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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 29, 2014
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
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Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
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Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
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"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
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  w/ Brad & Desi
Record wildfires burn the Pacific Northwest; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Previous GNRs: 7/17/14 - 7/15/14 - Archives...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: CA gets tough on water wasters...
Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
Death to Zombie Myths!: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad takes on a bunch of lies that just won't die -- from e-cigs to Ann Coulter's voter fraud to 'global cooling' to the death penalty to marriage equality in MS and more...
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George W. Bush appointee rules state system violates Constitution's ban of 'cruel and unusual punishments'...
'Green News Report' 7/15/14
Divesting from fossil fuels; Germany gives $1b to climate fund; Australia carbon tax repeal; All-electric Formula E racing revs up; PLUS: Climate denier Murdoch...
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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...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
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
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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
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CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
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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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Calls for 'Contingency Paper Ballots' in States, Counties this November to be Paid for by Feds!
Co-Author of HAVA is Co-Sponsor of New Bill Answering Our Call for a 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT', Makes Paper Ballots Optional to States Rather Than Mandated...But We'll Take it! Sources Say House Bill to Follow Soon!
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2006 12:36pm PT  

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced emergency legislation to amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) this afternoon to offer funding to states and counties who make 'contingency paper ballots' available to voters to be used at the voter's option instead of electronic voting systems.

The so-called contingency paper ballots are intended to be counted as normal ballots, as opposed to Provisional Ballots which must be vetted first to determine the integrity of the voter's registration. Provisional ballots are frequently counted only several days after Election Day, and often, not at all. The Senate legislation as filed, however, does not spell out the intended difference between "contingency" and "provisional" ballots specifically.

The BRAD BLOG has learned from a source currently working on similar legislation in the House, said to be filed there shortly, that the House version will include such specific language if possible to ensure such contingency ballots are counted as normal ballots on Election Night. Several Capitol Hill sources have confirmed that such legislation is currently in the works. We hope to have more details on the House version later today.

The inclusion of Dodd as a co-sponsor on the Senate legislation is no small coup, as he was one of the original co-sponsors of the HAVA legislation of 2002 which this bill would amend. Until now, he and the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of that original legislation have been reluctant to open HAVA to amendment.

The legislation, filed just after 4pm ET this afternoon, would refund state and county voting jurisdictions that offer paper ballots as an option to voters, and requires such jurisdictions post "in a conspicuous manner at the polling place, a notice stating that contingency paper ballots are available at the polling place and that a voter may request to use such a ballot at the voter's discretion."

Election integrity advocacy groups and citizens alike have been rallying members of both the U.S. House and Senate to pass such legislation since The BRAD BLOG initially called for what we had called, the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" last Tuesday. The act we called for would mandate emergency paper ballots at all polling places this November in light of thousands of voters having been sent away without having been able to cast a vote in primary after primary election so far this year when new electronic voting machines either malfunctioned or were otherwise unavailable.

The short Boxer/Dodd bill does not mandate the use of such ballots, but rather offers federal payment to local jurisdictions that choose to make such 'contingency paper ballots' available at either the voter's request or in the event of machine malfunction.

The bill is now being referred to informally as the "Confidence in Vote Act of 2006". It's a simple bill, three pages long in total, and is posted in full at the bottom this article. The final version of the bill to be filed momentarily (it may have already been) may be downloaded here in PDF format.

The bill introduced today is notable in no small part in that it's co-sponsored by Dodd --- one of the original co-sponsors of HAVA along with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Senate and Reps. Bob Ney (R-OH) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the House. HAVA was the bill which had set in motion the nationwide implementation of electronic voting systems paid for by the federal government. That bill gave states and counties some $3 billion dollars for voting systems "upgrades" around the country, and has led to a panoply of problems at polls, criticism from computer scientists, security experts and non-partisan election integrity organizations.

Dodd, and the other bi-partisan co-sponsors of HAVA, including the now-disgraced lead author Ney (R-OH), have been reluctant up until now to modify the legislation in any way, despite repeated calls from Election Integrity advocates, and a host of bills filed in both the House and Senate which have not been allowed to move forward.

The BRAD BLOG has learned that Boxer and Dodd chose to make the use of "contingency paper ballots" an option to states, rather than a mandate, in hopes that it would make the bill less contentious and easier to pass in the few days left in this legislative session before the election recess.

