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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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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 12/7/2006 12:35pm PT  

From Tribune Media Services' Robert Koehler, in his latest column, "Electronic Treason"...

Electronic voting, like the war in Iraq, is starting to get bad press. And following the debacle of last month's midterm elections, a lot of people have begun to demand an exit strategy.

Surely there ought to be a limit to the number of egregiously wrong turns the same ideologues are allowed to make at one time.
...
A year and a half ago, when I first started writing about disenfranchisement and the troubling evidence of electronic voting fraud in the 2004 election, this was not a respectable topic for mainstream discourse. Those who broached it were relegated to a spectrum of mockery that ran from "sore loser" to "conspiracy nut." But the ongoing horror show of "glitches" perpetrated on democracy by touchscreen voting machines this year can no longer be ignored even by those who would prefer to, and e-voting disasters are now being reported with some regularity.

We feel ya, Bob. And thanks for being there where few dared to go back in those dark days of mid-2005.

Read the rest at Koehler's own site or at Huff Po.

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VIDEO - Hannity Begins to Carry Disingenuous Buckets of Anti-Democracy Water
Jennings May Have to Play the Congressional Constitutional Card to Gain the House Seat Which Obviously Should Belong to Her...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2006 3:11pm PT  

It's a lovely change of pace when some of the other "big boy bloggers" beat me to the punch on Election Integrity-related stories. Perhaps I can start sleeping in for a while. I could use it.

That said, TPMMuckraker gives us a fine update on the FL-13 sitch, and Sean Hannity's virtuoso performance in what is likely his most disingenuous performance to date last night on Hannity & Colmes, where Republican Vern Buchanan spouted off with neither a Democratic nor a non-partisan Election Integrity advocate to counter his nonsense.

In addition to TPMM's points, it should also be pointed out that Hannity stated incorrectly --- twice --- that Sarasota is the strongest Republican stronghold in the contest. That, despite, his later admission that the Democratic Christine Jennings won the area by 7%.

As well, Hannity (again unchecked) is allowed to rant about how Republicans don't challenge elections when they lose, they accept defeat gracefully. Guess Sean doesn't read The BRAD BLOG and thus doesn't know about the Conservative TX Supreme Court Justice Steven Smith, or the mess in Maricopa County, AZ, still percolating from back in 2004, or the fact that Rick Santorum and the PA Republican party demanded that touch-screen systems where votes reportedly flipped be impounded in 27 counties on Election Day, just to name a few instances.

But we'd expect nothing less from water boy Hannity.

Most of note in the video, perhaps, is Buchanan's un-checked (and by now, expected) outrageous claim that Jennings is "destroying democracy" by calling for a revote. A funny turn of phrase from a guy who is doing everything he can to ensure that the rather clear voices of the voters are ignored in favor of a 369 vote "victory" gained only due to faulty, paperless touch-screen voting machines.

Even Buchanan is unable, in the clip, to explain why 18,000 votes in Jennings's strongest county simply disappeared. Of course, he'd have to admit he lost if forced to come up with an answer to that mystery. So he avoids the question twice by explaining only that "there's a lot of speculation out there you can read."

Got nothing, Vern? But don't give a damn anyway? We thought so. Now that's what we call "destroying democracy"!

In other FL-13 coverage around the 'sphere, both the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and a group of political scientists [PDF] are averring that it was bad ballot design which caused the problem (The BRAD BLOG earlier posted a photo of the way in which the race was displayed on the touch-screen systems, such that it would have been very easy for voters not to see the race at all on Sarasota's ES&S touch-screen machines.)

The "bad ballot design" explanation, however --- that voters didn't notice the race --- fails to account for all of the affidavits from voters claiming they tried and tried to vote in the race, but couldn't get their vote to register properly for Jennings, as one of the attorneys representing the voter lawsuit calling for a revote recently told us.

Finally, DailyKos (of all places) has some decent front page coverage of the rather conservative (we've found) Election Law professor Rick Hasen's explanation [PDF] of the Constitutional card that can be played by the U.S. House to settle the matter. At this point, it's looking more and more like that will be the way this thing is ultimately settled...

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

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PLUS: Sequoia's Spokehole Lies Again and Rush Holt Disappoints...
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2006 2:41am PT  

At a panel discussion this week at Rutgers University, an unusually frank admission was made by an Elections Official. Then, less surprisingly, a Voting Machine company spokesperson told a lie. And finally, Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) made a disappointing admission. All according to a report in New Jersey's Herald News.

