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UPDATED - Results as of 5/30/07 at 2:27pm ET:
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
[UPDATE: The audio from the conference call is now available in full here, along with a two-minute preview. The folks at the Backbone Campaign tell me it was a great turnout, rivaled only by Noam Chomsky's conference call with the group. Not bad considering it was Memorial Day at that. Other conference calls from their Progressive Shadow Cabinet series are available here. Thanks to all who showed up, as well as the good folks at the Backbone Campaign!]
I'm the featured guest for a BackboneCampaign.org conference call on Monday night. Please join us if you can. You can email questions and RSVP in advance, or otherwise wait until the call to give me all the hell you like, if you prefer
Quick details follow, more are posted here at PDA.
Three ways to participate...
Takin' it easy today (at least as far as you know) after a brutally exhausting and often dispiriting week. Whether or not that led to a different mood today during my weekly guest appearance on the Peter B. Collins Show I can't tell you.
Either way, as Guest Hosted today by our friend Tony Trupiano, we covered a few things I haven't gotten to speak much about lately, and also received an important good news update from caller "Chris in Salinas." Turns out action taken by Chris over the past week, after finding something troubling in a recent special election in Monterey County, CA, has led to a happy conclusion that will effect all voters in Monterey, and perhaps across this entire state.
That story --- and much else of what we chatted about on the show --- again, underscores the need for citizens to take control of their democracy because it will not be either the media or the government who restores our country. It will be you.
-- Brad on PBC (Guest Host Tony Trupiano), 5/25/07 [MP3, appx 50 mins]
UPDATE: "Chris from Salinas" writes in to comments below with more details on precisely what happened in Monterey County, the action he took, and the changes that were made because of. Useful if you haven't been able to listen to the audio above (which I still recommend, in any case).
Un-believable. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced an amendment to the proposed new Immigration Law that would require disenfranchising Photo ID restrictions on voters at the polling place, according to a press release just out from National League of Women Voters.
The provision tagged onto the immigration bill would amend the horrible Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 that McConnell co-sponsored and pushed through to passage along with his Republican counterpart and lead author in the House, the now-jailed Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
The key provision in the amendment is as follows:
(a) In General.--Notwithstanding the requirements of section 303(b), each State shall require individuals casting ballots in an election for Federal office in person to present a current valid photo identification issued by a governmental entity before voting.
(b) Effective Date.--Each State shall be required to comply with the requirements of subsection (a) on and after January 1, 2008.
Apparently, it's not enough for the Republican White House operatives to create phony "grass roots" groups to create propaganda solely for the purpose of forwarding the fraudulent notion of a massive "Democratic Voter Fraud" epidemic (which doesn't exist).
It's not enough to toss legitimate voters from the voter rolls through purges and "caging" lists to remove legal, minority voters (many serving overseas in Iraq, nonetheless) so they are not allowed to exercise their legal franchise.
It's not enough to remake our entire Department of Justice into nothing more than a branch of the Republican party for the specific purpose of bringing trumped up "voter fraud" indictments in hopes of shaving votes in close elections and otherwise gutting the beloved 40 year old Voting Rights Act for purely partisan gain.
No. Come hell or highwater, these democracy hating Republican thugs are going to find a way to keep you from voting --- even if they have to amend every piece of legislation that comes before them to try and do it --- because, otherwise, they can't win elections.
If McConnell's provision is not defeated, fillibustered, or whatever it takes by every goddamned Democrat in that body, well....good luck voting them out of office either. But they'll sure as hell deserve it. Every. Single. One of them. (As if those who pushed through the Iraq funding bill capitulation don't already deserve to be removed from office.)
These Republicans are absolutely beyond contempt and, clearly, despise the most basic American values at the very core of our once-great Republic. They hate everything about it. They are loathesome. And the Dems damned well better stop them dead in their tracks.
Rick Hasen has the complete amendment and additional details on the latest insipid GOP/McConnell scam.
As you'll recall, the point we focused on when we covered Gordon's article was the apparent attempted strong-arming, suggested by the emails, of U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Paul DeGregorio. Von Spakovsky was attempting to influence the EAC's reports and positions on GOP claims of massive "voter fraud" and the effects of legislation for Photo ID restrictions at the polls.
Von Spakovsky was concerned about the EAC's position and the "proper balance" (code word) being brought to bi-partisan reports on "voter fraud" and Photo ID, both of which eventually failed to give evidence of GOP claims of massive Democratic voter fraud. Such claims were being used by Bush's operatives at DoJ and out in the "grass roots" by their boy Thor Hearne and his "non-partisan" front group, the American Center for Voting Rights to game elections and media, and push for Photo ID laws (which have been found to be unconstitutional time and again.)