Both touch-screen DRE's and paper based optical scan systems have spectacularly failed across the country so far this year as well, and contingency plans have been called from both Republicans and Democrats alike to have such contingency plans in place at local jurisdictions should such machines continue to fail this November.

The downside to offering these paper ballots as an option, instead of a mandate, is that some states --- such as Florida --- have provisions in place making it essentially illegal for elections directors to offer such paper ballots at the polling place. For those states, it may well be that only a federal mandate would do the job of ensuring that voters would be able to vote come hell or highwater this November.

The legendary Leon County, FL Election Director Ion Sancho had previously expressed hopes that such a bill would make it "illegal to send a properly registered voter away from the polls without allowing them to cast a vote."

The latest state to have had machine problems in their primary election, resulting in voters being turned away from the polls, or being given Provisional Ballots (which are frequently not counted at all after Election Day) was Maryland. The Republican Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, called for scrapping the state's Diebold paperless touch-screen voting systems after their September 12th primary, calling on the state to impliment Emergency Paper Balloting this November. Incidents similar to the now-infamous "Maryland Meltdown" have been occuring across the country all year in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and many others.

The Boxer/Dodd legislation cites a recent call from former Republican Attorney General Richard Thornburgh and former Democratic Governor Richard Celeste to have such "backup and contingency plans that anticipate a wide range of possible failures in their electronic voting systems" this November.

With just 4, or so, legislative days left in this Congress before they break for their Election Recess, it'll be no easy feat to see the bill passed by both the House and Senate before they leave. But given the stakes, and the bi-partisan call across the country for such a measure, we hope the Congress can act with the speed appropriate for a bill so important to, at least, helping to mitigate the train wreck that our democracy may be headed for this November 7th.

The BRAD BLOG would urge you to contact your Congress Members to demand they support this legislation immediately. You can send a message to your Congress Members here asking them to pass this legislation now!

You may otherwise contact local media to write in support of it, or ask to ask them to cover it, via this link.

UPDATE 6:17pm PT: New York Times coverage now linked here...

UPDATE 11:12pm PT: Late, final edition of the Times now lists Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as a co-sponsor of the legislation as well!

The complete text of the Boxer/Dodd legislation as filed this afternoon, follows in full...

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

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Kitty Pilgrim Covers the Fallout from the Recent Lawsuit Against the E-Voting Systems in Colorado...
By John Gideon on 9/26/2006 10:20am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In Monday's "Democracy at Risk" segment Kitty discusses the ruling from the judge in Colorado (as broken originally by The BRAD BLOG last Friday) against the state's "abysmal" voting machine certification process. Of course, the Secretary of State is trying to make it a partisan political issue.

Says Dobbs in yesterday's report: "[M]any state governments across the country are finally awakening to the threat that electronic voting machines pose to our upcoming midterm elections --- and our democracy."

Says Pilgrim: "[A] judge found the secretary of state's office had violated the law, saying there were no minimum standards. It failed to meet its statutory requirements for testing. It failed to adopt rules and failed to adequately test the machines...In many cases, the state simply allowed the manufacturers to vouch for the safety of the machines."

Says the plaintiff's attorney in CO: "The deficiencies in the testing was an utter lack of competence, and an utter lack any scientific method, and utter lack of any recordkeeping."

Says the Secretary of State: "Colorado voters should not be concerned about the security of the November election...I ask voters to ignore the political rhetoric by a few seeking to destroy that confidence in the election."

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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

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Blog Statement by V.P. Barbara Burt Refers to our 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' Legislation as 'The LEAVE NO VOTER BEHIND Act'
Contact Congress (Who We Hear May be About to Act!) Now!
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2006 3:56pm PT  

Barbara Burt, the Vice-President and Director of Election Reform at the non-partisan Common Cause, has posted a statement this morning on the organization's blog in support of the 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' (Emergency Paper Ballot legislation) that we proposed last week as an emergency measure that Congress could pass in their few legislative days left before the election recess.

The idea is to ensure that registered voters who bother to show up to the polls this November could at least cast their vote --- even if the voting machines are malfunctioning or unavailable, as has been the case in primary after primary election so far this year.

The measure should make it illegal to turn away a properly registered voter without allowing them to cast a vote. Giving them a Provisional Ballot is not an alternative, since those ballots are often not counted at all.