New Jersey's Passaic County Clerk Karen Brown admitted --- out loud --- at the forum that she has no way to prove votes are counted accurately as reported by her Sequoia DRE [Direct Recording Electronic] touch-screen voting systems, since they employ proprietary software which she has no access to. Even after the election was certified, she expressed reservations:

"How do I prove that all of the votes have been counted properly? How do we determine whether the software is working properly?" Brown asked. "We have to rely on the vendor and their software."

We're happy to see another honest Election Official make herself heard and making a point we've been trying to make here for some time nonetheless. Such officials who tell the truth, out loud, are a far too-rare breed.

But there were problems in Brown's county. Amongst them, two voting districts where results where transferred electronically from the precinct to the clerk's office and the tallies failed to match the vote totals as reported by the machines.

Naturally, the spokeshole from Sequoia refused to take responsibility...For anything...

Michelle Shafer, a Sequoia spokeswoman, said that the company was not the manufacturer of the technology that transmitted the results to the county clerk's office and therefore could not vouch for its performance.

...Before going on to simply lie to the reporter with a few chestnuts or two, circa 2005, which have long since been discredited...

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

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While We're Grateful for the WaPo Coverage of the New NIST Recommendations for Voting Systems, They Overlook --- as Have Others --- the Call to Also Scrap DRE/Touch-Screen Systems Even With So-Called 'Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2006 12:49pm PT  

Concerning the NIST reports we highlighted Wednesday night...the Washington Post catches up today with a front page article on them which begins this way...

Paperless electronic voting machines used throughout the Washington region and much of the country "cannot be made secure," according to draft recommendations issued this week by a federal agency that advises the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

The assessment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the government's premier research centers, is the most sweeping condemnation of such voting systems by a federal agency.

Decent coverage, though they --- like some of the other folks who've looked into the draft NIST whitepaper recommendations (two of them: here and here, both PDF) --- seem to be overlooking NIST's other recommendation that even DRE/touch-screen systems with so-called paper trails should not be used either.

For those who wonder why, Wall Street Journal (yes, Wall Street Journal!) explained just one of the reasons why in an article yesterday covering the mess in Florida's 13th district U.S. House race where some 18,000 votes disappeared on Sarasota County's paperless ES&S touch-screen voting machines:

A paper-trail law probably wouldn't have prevented the Sarasota mishap, where about 18,000 voters apparently didn't notice that they hadn't voted in the House race, even though a summary page at the end of the ballot flagged their oversight. A paper record would have carried the same information and could also have been ignored.

I hope to have more analysis and clarification for you, hopefully, later on NIST's overlooked recommendation to not use DRE/touch-screens even with the so-called Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) paper rolls.

In the meantime though, there's this little item from the WaPo article for those who don't click through to the full story...but need to be reminded anyway:

The report repeats the contention of the computer security community that "a single programmer could 'rig' a major election."

Are we all finally clear on at least that much by now?

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Says Machines Should be Decertified! Also Says So-Called 'Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) Should Not Be Used' in Voting Systems!
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2006 2:37pm PT  

Huge news. Michael Hickins of InternetNews.com has the scoop. Here are the highlights...

A federal agency is set to recommend significant changes to specifications for electronic-voting machines next week, internetnews.com has learned.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is recommending that the 2007 version of the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) decertify direct record electronic (DRE) machines.
...
According to an NIST paper to be discussed at a meeting of election regulators at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., on Dec. 4 and 5, DRE vote totals cannot be audited because the machines are not software independent.

In other words, there is no means of verifying vote tallies other than by relying on the software that tabulated the results to begin with.

The machines currently in use are "more vulnerable to undetected programming errors or malicious code," according to the paper.

The NIST paper also noted that, "potentially, a single programmer could 'rig' a major election."

This is a tremendously important development!

To be clear, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the group that oversees the formulation of the so-called federal "Voting Systems Standards." Those are the standards, such as there are any, which are in effect today at the federal level to determine federal certification of voting systems. NIST hosts the Technical Guidelines Developement Committee for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and they are the body who developed the current standadards now in use. This report will likely have an enormous impact in shaping whatever may happen next concerning any upcoming Election Reform or legislation in DC.

But wait, it gets even better!...

