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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 25, 2014
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
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Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
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Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
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'Green News Report' 10/16/14
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'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
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WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
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Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
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Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'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
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DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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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
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


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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A Notable Victory for Democracy Advocates Among Continuing Anti-Democracy Efforts by Republicans and the DoJ Around the Country
Court Decision May Ease Concerns Shared with BRAD BLOG by a Noted Sunshine State Election Official…
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2007 3:33pm PT  

More good news out of Florida, where a judge has tossed out an outrageous anti-voter law which, critics charge, could well have disenfranchised thousands of Sunshine State voters (again) just in time for the 2008 Presidential Election. We spoke just last week with Ion Sancho, Leon County (Tallahassee)'s legendary Supervisor of Elections, who expressed grave concerns about this very law, even as Republican's promise to appeal the judge's decision, and continue other anti-voter related efforts about the country.

According to the Miami Herald's breaking coverage this morning...

TALLAHASSEE --- A federal judge ordered state election officials to stop enforcing a 2-year-old voter registration law, ruling Tuesday that there is already proof that the change put in place by the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature has resulted in ``actual harm to real individuals.''

About 14,000 people have not been able to register because of Florida's ''no match'' law that requires a citizen's name on a voter registration form be matched with a Social Security number or driver's license number. The law has been challenged by the NAACP and other groups that say the law unfairly blocks blacks and Hispanics from being able to register to vote.
...
U.S. District Judge Stephan Mickle rejected arguments from the state that the law is needed to deter possible voter fraud, pointing out that the state has not been able to prove that the 14,000 voters now in limbo engaged in voter fraud. He said the requirements put in place by Florida lawmakers apper to conflict with federal voting rights laws.

''The disenfranchisement, however unintentional, causes damage to the election system that cannot be repaired after the election has passed,'' Mickle wrote in the order.

The article goes on to report that FL's appointed Republican Secretary of State, Kurt Browning, says the state will appeal the ruling, about which he says, "in my view the Legislature appropriately enacted this important anti-fraud provision as part of Florida's Election Code."

Browning's comments, unfortunately, come as little surprise for a number of disturbing reasons...

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

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MSNBC Producer Tells BRAD BLOG They Intend to Continue Extensions of 'Long Overdue' Investigative Series...
By Brad Friedman on 12/18/2007 1:07pm PT  

MSNBC's Live with Dan Abrams special week long series, "Bush League Justice" has been extended. It continued yesterday with a bonus installment covering John Tanner's resignation as voting chief in the DoJ Civil Rights division, and his shuffle over to a different position within the same Civil Rights department. The video of the segment is posted at right.

Abrams was outraged at the lateral move for Tanner, and his attempted re-writing of the history of his shameful record, in his "farewell email" to colleagues. Guests David Becker, a former DoJ Civil Rights Division attorney, now of People for the American Way (PFAW) and Washington Post's Dana Milbank, both concurred that Tanner's comments, as video-taped, and originally reported by The BRAD BLOG were instrumentally in his "demise".

The extension to the investigative series shores up Abrams' promise which concluded last week's "final" episode...

“Now while this was the last episode of this series, our 'Bush League' investigations are far from over. A new Attorney General has taken over. We are going to be watching very closely. The days of Justice Department malfeasance remaining under the mainstream media radar are over. You are on notice.”

Abrams once again showed a clip from our video, and this time with proper credit (Thank you!). He initially reported on the Tanner controversy, using a clip from our video, in the opening episode of the series last Monday.

As well, we heard yesterday from a producer on the show who told us they felt there would likely be much more to come in what may now be a now-continuing series. In the bargain, we were able to discuss a number of other BRAD BLOG stories which may be of interest to them in future shows. So, stay tuned...

(Hat-tip to Alan Breslauer for both the above video, and the original video-tape of Tanner which started it all, from last October's National Latino Congreso here in Los Angeles, where he made his now-infamous remarks!)

