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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
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IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
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About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
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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?...

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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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'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Magazine Says Nelson-Whitehouse Senate Bill Calling for 2012 Ban on Dangerous DRE Voting Systems a 'Stunning Reversal'
Uses Our Own 'Ford Pinto' Metaphor in Article Spurring One Writer to Proclaim to BRAD BLOG: 'DREs Are Now Junk in Mainstream Publications Such as Time!'
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2007 1:56pm PT  

Sure, the reporter at TIME magazine gets much of the terminology wrong (hey, he works for TIME, he doesn't have the kind of resources we do here at The BRAD BLOG to get things right when we report them, so we'll cut him some slack), but as a national writer friend of ours commented in a late-night email last night, "DREs are now junk, officially, in mainstream publications such as Time.com"

Well, it's about damned time.

Reporting on the new Nelson-Whitehouse Election Reform bill, which we covered late last week, and which would ban Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems by 2012, TIME declares that the reversal, since 2000, away from such unverifiable, unauditable, unsecurable voting machines "couldn't be more stunning," adding that the bill is "the clearest sign yet of the stampede away from touch-screen."

The report also quotes Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) mirroring his comments when he released the legislation with co-sponsor Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as saying "Voters have to feel confident that their ballot will count as intended." Last week he had said, in his statement, that DREs are "unreliable and vulnerable to error," and that "[t]he bottom line is we have to ensure every vote is counted – and, counted properly."

To which occasional BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger, Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us, asked Nelson rhetorically in comments here, if that's true, "as declared in your November 1 statement, why would you be willing to wait until 2012 for DREs to be banned?...I mean, isn't there a somewhat important election coming up in, oh, let's say, 2008?"

Good point, Em!

The TIME piece also quotes Dan McCrea, of the Florida Voters Coalition borrowing one of our own oft-used metaphors (which we are quite happy to donate to the cause!) in regard to those who fear banning DREs would be a huge waste of their previous investment in the shitty machines.

McCrea tells TIME that such thinking is similar to "buying a fleet of Pintos whose gas tanks you later find out blow up on you, but insisting you're going to keep using them because you spent all that money on them."

Thanks for getting that into TIME, Dan! Smartly done!

He also points out, for those who claim there is not enough time to switch away from dangerous DREs to paper ballots before the November 2008 Presidential Election, "New Mexico voted to convert back to a paper ballot system in the spring of 2006 and had it ready by last November's elections."

Thanks again, Dan. Now if we can just get those Democrats and Election Integrity folks who continue to negotiate with themselves by watering down their own bills, and putting off reform for years down the road --- in order to garner support from folks who are going to oppose them on such bills no matter what --- to start realizing that, and calling instead for real reform NOW, we might actually be in business!

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Nelson and Co-Sponsor Whitehouse Rewrite Originally Introduced Bill to Do Away with Discredited Systems by 2012 and 'Any Subsequent Year'
By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2007 11:07pm PT  

-- By Brad Friedman

After months of being told over and over by Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NJ) office, People for the American Way (PFAW), and many of the other most ardent supporters of Holt's flawed Election Reform Bill (HR811) that "there is no support in Congress for a ban on DREs," it looks like they must have been wrong. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and co-sponsor Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) filed such a bill today.

Here's the complete bill [PDF] which we've yet to read in full. But note this item from page 41, Line 7:

RESTRICTION ON USE OF DIRECT RECORDING ELECTRONIC VOTING SYSTEMS -
A direct recording electronic voting system may not be used to administer any election for Federal office held in 2012 or any subsequent year.

A ban on such machines, finally? Yes! By 2012? Unfortunately, yes. But let's overlook that last point for a moment.

In a statement issued by Nelson today, pointing out that DRE (often referred to as "touch-screen") voting systems are "unreliable and vulnerable to error," the senator says, "The bottom line is we have to ensure every vote is counted – and, counted properly...Citizens must have confidence in the integrity of their elections.”

The new language banning DREs was added today to a previous version of the same bill which Nelson had introduced originally in early Summer. This version "would be the first [bill] to seek a ban on electronic touch-screen voting machines in federal elections nationwide," according to his statement, which adds that the language was updated after a recent meeting with Florida's Republican Secretary of State Kurt Browning, once an ardent support of DRE voting systems.