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

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It's Time to End the So-Called 'Voter Verified Paper Trail' Nonsense
Even VotersUnite.org Now Agrees...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2006 9:35am PT  

Sunday's short NY Times editorial, titled "Déjà Vu in Florida," concerning the mess in Sarasota's FL-13 U.S. House race between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R) (369 votes difference, 18,000 missing votes on the paperless ES&S touch-screen systems in Jennings's strongest county) gets much right. But on one huge point, they get it completely wrong.

First...Here's the highlight graf amongst the stuff they got right:

The campaign wants its experts to review the machines’ secret computer source code, the programming that runs the computer inside the machine, to look for problems. Election Systems and Software, the company that made the machines, is not saying whether it will allow this. If it resists, the courts should order the company to hand over the code — a requirement that should, in fact, be routine in all places where electronic voting machines are used.

Agreed. Wholeheartedly. 'Nuff said.

But here's the lowlight graf, in which they get it all wrong at the conclusion of the editorial:

As Ms. Jennings’s suit proceeds, we should learn more about what, if anything, went wrong, and what the options are if any remedies are needed. But one verdict is already in: electronic voting without the full array of protections, including a voter-verified paper trail, is unacceptable.

Wrong.

A so-called "voter-verified paper trail" on Sarasota's touch-screen systems would not have solved the problem in Florida. I'll have more on this issue in the coming days, but suffice it to say for now: Paper trails, such as they are used with DRE/Touch-Screen systems, do not work. Voters don't verify them, elections officials don't count them, they are not accurate, they can be gamed, they jam the printers which leads to voters being turned away without being able to vote...among just a few of the reasons.

VotersUnite.org has now come out with a complete statement on why even they are no longer willing to support voter verified paper audit trails (VVPAT) and thus, they will not support Rep. Rush Holt's otherwise well-intentioned HR550 legislation as long as it allows for VVPAT. Neither will we. More on all of that soon as well.

In the meantime, I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it...louder and louder each time if necessary: America needs a paper BALLOT for every vote cast.

Period.

I hope you'll join me in that call. I'll try to make it easier for you to do so in the coming days.

If there's one thing the events of Election 2006 have made crystal clear, it's that the VVPAT train wreck ahead needs to be derailed immediately. The New York Times (no suprise) is clueless there. But, at this point, there is no longer any excuse for any self-respecting Election Integrity organization to keep their heads in the sand on this one.

BREAKING UPDATE: Please note, since posting this story earlier this morning, a blockbuster has occured. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the federal body responsible for creating the federal Voting System Standards (such as we have any), has recommended that all touch-screen DRE voting systems should be decertified! Further, apropos of my story above, they've said that so-called VVPATs do not work and should not be used with touch-screen systems! Complete breaking story posted here...

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...But Voters Should Watch out for Sec. of State Brad Johnson!
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2006 9:35am PT  

As I was reading this excellent article by Ed Kemmick from Sunday's Billings Gazette I was preparing to mention how nice it would be if every state dealt with their election issues in such an adult and responsible manner as Kemmick reports would now seem to be occurring in Montana, where the state mandates a paper ballot for every vote cast.

I was also going to remark how nice it would be if the country's national media, such as WaPo, NY Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, et al. covered election issues with such sober, non-political, attention to detail.

I'll still strongly recommend Kemmick's piece for precisely those reasons (and for the superb quotes from the good John Gideon and others)...but then I got to the bottom where two paragraphs stuck out like a sore thumb from the rest of the reasoned discussion of the state's voting machines and what still needs to be done to assure accuracy and confidence in their system.

The final grafs covered statements from Montana's Secretary of State Brad Johnson, about the responsible proposals discussed in the rest of the article for dealing with remaining concerns in the state's electoral process. Without any mention elsewhere in the article regarding any concerns about voter identification issues in the state, Johnson sadly drops these turds into the bucket...

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

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'Tens of Thousands Encountered Voting Machine Failures, Confusion over New ID Rules,' Reports Paper...
By Brad Friedman on 11/26/2006 2:35pm PT  

The New York Times' Ian Urbina (this time with Christopher Drew) continues to stay on point with his Electoral Failures coverage at the Grey Lady. Unlike Urbina's last report, this time he wasn't undermined by the Times headline writers. (Does anyone with a hard copy of the paper know what page this was reported on, btw?)

To his additional credit, he didn't use the word "glitch" even once. Thank you, Ian. Here are a few highlights from his piece in today's paper...

After six years of technological research, more than $4 billion spent by Washington on new machinery and a widespread overhaul of the nation’s voting system, this month’s midterm election revealed that the country is still far from able to ensure that every vote counts.