Both reports would eventually be altered and/or buried.
BRAD BLOG readers will also recall the many reports filed here concerning the partisanship and/or incompetence of the EAC, the White House controlled federal body which supposedly oversees our nation's electoral system. These emails highlight many of the claims we've made about inappropriate influence by the White House on the failed commission.
One thing which catches our eye in the emails right away is that von Spakovsky's emails were sent to the Republican members of the commission including DeGregorio, Donnetta Davidson (now EAC chair), and Tom Wilkey (EAC Exec Dir.), but not to the Democratic members. (Ed Note: See 5/24/07 UPDATE at bottom of article on this point.) We've covered both Davidson and Wilkey, and the failings of each, in some detail here at The BRAD BLOG in the past.
The notes were also sent to Republican aides of Sen. Christopher Bond in Missouri (home of the ACVR's Hearne), as well as Doug Lewis of the Election Center, a voting machine industry front group, which "the Dean of the DC press corp," WaPo's David Broder, recently referred to in a column as his favorite expert on elections, forgetting to mention that he's an industry/Republican shill. Can someone please put Broder out to pasture at this point?! And can the media stop quoting Lewis as if he's a disinterested, non-partisan "expert" on elections?!
Little time for the moment to report on the new specifics found in the emails, so we'll encourage you to give them a quick read (just 5 pages) and leave your thoughts here in comments. As time allows, we'll update this item with our own thoughts if possible.
But one quick point that we haven't highlighted enough lately: Voter Fraud is the term used to describe voters gaming the system on a retail level by voting twice, etc. It's extremely rare, as bi-partisan reports have shown time and again, despite GOP claims (that includes the EAC's own buried and altered reports that von Spakovsky hoped to influence).
Election Fraud, on the other hand, is the defrauding of elections through the administration of those elections, from inappropriate voter roll purges to gaming of voting equipment, etc. Evidence strongly suggests that the GOP's unevidenced claims of a "voter fraud" epidemic by Democrats may well have been forwarded after 2004 in order to deflect from the now-well-documented evidence showing GOP election fraud in Ohio and elsewhere.
Hope that reminder helps to clarify.
UPDATE 5/24/07: McClatchy's Greg Gordon writes to say that he believes that all of the commissioners, not just the Republican ones, were CC'd on the emails in question, but that those CC's somehow ended up on a second page and didn't get included when they created their PDF's of the actual emails. Due to the holiday weekend, unfortunately, he won't be able to try to find them in order to check for sure until next week at earliest. But he wanted us to note that there is a question about whether or not all of the EAC commissioners were actually CC'd, and to note his recollection that they were, at least on some of the notes. We'll update further if we can learn definitively one way or the other.
McClatchy Newspaper's excellent Greg Gordon moves the ball forward again on the Bush White House's insider politicization of the DoJ to achieve electoral advantages via gaming of phony "Voter Fraud" claims and the pursuit of voter suppressing Photo ID laws at the polls.
His article covers the inside moves of the Bush-appointed operative Hans von Spakovsky after he was assigned to the DoJ's voting rights unit, and the games he played in the post, including an anonymously published essay on "Voter Fraud" and Voter ID laws; overriding of career civil rights attorney recommendations against a Georgia Voter ID law (while refusing to recuse himself, despite his past service as a Georgia official), a law which was later found by a federal judge to be unconstitutional and akin to a Jim Crow-era poll tax; and attempts to influence the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC)'s studies on Voter Fraud and the effects of Photo ID at the polls.
Last year, Von Spakovsky was recess-appointed by Bush to head the FEC, though he will face what could be an interesting Congressional confirmation hearing in the Senate on June 13.
Aside from the many familiar faces (at least to BRAD BLOG readers) who come into play in the story, from Georgia to Arizona to Missouri, one aspect of Gordon's report is a bit of a surprise and so particularly catches our notice...
John Fund is an evil, unrepentant liar who despises democracy and the very American values that it represents. Other than that, he's swell.
At left is the Wall Street Journal's editorialist/propagandist, lying to America on Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher. Actor and well-informed progressive Bradley Whitford deserves credit for attempting to call "bullshit" (literally) on Fund's garbage, but it sure would be nice if Maher had someone on who could really speak to the insidious (and successful) GOP "voter fraud" scam meant for nothing more nor less than to keep legitimate voters from being able to cast a vote, as revealed more clearly than ever by the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal. Fund is one of the original architects, or at least a ponyboy for that despicable scam.
(Hint: I live about 7 minutes from where Real Time tapes each week, and would be happy to counter the previously-debunked horse manure that Fund was allowed to spread, virtually unchecked, last night.)