When Nelson's original version of the legislation was introduced some months ago, it was largely a "clone version" of Holt's original HR811 introduced in the House, but with a number of extra provisions addressing concerns of voter intimidation and suppression.

Little attention had been given to Nelson's bill at the time, since the Rules Committee was regarded as having jurisdiction for any Election Reform bills in the Senate, and the committee chair, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), had made clear she intended to introduce her own version of Election Reform as the Senate counterpart to Holt's. She eventually introduced S. 1487, which has been subsequently criticized by Election Integrity advocates as being even more flawed then Holt's much-criticized bill.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: We were invited to work on the Holt bill prior to its introduction, and succeeded in adding several much-improved provisions. Yet the bill, as currently written --- and far more so since being drastically watered down throughout the committee process --- has failed to garner our support.)

DREs: "Not a Reasonable Voting System"

Neither Feinstein's nor Holt's bill had called for a ban on DRE voting systems, however, despite an outcry among Election Integrity advocates and a host of computer scientists and security experts who argued that DREs were vulnerable to hacking, non-transparent, prone to error, antithetical to democracy, and thus simply could not be used safely in elections. With or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail" (VVPAT) printer attached.

Johns Hopkins computer professor Avi Rubin testified earlier this year that "after four years of studying the issue, I now believe that a DRE with a VVPAT is not a reasonable voting system."

Stanford professor and VerifiedVoting.org founder David Dill, arguing in favor of the Holt bill, admitted, "I would personally prefer to see optical scan machines used nationwide."

And former legislative director of VoteTrustUSA.org Warren Stewart, now also of VerifiedVoting, had told a Senate panel earlier this year that while there were disagreements among some in the EI movement, most had agreed that touch-screen systems must not not be used. "While this broad based movement embraces a wide range of proposals and positions," he testified, "it is unified in the conclusion that the direct electronic recording of votes to computer memory is inimical to democracy."

And yet, all three of the above advocates, along with many others, continued to argue --- while failing to offer any actual evidence for the claim --- that there was simply no support for the idea of a DRE ban in either house of the U.S. Congress.

All the while, The BRAD BLOG had maintained that they, and the other Holt supporters, had fallen victim to a hoax by People for the American Way (PFAW). The popular public advocacy group had long pushed the unsupported notion that there was no congressional support for such a ban, in order to see the bill passed specifically without such a ban. It was one of several false notions being forwarded by the group in favor of the bill, as we argued both here and at Alernet early in the year.

A careful examination of PFAW's on-the-record statements, and numerous on and off-the-record conversations with their Executive Director and legislative leaders by The BRAD BLOG over many months, revealed that PFAW (almost inexplicably) has actually been advocating in favor of the use of dangerous DRE voting systems in American elections. It's fair to say that Holt's bill had thus been held hostage to ensure that such systems would not be banned.

But then came the fallout from the failed 13th Congressional District election last November in Nelson's home state, followed by California Sec. of State Debra Bowen's landmark scientific findings, Rep. Susan Davis's (D-CA) amendment this past summer, and a killer editorial from the New York Times as the tide began to slowly turn...

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

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Gives Details to BRAD BLOG Alleging Testimony from Chief of DoJ Civil Rights Division Voting Section 'Not Believable,' Full of 'Evasion and Prevarication'
'He Lost No Time in Twisting the Truth,' Says 'Anonymous' Staffer in E-Mailed Rebuttal...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2007 3:01pm PT  

During yesterday morning's contentious hearings in the House Judiciary subcommittee, featuring DoJ Voting Chief, John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, a staffer in that division who we've come to know contacted The BRAD BLOG to say "Tanner is lying through his teeth."

We asked the staffer --- who has requested to remain "anonymous" for obvious reasons --- to elucidate with details, which are now posted in full below...

I welcome the opportunity to respond to John Tanner's testimony yesterday in front of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

We in the Voting Section were amazed to watch John Tanner's evasion and prevarication. He lost no time in twisting the truth. In his opening statement, he gives his usual litany about all the suits the [DoJ Civil Rights Division Voting] Section has filed. A huge percentage of them have been meaningless, the kinds of suits that never would have been filed under previous leadership. In the past, the Section Chief would pick up the phone, call the jurisdiction, and the jurisdiction would change its procedures. Only truly intransigent jurisdictions got sued. Now, the protocol is that even if we negotiate with the jurisdiction, we sue them, and many times, a previously negotiated consent decree is filed with the court the very same day the complaint is filed. The only possible justification for doing this is to pad the numbers of lawsuits we're filing.