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All Voting Systems by ES&S Completely Decertified; DRE Touch-Screens from Sequoia Banned; Optical-Scan Paper Systems by Hart InterCivic Banned; All Systems by Diebold/Premier Conditionally ALLOWED for Use!
SoS Admits Federal Certification Process, Now Overseen by Former CO SoS on Behalf of EAC, 'Has Been Very Weak to Date'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2007 3:37pm PT  

Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, has announced that a number of Colorado's e-voting machines have failed state certification testings, and will not be allowed for use in the 2008 election cycle. The announcements came at a news conference in Denver which completely just minutes ago.

Describing the state's testing of four major voting machine companies previously certified in the state, Coffman explained to reporters at the presser that there were "over 3000 tests on each vendor['s systems], and over 40,000 pages documenting the tests."

"This has been an extensive process," he said, after detailing several remarkable findings from each of the systems testing. For example, test results showed that paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart InterCivic "could not accurately count ballots." While Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) systems made by ES&S, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, could be disabled by "denial of service" attacks at the polling place with a device as simple as a magnet.

"If you were to put a magnet in close proximity or inside the port," Coffman said at the press conference today, "that would, in fact, disable that particular voting machines and it would have to be literally reprogrammed...to bring in back into circulation for that election."

While virtually all of the systems tested were found to have major vulnerabilities, a number of them were "conditionally certified" for use as long as new security mitigation requirements are met. Notably, both op-scan systems and DREs made by Diebold (now known as Premier) were given conditional certification for use, despite Diebold systems having been banned in several states previously, including California, Ohio and Florida, due to a long list of critical vulnerabilities.

A summary of the decertified and conditionally certified systems follow (links to more information on each, at the end of this article):

  • All voting systems made by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), both paper-based optical-scan and DREs, were completely decertified. Their op-scan systems tested, according to Coffman, "both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors." Their ubiqutous, and fatally flawed iVotronic DRE system "failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems were conditionally certified, while their DRE systems were completely decertified for use, as they "failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart Intercivic were decertified "because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots"(!), while their DRE voting system was conditionally certified.
  • And finally, both optical-scan and DRE voting systems made by Diebold/Premier were conditionally certified for use in Colorado.

Coffman's announcement comes today, months after the state had hoped to have the results available, due to sluggish participation by the voting machine companies, many of whom delayed supplying required information, such as voting system source code, as requested by the Secretary of State's office.

All of Colorado's electronic voting systems were decertified just prior to the November 2006 election when a state judge ruled, in a lawsuit brought by state voters, that testing and certification procedures for e-voting systems in the Centennial State were inadequate, largely non-existent, and in violation of state law. As the judge's decertification order came just prior to that years' elections, the systems were allowed for use, but decertified immediately thereafter. The state was forced to begin the certification process from scratch thereafter...

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

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The Discredited ACVR's Disgraced GOP 'Voter Fraud' Fraudster Reviving His Once-Popular Huckster Routine...
By Howard Beale on 12/17/2007 11:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by Howard Beale of Fired Up! Missouri...

In an irony of ironies, the man famous for fabricating --and then suddenly disappearing-- an organization expressly for purposes of spreading misinformation about "voter fraud" in order to suppress Democratic vote counts, is now hitting classrooms to teach Missouri lawyers about campaign finance laws and lobbyist disclosure.

Thor Hearne is apparently set to headline an event next week sponsored by the Missouri Bar which is titled "Then and Now: Update on Campaign Finance and Lobbying Laws."

Perhaps Hearne will lovingly detail all the steps that one can take --hypothetically, of course-- to concoct front organizations that serve as proxies for partisan interests and then lobby legislatures for needless statutory changes that will strip away rights from legal voters and provide their party with structural electoral advantages.