As Burt writes in her blog item in support of the initiative:

This is an initiative that would ensure that every precinct stock paper ballots for use in an emergency or, possibly, in case voters demand to vote on paper. It would be ideal to get this passed through Congress before the election, but Congress is leaving Washington at the end of this week. So chances of passage are slim (although they are capable of fast action on ocassion).

She also reports that the legendary Leon County, FL election director, Ion Sancho, "one of the voices of reason in the world of election officials...said that it should be illegal for a polling place to turn away any eligible voters without allowing them the opportunity to vote."

Common Cause joins election watchdog groups such as VotersUnite.org and VelvetRevolution.us in publicly calling for this common sense legislation.

As of this morning, we're hearing a number of hopeful reports about a number of legislators on Capitol Hill who are considering bringing this legislation forward soon. It would be similar to the emergency measure called for by Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich in Maryland recently, after his state's primary election was an utter disaster in the face of voting machines that couldn't be started up until hours after the polls had already opened.

The SoS Project has created a page where you can contact your congress members to urge them to pass this legislation with Terri Schiavo-like speed!

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BRAD BLOG Criticizes Columbia Journalism Review for Being Two Years Late and More Than Two Dollars Short...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2006 6:00am PT  

With a rather mild slap on the wrist, Columbia Journalism Review suggests in its Sep/Oct issue, in an un-bylined editorial, that the national media failed to do their job in reporting on the disasterously irregular 2004 Ohio Presidential Election.

No kidding. Do ya think?!

The CJR piece is published this week, just a touch over a month before our next national election. The decline of democracy has grown exponentially worse across the entire nation, every single day since 2004's Presidential Election (as we have been tirelessly covering on these pages since 3am or so of November 3rd, 2004) and yet CJR has waited until now for it's gentle hand-wringing over the lack of coverage on these matters in the national media.

They go so far as to describe The New York Times as "typically strong on voting controversy" before softly suggesting they haven't done enough to cover these matters. Never mind that it was the Times who, perhaps single-handedly, instructed the nation that nothing at all went wrong in Ohio in 2004 when they characterized the efforts of those of us trying to investigate what happened on Election Day as little more than "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers" on Nov. 21, 2004.

We wrote at the time about that article:

The New York Times has been bravely leading the way in ignoring the story of America's failure to hold an honest, clean and transparent election. Even though they've had time to dismiss the whole affair as "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers."

The following day we constructively offered them 15 hard news items concerning "irregularities" in the 2004 election that merited their investigation, rather than their condescension. To this date, we're aware of them having investigated none of them.

"Typically strong on voting controversy?" To what decade might CJR be referring?

In the meantime, nothing has been found to suggest that those of us "leftwing blogging conspiracy theorists" were anything but absolutely right in our concern, dilligence, and attention to the matter.

The "paper of record" sets the tone for America and for all of the other media. They failed this country abysmally.

CJR bills themselves as "America's Premier Media Monitor." In other words, their job is to be the watchdog of the watchdogs. And yet, they've taken two years to admonish the national media for having failed to cover the very dissolution of our democracy, in plain sight and before our very eyes, in a tepid little editorial this month.

Consider us the watchdog watchdog watchdog.

NEWS FLASH FOR CJR (feel free to face this criticism two years from now if you wish): While your spanking the national media for failing to do their job on this most crucial topic, you have utterly failed to do yours in the meantime. Glasses houses, much?

Finally, the ironically condescending little CJR editorial (which mentions some of the few outlets who have covered the issue sparsely, while leaving out those who have reported on it every single day since November 2nd, 2004 --- what, me bitter?) concludes thusly:

Guarding the democratic process is part of the journalistic mission, and with another election approaching, now is the time to think about that.

Uh, no. Sorry, guys. The "time to think about that" was years ago. Now, it's pretty much too late to do a damned thing to "guard the democratic process." At least for the 2006 election. You have failed as miserably as those whom you have finally decided to criticize (gently).

See you in September of 2008...when you all decide to give a damn about this issue the next time.

...CONTACT...
dartsandlaurels@cjr.org; Click">letters@cjr.org\">Click here to Email CJR

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UPDATE: Story Hints 'LET AMERICA VOTE ACT' Being 'Considered on the Federal Level'!
PLUS: Vermont's Sec. of State Makes Jerk of Herself...
By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2006 1:16pm PT  

New York Times set to report elections officials are getting "cold feet" about electronic voting. Gosh, what to 'em so long? (both the elections officials and NYTimes!)