Tanner says "The Section is so productive because of the energy, the enthusiasm, and the commitment of the Section staff." At this point, the only thing that the Section staff could conceivably be said to be energetic and enthusiastic about and committed to is the departure of John Tanner and his handpicked acting deputies, Susana Lorenzo-Giguere and Yvette Rivera. Tanner's ineptitude has done something most of the committed supporters of civil rights in the Section never thought possible: it's given us common cause with people across the aisle. We disagree with their ideology, but as one of them told me only today, Tanner has few supporters even over there. We are united in our belief in their inability to manage the Section. Aside from this, morale is at an ebb that even falls below that which existed when Hans von Spakovsky and Brad Schlozman ran roughshod over the Section.

The letter continues below...

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

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Dana Milbank Takes Down the DoJ's Voting Chief With His Own Testimony from Yesterday's House Judiciary Hearing
ADDITIONAL VIDEO SPANKINGS: Reps. Davis and Ellison's Q&As in Full...
By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2007 1:02pm PT  

Wow. Snap. Washington Post covered yesterday's House Judiciary subcommittee hearings in two separate articles today and via one hell of an online video to boot.

Dana Milbank covered on page 2, opening with "John Tanner is one sorry man." Dan Eggen covered the "political uproar" that we kicked off here at The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago, on page 4.

But it's Milbank's online "video sketch" that cuts to the bone, offering the best first-hand encapsulated coverage of the hearings we've seen to date (far better, even, than the PBS News Hour's version last night).

Consider the following montage a "Must See!" And one that almost makes one begin to feel sorry for John "Minorities Die First" Tanner...

...We said "almost." But not by much. A reply to Tanner's testimony yesterday --- from an insider still forced to work under him at the DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section --- to come shortly.

In the meantime, if you've yet to see the full smack-downs that Tanner received yesterday at the hands of Reps. Artur Davis (D-AL) and then Keith Ellison (D-MN), the videos of both of those brutal Q&As are posted in full below, and are similarly "Must Sees!"...

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Faces Extremely Pointed Questions from Committee Members, Furious About Recent Comments Reported by The BRAD BLOG...
UPDATED NOW WITH VIDEO OF THE MOST CONTENTIOUS Q&A's...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2007 7:25am PT  

We're up before the West Coast dawn this morning to monitor the hearings in the U.S. House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties featuring John "Minorities Die First" Tanner. His recent objectionable comments were originally video-taped and reported by The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago.

The most objectionable of those comments including his contention that it was a "shame" that elderly voters might be disenfranchised by a 2005 Georgia Photo ID poll restriction that he approved on behalf of DoJ and against the advice of four out of five of his career staffers, minorities would somehow benefit from it. His twisted reasoning was that "because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way white people do. They die first."

Tanner, incredibly, is still the Chief of the Voting Section in the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.

It's being carried live and webcast on C-Span 3, as well as via the Judiciary Committee's own webcast.

Major points in our story so far...

Beyond that, Progress Report has an excellent round up of Tanner's "Erosion of Voter Rights" during his tenure.

The hearings have now ended, but our notes from our Live-Blogging of today's hearings are below, along with video clips of the key, and most pointed exchanges...

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

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Says John 'Minorities Die First' Tanner's Recent Remarks 'Underscore the GOP's Utter Disregard for the Integrity of our Nation's Election System'
Statement Issued in Advance of Tomorrow's U.S. House Judicary Hearings Featuring Testimony from Embattled DoJ Voting Rights Chief...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2007 12:46pm PT  

In advance of tomorrow morning's House Judiciary Committee hearing to feature testimony by DoJ Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, DNC Chair Howard Dean and Donna Brazile of the DNC Voting Rights Institute have issued a statement calling for Tanner to be "immediately fired."

"In their latest scheme, the Republican Administration has manipulated the mission of the Department of Justice, firing US Attorneys who were unwilling to pursue phony 'voter fraud' cases, and politicized the Civil Rights Division," the statement (posted in full at the end of this article) reads.