Important Note: Before you view the video, I should point out that Fund's reference to the Baker/Carter Commission's recommendation for Photo ID restrictions at the polls should be taken in context with the fact that that privately-empaneled commission was created by the same fraudsters who created the GOP's American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) scam as we originally broke here and followed up here, and which RAW STORY subsequently busted wide open here.
As we all reported at the time, that Baker/Carter scam was meant to do little more than give "respectable and official blue-ribbon" credence to the Photo ID scam they were beginning to perpetrate back in its nascent stages. The scam was perpetrated by the same operatives who secretly created and ran the commission in the first place, in order that folks like Fund (who, naturally, was called to give testimony to this phony commission) could later cite some sort of official elder-statesmen blessing of their disenfranchising Photo ID conspiracy which they've been using to con an otherwise gullible media/electorate.
The substance of the testimony alleging "voter fraud" was a fraud itself.
At the outset, Mr. Fund laid bare the nasty, racial underbelly of these proposals. The right-wing has been long engaged in tactics to suppress minority votes, but rarely lets slip about such tactics, as Fund did today. In a discussion about provisional ballots, Mr. Fund said that Congress should allow precinct workers to determine whether a provisional ballot should count because they would know who "looks as if they belong in the neighborhood." Wonder what he meant by that?
(Thanks to BRAD BLOG's video ace, Alan Breslauer for the stomach churning video clip!)
Missouri (or as we call our old homestate around here "Thor Hearne Country") wasted more than $600k on special high-tech, high-security computer systems to run their Voter ID system before the Republican's new vote-suppressing legislation was found to be unconstitutional. But never mind that, because the high-level, WH-connected GOP operative Thor Hearne's client, Gov. Matt Blunt, still believes it was all well worth it.
KTVI, the local Fox affiliate, reports:
Check out Davis' video report on the boondoggle up there on the left, including his confrontation with the not-yet-resigned Missouri Governor.
(Hat-tip to the fine folks of Fired Up! Missouri for tipping us off to this report!)
*** Special to The BRAD BLOG by Greg Palast
"The wheels have come off, the engine is on fire and no one is driving," Captain David Iglesias told me yesterday. I'd asked the Naval Reserve officer, heading off to duty in Norfolk, why he didn't want his old job back, United States Attorney for New Mexico.
The busted, burning, ghost-mobile he described is the Department of Justice, driven by Alberto Gonzales. Or is Karl Rove at the wheel? Or no one? Whomever, he didn't want to jump back into Bush's Justice Jalopy.
Today, Iglesias is in Washington to pull the junker off the road, meeting with the Office of Special Counsel where Obstruction of Justice may be swirling around in the old oil pan laying on the garage floor.
The ex-prosecutor and I, long, long ago, had both worked for the Attorney General of New Mexico, a state where the snakes have less venom than the politicians.
First, there's Senator Pete Domenici, whose hiss is as smooth as his bite is deadly.
Domenici, softball interviewer Chris Matthews notes, is a nice guy. On TV. However, the Republican Senator's call to Iglesias at his home, just before the 2006 midterm election, asking the prosecutor about filing charges against Democrats in the week before the vote, was downright rude. When the prosecutor replied in the negative, the Senator hung up.
And apparently, the Senator contacted one Monica Goodling who, scribbled on a notepad: "Iglesias - Domenici says he doesn't move cases." Oops. Goodling, a political stooge working for Gonzales, was listing the reasons for firing US attorneys. Now, rudeness was no longer the issue. Firing a prosecutor for failing to "move cases" --- handcuff citizens at the request of a Senator --- is Obstruction of Justice.
No wonder Monica took The Fifth.
Of course, the Rove dogsbodies at Justice couldn't tell Congress they fired Iglesias because he wouldn't jump at the Senator's rattle. They reached for another complaint on Monica's list: "absentee landlord." Deputy Assistant Attorney General Paul McNulty used absenteeism as the official reason for dismissal. McNulty's resigned.
He should have taken The Fifth....
Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer
Part 1 (8:18)
Parts 2 and 3 follow below...
Doing twelve things at once today, so no time for analysis at this point. I'll just run CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's just released statement on her promised, unprecedented, first-of-its-kind in the nation, "top to bottom review" of all of California's electronic voting systems.
The review will include "red team" hack testing for the first time ever. Done as standard operating procedure for similar security-sensitive, mission-critical commercial systems, this sort of penetration testing has never been performed on America's voting systems. Until now.
The one page summary [PDF] of the plan states:
There are links within her statement below where you can find more details. For example, the State's review teams will include folks such as computer security expert "hacking" Harri Hursti, and blind technology expert Noel Runyan, who has been highly critical of unverifiable touch-screen DRE voting systems.