From RAW STORY right now...

Electronic voting machines are making many election officials wary, according to an article slated for the front page of Sunday's edition of The New York Times, RAW STORY has learned.

"A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology, and many are making last-minute efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new machines in the November elections," reports Ian Urbina.
...
"Paperless touch-screen machines have been the biggest source of consternation, and with about 40 percent of registered voters nationally expected to cast their ballots on these machines in the midterm elections, many local officials fear that the lack of a paper trail will leave no way to verify votes in case of fraud or computer failure," reports the Times.
...
"Less than two months before voters head to the polls, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland this week became the most recent official to raise concerns publicly. Ehrlich, a Republican, said he lacked confidence in the state's new $106 million electronic voting system and suggested a return to paper ballots."
...
"But some election officials and voting experts say they fear that the new technology may have only swapped old problems for newer, more complicated ones. Their concerns became more urgent after widespread problems with the new technology were reported this year in primaries in Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and elsewhere."

Nice going waiting until it's pretty much too late to do a damned thing about it. NY Times has, once again, failed the American people. Jerks.

(Though there's still time to demand Congress mandate Emergency Paper Ballots!)

The full NYTimes story is now here.

UPDATE: Now that I've read the full story, it looks like the following graf refers to the buzz we've help generate on Capitol Hill for our proposed LET AMERICA VOTE ACT (Emergency Paper Ballot legislation)...[emphasis added]

In Pennsylvania, a state senator introduced a bill last week that would require every precinct to provide voters with the option to use paper ballots, which would involve printing extra absentee ballots and having them on site. A similar measure is being considered on the federal level.

Also worthy of condemnation is Vermont's Democratic Sec. of State Deborah Markowitz, president of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) who seems to be continuing the disingenously positive spin of too many state elections officials of late...

Deborah L. Markowitz, the Vermont secretary of state and the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said that while there might be some problems in November, she expected them to be limited and isolated.

“The real story of the recent primary races was how few problems there were, considering how new this technology is,” said Ms. Markowitz, a Democrat. “The failures we did see, like in Maryland, Ohio and Missouri, were small and most often from poll workers not being prepared.”

Though we like to encourage folks to be poll workers, we might recommend that those in Vermont simply stay home this year. Your Secretary of State, who is clearly not prepared to do her job, thinks it's all your fault! So why bother? Take the day off!

CORRECTION: We had originally reported Markowitz as being a member of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the group given the responsibility of certifying (and so far, rubber stamping on behalf of the voting machine companies) electronic voting machines at the federal level. Markowitz is President of NASS, not NASED. We regret the error.

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Plaintiff Rep Says Machines to be Allowed in November, With New Security Measures, But Must Be Recertified From Scratch Thereafter
[UPDATED Now to include CNN's Initial Coverage, Official VoterAction.org Statement, Trial Testimony and Depositions from the case.]
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 4:54pm PT  

I just received a phone call from Holly Jacobson of VoterAction.org, the group that has supported voter lawsuits attempting to decertify e-voting machines in Colorado, California, Arizona, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

She called us from Colorado just after leaving the courtroom, where the case in that state against the use and purchase of e-voting systems made by Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and Hart InterCivic was being heard yesterday. She called and said: "We won!"

That call came moments after I'd received a report that CNN's Lou Dobbs had reported an hour or so ago that they had lost the case...

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

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Demand Emergency Paper Ballots at the Polls This November!
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 1:14pm PT  

The good folks over at the Secretary of State Project have endorsed the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" (Emergency Paper Ballots this November) legislation and have created an easy web page where you can fill in your name and address, which will then send Email to Congress Members asking them to immediately propose and pass this important legislation!

If you only fill out one such online letter writing campaign between now and November 7th, please make it this one! Click here right now to send your letter!

It'll take you 30 seconds, and it could be the difference between a mitigated success (where people are actually able to cast their vote!) and a complete disaster at the polls this November 7th! Click it, and then send that link everywhere!

We've got no more than 5 legislative days left before this Congress breaks for the Election Recess. So if 6 or 7 of you can act now, it may make the difference! My original proposal for the LAVA legislation is right here.