The release goes on to decry the politicization of the Bush Department of Justice, and what is described as their "outright assault" on the right to vote.

"Tanner's outrageous comments underscore the GOP's utter disregard for the integrity of our nation's election system and are an affront to the spirit of the Voting Rights Act," Dean and Brazile said, before declaring that the embattled Voting Rights Section chief "should be fired immediately and replaced with someone who will work to make sure that all citizens are able to vote and have their vote counted."

They call on Judge Michael Mukasey, if he is confirmed as the next Attorney General, to "commit to replacing Tanner with someone who will protect our rights, not ignore them for a partisan agenda."

As The BRAD BLOG recently reported, however, Mukasey made clear in his recent Senate Confirmation hearings that he does not object to restrictive polling place Photo ID laws which critics contend may disenfranchise anywhere from 10 to 30 million largely Democratic-leaning voters who do not have such ID.

Previously, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) have called for Tanner's firing. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) wrote Mukasey last week to ask if he will review the matter and consider the termination of Tanner.

Tanner's objectionable comments were made several weeks ago during a panel discussion on Photo ID issues at the National Latino Congreso in Los Angeles. Tanner, who approved a controversial Georgia Photo ID law on behalf of the DoJ against the advice of the majority of the career staffers in the Voting Rights section, admitted the law would disenfranchise some elderly voters and added that while that was a "shame," minorities would somehow be positively affected by such laws since "they don't become elderly. They die first."

(A short clip of Tanner's comments is posted at left.)

The Georgia ID law was later found unconstitutional and overturned by two federal courts that compared the restriction to a modern-day Jim Crow-era poll tax.

Paul Kiel at TPM Muck has a few more thoughts in advance of tomorrow's Judiciary Committee hearings.

Though Tanner comments were originally video-taped and reported by The BRAD BLOG, the DNC press release credits Fox News.com (thanks guys!).

UPDATE: Tanner apologizes for remarks! Sort of...

The complete DNC statement from Howard Dean and Donna Brazile as just issued, follows below...

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

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Get Yours, Signed by the Filmmaker, Before It's Released!
PLUS: Read to the End for How to Get a 'TroubleTown' BONUS Premium!
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2007 6:12pm PT  

NOTE: THIS PREMIUM OFFER HAS NOW ENDED. THANKS TO THOSE WHO CONTRIBUTED! WATCH FOR MORE IN THE NEAR FUTURE!

One of the finest and most uplifting (yes, uplifting) Election Integrity documentaries that I've seen to date is about to be released. It's Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections by Nashville filmmaker David Earnhardt, and he's been kind enough to offer The BRAD BLOG a number of signed copies of the DVD as premiums, for $50 donations or more, to help support our efforts here.

(DISCLOSURE: Yes, I was interviewed for and appear a number of times in this film, but we recommend you watch it anyway!)

Earnhardt began the project in early 2005 at the Nashville Election Reform Summit, and has been trekking the country every since to highlight the story of the 2004 disaster, the 2006 meltdown, and --- far more importantly --- what is happening, and what can be done to protect our democracy in 2008.

"This is not about the past. It's not about '04, or even 2006, it's about 2008," Earnhardt told me today. "The film is meant as a major call to action." And on that level, in every version that I've been able to see (a very early version was released as Eternal Vigilance prior to the '06 Election), the film does exactly that. I believe you will want to stand up and cheer at the end of this thing...before getting to work and taking action.

Check out the two minute trailer at left to get a taste!

Uncounted is an absolute must see for anyone interested in saving American democracy and, I might add, a perfect film for use at screenings, fundraisers, and house parties to get folks fired up and hitting the streets before 2008.

The film features segments on and original interviews with citizen heroes of all sorts, including election whistleblowers Stephen Heller and Clint Curtis, Election Reformer champions such as the heroic Emery County, Utah, (and now former) Registrar of Voters, Bruce Funk, Rep. John Conyers, and many many more of the patriots taking action in the EI movement.

If you'd like your own copy of the DVD, signed by Earnhardt (it officially goes on sale the second week of November), please click to donate $50 or more to The BRAD BLOG online or sign up for a monthly subscription of $20 or more via the blue form on the right side of this page.

You may also or send a donation via snail mail. Just include "UNCOUNTED" on the check or on a note sent with it to: Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594, Los Angeles, CA 90028.