This appearance by Hearne seems to be the latest in a series of contrived efforts to re-enter the public sphere after several months in hiding. Hearne largely disappeared from the scene after he became a touchstone of the actions of a corrupt and politically motivated Department of Justice --- who brought "voter fraud" prosecutions timed to coincide with elections, in violation of written DoJ procedures, etc. --- and suffered well-deserved beatings at the hands of Congressional investigators.

Hearne has recently surfaced, comically, as an election "expert" in a silly piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jo Mannies and as the author of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 41 Congressional supporters, including Missouri GOP nuts Sen. Kit Bond and Rep. Roy Blunt, of Indiana's anti-voter voter identification law which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Presumably, Hearne believes that people have somehow forgotten that he was proven to be a charlatan and laughingstock just a few months ago. Neither FiredUp! Missouri nor The BRAD BLOG has forgotten.

The one saving grace of the Missouri Bar's seminar may be that Hearne's anti-rights ranting will be balanced out by one of his co-presenters, attorney Rob Heggie, who possesses a long record of standing up in favor of protecting the rights of Missouri voters.

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR "Voter Fraud" scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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Anonymous Blogger Offers Evidence-Free Claim That 'Left-Wing Activist' Academics and SoS Brunner 'Cooked Up' Report Results Showing All Buckeye State E-Voting Systems Vulnerable to Failure, Fraud, Easy Tampering...
By Brad Friedman on 12/16/2007 2:21pm PT  

The anti-democracy faction of Ohio's GOP party launched an extraordinary assault on the state's elected Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, following the release (BRAD BLOG's full coverage here) of her landmark, independent study of e-voting systems on Friday.

Shamelessly (an inaccurately) writing on the Ohio Republican Party's blogsite, an unnamed writer posted the following opening to a critique of the $1.9 million bi-partisan study [strikethrough included in the original]:

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner found some left-wing activists academics to issue an expensive taxpayer-funded "study" criticizing Ohio's election system.

"Left-wing activists"? Incredible. And wrong. And slimy enough on its own --- never mind the rest of the blog item, which gets even worse, as posted by an unnamed election terrorist from the Ohio GOP --- to merit an immediate apology and retraction by the Ohio Republican party, along with the outing and firing of whoever the official was who wrote it...

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

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Laughable Response Similar to Those Made by Academics, Election Law Attorneys in Support of E-Voting Technology...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2007 6:30am PT  

Try not to laugh. But here's Diebold's response to the new study from the state of Ohio showing their crappy, untested, inaccurate, unsecure voting machines --- and those made by their equally duplicitous friends at ES&S and Hart Intercivic --- to be extremely vulnerable to tampering with the use of household items as simple as a magnet or a personal digital assistant.

As if to continue pushing their bad luck with yet another dare, the Diebold statement says, "It is important to note that there has not been a single documented case of a successful attack against an electronic voting system, in Ohio or anywhere in the United States."

Okay, guys. This is getting exhausted (and just plain sad), but be careful what you wish for.

"Even as we continue to strengthen the security features of our voting systems," Diebold/Premier writes, "that reality should not be lost in the discussion."

"Continue" to "strengthen"? (Supply own joke here)

Yet, the company who is so proud of their work that they changed their name from Diebold to Premier for no other reason beyond the fact that the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent work of their voting division has disgraced the parent company, says "Premier has performed a host of modifications and enhancements to its software to further strengthen system security. Our new suite of products is expected to soon complete the yearlong federal certification process, and will be available for installation in 2008."

Goody. We'll buy a new supply of magnets right away.

Finally, and without evidence, they add: "We should also not lose sight of the very real improvements in voting accuracy that have been achieved with the deployment of modern touch screen systems."

Really? Where's the evidence for that? Unfortunately, Diebold is not alone in making that specious claim...

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

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Result of State's First Ever Testing of E-Voting Systems Find All Systems 'Vulnerable' to Manipulation and Theft by 'Simple Techniques'
SoS Brunner Recommends Paper Ballots Optically-Scanned at County Headquarters for Buckeye State...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007 2:35pm PT  

The results of new, unprecedented testing of e-voting machines in the state of Ohio are in, and the findings mirror the landmark results of a similar test carried out earlier this year in California.