Tens of thousands of voters, scattered across more than 25 states, encountered serious problems at the polls, including failures in sophisticated new voting machines and confusion over new identification rules, according to interviews with election experts and officials.

Of course, BRAD BLOG readers will remember our desperate call for "Emergency Paper Ballots" here in the weeks prior to the election. On that, Urbina reports...

In many places, the difficulties led to shortages of substitute paper ballots and long lines that caused many voters to leave without casting ballots.

Wow. Who could have predicted that?!

And there's more...Of course, the "experts" (word used very cautiously!) are beginning to notice that things on Nov. 7th were worse than they had originally understood. "Voting problems may actually have been wider than initially estimated, with many malfunctions simply overlooked," reports the Times.

So how bad were they? How about 60,000 missing votes in Florida, bad. 20,000 voters who couldn't vote in Colorado, bad. Or in Arkansas, where "election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000," bad.

And then there's the erstwhile election "expert" Doug Chapin of Electionline.org whose "expert" opinion ensures his presence in just about any mainstream media coverage of these matters. Mr. Chapin continues, on schedule, working all sides of the street in Urbina's piece. It's a tricky juggling act for this "expert" --- mustn't offend the Voting Machine Companies or the Elections Officials who pay his bills, or even, to a lesser extent, the Election Integrity advocates who might just call him a phony if he's not careful --- but, as John Gideon pointed out in yesterday's DVN, even Chapin's having a difficult time avoiding the obvious:

"If the success of an election is to be measured according to whether each voter’s voice is heard, then we would have to conclude that this past election was not entirely a success," said Doug Chapin, director of Electionline.org, a nonpartisan election group that plans to release a report Wednesday with a state-by-state assessment of voting. "In places where the margin of victory was bigger than the margin of error, we looked away from the problems, but in 2008 we might not have that luxury."

And the award for "Understatment of the Year" goes to...

UPDATE 9:01pm PT: Reader Adele writes to tell us that Urbina's article was on "page 30 of 36 pages in the National section" of today's paper.

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Republican, Democratic, Independent Candidates Join Lawsuit Against Paperless Diebold E-Voting Machines in Georgia...
By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2006 10:05am PT  

Dear Judges: You may as well make swift and unambiguous decisions that lead to the end of E-voting in America as we know it. For your own sake, and that of the court docket, sooner would be better than later.

Elections Officials can't do it themselves because it would be tantamount to admitting they failed in their only job: to ensure free, fair, and accurate elections. Of course they have failed, but they've already staked their careers on millions in state and local dollars, robbed from unsuspecting taxpayer constituents. Admitting that fact out loud would mean that most of them would (deservedly) be run out their jobs faster than Diebold or ES&S or Sequoia spokesholes can dutifully tell AP: "our voting machines work fine, the problem is human error!"

Until you folks on the bench end this nightmare forever, you will keep finding only more and more such suits like the one mentioned below in Georgia (and dozens, if not hundreds more like it) month and after month, year after year, election after election, hitting your docket until this mess is solved once and for all.

Underscoring what The BRAD BLOG has been saying for years --- that this is not a matter of Left versus Right, but rather a matter of Right versus Wrong --- Democrat, Republican, and Independent candidates have now joined the suit to put an end to Diebold's paperless E-voting in the state of Georgia...

Three losing candidates in this year's elections announced their plans Tuesday to join a lawsuit challenging Georgia's electronic voting system.

A group of activists, led by VoterGa, filed a lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court in July, alleging that electronic voting machines in Georgia do not accurately record votes.

Mary Wilhite, a Republican candidate for a state House seat in Cherokee County, Woody Holmes, an independent write-in candidate for a seat in south Fulton, and Donzella James, a Democratic candidate for the 13th Congressional District, joined VoterGa representatives at the Capitol to say the results of their elections have caused them to join the lawsuit.

How much longer are we all gonna play this game? How much longer can American democracy take it? Complete story on the GA suit is here...

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Stephen Heller Agrees to Plead Guilty, Pay $10,000, Apologize and Receive Three Years Probation After Being Charged with 'Burglary' for Sharing Diebold Lawfirm's Privileged Documents with Newspaper, Election Integrity Activists
Tells BRAD BLOG He Has 'No Assets Left, Other Than House' and Deal is Meant to Protect Him and His Wife as 'Best Deal I Could Get Based on the Circumstances'
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2006 8:53pm PT  

Stephen Heller, the Los Angeles whistleblower who turned over documents from Diebold's attorney, Jones Day, in 2004 showing the Voting Machine Company had illegally installed uncertified hardware and software in California --- and was preparing to lie about it --- has pled guilty, according to a statement tonight from the LA County District Attorney's office.