SPECIAL SPECIAL OFFER!: I will be sending a signed copy of Lloyd Dangle's hilarious new TroubleTown toon collection, TroubleTown Told Ya So, out to monthly BRAD BLOG subscribers of $20 or more shortly, as a thank you gift. So sign up for a subscription now and consider it a twofer as long as I have enough copies to send!!

As ever, your support is greatly appreciated, and the only thing that allows us to pay the rent, have a sandwich each day, and keep the work we do here going...and going...and going...

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Washington Post Turns to Rightwing 'Nutroots' for 'Expert' Input...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2007 2:36pm PT  

A "Game of Chicken" is how Washington Post describes the current standoff in the Senate concerning the FEC nomination of GOP "voter fraud" zealot/operative Hans von Spakovsky. The nomination is currently at a standstill, along with three other FEC nominations that Senate Republicans insist be voted on along with him, in the wake of a hold registered by Obama and Feingold.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's D-NV) incredible "deal" to slide HvS's nomination through has, for now, thankfully come to a standstill. But the resultant standoff could mean no operational FEC in 2008 as only two commissioners are currently left, and a minimum of four are needed to vote on anything.

WaPo's piece includes supportive quotes, in favor of von Spakovsky, from hard right partisan and former FEC Chair Brad Smith. Yet it fails to point out how much of a rightwing bomb-thrower Smith --- who charged in his own Redstate blog item last week that HvS is "currently under attack for being a Republican" --- actually is. Would WaPo have given such prominence to someone on the other side of the political spectrum?

You'll note, in Smith's piece, written prior to WaPo's, that he refers to Democratic "nutroots" as being responsible for the hold, along with "the campaign finance zealotry of Senator Feingold." Smith, apparently, forgot to mention that Feingold's co-sponsor on that bill was John McCain, who --- last we checked --- is a Republican.

In short, Smith argues in his Redstate diatribe, that though HvS may have participated in GOP-backed voter supression efforts when he served at the DoJ, nobody has complained about actions during his tenure over the last many months as an absentee appointee at the FEC. To which we say, yes, after the Fox has overseen the mutilation of the chickens in the Henhouse, by all means, let's elect him as chief meat inspector for the USDA.

Beyond that, and in teeing things up for this Tuesday's heaings in the House Judiciary Committee, set to star John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, the outrageously still-employed chief of the Bush DoJ Civil Rights Division Voting Section, Christy Hardin Smith suggests the GOP may be "throwing Tanner under the bus" in favor of von Spakovsky. She catches us up with the latest today in "Hans Down".

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By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2007 1:19pm PT  

Our friend Jacob Soboroff, from the election reform site Why Tuesday, is asking folks to vote up his video question for Barack Obama, so that the question might be one of 10 asked of the presidential candidate during an MTV appearance scheduled for Monday (10/29) at 1:30pm ET.

To help ensure Obama gets asked the direct question on Election Reform, please click the green "thumbs up" icon just above Jacob's short video question here.

It'd be nice if the media began asking the candidates such questions about the one issue that underscores all others: What the hell do they plan to do about our crumbling electoral system?

More specifically, we'd love them to answer one question directly --- and hope that those of you out there attending their live events might bring a video camera and ask them directly!: "Do you support a paper ballot --- not a 'paper trail' or a 'paper record,' but a paper ballot, and one that is actually counted --- for every vote cast in America?"

But in the meantime, the question to Obama on MTV would be a step in the right direction. Please take 40 seconds to click the video link above and then click that green thumbs up button!

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Text Transcript, Video of Senate Hearings Reveal Federal Judge Less Than Concerned About Disenfranchising Poll Restriction Laws as Approved by John 'Minories Die First' Tanner on Behalf of DoJ Civil Rights Division...
ALSO: How Would California Voters Who Lost Possessions in This Week's Fires Vote Next Month if Such Laws Existed in the State?
By Brad Friedman on 10/26/2007 1:16pm PT  

"These remarks display a shameful lack of understanding and sensitivity that is unacceptable in the person charged with enforcing the nation’s laws against voting discrimination," Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) wrote in a question sent to Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey today concerning bizarre and objectionable comments made earlier this month by the DoJ's Civil Rights Division Voting Section chief, John Tanner.