"Ohio's electronic voting systems have 'critical security failures' which could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State," says Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in a statement which accompanied the release of the report today on the SoS' website. Brunner, a Democrat, was joined in her press conference (video now here), called today to discuss the results of the testing, by Ohio's Republican House Speaker, Jon Husted.

Brunner is calling for a ban on all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in the state, along with a ban on precinct-based optical-scan paper based systems, charging that the central counting of ballots at the county would eliminate "points of entry creating unnecessary voting system risk."

The State's bi-partisan "Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing" (EVEREST) report finds, as did California's study, as did virtually every other independent test of such systems, that violating the security and manipulating the "federal approved" electronic voting systems, is a breeze.

"To put it in every-day terms," Brunner said, "the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant."

"The results underscore the need for a fundamental change in the structure of Ohio’s election system to ensure ballot and voting system security while still making voting convenient and accessible to all Ohio voters," said Brunner, who has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for failing to act quickly enough concerning the voting systems to be used in next year's crucial election, as well as for failing to seek accountability for the exceedingly well-documented and now-infamous charges of election fraud and voter suppression in the 2004 Presidential election under her predecessor J. Kenneth Blackwell.

While the effort is long overdue in Ohio, actions being taken by Brunner, in light of the test results, are less stringent than those taken by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen after tests in her state. Brunner's recommendations, some of them quite puzzling, are likely to come under some fire in the bargain, from Election Integrity advocates in Ohio and elsewhere...

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Controversial Comments, First Reported by The BRAD BLOG, Lead to Re-Assignment at Office Which Oversees Claims of Discrimination in Immigrant Employment Practices
Civil Rights Division Staffers Reportedly 'Overjoyed', Though Suggest 'Incalcuable Damage' to Department 'Will Take a Very Long Time to Repair'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007 11:04am PT  

The controversial head of the DoJ Civil Rights Division, Voting Section, John Tanner, finally resigned from his position as of 11am ET this morning...

Today, John Tanner resigned from his position effective immediately as chief of the Civil Rights Division's voting section. His resignation email, with the subject line "Moving On" was sent out at approximately 11 AM to voting section staff. He said that he will be moving on to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.

"The resignation of John Tanner is long overdue," writes one happy voting section staffer to The BRAD BLOG this morning, saying that he and his colleagues are "overjoyed at the news."

"Since becoming Section Chief in 2005 and even before, Tanner demonstrated that he cared only about serving his Republican overlords' desire to suppress minority voting to help the Republican Party win elections and not about the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. A great many long-time members of the Voting Section staff are overjoyed at the news of his departure," the staffer tells us, adding that a celebration is in the works.

"We are already planning a party for next week --- not a 'John Tanner goodbye party' but a 'goodbye John Tanner party.'"

At right is the most notable section of the now-infamous BRAD BLOG video, taped by our own Alan Breslauer at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles and which kicked off the most recent firestorm over Tanner's tenure. In it, as we reported exclusively at the time, Tanner explains his reasoning for over-ruling the majority opinion of career staffers in his own department in order to approve a controversial Photo ID polling place restriction in the state of Georgia. The measure was later found unconstitutional and declared to be a modern day Jim Crow-era poll tax by two federal courts.

Tanner says in the video, that though it's a "shame" that the elderly might be disenfranchised by such laws, "minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

"Mr. Tanner had a clear record of undermining the core mission of the section – protecting the right to vote," Rep. Jerrod Nadler, chair of a House Judiciary subcommittee which oversees Tanner's department, said in a statement today in response to the resignation. "Tanner was actively seeking to curtail that cornerstone of American democracy. The right to vote is the foundation of all our liberties and it must be protected."