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Endorses LET AMERICA VOTE ACT!
Election Integrity Org Says 'It's Unacceptable to Turn Away Legal Voters Because Voting Machines Aren't Working'
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2006 12:26pm PT  

VotersUnite.org, an election integrity watchdog group led by Executive Director John Gideon (who is also the Information Manager of VoteTrustUSA.org and a frequent Guest Blogging contributor here at The BRAD BLOG) has issued a statement this morning in support of our demand that Congress immediately pass Emergency Paper Ballot legislation.

Our original proposal for the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" is posted here.

The complete news release from VotersUnite has been released to the wires, and is posted online here. The pertinent information from that release follows...

For Immediate Release:

This primary election season has provided evidence that computerized voting systems are not ready for use in our elections. Election melt-downs in states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas, West Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and last week in Maryland prove that emergency steps must be taken for the November election. When poll site voting machines fail there must be a viable option that will allow every legal voter to vote.

"It is unacceptable to turn legal voters away from the polls just because the voting machines are not set-up, not set-up correctly, or not working at all. It is also not alright to use provisional ballots instead of a 'real' ballot that will be counted just the same as an electronic ballot cast on a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine. Emergency paper ballots must be in place in every polling place in the nation that uses DRE or touch-screen voting machines and those ballots must be used in the case of voting systems failure", said John Gideon, Executive Director of VotersUnite.Org.

VotersUnite.Org fully supports the implementation of the "Let America Vote Act" as presented at http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3502 and calls on Congressional leaders to do all they can to get this legislation through Congress and to the President for signature prior to Congress going on recess.

VotersUnite.Org is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization that provides well-sourced information to those interested in voting machine issues.

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Republican Head of State Calls for Paper Ballots this November!
By John Gideon on 9/22/2006 11:06am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

Last night Lou and Kitty tackled the argument in Maryland over whether Linda Lamone should just let Diebold do an investigation of what went wrong last week or whether Gov. Ehrlich should get his way and have the voters vote on paper ballots.

The text-transcript of tonight's segment on Lou Dobbs Tonight follows in full...

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

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Votes Written on 'Scraps of Paper' in MD With Machines Down and No Paper Ballots Available!
WaPo Columnist Says 'Switch to Paper', Repub Gov Wants Paper, Dem Election Director in Denial, Congress Needed to Step in Immediately!
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 5:59pm PT  
At Piney Branch Elementary School in Takoma Park, officials quickly ran out of paper ballots and began telling voters to use scraps of paper after electronic balloting ended at 8 p.m., said Dennis Desmond, who voted with an ersatz paper ballot.

Officials, he said, were calling out the names on the ballot while people wrote down their choices on blank paper. Desmond estimated that 50 people voted that way. Voters also were asked to provide biographical information about themselves as election officials attempted to make the ballots legal.

He said that election officials dispatched a worker to a nearby store to buy envelopes and masking tape so the ersatz ballots could be enclosed and sealed.

-- From Washington Post coverage of Maryland's Sept. 12 Primary Election Meltdown

In addition to the front-pager we reported on last night from today's Washington Post covering Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich's call for a return to paper ballots in the state this November, WaPo has two additional stories today underscoring the desperate need for the LET AMERICA VOTE ACT to be passed immediately by the U.S. Congress. The simple proposal I've made calls for Emergency Paper Ballots to be mandated at every polling place this November in the face of machine breakdowns from coast to coast all primary season long.

One of the other two WaPo stories on this today, this one by Marc Fisher, on the front page of the Metro Section headlined is "If Paper Ballots Restore Trust In Elections, Let's Switch." It includes this information in response to last week Primary Election Meltdown:

The obvious solution, as Gov. Bob Ehrlich said yesterday, is to put the machines in the closet (actually, returning them to the store is an even better idea; does anybody in Annapolis still have that receipt for $106 million?) and go back to paper ballots. The governor bemoaned flaws in the Diebold electronic poll books that Maryland used for the first time last week to check in voters: "Technology is a wonderful thing, but clearly, given their apparent inability to function appropriately --- when in doubt, go paper, go lower technology."

...As well as this extraordinary exchange from MD's embattled Democratic State Elections Director and Diebold apologist, the not-yet-resigned, Linda Lamone...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 2:21pm PT  

Much happening at the moment. Hopefully details to come later today/tonight.