Tanner, whose recent remarks at the National Latino Congresso in Los Angeles, as video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG earlier this month, have sparked outrage, leading to calls for his firing last week by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), this past Wednesday by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Civil Rights groups have also called for Tanner to be canned in the wake of his remarks claiming that Photo ID restrictions at the polling do effect the elderly, and that that's a "shame." But, minorities needn't worry because "they don't become elderly. They die first."

"The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division has failed miserably in its responsibility to enforce the Voting Rights Act during this Administration," Kennedy said in a statement quoted by TPM Muckraker. "The latest shameful revelations from the Section drive home the urgent need for the next Attorney General to install strong leadership to allow the Voting Section to return to its historic role in ensuring access to the ballot."

Kennedy's question to Mukasey, which TPM Muck has in full, ends with "If you are confirmed, will you review Mr. Tanner’s record and consider whether he should be replaced as head of the Voting Section?"

But for those paying very close attention to Mukasey's confirmation hearings last week, his position on the controversial Photo ID issue --- a concern since some 10 to 30 million legally registered voters, largely Democratic-leaning minorities and elderly, are believed not to have such IDs and would therefore be kept from voting --- was troubling.

We had to review the testimony several times, as given in answer to questions by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), to figure out where he fell on this issue. But a close reading reveals that, while Mukasey offered clear responses objecting to voter suppression issues such as misinformation concerning polling place location, he was far dodgier on the question of polling place Photo ID restrictions.

Close review of the transcript --- posted along with the video in full below --- reveals that Mukasey feels that overt disenfranchisement efforts via dirty tricks, such as misleading and/or threatening fliers and phone calls, definitely amounts to "flat-out fraud and pernicious fraud."

His feelings about disenfranchising Photo ID requirements, however, are far different...

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

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2008 Ballot Measure, Previously Declared Defunct, May Have Found New GOP Life...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2007 2:37pm PT  

When we wrote of the reported "death" of the GOP initiative/scam to split California's Electoral College votes we urged caution, suggesting that these guys don't just give up that easily. Not just because they get caught. As they did when it appeared an out-of-state Rudy Giuliani supporter appeared to secretly be behind the attempt to see the measure placed on next year's ballot.

The initiative, if it gains enough signatures, would make its way onto the ballot in next February's Presidential Primary Election. If passed, it would require that California's enormous number of electoral votes be apportioned as based on Congressional district support. That, instead of the current winner-take-all system used in the state and in the vast majority of the country. Critics, not without appropriate justification, have viewed the initiative as an attempt to steal the 2008 Presidential Election for the Republicans.

Late last night, Sacramento Bee reported that the initiative may be back on track, having found new, deep-pocket funders. Today, "The Maven" at dKos offers many more details.

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From DREs to the ACVR to the DOJ, The Republican Alphabet Soup Blueprint for Disenfranchisement and Miscounting in Next Year's Election Has Been a Well-Crafted and Well-Funded Work, Long in the Planning...
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman on 10/21/2007 5:04pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Columbus Free Press

ED NOTE: The following feature was originally published in the Autumn '07 print version of the Columbus Free Press. The comprehensive aerial overview --- connecting dots from 2000 to 2004 to the outlook for 2008, as based on a wide body of years-long investigative reportage and exposés as collected from a variety of sources, including The BRAD BLOG and many others --- offers such a useful round-up of "our story until now" that we thought running the piece in its entirety here would be a very good idea. We hope you agree.

With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP's neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare?

Think again – the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election.

With his usual devious mastery, Rove has seized upon the national outrage sparked by his electoral larceny and used it as smokescreen while he makes the American electoral system even MORE unfair, and even EASIER to rig. Thus the administration has fired federal attorneys when they would not participate in a nationwide campaign to deny minorities and the poor their access to the polls. It has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to install electronic voting machines that can be "flipped" with a few keystrokes. And under the guise of "reforming" our busted electoral system, it is setting us up for another presidential theft in 2008.

Thus it should come as no surprise that our exclusive investigations into the firings of eight federal prosecutors who refused to execute Rove’s plans for massive disenfranchisement of Democratic voters reveal a pattern of illegalities and fraud aimed at reducing the number of minority, poor and young voters at the core of Democratic support. In the wake of major news breaks, two felony convictions have come from the rigging of the illegal Ohio 2004 vote count and recount that gave George W. Bush a second illegitimate term. Stunning new admissions from county election boards that illegally destroyed voter records will almost certainly lead to new convictions. And the multi-million-dollar electronic voting machine scam that made possible the biggest electoral frauds in US history is under massive new attack, with key states moving to scrap the machines altogether in a desperate attempt to restore American democracy – but with the job far from done.

