determine, with certainty, whether any fraudulent or mistaken activity had occurred during the count. Diebold's software fails to do that, as has recently been discovered by Election Integrity advocates in Humboldt County, CA, and then confirmed by the CA Secretary of State. The flaws, built into the system for more than a decade, are in serious violation of federal voting system certification standards.

The problems may lead to decertification of the company's voting systems, as well as an examination of voting systems made by other companies to determine if they too may have been able to sneak such violations past both federal and state testers...

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




A draft summary of what I see as the most important, most doable, federal election reform priorities for 2009...
By Brad Friedman on 3/10/2009 5:49pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, The BRAD BLOG

Okay, so I've been asked on several occasions, since the election last year, what I regard as the top priorities for election reform in the U.S. of A. In hopes of keeping it simple, stupid, at least until I hear opinions on these back from you folks, here is a summary list of the most important, and most eminently-doable-at-the-federal-level reforms as I see it.

I welcome your thoughts, recommended changes, additions, etc. For the moment, this is not meant as a comprehensive list of all needed reforms, particularly at the various local levels. But it's meant as a list of the big ones, as I seem them, and the ones for which I believe we could actually find a consensus in this Congress sooner rather than later. Nor is this meant as whitepaper with arguments and details for each item. But hopefully most regular readers of The BRAD BLOG will understand what these reforms entail and why they are necessary, as written in this summarized, simple list.

After hearing from you all, I may post an updated version later and/or set these up on their own page, in order track legislation for each of them as they roll (or don't) through Congress. Here's the list...

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




New CA SoS report confirms findings of 'Humboldt Transparency Project,' discovers even more egregious failures in widely-used Diebold voting counting system
One of the citizens who designed the software, responsible for the startling discoveries, offers his thoughts...
By Mitch Trachtenberg on 3/4/2009 1:40pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Mitch Trachtenberg of the Humboldt County Election Transparency Project

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has released a remarkable 13-page report [PDF] of her office's investigation into how the Diebold/Premier GEMS software silently dropped all votes contained on 197 ballots from the Humboldt County, California, November 2008 general election.

The report shows that this version of GEMS not only deleted a batch of ballots without any request by --- or alert to --- the elections staff, but also failed to note the deletion in the system's audit log. The report also points to other startling deficiencies with Diebold/Premier's software: "Key audit trail logs in GEMS version 1.18.19 do not record important operator interventions such as deletion of decks of ballots, assign inaccurate date and time stamps to events that are recorded, and can be deleted by the operator."

That's right. The Diebold/Premier vote tabulation system in question not only fails to record all events accurately, and sometimes at all, it also allows anyone with access to the system to completely delete audit logs, covering the tracks of any tampering that may have occurred, at any time, on the system.

Any of these flaws, the report concludes, "appears to violate the 1990 Voting System Standards to an extent that would have warranted failure of the GEMS version 1.18.19 system had they been detected and reported by the [federal] Independent Testing Authority [ITA] that tested the system."...

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




The democracy the U.S. helped to create in Germany gets it, while, as usual, the U.S. itself remains largely clueless and/or indifferent to the need for transparency in its own...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2009 10:42am PT  

A finding by the "highest court" in Germany has found electronic voting to be unconstitutional...

Germany's highest court has ruled that the use of electronic voting in the last general election was unconstitutional.
..
September's upcoming elections looks set to see a return to the more traditional pencil and paper countrywide.

Constitutional judge Andreas Vosskuhle said that the judgment did not rule out digital voting for once and for all, but added that the equipment used four years ago did have shortcomings.
...
The use of electronic voting was challenged by a father-and-son team. Political scientist Joachim Wiesner and son, physicist Ulrich Wiesner complained that push button voting was not transparent because the voter could not see what actually happened to his vote inside the computer and was required to place "blind faith" in the technology.

In addition, the two plaintiffs argued that the results were open to manipulation.

It took only four years, since e-voting was first deployed widely in Germany, for the country, and its highest court, to find that secret vote counting was unacceptable in a democracy, while the political-structure, media-structure and judicial-structure in the U.S. still remain largely clueless, or otherwise uninterested in either transparency or democracy.

Congratulations are due to our German EI advocacy brethren (as well as those in Holland who figured it out long before Americans did, as well):

German hacker-cum-data-protection group Chaos Computer Club has been spearheading a campaign with the Dutch foundation Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet (We don't trust voting computers) to stop the further spread of electronic voting because of fears about the risk of electronic errors and the potential for abuse.

In 2008, the Dutch government decertified the use of existing paperless systems and rejected a proposal to develop a new generation of voting computers.

Germany and Holland: Our new shining cities upon a hill.




By John Gideon on 3/3/2009 4:10pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Yesterday, the California Secretary of State released a letter [PDF] to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and a report of their findings with regards to the problem discovered in early December, in Humboldt Co., with disappearing ballots on the Diebold GEMS v. 1.18.19 voting system.

The letter actually challenges the EAC to take action in “requiring that, for every voting system certified by the EAC, the voting system vendor report any and all flaws and problems with the system to the EAC and to the elections officials in the states where the system is used when such flaws are discovered.” And Secretary Bowen has taken the action herself by sponsoring legislation in California that will do what she has challenged the EAC to do.

The report is amazing in that it reveals why our voting systems are failing. The issues with the GEMS software go much deeper than just the fact that the system may lose votes. The state also found readily apparent violations of the federal voting system standards. These violations seem to have been ignored by federal test labs, by the National Assoc. of State Election Directors (NASED), and their consultants who qualified the voting system for use, and by-passed CA Secretaries of State and their consultants.

The big question is, will the EAC, staffed by people who were involved in the original NASED “rubber-stamp” of GEMS 1.18.19, take any action? Will they post the letter and report it in their “clearinghouse?” We certainly hope so. The present CA Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, and her staff deserve congratulations and appreciation for a job well done so far. It will be interesting to hear what follow-up actions will now be taken on the federal and state levels....

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




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