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'Green News Report' 12/18/14
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Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
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Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
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Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
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'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
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The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
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'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
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Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
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'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
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Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
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'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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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?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

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So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Takes Leave of Absence from Committee Overseeing Holt Election Reform Bill...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2007 1:16pm PT  

Prior to the Easter Congressional recess, there was a great deal of speculation as to why the scheduled mark-up for the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR811) had been delayed until after recess in the U.S. House Administration Committee.

Among reasons for the delay, The BRAD BLOG had heard from various Hill staffers that chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA) had come down with the flu. Another staffer said the issue was due to a failure by Microsoft to present promised information on problems with the software disclosure portions of the bill. Some Election Integrity activists had attributed the postponement to their phone and fax campaign warning lawmakers about perceived dangers in the bill.

While we've been unable to confirm that any of those reasons specifically caused delay of mark-up for the controversial bill, The Hill is reporting today that Millender-McDonald has been diagnosed with cancer and will now be taking a leave of absence through late May...

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

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Since the EAC Refuses to Notify Them, We Hope You Will...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2007 4:32pm PT  

A commenter over at DU asked which states used the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting system found vulnerable to an undetectable countywide vote-flipping virus which can be implanted by a single person, as we reported this morning.

Based on our quick review of a county-by-county database of voting systems, sorted by state, as made available by Common Cause (EXCEL spreadsheet downloadable here) just prior to the November 2006 elections, it looks like the answer is 16 states in total.

Since the EAC refuses, as our report detailed, to do their job in notifying Elections Officials about this incredibly serious vulnerability, it looks like it's up to you to notify your state's Secretary of State and/or county Election Officials! Details on the vulnerability and mitigating steps that may be taken are detailed in this brief report at VotersUnite.org as written by a computer scientist and voting system expert well familiar with the newly discovered flaw. Please refer your voting officials to both our original article, and that scientific report for more details at the following URLs:

The states which use the ES&S iVotronic affected (with firmware versions either 8 or 9, with or without a so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail") are as follows:

  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • New jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

If we've missed any, or any of the states above do not use the system in at least one county, please let us know and we'll amend the list.

The BRAD BLOG and You - Doing the EAC's job for them. But without the $15 million budget (or the incomprehensible incompetence).

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Scientific Report Finds 'Serious Security Vulnerability' Similar to 'Princeton Diebold Virus Hack' in Widely Used iVotronic System, Allowing a Single Person to Change Election Results Across Entire County Without Detection
Despite GAO Confirmed Mandate to Serve as Info 'Clearinghouse,' Embattled EAC Says They Will Take No Action to Alert Elections Officials, Public
By Michael Richardson on 4/16/2007 9:05am PT  

By Michael Richardson and Brad Friedman

While revelations surrounding the mysterious 18,000 "undervotes" in the November 2006 U.S. House election between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchanan in Florida's 13th Congressional district continue to inform the nation about the dangers of electronic voting machines, new information has recently come to light exposing a shocking lack of responsible oversight by those entrusted with overseeing the certification of electronic voting systems at the federal level.

An investigation into what may have gone wrong in that election has revealed a serious security vulnerability on some, and possibly all, versions of the iVotronic touch-screen voting system widely used across the country. The iVotronic is a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machine manufactured by Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), the nation's largest distributor of such systems.

The vulnerability is said to allow for a single malicious user to introduce a virus into the system which "could potentially steal all the votes in that county, without being detected," according to a noted computer scientist and voting system expert who has reviewed the findings.

And yet, despite their federal mandate to serve as a "clearinghouse" to the nation for such information, a series of email exchanges between an Election Integrity advocate and officials at the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) has revealed that the federal oversight body is refusing to notify states of the alarming security issue.

The recent email conversation shows that even in light of the EAC's review of the warning from the computer scientist who characterized the "security hole" as severe, needing to be "taken very seriously," and among the most serious ever discovered in a voting system, the EAC is unwilling to take action.

Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have taken the EAC to task for a failure to meet their legislated mandate for informing the public and elections officials about such matters. However, a review of the email communications to and from the EAC's Jeannie Layson shows that the federal body is steadfast in their refusal to take action to alert either elections officials or the public about the security risk recently discovered by a team of eight noted computer scientists.

The EAC's current Chairwoman, Executive Director, Director of Voting System Certification, and other top officials at both the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), and even the GAO, were included in the series of email communications, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

The vulnerability was initially discovered by a panel of scientists convened by the State of Florida to study the possible causes for the FL-13 election debacle. The team's discovery revealed that a design issue in the widely used iVotronic system could allow for a viral attack, by a single individual, which could then spread unnoticed throughout the electronic election infrastructure of an entire county.