Rove, Ney and the Undead

Indeed, the Rovian theft engine is far from dead. The media groundwork has already been laid out for the Republicans to claim that hordes of illegal aliens have registered to vote. The Bush administration has been caught ordering public agencies – possibly in violation of the law – to cease registering voters. In an April, 2006 speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association, Rove openly alluded to the strategy of demanding photo ID and purging voter roles of poor, minority voters just as had been done in 2000 and 2004. And, as always with Bush/Rove, there is much more beneath the surface.

All that has happened to challenge the GOP death grip on the American vote count has been reported in the pages of Hustler and on the internet at FreePress.org, The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere, and is being seized upon by a national grassroots movement determined to restore American democracy next year.

Nowhere has that movement been more in evidence than with the high profile firestorm surrounding Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ firing of eight federal prosecutors without legitimate cause.

Evidence continues to surface from throughout the United States about this blatant Bush abuse of executive power. But we have traced the roots of the firings to an obscure Congressional hearing held at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on March 21, 2005, and to a shadowy GOP operative named Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.

The hearing was conducted by none other than former US Rep. Bob Ney (R-18th OH). The once-powerful Ohio Congressman (who is now behind bars) was the godfather of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the national boondoggle that mandated electronic voting machines for the American electoral process.

That the machines would cost taxpayers billions was a big plus for Ney. They would come from Diebold and other companies that poured money into Republican coffers. Thanks largely to the manipulations of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, these e-voting machine companies would help guarantee the GOP’s ability to steal elections.

Ney’s hearing featured a marquee appearance by J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Secretary of State responsible for delivering Ohio’s decisive 2004 electoral votes to Bush. Blackwell was a key operative for the Bush election campaign in Florida in 2000 and co-chaired the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign in Ohio...

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

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Wire Service Reports on Obama Letter, Fails to Cite BRAD BLOG for Breaking Story, Misses Much of the Point in General...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 1:46pm PT  

AP is notorious for refusing to give appropriate credit to blogs that break stories. They've done so again in their coverage today of Barack Obama's letter calling for the firing of DoJ Voting Rights section chief John Tanner in the wake of our video coverage of his recent objectionable comments [emphasis ours]:

"That's a shame, you know, creating problems for elderly persons just is not good under any circumstance," Tanner said, according to video posted on YouTube. "Of course, that also ties into the racial aspect because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Setting aside the de rigueur BRAD BLOG slight, AP received a response to Obama's call for Tanner's head from DoJ spokesman Erik Ablin:

"Mr. Tanner is an attorney who works to protect civil rights on a daily basis," Ablin said, adding that the official had won numerous awards from African-American groups. "Nothing in his comments deviated from his firm commitment to enforce the law, and it is unfortunate that they have been so grossly misconstrued."

"Grossly misconstrued"? AP does not detail in what way Ablin believes the comments to have been "grossly misconstrued," but quotes him as saying the department "continues to have full confidence" in Tanner.

Former colleagues of Tanner's, however, don't seem to agree that the comments were misconstrued...

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

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Letter to Acting Attorney General Says John Tanner's Recent Remarks Are 'Patently Erroneous, Offensive, and Dangerous'
Comments, Video Taped and First Reported by BRAD BLOG, Have Been Given to Judiciary Committee, Continue to Reverberate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2007 12:16pm PT  

After recently stepping up, along with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), to block the nomination to the FEC of insidious GOP "voter fraud" zealot Hans Von Spakovsky, Illinois' Democratic Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is calling for the head of the Voting Rights Section chief of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.

In a letter sent today (posted in full at end of this article) to Acting Attorney General, Peter D. Keisler, Obama has requested that John Tanner be sent packing following objectionable comments he made two weeks ago in Los Angeles at the National Latino Congresso.

The remarks by Tanner, video-taped and first reported by The BRAD BLOG, were meant in support of his decision to allow a Photo ID restriction at polling places in Georgia, over the recommendation of four out of five of the career attorneys in the Civil Rights unit. The law would later be found unconstitutional by two federal judges, one of whom declared the practice to be a "Jim Crow-era poll tax".