For the moment, I'll point you to Kathy Gill's coverage at About.com of my proposal for the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT" (LAVA), a call for a federal Emergency Paper Ballots mandate at all polling places this November. I originally proposed the idea, asking Congress to pass this measure immediately here. A follow-up, including suggested legislative language for the very simple act was posted here yesterday.

The LAVA legislation seems to be generating quite a bit of buzz right now in certain sectors on Capitol Hill. Hope to have more details for you later. But with just about 5 legislative days left before the pre-election recess, please continue to make noise about it, contact your Congress members and let's save whatever we can this November!

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BRAD BLOG SOURCES, STORIES COVERED EXTENSIVELY...
EXTENDED EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2006 12:08pm PT  


Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who filed a landmark article last June in Rolling Stone concerning evidence of a stolen 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio, is set to rock the country again in tomorrow's Rolling Stone, The BRAD BLOG can now report.

The issue is currently on the stands in some sections of LA and NY, and will be available across the nation tomorrow.

Through interviews with a number of BRAD BLOG insider sources over the past several months, Kennedy, along with co-writer Dick Russell, will expose a plethora of new details concerning the scandalous and outrageous overtaking of our public election system by private companies such Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and others.

The article is titled: "Will The Next Election Be Hacked? - Fresh disasters at the polls --- and new evidence from an industry insider --- prove that electronic voting machines can't be trusted".

Many of the items covered may be familiar to readers here, as a good number of them were originally broken on these very pages over the last year or so. We worked closely with Kennedy and Russell on this story during its development over the past several months.

The article, however, covers several new and sometimes explosive details of Diebold's rollouts in both Georgia and Maryland dating back to 2002, as well as Florida, Ohio and Texas in 2004.

Characterizing the unchecked spread of electronic voting as "insane," Kennedy and Russell conclude, "It is time for Americans to reclaim our democracy from private interests."

Some of the damning details covered in the extensive piece include: the now-infamous and mysterious patch applied to the paperless touch-screen systems in GA just prior to the Chambliss/Cleland election; the presence of Diebold elections division president Bob Urosevich in the tabulation room in MD in 2002; Diebold's interest in downplaying, hiding the significance of several scientific reports in 2004 warning of the vulnerabilities in their machines; Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) involvement with former staffers and Diebold lobbyists in passing the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) through congress; ES&S shenanigans in Texas in 2004; E-Voting anomalies in Ohio and Florida may have given the election to George W. Bush; the Diebold electronic voting machine which kicked off the 2000 Presidential Election debacle...

The article is now posted in full at the RS website. Extended excerpts from the article follow below...

###

...TROUBLE COMING THIS NOVEMBER...

[A]s midterm elections approach this November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better. Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election – and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries. In Tarrant County, Texas, electronic machines counted some ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were actually cast. In San Diego, poll workers took machines home for unsupervised “sleepovers” before the vote, leaving the equipment vulnerable to tampering.
...
“Every board of election has staff members with the technological ability to fix an election,” Ion Sancho, an election supervisor in Leon County, Florida, told me. “Even one corrupt staffer can throw an election. Without paper records, it could happen under my nose and there is no way I’d ever find out about it. With a few key people in the right places, it would be possible to throw a presidential election.”

Much more now below...

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

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Here's the Bill Calling for Emergency Paper Ballots at Every Polling Place in America this November!
[UPDATED WITH NEW SENATE LEGISLATION NOW FILED!]
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2006 12:44pm PT  

Yesterday I called on Congress to pass an emergency measure to require Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls during this November's general election. I spelled out several reasons for this last-ditch, "Hail Mary" attempt to try and mitigate just some of the myriad problems and disenfranchisment that will occur at polling places this year thanks to new, poorly designed, malfunctioning, unsecure electronic voting machines now deployed across the nation.

Never mind the electronic voting machine fraud that is likely to occur. Never mind the proven inaccuracies of these god-awful machines. Never mind the ease at which they are now proven to be hackable. My concern right now --- this late in the game --- is simply to assure that voters who show up at the polls and are legally registered to vote, may actually be able to cast a vote at all!

In primary after primary this year, voters have been told to "come back later" or, at best, given a provisional ballot (which may or may not ever be counted) when voting machines either failed to work or, frequently, weren't even present by the time voters showed up to vote. That is voter disenfranchisement, pure and simple, and it affects voters of any and all political stripes.