In an email moments ago from Heller, he tells us that he and his wife "are very happy it is over."

Heller, whose story we detailed in an article [PDF] published by Hustler some months ago, was a temporary worker at the voting machine company law firm when he stumbled across the troubling documents.

At the time, we quoted Michael Kohn, general counsel for the National Whistleblower Center, as saying, "This is a very rare instance. In fact, the only one of which I’m aware, in which a whistleblower has been charged with a felony. I find it outrageous."

Outrageous indeed --- especially considering Diebold voting systems were decertified by the state when it was found the company was attempting to game the certification process, shortly after Heller shared the documents with the Oakland Tribune and election watchdog BlackBoxVoting.org.

But Heller doesn't have the same kind of money for high-priced attorneys that Diebold does (that would be your money that Diebold uses for this sort of thing, by the way); we're not suprised he opted for the deal.

In an email message from Heller sent to The BRAD BLOG tonight, he wrote:

"My wife and I are very happy it is over. The deal will protect me and my wife and our assets (we have no assets left, other than our house, but whatever we are able to accumulate in the future cannot be taken away from us in civil court). My attorneys and I think this is the best deal I could get based on the circumstances."

The LA County DA's statement says Heller pled to "unlawfully accessing the company computer in connection with its legal representation of Diebold Inc." and they quote his formal "apology" as follows:

"Today, I pled guilty to unlawfully taking Jones Day's privileged documents without its permission while I worked there. There was no excuse for my conduct. I very much regret taking the documents. I also regret any disparaging statements suggesting that Jones Day committed any wrongful acts. Upon reflection, I now believe and understand that such statements were unjustified. I apologize to Jones Day and its client."

A notice added tonight to the Stephen Heller Defense Fund website says "The case has been resolved! More details will follow soon." It goes on to thank supporters, urging them to "check back soon because Stephen is going to post the entire story here soon."

Heller tells us he's being contacted by the media tonight and plans to send a more detailed statement to The BRAD BLOG by morning.

UPDATE: 11/21/06 5:00pm PT: As promised, a new story, including a fresh exclusive statement from Heller --- concerning his thoughts on Diebold, American Elections and that he may have his sentenced reduced in a year --- is now posted here.

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Election Defense Alliance Says 'Major Miscount In U.S. Election' Cost Dems 3 Million Votes Nationwide!
National Exit Poll Once Again Adjusted to Match Vote Totals, Report Says
By Emily Levy on 11/17/2006 1:08pm PT  

Guest blogged by Emily Levy of Velvet Revolution

Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national election integrity organization, issued a press release yesterday announcing their new report, "Landslide Denied: Exit Polls vs. Vote Count 2006."

According to EDA, the Edison-Mitofsky National Exit Poll, conducted by a consortium of news organizations, showed at 7 p.m. on Election Night an 11.5% vote margin in favor of Dems nationwide. But by 1:00 p.m. on the following day, according to EDA, "[T]he Edison-Mitofsky poll had been adjusted, by a process known as 'forcing,' to match the reported vote totals for the election." The adjusted exit polls showed "a 7.6 percent margin exactly mirroring the reported vote totals."

It was EDA co-founder Jonathan Simon whose foresight in downloading the Edison-Mitofsky exit polls on Election Night 2004 before those polls were adjusted made the discovery of the now-infamous "red shift" possible. Analysis of the original exit polls from 2004 became one of the most compelling bodies of evidence to suggest that the 2004 election was stolen on behalf of George W. Bush.

Now EDA reveals evidence of similar manipulation of this year's election. In his story Clear Evidence 2006 Congressional Election Hacked, executive editor of OpEdNews Rob Kall quotes Simon as saying:

We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape...so 'the fix' turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances...."When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, (from exit polling, pre-election polling, demographics) the greater the risk of exposure--of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1 fell short on November 7.