A similar vulnerability was found in DRE touch-screen system made by Diebold last Summer by a team of computer scientists at Princeton University.

Attempts to seek information about EAC plans to notify other states and local jurisdictions that use the same vulnerable voting systems as the ones in FL-13 have been met with an astounding refusal, troubling denial, buck-passing, and a lack of accountability by the federal commission of Presidential-appointees. The agency has also come under fire in recent weeks for a number of questionably partisan decisions and other failures to perform as mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002.

Of late, the EAC has been forced to respond to a great deal of controversy, on a number of different operational matters and policies, as revealed by a series of articles on this site and in mainstream outlets such as the New York Times and USA Today. Several of those matters have drawn Congressional notice, questioning of EAC officials, and letters of inquiry. Thus, this latest revelation is likely to add to the rising concern of Congress members as new federal legislation introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), currently facing mark-up by a Congressional committee, would permanently fund the now-embattled EAC. Funding for the agency was originally mandated by HAVA only through 2005.

The new ES&S iVotronic vulnerability first emerged on February 23, 2007, when the Florida Dept. of State released a report detailing their findings from the investigation into what happened in Sarasota's still-contested Jennings/Buchanan race. That election was ultimately decided by just 369 votes. The state's official findings included a report [PDF] conducted by an eight-member computer science and technology team under the auspices of Florida State University (FSU). The report sought, unsuccessfully, to determine the cause of the unexplained "undervotes" reported by the iVotronic touch-screen voting systems used in Sarasota's portion of the FL-13 race on Election Day and in early voting.

Although the reason thousands of votes turned up missing from those systems remained unknown, the study team did discover a serious security flaw in the iVotronic system that is used in Sarasota and many other jurisdictions across the country (and even the world, as France is set to use the same systems in their upcoming Presidential Election.)

Election integrity watchdog John Gideon, a frequent BRAD BLOG contributer and the Co-Director and Information Manager for VotersUnite.org, says that the security flaw may pertain to "every ES&S iVotronic voting machine used in the US and overseas." A total of eight separate versions of the system --- without and without so-called "voter verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT)" printers --- are currently approved as qualified at the federal level, he explained. Three of those are definitely affected and it is likely that the others are as well.

The details, the dangers, and the denials are all described below...

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

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New Computerized System was Rife with Bugs, Unexplained Errors and Party-Flipping According to Newly Revealed Documents...
By Michael Richardson on 4/12/2007 11:27am PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

The 18,000 "undervotes" in Sarasota and other questionable elections in November 2006 election were not the only problems faced by Florida voters last year. Most of them, in fact, likely have no idea just how bad it really was.

Florida's statewide voter registration database, and election management systems designed to work with it, were plagued in early 2006 with a host of problems. Some of the details are now revealed by a raft of email messages sent recently by a source to the non-partisan election integrity watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org which posted them quietly on their site for public scrutiny.

Sixty-four email messages to election officials, spanning a four-month period from January to April 2006, from VR Systems, a Florida corporation, document a staggering series of serious problems with Florida's new computerized voter registration database during the early months of its implementation. The emails, from Jane Watson, a manager at VR Systems, provide a disturbing picture vis a vis a nearly day-by-day report from inside the software test lab.

The Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS) is statewide voter registration database described by Watson in the emails as a "home grown system" built by IBM to Florida specifications and maintained by Department of State staff. Voter Focus is a software system, unique to Florida, which provides election management functions to 60 Florida counties.

The emails tell the tale of software failures which began in January 2006 as programmers furiously work to solve program glitches and failures prior to the state's upcoming elections. The system went online before development was complete, in order to meet the January 1st deadline imposed by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The source of the Florida emails, an insider familiar with the development and implementation of the database who has requested anonymity, tells The BRAD BLOG that, "The system should never have seen the light of day until the bugs were worked out. They used the voters and county election officials as guinea pigs to experiment on and test the program."

Documented failures include the software somehow, without apparent reason, switching the party registration for voters. As one of the emails describes: "We are seeing instances of voters being changed to a different party when there was no user activity. This is our top priority now." And the next day: "We worked this weekend on diagnosing voters whom we suspected as having had their party changed by Voter Focus...There were 3 counties with high numbers of suspected cases of this kind of inadvertent party change."

The emails remain unclear on whether the problems were completely found and fixed, and whether or not all voter files had been correctly restored. Later emails suggest that various related problems still existed months later when voters, whose registration should have been recorded in the system, were nowhere to be found. Votingindustry.com, a website which tracks the progress of the implementation of statewide registration databases, currently describes Florida's system as "Still working out kinks."