Common sense (one would think) would dictate that State and County Election Directors would mandate Emergency Paper Ballots for voters to use in the event of machine unavailability. Though the Secretaries of State in several states so far this year (Texas, Arkansas, etc.) have issued emergency orders for such Emergency Paper Ballots, remarkably, many states and counties didn't bother and thousands of legally registered voting citizens were sent home in the bargain.

The legislation required by Congress to mandate Emergency Paper Ballots (I call it the "LET AMERICA VOTE ACT") is incredibly simple. In yesterday's article, I included a three-sentence piece of legislation. Below, is a more fully-formed draft legislation based on those three sentences as sent to me orginally by Bob Wilson of the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.

Along with additional tweaks by myself and a few others, my complete suggested legislation can be read --- in it's entirety --- in about 30 seconds. It's posted in full below.

If Congress cares (and if you help them to do so!), I'm quite certain that this measure can be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by George W. Bush with Terri Schiavo-like speed.

I'd think our democracy is worth at least as much. And I know it's certainly worth trying for!

Some have responded to my call for this LAVA legislation ("Let democracy flow!") by pointing out that the method of counting and/or auditing these Emergency Paper Ballots must be included in the legislation. My answer to them is that I agree with their point! However, at this late in the game (with only some 5 or 6 legislative days left before Congress recesses prior to the election) I don't want to give any Congress member any reason to oppose this act!

In other words, with the time we have left, if all we can do is assure that at least there will be a piece of paper on which a registered voter may cast a vote this November --- if they bother to show up --- then we will be doing a service to democracy. It's an incredible fact, but even something as simple has that has not been the case in many places this year. Last week's Maryland primary, were thousands were forced to go without voting at all when the machines failed to work, was a prime example!

Some have said there is no time to get this bill passed. I don't care. Let's get it passed anyway. If it fails, at least we will have a "paper trail" to point back to on November 8th when everyone else is wondering what went wrong and if anybody had tried to do anything about it while there was still time. Those of us who give a damn will have done everything we could.

I continue to speak to folks in Congress about sponsorship of this bill, and I urge all American citizens to contact their Congress Members --- as well as their state and local officials --- to demand that non-provisional Emergency Paper Ballots be made available at the polls this year!

You can contact your Congress person here (and you can contact local media here.)

(The URL for this article is: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3502. Feel free to point them to it!)

Let's get to work! This effort is about all we have left legislatively at this point! Please spread the word everywhere. My complete suggested language for the LET AMERICA VOTE ACT is posted below...

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

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CALL ON CONGRESS TO PASS 'EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT LEGISLATION' NOW!
Every Registered American Voter Must Be Allowed to Vote This November!
By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2006 12:41pm PT  

Given this year's primary election meltdowns and train wrecks that we've been reporting since March 7th of this year, in which electronic voting machines have failed to start up and thousands of American voters have been turned away from the polls when they came to vote, but couldn't...

Given the fact that one such meltdown occurred last Tuesday in Maryland, where many of the DC media and politicos live...

Given VelvetRevolution's new Princeton Diebold Virus Hack report demonstrating conclusively that electronic voting machines may be hacked in a minute's time resulting in flipped elections without a trace left behind...

Giving that American democracy and the right to vote in that democracy ought to be a beacon to the world...

It is NOW time for Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation to be brought and passed immediately by both houses of the U.S. Congress, in order to at least mitigate the coming train wreck this November 7th.

Call it the Let America Vote Act (LAVA) of 2006...Let democracy flow!

The legislation can, and should be, as short as a single paragraph so that it can be read and passed quickly by every U.S. Congress member. It can apply only to this November's general election, if that is needed to get it passed and signed quickly.

It should read something like this...


LET AMERICA VOTE ACT
(EMERGENCY PAPER BALLOT MANDATE OF 2006)

Emergency paper ballots shall be made available at every voting jurisdiction in the United States during the November 7th, 2006 General Election. These paper ballots shall be available in sufficient numbers for optional use by voters who prefer to use them, and by all voters in the event of voting machine failure or unavailability. These paper ballots are not to be provisional ballots, but regular paper ballots that shall be counted immediately upon the close of polls on election night along with all other votes cast by properly registered voters.