The BRAD BLOG wishes to point out the difference between election "hacking" and "rigging." Hacking can be done by outsiders armed with such difficult-to-obtain weapons as a hotel mini-bar key (in the case of the Diebold TSx) or a finger (in the case of the Sequoia touchscreen machines). Rigging would be done by an insider such as someone working for an electronic voting machine company or a department of elections. The evidence of skewed results in the 2006 Congressional election doesn't specifically prove whether hacking or rigging or both occurred, but certainly magnifies the call for further investigation into irregularities in the 2006 elections. Will this new report help the newly-elected-but-apparently-robbed-of-its-landslide Democratic Majority Congress understand the importance of revamping our election system before 2008?

The next phase of Election Defense Alliance's work will be to analyze results of specific Congressional races. This work will include analysis of exit polls commissioned by Velvet Revolution (of which The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder) and other independent organizations. Perhaps then we will find out how many Democratic (or even Republican) candidates who have been declared losers actually won their races.

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Several Undecided Races Might Have Been Decided by the Number of Voters (Who Should Have Been Allowed to Vote on Paper) Unable to Wait for Voting Machines at One Precinct Alone...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2006 1:27pm PT  

Add the Monterey County, California, Acting Registrar of Voters, Claudio Valenzuela, to our ever-growing list of Elections Officials who ought to resign immediately in the wake of extraordinary failures to assure that every legally registered voter who chooses to vote actually gets to vote, and then gets to have that vote counted accurately.

Valenzuela --- who recently replaced the corrupt former Registrar Tony "Trust Me" Anchundo after he was charged with 43 criminal counts --- incredibly instructed poll workers not to give paper ballots to voters despite an order from the Secretary of State prior to the election that any CA voter who wishes to vote on paper may have one --- and despite lines of more than an hour for voters due to problems with the county's crappy new Sequoia electronic touch-screen voting machines.

As smartly reported by the Monterey Weekly today, poll watcher Susan Sisson recounts the story of dozens of voters giving up and leaving without casting a vote in her one precinct alone after she was reprimanded for reminding poll workers that they could/should give a paper ballot to those who wanted them, or those who couldn't afford to wait in line for hours on end.

Despite at least four still-undecided races in Monterey, where one candidate leads by anywhere from 47 to just 14 votes --- few enough that those voters who couldn't afford to wait in long lines for the machines, but could have voted on paper and made the difference in those races at Sisson's precinct alone! --- Valenzuela stands by his horrendous anti-democracy directive to poll workers:

"We did what we could," Valenzuela says. "We trained all of our workers, we gave them what they needed, and they deserve credit for their hard work. Nobody was denied the right to vote. Nobody. If you walked out because you were tired and didn’t want to wait, that was your choice. We can’t do anything about that."

The folks in Monterey ought to be up in arms about this jerk. Should be storming the County Board out there and demanding accountability and this guy's resignation.

Read the full article. It's just amazing what's going on in our electoral system. But it won't change until citizens on the ground demand that it does!

Let's hope the incoming Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, busts some asses about this sort of thing where the failed, disgraced, outgoing SoS, Bruce McPherson, clearly didn't give a damn.

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By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2006 3:08pm PT  

Noah at Nero Fiddled brings to our attention this notable point from a story in today's WaPo on the so-called "Religous Right" turnout last Tuesday [emphasis ours]...

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, issued a statement saying that "many of the Values Voters of '04 simply stayed at home this year" because the Republican Party has "consistently ignored the constituency that put them in power."

In fact, white evangelical Protestants turned out this week as heavily as they did in 2004, making up roughly 24 percent of the electorate both times. "This is a solidly Republican voting bloc that there was reason to believe might stay home. Given the polling before the election, the amazing thing was that the Democratic swing wasn't bigger," said John C. Green, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

"The amazing thing was that the Democratic swing wasn't bigger."

As we move forward with forensic investigations of what happened last Tuesday, examinations of Exit Polling, reviews of fraud reports coming in to VR's $500k Fraud Tip Hotline and more, I believe the posited notion from my ComputerWorld article yesterday --- that Dems "might have taken 40 seats in the House instead of just 30 had they bothered to fight for an accountable, secure, transparent electoral system and instructed their candidates to concede nothing until every vote was counted, verified and audited for accuracy" --- will begin to emerge as a more and more likely case.

Such as it is for the moment, however, I think it's fair to suggest that the only reason things went as well as they did is because of the tireless Election Integrity advocates on the ground across the country this time. The bad guys knew that this time they were being watched, and it would be much harder to get away with anything. I'll associate myself with Ohio's democracy champions, Fitrakis and Wasserman who wrote that last Tuesday was a "monumental victory for the Election Protection movement."