Tanner told audience members during the panel on October 5th, that while it was a "shame" that the elderly would, in fact, be disenfranchised by the law he approved on behalf of the DoJ, minorities would have less to worry about because, as he told the stunned room, "Our society is such that minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Former colleagues of Tanner went on to characterize his comments as "false", "ludicrous" and "cherry-picked" from existing data.

In his letter today, Obama said, "Such comments are patently erroneous, offensive, and dangerous, and they are especially troubling coming from the federal official charged with protecting voting rights in this country."

As we reported several days ago, Tanner is scheduled to testify on this and related matters to a sub-commitee of the House Judiciary Committee on October 30th. The committee has asked The BRAD BLOG for a copy of the entire session with Tanner, as video-taped by our own Alan Breslauer. We have complied with their request.

In breaking the news of Obama's letter this morning, TPM Muckraker's Paul Kiel noted the irony that during his appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Tanner will "get to explain personally to its 78 year-old African-American chairman [John Conyers] that minorities don't 'become elderly.'"

"Through his inexcusable comments," Obama writes in today's letter, "Mr. Tanner has clearly demonstrated that he possesses neither the character nor the judgment to be heading the Voting Rights Section. For that reason, I respectfully request that you remove him from his position."

Since the 2004 election, Republican officials and operatives have been attempting to enact such Photo ID laws at polling places across the country, despite some 10 to 30 million, largely Democratic and minority voters, who do not have such ID's and would be disenfranchised by such laws. Millions of dollars have been spent to support the unevidenced idea of Democratic "voter fraud" by phony GOP front groups such as the "non-partisan" ACVR, created by Bush/Cheney '04's national general counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director, Jim Dyke. Hearne is now laying low since shutting down the ACVR in the wake of calls for phony "voter fraud" prosecutions being found at the center of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Dyke, who parlayed his "non-partisan" ACVR gig into work for Dick Cheney, is now Communications Director for the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Continuing the false GOP meme of Democratic "voter fraud", The BRAD BLOG recently noted unsupported claims of undocumented immigrants being "rounded up, herded into the polls [and] voting illegally" in California as charged by Golden State Rep. Duncan Hunter during a recent Republican Presidential Debate. Both Hunter's campaign and Congressional offices subsequently failed to respond to BRAD BLOG requests to back up with the claim with details or evidence.

During it's current session, the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to review the constitutionality of a similar Photo ID law enacted in the state of Indiana.

UPDATE: AP picks up the story, quotes DoJ as saying Tanner's comments were "grossly misconstrued", fails to credit BRAD BLOG for breaking original story. Details here...

LATER UPDATE: WaPo again picks up the story, and again, as last time (and unlike AP) credits us appropriately. They also offer yet another DoJ spokesman's defense of Tanner, while an insider DoJ source gives us an indication of what's really going on over at DoJ in the wake of all of this. Details here...

The complete letter from Sen. Barack Obama to Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler follows below...

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

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Only One of Them Properly Credits Us...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2007 5:12pm PT  

We hadn't noticed it, but last week Paul Krugman over at the NY Times picked up on our original exclusive report on DoJ Voting Chief John Tanner's recent comments saying while it's a "shame" that the elderly are, in fact, disenfranchised by Photo ID restrictions at the polling place --- like the one that he approved on behalf of the Department's Civil Rights Division in Georgia --- he's less worried about minorities being disenfranchised because "minorities don't become elderly. The way that white people do. They die first."

Unfortunately, Krugman credited our friends at TPM Muckraker for the story, even though their story followed up on, and properly credited, ours. Krugman's comments were in his NYTimes blog and we hope he'll cover the important matter in his regular column as well. Though if he does, we'd appreciate it if, like Al Kamen's coverage at WaPo, he offered appropriate attribution where it's due.

Believe it or not, it matters, and not just for our own ego.

On the other hand, Amy Goodman at Democracy Now today also picked up on the story (see the short video above left) and gave The BRAD BLOG the appropriate credit. Her coverage also included some of the video that our own Alan Breslauer posted here originally.

Thanks Amy! And thanks Alan for posting Amy's video here. There now, was that so hard?

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