Jane Watson, the author of the memos, spoke with The BRAD BLOG and confirmed the authenticity of the emails. She explained that the federal government with its HAVA mandates "didn't understand the time it takes to develop programs."

While Watson stressed her confidence that no voter was disenfranchised in 2006 because of bugs in the statewide voter registration system, she admits that "party changes never have worked as well as they should" and that "there are still some things to work out..."

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

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AUDIO FILES: Public Service Announcements Calling on Action Against PFAW, a Ban on DREs...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2007 7:57pm PT  

Blogged by Brad on the road... (Yes, I'm on the road again for a few days, and struggling to keep up.)

People For the American Way (PFAW) has yet to respond to my formal request or correct their unconscionable use of my name and website in spreading their misinformation about Election Reform and the Holt Bill (HR811) on their website. While I continue to consider them "the good guys," their deceitful behavior and lack of attention to this matter makes it harder to hold on to that assessment.

Please let them hear from you: (pfaw@pfaw.org)

If you've haven't yet, please see this open letter to PFAW from the day before last, requesting that they cease their outrageous mischaracterization of my personal position on Election Reform, as well as condemning the out-and-out dishonest misinformation on the Holt Election Reform bill that they are peddling there. All of that comes on top of their incredibly irresponsible advocacy in favor of the use of dangerous DRE touch-screen voting systems.

They know what they are doing. They are doing it anyway.

While the other major public advocacy groups in league with PFAW --- including MoveOn, Common Cause, VoteTrustUSA, and others --- are not actively advocating for the use of DREs, as PFAW is, none of them have disassociated from PFAW's indefensible position or spoken against their dishonest use of my name and website in support of their agenda.

For those who have expressed skepticism about PFAW's position, since they are usually considered "good guys" in these matters, here's a quick sampling of their statements in support of DRE voting, as published on their website in the official PFAW's analysis of the Holt bill [PDF] (from pages 2 & 3):

DRE technology offers better access options to voters with disabilities and voters who have minority language needs.
...
DRE technology is much more effective for minority language voters.
...
DREs afford voters with disabilities an opportunity to cast an independent secret ballot— something that optical scan paper ballots cannot fully do.

All demonstrably misleading or untrue. Non-tabulating touch-screen ballot marking devices, which print a paper ballot, can be used by the disabled without disenfranchising voters and creating unverifiable electronic ballots. And DRE technology is not "much more effective for minority language voters" --- quite the opposite is true, in fact. They have no science to back up their position. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Those statements, however, are at least out in the open. In their "Democracy Campaign FAQ", they have changed their tune, and used quite a bit of rhetorical sleight-of-hand to disguise their position. See my open letter to them for a few of the more egregious examples.

...AUDIO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS CONDEMNING PFAW'S DISHONEST BEHAVIOR & IN FAVOR OF A BAN ON DRE VOTING SYSTEMS...

Cynthia Black of Action Point on KPHX 1480 (Air America/Nova M Phoenix) kindly asked me to record a couple of quick Public Service Announcements on these matters. They are now running on the station.

She suggested the PSAs be made available for others to use as well. Feel free to pass these on to your favorite local radio station, or use them as you see fit. Two spots, one on PFAW, and one on the need to ban DRE/touch-screen voting systems in Rush Holt's HR811 bill...


-- "Contact PFAW!" PSA Spot [MP3, :26 seconds]


-- "Ban DREs!" PSA Spot [MP3, :26 seconds]

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The Mess We've Been Warning About for So Long, Concerning the EAC, Finally Makes it to Prime Time...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2007 3:31pm PT  

More on the EAC's "voter fraud" report boondoggle covered earlier today.

The New York Congressional delegation has sent us a statement (posted in full at the end of this article) in which Rep. Maurice Hinchey excoriates the behavior of the EAC in hiding, and then altering, the report's findings for political reasons.

"The draft report was commissioned with taxpayer dollars upon a mandate from Congress so that we could learn more about voter fraud and intimidation," says Hinchey. "The need for this report is even more clear when we see the way in which the Bush administration is carrying out the electoral process and how this system is sliding towards corruption."

"Slide towards" may be an understatement. Hinchey --- who requested that the original report be disclosed by EAC Chair Donetta Davidson, a Bush-appointee, during a recent Congressional hearing --- is a member of the House Administration Committee which is now considering Rep. Rush Holt's (D-NY) Election Reform bill, which will make the hopelessly partisan and haplessly incompetent EAC a permanent body for the first time in its short, controversial life.