More on all of this, perhaps, later after I've had time to review the materials myself. But for now, see the statement below for some killer quotes from Bowen...
Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) was successfully voted out of the U.S. House Administration Committee today after a four hour mark-up session. We'll have analysis of the bill in the coming days as we are able to review a copy of the final version which is now headed to the House floor. We have been told that electronic balloting on Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen systems will continue to be allowed in the bill.
Apparently, a paper ballot --- one that is actually counted --- for every vote cast in America is of little interest to either the Democratic and Republican members of the committee.
See our Holt Bill Special Coverage Page at http://www.BradBlog.com/Holt for much more information and action points concerning the bill.
First out of the box to trumpet today's "triumph", naturally, was the bill's top supporter, the public advocacy group, People for the American Way (PFAW). They had a press release good to go before the ink even dried on the dangerous new version of the bill (which, we should add, does include both some improvements to the initial version, along with several watered down provisions as we've been told...but we'll wait until we actually read it before commenting further on any of that.)
For now, however, we have little choice but to characterize the tactics used by PFAW in their press release as despicable, while they continue to knowingly mislead the American people about what the Holt bill will and won't do. (Their press release is posted in full at the end of this article.) This group knows better, and yet, they are doing it anyway.
We can do little else at this point other than to recommend any donors to their organization cease supporting them immediately, and otherwise let them know exactly why. Their dangerous, disingenuous support for this dangerous and disingenuous bill is counter to the best interests of Election Reform and Integrity in America. Worse still, PFAW --- who has openly lobbied in favor of the use of dangerous, disenfranchising, hackable touch-screen DRE systems, claiming they are preferable to paper-based optical-scan systems --- is willing to lie about facts in order to see the bill move forward...
Will the Democrats in the U.S. Congress finally begin to realize their mistake in allowing for DRE touch-screen voting machines now that the Republican Governor of Florida has led the Republican-majority Florida legislature (along with every Democrat in it as well) to do the right thing and move to all paper ballots? Or will U.S. Congressional Dems continue to allow themselves to lose yet another issue that they should be owning?
We'll leave it to the Election Integrity advocates on the ground --- the coalition of GoAllTheWayFlorida.com --- who have worked so long and hard, to give you the great news...
FLORIDA VOTERS COALITION CONGRATULATES GOVERNOR CRIST AND THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE FOR ENDING PAPERLESS VOTING.
TALLAHASSEE: In a historic vote, the Florida House today unanimously passed CS/HB 537, already passed in the Senate, that provides almost all voters paper ballots in time for the 2008 Presidential election, and bans paperless DREs outright by 2012. The bill now goes to the Governor where he’s sure to sign it since it’s his initiative.
Counties will have the option to pitch DREs immediately and provide ballot marking devices for voters with disabilities. “FVC urges all 67 counties to convert to uniform paper ballot systems without delay and leave no voter behind voting on failed electronic voting machines,” said FVC Co-Founder, Dan McCrea.
The bill is funded with $27.9 million in HAVA funds and there’s plenty more money in that account should more be needed next year. Counties will get help from the state to purchase optical scan equipment to count the paper ballots; ballot-on-demand equipment to ease paper congestion problems in Early Voting; and ballot marking devices to serve the disabled.
While there was talk earlier in the legislative session about retrofitting printers to failed touchscreen DREs, that talk faded as legislators saw it would be throwing good money after bad...
The rest of the News Release is posted here [PDF]...
In still more very good FL news, a U.S. House panel has asked the non-partisan GAO to investigate the contested FL-13 election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan where 18,000 votes disappeared on the DRE touch-screen voting systems in Sarasota.
John Gideon has links to media coverage of both of those events in his Daily Voting News today.
Congratulations, Florida voters! And especially to the tireless patriots down there who have been fighting so hard, for so long! There are still many fights ahead down there before true Election Integrity returns to Florida, but there is no denying that this is an enormous victory. Let's hope it rubs off on the other 49 states...and the U.S. Congress!
50 seconds well spent...Click play on the video at left.
That terrific video is just out from CountAllVotes.com.
The FL House is currently in the throes of either adding poison pills to, or otherwise trying to fend off Gov. Charlie Crist's long-overdue and responsible plan to bring paper ballots to the beleaguered voters of the Sunshine State. His courageous plan would do away with all of the state's horrible, disenfranchising, touch-screen DRE voting machines in time for 2008, something which even Democrats in the U.S. House, so far, have been shamefully afraid to do.
Please go visit the site and take action --- whether you're from Florida or not, you can help their campaign...which will help us all.
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