Tanner's current and former DoJ colleagues characterized his taped comments on the Georgia ID law as "ludicrous", "false" and "cherry-picked". The comments would lead to various calls for his firing from Barak Obama, Nadler, Ted Kennedy, the DNC and a number of civil rights organizations over the past two months.

The chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, was so incensed by Tanner's comments, as well as his previous efforts at white-washing a DoJ investigation of election fraud and voter suppression during the 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, hearings were called in the House in late October, featuring an even more shameful performance by Tanner (video highlights/lowlights here), who would be described by the Washington Post afterwards as "one sorry man."

In response to Tanner's testimony at the hearings, The BRAD BLOG posted a letter from a voting section staffer, excoriating his sworn comments to the panel as "not credible", adding that Tanner had "lost no time in twisting the truth" in his testimony.

Tanner's long, often rambling resignation email sent out this morning (posted in full at the bottom of this article) skillfully attempts to re-write the history of his shameful tenure. In it, he conflates past performance of the department, beginning with his original arrival at DoJ 30 years ago, with the Civil Rights division's more recent and politicized history during which six years passed without a single lawsuit against African-American voter suppression have being filed.

Just one such case was filed under the DoJ's Voting Rights Act Section 5 oversight mandate, and it was a reverse-discrimination case in which white voters in Mississippi were said to have been discriminated against.

A special series on "Bush League Justice" by MSNBC's Dan Abrams premiered this week. In it's opening episode on Monday, Abrams focused on the DoJ's disastrous Civil Rights Division, and once again played a clip from Tanner's "minorities...die first" comments which we originally captured.

"Under Mr. Tanner's leadership, the Justice Department essentially took positions that disenfranchised minorities and the elderly," Nadler echoed once more in his comments today.

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Files Amicus Brief to SCOTUS in Indiana Photo ID Case, on Behalf of New Congressional 'Clients'
Dems Indignantly Issue More Harshly Worded Statements, as Voter Suppression Mainlined by Bush DoJ...
By Brad Friedman on 12/12/2007 10:15pm PT  

It was almost three years ago that The BRAD BLOG first spotted the conspiracy long-range business plan being fronted for the Republicans by GOP con-man/operative Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II. The scheme became immediately transparent, to those who wished to see it, when his brand-spanking new "voting rights" group scam, calling themselves the "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), popped up at a phony Congressional hearing on the 2004 Election, in March of 2005, as chaired by the now-jailed felon from Ohio, Rep. Bob Ney (R-Abramoff).

Hearne had identified himself at the hearing only as "a longtime advocate of voter rights and an attorney experienced in election law," conveniently omitting that he had been the very partisan national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. and had founded the "non-partisan" ACVR with his "non-partisan" partner, Jim Dyke, who had previously been the communication director for the RNC. (Shortly thereafter, the "non-partisan" Dyke went on to work for the "non-partisan" Dick Cheney at the White House, and now fronts for the "non-partisan" Rudy Giuliani.)

We spent a good portion of the ensuing three years with our hair on fire, trying to wave red flags about the transparent scheme/propaganda that Hearne was selling: Phonied up data on a non-existent "epidemic" of "Democratic Voter Fraud" in order to force restrictive Photo ID laws at the polling place, meant only to keep millions of largely Democratic-leaning minority and elderly voters from being able to cast a legal vote at all.

After the U.S. Attorney Purge Scandal finally shed light on the Republican "voter fraud" scheme to the rest of the media, folks started paying attention and Hearne quickly shut down his ACVR shop.

But the mission had been accomplished, and the foothold the Republican scammers needed had already been established, with laws such as Indiana's Photo ID restriction that is now headed towards a hearing in the Supreme Court. The results of the decision could well help determine the outcome of the 2008 elections.