New York's Rep. José E. Serrano, a member of the appropriations subcommittee which oversees the EAC, says he's concerned about the "partisan bias" apparent in the two different versions of the report.

"When you read the draft report side-by-side with the final version, it is clear that important conclusions of the experts who wrote the draft report were excluded from the final product. Among the excluded information is an analysis that undermines the notion that voter fraud is rampant," said Serrano.

Democrats, however, are not in the clear on this issue themselves...

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

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NY Times Finds Original Bi-Partisan Draft Report, Buried by the EAC, Concluded Fears of 'Voter Fraud' Were Overblown
Altered, Politicized Report Follows Familiar White House Pattern, Brings Additional New Concerns About Continuing Status of EAC...
By Arlen Parsa on 4/11/2007 1:12pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Arlen Parsa with additional reporting by Brad Friedman

The New York Times reports today that a governmental report on the so-called dangers of "voter fraud" was manipulated to reflect the Bush Administration's claims rather than their own panel's findings.

The Times obtained two copies of the report on voter fraud, the first of which [PDF] concluded that fears of voter fraud were overblown and exaggerated. The second --- and official version of the report --- however steps back and promotes ambiguity about the danger (or lack of danger) that voter fraud poses to American democracy.

The Times reports:

A federal panel responsible for conducting election research played down the findings of experts who concluded last year that there was little voter fraud around the nation, according to a review of the original report obtained by The New York Times.

Instead, the panel, the Election Assistance Commission, issued a report that said the pervasiveness of fraud was open to debate.

The revised version echoes complaints made by Republican politicians, who have long suggested that voter fraud is widespread and justifies the voter identification laws that have been passed in at least two dozen states.

Democrats say the threat is overstated and have opposed voter identification laws, which they say disenfranchise the poor, members of minority groups and the elderly, who are less likely to have photo IDs and are more likely to be Democrats.

Though the original report said that among experts “there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud,” the final version of the report released to the public concluded in its executive summary that “there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.”

The bi-partisan report had been buried for months by the supposedly bi-partisan U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), which has come under fire of late for partisanship and a failure to oversee the electronic voting systems and voting machine vendors they are supposed to be overseeing and testing for compliance with federal standards.

The two bi-partisan authors of the original report were bound, by contract, as reported by the Times, to keep quiet about their opinions on the final report. However, following the release of the EAC's edited final version, one of the two authors, Tova Andrea Wang, a Democracy Fellow at the The Century Foundation, telegraphed some of her opinions about it in a guest blog we ran at The BRAD BLOG titled "Where's the Voter Fraud?" Her editorial made clear that the Republican claims of a "voter fraud" epidemic in America were simply unfounded and being used as a political weapon to suppress Democratic voter turnout via the use of Draconian Photo ID restrictions at the polls.

The EAC's approach in releasing their altered final version of the report --- spreading doubt when there is really a consensus among experts --- is a technique that the White House has used in several instances when expert agreement is not politically convenient. Perhaps the most famous case of this was when the Administration trumped up scientific doubt about climate change and used it to mis-portray findings of government scientists.

According to the originally submitted draft report [PDF], marked "NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION," voter fraud at polling places, which Republicans have frequently cited as part of a massive, insidious attempt to undermine democracy, is not nearly as frequent as is claimed.

As The BRAD BLOG has previously reported, debate about the report, and its initial origins, was highly politicized by members of a White House-connected GOP front-group organization whose founder, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, a St. Louis resident and White House operative, is closely associated with the EAC's Paul Degregorio, a fellow St. Louisan, who was chair of the federal body when the report was first commissioned.

An email obtained by the Times detailed the complaints of the lead Republican author of the report, Arkansas election attorney Job Serebrov, in response to pressure to alter the conclusions of the report's findings...

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

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Responds to Editorial by Former CA SoS's Newspaper, Criticism from CA Elections Officials Who Admit Their Voting Systems are Likely Neither Secure nor Accurate
ALSO: Op/Ed by BRAD BLOG/VelvetRevolution.us's Own Emily Levy Runs Along Side Bowen's in Same Paper...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2007 2:27pm PT  

CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen responds to the Santa Cruz Sentinel's silly anti-democracy editorial last week with an op/ed 01of her own that ran in the paper on Sunday.

Please note that the Sentinel was previously owned by former CA SoS McPherson, the one who approved all of these un-secure, un-transparent electronic voting systems for our state in the first place.