I couldn't concur more whole-heartedly...Even with miles to go before we sleep...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2006 2:03pm PT  

Speaking of bullets barely dodged, here was some of the appropriate anxiety on Election Day...


(Hat-tip to CarbonDate)

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(Will Someone Please Tell the Headline Writers at the New York Times and the Associated Press?)
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2006 3:27pm PT  

ComputerWorld has just posted the following article of mine in full. Here's the first few (pre-CW-edited) grafs to whet your appetite...

ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINE SLAYS NINE!
Terrorizes Florida in Thrill-Kill Rampage

That headline was from a satirical column written by Andy Borowitz and published last Monday, the day before Tuesday's mid-term election.

Unfortunately, given the post-election coverage by some of the nation's leading media --- or at least their headline writers --- it seems that only an event such as a Diebold voting machine becoming "unmoored from the floor and...trampling everyone and everything in its path," as Borowitz wrote, would qualify as anything more than a "glitch," "hiccup," "snag," or "snafu". At least if you gauge the coverage from the headline writers at NYTimes or Associated Press.

"Voting System Worked, With Some Hiccups," declared the AP headline on Wednesday. "Polling Places Report Snags, but Not Chaos," echoed the Times.

"Hiccups"? "Snags"? Try telling it the thousands of voters around the country who were unable to simply cast a vote last Tuesday because new, untested electronic voting machines failed to work. Monumentally. Across the entire country.

"Not Chaos"? Apparently the Times headline writers failed to check with the folks in Denver who were lined up around the block for hours to vote. They didn't even bother to read the the Denver Post, who headlined the problem as a "Voting Nightmare" during the day on Tuesday and quoted voter Lauren Brockman saying "We will not get to vote today," after he had showed up before work to vote at 6:45 a.m. at the Botanic Gardens only to wait in line for an hour before giving up.

They didn't check with Colorado's Gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter, who had to wait almost two hours to vote, or with Sean Kelley, a Denver resident who said to the Post, "I can't believe I'm in the United States of America," before he gave up and went home without voting after waiting three hours in line when electronic machines broke down.

The courts in Colorado refused to allow the city's new consolidated "Election Centers" to remain open for extra hours that night. And yet this was only a mid-term election, with far lower turnout than we can look forward to in 2008.

Similar problems led slighly more responsible officials to order polls to be kept open longer than scheduled in at least eight other states due to voting machine problems. In a NY Times story published the day before (which apparently the headline writers of the previously mentioned piece failed to read), it was reported that in Illinois "hundreds of precincts were kept open...because of late openings at polling places related to machine problems" and in Indiana "voting equipment problems led to extensions of at least 30 minutes, in three counties."

Other states where polls remained open late due to the inability of legally registered voters to vote when they showed up earlier in the day include Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio.

But the list of problems and, yes, meltdowns (not "glitches" "hiccups" "snags" or "snafus") is still pouring in from around the country. My inbox has been beyond readability since polls opened on Tuesday morning, and my ability to keep up had already been near the breaking point in the weeks prior just from similar reported disasters that occured with these failing, flipping, and flimsy new pieces of junk during the Early Voting period in Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and California, just to name a few.

On Election Day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation had received about 17,000 complaints on their toll-free hotline by 8pm. Common Cause received 14,000 calls by 4 p.m. John Gideon at VotersUnite.org performed the Herculean task of logging as many news reports as he could in a searchable online database of reported election problems that day.

One big fat bullet seems to have been dodged when George Allen conceded in his Virginia Senate race Thursday. Had he chosen not to, America would have found itself smack-dab in the middle of another Florida 2000 crisis with the balance of the entire United States Congress depending on voting machines in a state which offer absolutely no way to recount ballots to achieve any form of accuracy or clarity in the race. The battle of the forensic computer scientists trying to figure out what happened would have been another long national nightmare.

But that didn't happen, so everything's cool...

For the complete story, including other bullets barely dodged this week --- from the Santorum Senate race in Pennsylvania to innumerable U.S. House elections currently uncountable and unrecountable due to the failures of these god-forsaken machines --- and the ravages of an American electoral system in tatters no matter how the headline writers at the major national media and the Voting Machine Apologists are hoping to spin things...see my complete piece just published at ComputerWorld...

(Oh, and find out how that Diebold Voting Machine Killer Rampage in Florida comes out too!)

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