UPDATE: Alternet's Steve Rosenfeld picks up on this precise issue today, reporting on how the rightwing "ballot security" operatives are arguing to the Supreme Court in favor of pre-emptive voter challenges at the poll, without the necessity of having to show that any such voter fraud is actually occurring. As well, they are building their legal case on the idea that "fear of" voter fraud is enough to demand such onerous ID requirements, even though it is the same "right-wing activists who spent years creating and publicizing a myth of widespread voter fraud," who are now making the case that "perception of potentially corrupted elections is yet another reason why states should be allowed to police the voting process with new restrictions such as voter ID laws." These wingnut zealot bullshit artists are the best in the business. If you consider "best" to be most evil and "business" to be our frickin' American democracy.

Despite Hearne's claims, made earlier this year to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that The BRAD BLOG made it impossible for him to run his scam without public/media notice, the huckster is still at it. He's just filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case, on behalf of 41 GOP Congress members.

You didn't think he'd just slither back under his rock and stay there, did you?...

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

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Investigation Into Bush Administration's Use Of The DoJ To Expand Its Own Power
Piece Includes Snippet Of BRAD BLOG's Infamous John Tanner Video...Without Attribution!
By Alan Breslauer on 12/11/2007 12:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

The first part of "Bush League Justice", a special four-day investigation by MSNBC's Dan Abrams into the Bush administration's politicization of the Justice Department, which Brad previewed yesterday, began with a look into the "department's almost unrecognizable Civil Rights Division" (at left, 8:27).

According to Abrams, the Bush administration "has turned the Division against the very people it was designed to protect. Instead of pursuing discrimination cases on behalf of African Americans, the Bush Civil Rights Division has focused on supposed reverse discrimination cases against whites and religious discrimination cases against Christians." Abrams points out that between 2001 and 2006, "not one voting discrimination case was brought on behalf of African Americans."

The segment continues with Abrams questioning former DoJ attorneys David Becker and Alia Malek about the Bush administration "stack[ing] the deck against Democrats." In one example given by Becker, congressional redistricting plans thought to favor Democrats would get "very, very, serious scrutiny" while redistrictings that favored Republicans would receive a "very hands off approach" even if, as was the case in Texas, the plan was unanimously found to discriminate against Hispanics by career Justice Department officials.

In addition to stacking the deck against Democrats, Abrams states that the Justice Department has been "hijacked" by the far right. After evidencing this claim with a couple of telling statistics, a somewhat exasperated Abrams continues, "They fundamentally changed what the Civil Rights Division does. It's no longer there to protect African Americans. It is to go after reverse discrimination cases and also to try and promote religion in schools and other public places."

Part 1 continues (at the 6:15 mark) with Abrams playing the "pretty amazing statement" by John Tanner, the current chief of the DoJ's Voting Rights Section, about minorities not being disenfranchised by Photo ID laws because they "don't become elderly the way white people do, they die first." Unfortunately Abrams, like many in the mainstream media, failed to credit The BRAD BLOG for our original video and reporting of the incident.

Despite the slight we look forward to more excellent reporting on this long overdue topic throughout the week.

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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
NOW AVAILABLE! Video of the closing argument, exclusive to The BRAD BLOG and BlogForArizona.com
By Michael Bryan on 12/8/2007 3:35pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan, Esq. from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ..

The final day of testimony over the Pima County Democratic Party's public records request featured the remainder of the county's witnesses for the defense, a surprise call on an adverse witness, and pugnacious closing arguments. The matter now rests with Judge Michael Miller, who says he will decide the case within the next two weeks.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial is about, please see my introductory post. If you haven't been following along, you may want to take a look at my summaries of the first day, the second day, and the third day of trial.

In brief, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party is demanding Pima County release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election, and those from all future elections, arguing that they are public records. The GEMS software is highly insecure, allowing anyone with access to the computer it runs on to manipulate the outcome of elections at will and likely cover their tracks. Elections are thus highly succeptable to manipulation by elections insiders, and there is no way to detect or deter them without access to the databases for forensic analysis. Pima County's position is that we should trust them to take care of that risk through internal checks and balances, and that releasing the databases simply creates more security risks by outsiders seeking to hack an election.