It's good to know that Bowen is standing up for the voters, despite the crush of criticism she's received from the anti-voter Elections Officials in CA

Here's how she begins her piece in response:


Are all of California's voting systems secure, accurate, reliable and accessible?

It's a relatively simple question and I believe California's voters are entitled to an answer. If the answer to that question is "no," then some voting-machine vendors and county elections officials who rely on their equipment will undoubtedly be inconvenienced. But it's the 37 million Californians who will truly suffer if we don't have the courage to ask that question in the first place.

...And here's how she ends it:

Every election year, far too many voters are left to wonder if their voice matters, or if their vote even counts. To argue that because there are elections to conduct, California doesn't have time to determine if the voting equipment is secure, accurate, reliable and accessible ignores the fundamental reason why we hold elections in the first place.

People need to have confidence their votes are counted exactly as they were cast. If we fail to ensure the integrity of our voting systems, we'll do little but undermine the foundation of our democracy.

Kudos to Bowen! Again!

Please note that in the same Sunday Sentinel our own occasional BRAD BLOG Guest Blogger, Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us, also has an excellent op/ed in response to their original, ridiculous editorial. Kudos to Emily as well!

Speaking out matters!

And on that note, I'll remind you that if you haven't already, please contact PFAW@PFAW.org NOW! See this article for why it's imperative that you do immediately!

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PFAW Website 'Democracy Campaign FAQ' Mischaracterizes my View on 'Paper Trails' and Dishonestly Represents a Host of Related Issues
AN OPEN LETTER DEMANDING RETRACTION AND CORRECTION ON THE FACTS ABOUT MY POSITION, ELECTION REFORM AND DANGEROUS DRE VOTING SYSTEMS...
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2007 5:55pm PT  

I'm sorry to have to keep banging this drum. I truly am. But it must be done, as People for the American Way (PFAW) continues to not only mislead the public about the Holt Election Reform Bill (HR811) and dangerous, disenfranchising DRE touch-screen voting technology, but they are now apparently also misleading about my position on the issue, by name.

I sent the following via email to PFAW's lead Election Policy attorney, David Becker, today along with CC's to Executive Director Ralph Neas, and a number of other Election Integrity organizations.

I would urge you to read the letter below, and contact PFAW with your own concerns and demand that they immediately stop misleading members of Congress and the public alike about the most important issue of our day.

PFAW's support of the Holt bill is currently the lynchpin, for Congress and a number of powerful organizations, concerning whether or not it will be passed as is, or whether much-needed amendments --- most notably, one that immediately bans the use of dangerous, disenfranchising, unverifiable DRE voting systems, with or without a so-called useless "paper trail" --- will move forward in Congress.

You can contact PFAW right here:
Email: pfaw@pfaw.org
Telephone: 202-467-4999 or 800-326-7329

Please don't wait for someone else to do it!

From: Brad Friedman
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2007 5:20 PM
To: 'David Becker'; 'Ralph Neas'
Cc: [REDACTED FOR PRIVACY]
Subject: IMMEDIATE CORRECTION REQUESTED: Misleading, Incorrect PFAW FAQ

David (and/or whoever is managing the "Democracy Campaign" FAQ page at the PFAW site) -

Thanks to Art Levine's American Prospect article today, I noticed for the first time, your misleading FAQ concering the Holt bill.

There are a number of out and out inaccuracies on that FAQ, as well as several wholly misleading points and --- the only thing which perhaps I have a say in --- a complete mischaracterization of my personal position concerning Election Reform in the very first Q&A on the page.

I am requesting an immediate retraction of that incorrect position statement, along with a statement noting your correction to it. The other items, obviously, I have little say about. But I will note the most troubling here in hopes that your conscience will lead you towards correcting the incorrect and/or misleading information you are currently making available to your members and the American public...

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

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Thomas Elias Scores Again...Reports on Orange County Recount Shame, Jeff Stone's 'Riverside Hack Challenge,' Voting Machine 'Sleepovers,' McPherson's 'Hursti Chicken Out,' and Bowen's Call for Real Hack Tests...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2007 5:52pm PT  

Columnist Thomas Elias gets it right again. Today, he begins this way...

Just in case there was some confusion, California's new Democratic secretary of state, Debra Bowen, has now made it crystal clear she doesn't trust many of the electronic voting machines commonly used in the last few California elections.

Nor does she appear impressed with safeguards that satisfied her appointed Republican predecessor Bruce McPherson. McPherson believed the presence of voter-verified paper trails from touch-screen and other new voting machines would guarantee accurate recounts wherever needed.