Note: At this point, I don't give a damn how the Emergency Paper Ballots will be counted; by hand, by optical scanner, whatever. So long as voters are not disenfranchised by the millions --- as thousands have already been so far in this year's primary elections across the country --- by showing up to the polling place only to be told they can't vote at all, or by being told they must vote provisionally (provisional ballots are not counted on election night, and frequently not at all) because the new voting machines are broken or otherwise unavailable.

States such as Texas, Arkansas and other have already had to do this this year when Secretaries of State put out emergency notices to Elections Administrators to create such Emergency Paper Ballots after the voting machine companies failed to provide programmed ballots or working machines.

All states are already required by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to have such paper ballots available at every polling place as Provisional Ballots, so those can be copied NOW if need be for use as Emergency Paper Ballots (which is better than the scraps of paper some counties reportedly have tried to use in emergency situations so far this year!)

BOTTOM LINE: With the passage of this Emergency Legislation, at least properly registered American citizens will be able to vote on Election Day if they choose to!

Feel free to call it the "Hail Mary Emergency Election Protection Act" if you want. I don't much care, so long as it's passed by Congress in time to ensure that voters can actually vote this November!

I've spoken with a number of people on the Hill and within the Election Integrity movement...scientists, activists, politicians, in DC and around the country, and they have all been in favor of this legislation and have pledged their support.

I am attemping to find sponsorship for this bill in Congress, and I'm calling on all Election Integrity organizations and concerned citizens who may have better connections than I to help find such Congressional sponsorship immediately.

I am calling on these same people to then call on Congress to pass this legislation immediately!

I am hoping to have an official version/wording of the bill posted shortly. It will, of course, be available as a new item here at The BRAD BLOG no later than tomorrow. It will spell out, in official "bill-like" language, precisely what I've posted above. [UPDATE: A complete legislative language version of the bill is now posted here.]

Democracy is at stake. After at least two years of reporting in exhaustive details on these matters, and at this late stage of the game, I believe the above "reform" is, unfortunately, the most we can likely hope for in time to have any real impact in mitigating a full-on train wreck during this November's crucial excercise of the rite of democracy.

Please forward this item to everybody you know, cross-post it or link to it as you see fit (this is the URL: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=3495)...And please contact your Congress person and ask them to support and/or sponsor this initiative today!

UPDATE 9/26/06: Boxer & Dodd introduce Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation in the Senate! House version to come soon! Details here...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/19/2006 12:38pm PT  

As I wrote on Sunday, when your Ford Pinto blows up in the course of regular use --- such as when it gets hit from behind in a rear-end collision --- you don't blame the driver for the disaster.

Diebold's response in general (along with the other voting machine companies and the elections officials who are now their "unofficial" representatives in the media) to the mountain of problems we've seen with electronic voting machines at the polls so far this year has been to blame the poll workers. Indeed, Diebold's official response to the catastrophic findings by Princeton University that Diebold touch-screen systems can be hacked with an election-stealing virus implanted undetectably in a minute's time --- one that can then spread to every machine in the system --- has been to say that if poll workers and elections officials do their job properly, that could never happen. That's simply nonsense and they know it.

Computerworld's blogger, Martin McKeay, posted a brilliant reponse to Diebold's nonsense the other day. His on-the-money reply ends this way:

Diebold may be a private company, but the service they're providing is consumed by the voting public. As such, saying "It's secure, trust us" is not an acceptable answer. This is not a situation where security through obscurity is an acceptable answer. Not only do the results of each election have to be verifiable but how we arrived at those results also needs to be verifiable. Code verification has been one of the most asked for requirements since the first evoting machine was developed. There are very few situations where the saying "trust, but verify" applies more than in voting.

Here's my final comment, and it's directed right at [Diebold Election Systems, Inc., President] Dave Byrd: Quit attacking the critics of your product and attack the basic problems your product has continually displayed. Rather than attacking researchers and running off election officials who want your products verified, take the time to address the fundamental problems with your products. Give us a paper trail, quit using WindowsCE, allow verification of your software. Part of being in a democratic society is that the voting process needs to be transparent to anyone who's willing to take the time to look. Until Diebold is willing to accept thattransparency , you're going to keep getting hammered by your critics and your products will never be acceptable. It's only going to get worse unless Diebold changes their tactics.

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