The county's expert witnesses were Merle "the Man from Diebold" King, and Dr. John Moffatt, a consultant for Pima County's IT strategy. Summaries of and commentaries on their testimony is available on BlogForArizona.com, along with an detailed chronicle of the entire trial.

Both experts sought to convince the judge of the many security threats posed by release of the GEMS databases, and in my view, failed to sustain that position under the cross examination of the Democrats' attorney Bill Risner. Risner poked holes in all the threat scenarios the experts presented, showing them to be impracticable, absurd, or simply undefined.

Here's Risner's closing argument:


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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
PLUS EXCLUSIVE COURTROOM VIDEO of the Democratic Party's Attorney Presenting Case During Yesterdays Hearings...
By Michael Bryan on 12/7/2007 1:55am PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan, Esq. from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ...

The trial is heading into overtime. What was to be the third and final day of the trial ended with the Democratic Party having rested their case at the afternoon break and the County just getting into their witness list. Judge Miller called to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning with a determination to finish the trial.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial is about, please see my introductory post, and you may want to take a look at my summaries of the first day of trial and the second day of trial.

In brief, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party is challenging Pima County to release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election, and those from all future elections, on the presumption that they should be public records. There is a belief that the databases, if obtained by the party, may show fraud or other malfeasance by county election officials. The county maintains that releasing such information will make tampering in future elections easier, even though those same county officials and insiders have all the means and opportunity to manipulate elections.

Today, I have posted a full summary of the testimony of Pima County's head elections programmer Bryan Crane, started Wednesday and concluded Thursday. His testimony was expected to be very important, as it is the appearance of impropriety on his part that prompted the Democrats' inquiry and led to an investigation by Arizona's Attorney General and, ultimately, this lawsuit.

Crane didn't do the county any favors. He undermined his own credibility, developed a great fondness for the expression "I can't recall," and, upon questioning by Judge Miller, revealed that the security threats the County claims are posed by the release of the GEMS database following an election are illusory or highly implausible.

There was brief testimony from the former Chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, Paul Eckerstrom, who explained the decisions that led to the formation of the Election Integrity Committee, whose findings and research led to this point.

Once the Democratic Party rested their case, the county moved for a judgment as a matter of law, which asks the judge to decide the case in their favor on just the plaintiff's testimony. It is largely a pro forma motion, but it provided an opportunity for counsels to frame the case thus far. Democrats' attorney Bill Risner took the opportunity to test a few of the themes that will likely figure in his closing arguments.

That footage of Risner making his case, is about 10 minutes long and is presented at the end of this post, hot off our press pool camera, in a BRAD BLOG exclusive. The judge took only a few minutes to decide that the plaintiffs had presented a sufficient case that the County must proceed with their side of the case.

The County put on their first witness, the elections director of Gila County, Arizona, another jurisdiction using an identical GEMS tabulation system. The choice backfired significantly. Her testimony revealed that she was completely ignorant of any security issues with the Diebold system her county uses, presumably because she relies on the Arizona Secretary of State and the Diebold corporation for security information. Her county contracts out their election preparation to a private company based in Glendale, Arizona, rather than do it in-house like in Pima County. The private company she contracts with just sends them back a prepared database, which the county then uses in their elections, never having checked the contents of the database.

Except for logic and accuracy testing (running a few sample ballots), the integrity of Gila County's elections rests entirely on the honesty of that private contractor.

The county then put on Merle King, the director of Georgia's Kennesaw College Center for Election Systems. The Democrats' legal team calls him 'The Man from Diebold.' He is a professional expert witness in voting systems who never saw a Diebold system he didn't love. The county made quite a production of eliciting the information that Mr. King had been paid the handsome sum of $10 to appear. I guess it was meant to illustrate how independent he is, but his expenses are being underwritten by someone: my money is on Diebold. His testimony and more will be available tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy the Democratic Party's champion Bill Risner presenting his motion for judgment, direct from the courtroom yesterday...


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