But in the only significant recount of the last year, just after a February special election for Orange County supervisor decided by less than 10 votes between two candidates each named Nguyen (pronounced “win”), paper trails weren't even counted.

He then reports again on the Jeff "1000 to 1" Stone's apparently-aborted "Riverside Hack Challenge," the dangers of voting machine "sleepovers," former CA SoS McPherson's backing out of an invitation to Harri Hursti to hack Diebold systems in the state last year, and, most importantly, CA's current SoS Debra Bowen's important plan to finally properly test all voting systems used in elections.

If we didn't know better --- and that nothing useful to the MSM is ever reported by those crazy, unreliable, "left-wing bloggers" --- we might have even thought that Elias is a regular BRAD BLOG reader or sumpin' ;-)

He concludes his column thusly:

The bottom line: A sense of security and trust will be restored to elections only after counties install machines reliable enough to withstand thorough testing like Bowen obviously knows is needed.

Bingo. The full recommended column is here...

If you'd like to send a thanks for Elias's consistent good work on this issue, he can be reached via email here...

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Even While the Republican Governor of Florida (of all people and places) Restores Felon Voting Rights, Calls for a Ban on Touch-Screen DRE Voting, and Otherwise Succeeds in Shaming the Democrats...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2007 9:35am PT  

Florida's new Republican Gov. Charlie Crist continues to get far in front of Congressional Democrats concerning issues of Election Reform. Previously, he has called for the Sunshine State to replace all DRE touch-screen voting systems with paper-based optical scan systems (and touch-screen ballot marking devices for the disabled) and today, he succeeded in restoring voting rights for former felons to all but the most violent criminals after they've served their time.

While Democrats in Congress, and their public-advocacy group supporters such as People for the American Way (PFAW), MoveOn, Common Cause, and VoteTrustUSA, continue to dally around the edges of reform vis-a-vis Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill (HR811) in the House and a forthcoming companion bill from Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, shamefully, it's the Republican Florida Governor --- of all people --- who is proving to be the true Progressive in the fight for real reform.

There's plenty of blame to go around, of course. The GOP Legislature in Florida is hanging on to their own share of shame in fighting Crist's bi-partisan proposals to replace disenfranchising, democracy-stealing DREs. In Maryland, it's the Democrats in the Senate who are killing Election Reform after House Dems had approved it (as tepid as that reform would be in only requiring useless, panacea "paper trails" for the state's paperless Diebold touch-screen systems. LATE UPDATE 3/6/07 5:07pm PT: Stunning turnaround suddenly in MD's Senate, support for a paper ballot bill! Breaking details here...)

New Democratic Secretaries of State Debra Bowen in CA and Jennifer Brunner in OH are meeting their voter mandates and doing their respective best to correct dysfunctional, unverifiable, easily gameable voting systems, but they are also facing challenges from both Republicans and local Elections Officials alike who are fighting to put their own self-interests over those of the voters. As usual.

In the meantime, the currently-flawed federal bills in the U.S. House and Senate are on the verge of getting worse, not better, through the drafting, mark-up, and amendment process, as legislators bend to the demands of henhouse-guarding Elections Officials along with the uncritical support for "Election Reform, any Election Reform, whether it'll bring true Reform or not" by powerful groups such as MoveOn, VoteTrustUSA, Common Cause, and others.

By way of example, MoveOn sent out an email to members yesterday calling for unflinching support of the Holt bill, despite knowing it to be flawed and VoteTrustUSA yesterday sent out an "All-811-All The-Time" newsletter yesterday to members without a single article, from among the mountains available, critical of the bill. That, despite recent testimony to Congress by their own policy director, Warren Stewart, asserting that "the direct electronic recording of votes to computer memory is inimical to democracy." Both the Holt and Feinstein bills currently drafted would allow for exactly such systems, and in fact, institutionalize the practice for years to come.

Both MoveOn and VoteTrustUSA declined to respond to our queries seeking explanation about their mailings yesterday.

So what's going on here?

Legislation that would have been smashing in 2005, but has since been shown to be desperately out of date in 2007 given the mountains of new evidence which revealed itself during the 2006 Election Cycle and beyond, is mired under the weight of bureaucratic deal-making and go-along-to-get-along public advocacy. All of which is by-and-large enabling the Democrats who seem to be fiddling as democracy burns.

It's all made worse, for the moment, by the largest and most influential of the public-advocacy groups, PFAW, who continues to dominate the debate on many levels. The group, which The BRAD BLOG has come to learn wields great power and proxy throughout a large swath of the civil rights community, is not only currently against a much-needed ban of DRE voting systems, but --- far more disturbingly --- is actually advocating in favor of their use.

We reported recently on that point, but the evidence is perhaps more clear in PFAW's own published analysis [PDF] (pages 2 & 3) of the Holt bill [emphasis ours]:

DRE technology offers better access options to voters with disabilities and voters who have minority language needs.
...
Whereas optical scan technology requires the printing of thousands, if not millions, of ballots in multiple languages, the distribution of those ballots in adequate numbers for each precinct, and the training of poll workers to distribute those ballots to those voters who seem to need them, DRE technology is much more effective for minority language voters.
...
Similarly, DREs afford voters with disabilities an opportunity to cast an independent secret ballot— something that optical scan paper ballots cannot fully do. It is important that jurisdictions with large numbers of minority language voters and voters with disabilities have the flexibility to use DRE equipment.

PFAW's position, as expressed above, is wholly unsupported by scientific evidence, common sense, or anything else as we have learned while investigating the matter over the past several weeks and months.

When a Republican governor from Florida has gotten ahead of Democrats on this issue, it's safe to say that something has gone terribly wrong.

If someone within the Democratic caucus doesn't stand up soon and bring the type of leadership to this issue that Crist has brought to Florida, they risk becoming the owners of a dysfunctional electoral system previously designed-for-disaster, via the Help America Vote Act of 2002, by the now-disgraced, Republican felon, former Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio.

Is there nobody in the U.S. Congress with the leadership skills and courage to stand up and do what is both right and well-supported by scientific evidence in order to make America's broken system of democracy right again?

Is there nobody who will stare down the disingenuous and/or fearful and/or ill-informed and/or self-serving factions standing in the way of restoring America's once-great shining example of democracy to the world?

As the right to vote and to have that vote counted transparently and accurately underpins every other right we have in this country, we'll continue to keep digging, advocating, investigating, reporting, and hoping. The alternatives --- and consequences --- are far too dire to do anything less....

Take action to amend the Holt Election Reform Bill!
DEMAND A BAN ON DRE/TOUCH-SCREEN VOTING!
- Email Congress!
- Call your members!
See www.BradBlog.com/Holt for more details, coverage, talking points & information on all of the above!
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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2007 4:48pm PT  

On a related note... In the corporate media's misleading and self-created "two-person race" for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have each raised approximately $25 million in the first quarter of this year.

Neither, however, has gone on record in favor a paper ballot --- one that is actually tabulated --- for every vote cast in America.

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As we Sit Down for a One-on-One Debriefing with the Finnish Computer Security Expert and Discuss American Elections, Rush Holt's Reform Bill, Debra Bowen, 'Black Hats' and Why Elections Matter
Big Turnout and Good Press Coverage Accompany his Riverside Visit, Even if Jeff '1000 to 1' Stone Was a No Show...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2007 7:13pm PT  

Harri Hursti drove up to Los Angeles last Friday after his appearance that morning before the Riverside County, California, "Blue Ribbon" panel convened to investigate massive problems during the County's 2006 election, and continuing concerns from Election Integrity advocates about both the performance and security issues surrounding the Sequoia Edge II DRE touch-screen voting systems in use down there.

We sat down to interview Hursti for a documentary film for an hour or two on Friday night, and we continued chatting into the wee hours. After getting home around 4am, we suspect we'll be playing catching up for a few days.

The headline from those discussions last night is probably that Hursti, now famous for his hack of a paper-based Diebold optical-scan voting system in Leon County, Florida, in late 2005 (as seen live in HBO's documentary Hacking Democracy), advocates digital optically-scanned paper ballots --- where the image of the scan can then be made available to all on the Internet --- as the most secure and most transparent method of voting for the type of elections we have in these United States.

That may come as a surprise to advocates of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform bill, who have been pointing to the "Hursti Hack" as a way to suggest that op-scan tabulation is "just as bad" as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting systems. Holt's bill (HR811) would allow for the continued use of DREs, despite the continuing warnings from computer scientists, disabilities and minority rights advocates, and the Election Integrity community that the devices should be banned.

Hursti heartily disagrees with those Holt supporters and told us again that DREs are not safe for use in elections, with or without a so-called "voter verified paper audit trail." He's asked for us to help facilitate a meeting for him with Holt and his staff to discuss the matter, and we are attempting to do just that.

As well, Hursti's position may also come as a surprise to those who have pointed to the "Hursti Hack" in their call for 100% hand-counted paper ballots (HCPB) in American elections. While Hursti said he recognizes that such a system works well enough in other countries where ballots are much simpler, he feels the thousands of ballot styles and pages and pages of candidates and propositions would likely make all HCPB unwieldy here. By contrast, he explained that in Finland, voters go to the poll and cast a single vote for President as the only race on the ballot, which is simple enough to hand count on the night of the election.

He rattled off the many different systems of democracy in many different countries, from Europe to Asia, as well as a history of how America has come to its current mess, going back as early as the late 1800's to discuss the evolution of our modern day system in this country. Clearly, he's done his homework and is well worth listening to on these matters.

Hursti also gave high marks to California's new Secretary of State Debra Bowen for her recent announcement of "red team" hack testing for all of the state's currently certified electronic voting systems, as part of her "top to bottom review" of those systems. Other computer scientists and security experts have lined up to join in praising Bowen for this unique, first-of-its-kind attempt to finally test the security of these systems.

On the other hand, many of the state's elections officials have come out against such testing of their precious, hackable, un-transparent voting systems. And, surprise surprise, so has the Santa Cruz Sentinel --- the paper once owned by thankfully-former CA SoS Bruce McPherson --- in a laughable editorial late last week claiming that "paper ballots carry an even greater risk" than electronic voting systems, and that Bowen's planned test criteria is a "solution in search of a problem."

We're not sure what cave the Santa Cruz Sentinel has been living in, but we're guessing they've been sharing their hard tack and canned spam with their buddy, the gone-but-apparently-not-forgotten McPherson, the one responsible for certifying these god-awful systems in the first place for the state, despite mountains of evidence suggesting it was unwise. We're also guessing they've never sat down to chat with Harri Hursti.

Hursti's visit to Riverside, as we reported here last week, was in response to County Supervisor Jeff Stone's challenge last December that nobody could manipulate the county's Sequoia election system. After Hursti volunteered to take Stone up on that "1000 to 1" challenge, the county has been waffling ever since. So quite a few members of both the public and the press were on hand yesterday for Hursti's testimony before the "Blue Ribbon" panel.

Although Hursti traveled all the way from Finland, Stone and every other member of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors were apparently too busy to make it up the road to meet Hursti and listen to his presentation...

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

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All Eyes on Harri Hursti in Riverside County...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2007 12:53am PT  

FEATURING: Our One-on-One Debriefing with the Finnish Computer Security Expert on American Elections, Rush Holt's Reform Bill, Debra Bowen, 'Black Hats,' and Why Elections Matter...Pre-details back here...

UPDATE: Story now posted here...

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One of Several Reports 'Buried' by EAC, Shows Drop in Voter Participation in Wake of Poll Restrictions, Is Shamelessly Described as 'Draft'
Election Law Professor Warns: 'Chance for EAC to be an Honest Broker Above Politics Are Fading'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2007 4:51pm PT  

After recent Congressional oversight questioning by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission's Bush-appointed chairwoman, Donetta Davidson, has finally relented and agreed to release the commission's bi-partisan report on "Voter ID" issues which has been held back for months. That report, and another not yet released on claims of "Voter Fraud" have been withheld by the EAC, as we reported here and here and in a guest blog by Tova Andrea Wang, one of the two original lead researchers of the still-withheld "Voter Fraud" report.

Hinchey's statement on today's release, including a call for the release of the other related reports, is posted here.

Finally having released the June 28, 2006, report [PDF] today, in the wake of Congressional pressure, and shamefully titling it as a "Draft Voter ID Report" (since it didn't show what they had wanted it to show), the EAC today announced the following:

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has voted unanimously to launch a comprehensive study focused on voter identification laws after concluding that initial research it received in a report, which focused on only one election cycle, was not sufficient to draw any conclusions. The Commission declined to adopt the report, but is releasing all of the data to the public.

In other words, they'll get the "facts" they want, no matter how many reports they need to commission!

The report details how voter participation in minority areas had, in fact, declined after restrictive "Photo ID" laws were enacted at the polls.

"It appears that politics remains the EAC's main priority," said Michael Slater, Deputy Director of Project Vote who claims the commission responsible for overseeing elections systems in the U.S. continues to "play politics." In a statement posted after the report was released today he said, "It's disappointing that the Commission is building a reputation for ignoring or suppressing research findings that don’t satisfy everyone’s ideological position."

He added that the commission's disassociation from the report is another example of their string of continuing failures. "The EAC should be embarrassed by its attempt to impeach the report's findings by insinuating its methodology is unsound."

Are supporters of Rep. Rush Holt's Election Reform Bill paying attention?! His bill, HR811, as currently drafted, would reward the EAC by making them a permanent body, despite their notable and repeated failures...

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

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