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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 25, 2014
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Current Chairman Paul DeGregorio Now Running a Desperate Misinformation Propaganda Campaign Just Days Before Election...
By Brad Friedman on 10/27/2006 1:33pm PT  

I only have a second as I've got to hit the road to get up to Santa Barbara to speak at tonight's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner (along w/ Wes Clark), so I'll try to be quick about it...

The U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) is a complete and utter failure. The current commissioner, Paul DeGregorio, has done nothing to instill confidence in elections or provide a lick of oversight in the deployment and use of these voting systems across the nation in the Midterm Election. In his latest interviews and editorials, he is reprehensibly doing nothing but echoing Voting Machine Company propaganda and Election Officials who choose to be apologists for them.

See DeGregorio's latest editorial here from the Tallahassee Democrat, in which he posts completely unfounded and unsupported "opinion" in contradiction of virtually all scientific evidence.

Contrast DeGregorio's nonsense with the comments of his predecessor, the honest, Bush-appointed, non-crony, Rev. DeForest Soaries, from this unaired network interview, in which he flatly states there are no standards for electronic voting systems in place and that 'elections in America are ripe for stealing.'

The EAC, under the "leadership" of DeGregorio, has become hopelessly compromised as he's allowed even the disinformation experts, such as "Thor" Hearne from the phony GOP front-group "American Center for Voting Rights," to set the agenda for the commission. Note that DeGregorio and Hearne are old St. Louis GOP colleagues. What a scam.

Below are a few choice pieces of information unsubstantiated horse excrement, from DeGregorio's editorial yesterday.

On this one point only, I can actually agree with DeGregorio: "Americans should be confident that their vote will be counted, whether they touch a screen or fill in an oval."

Yes, they should be confident, but they have absolutely no basis for that at this time, thanks to folks like you, Paul. Your words do not give such confidence. Transparency gives confidence. We've had quite enough "faith-based elections" in this country. Anyway, read on for some of DeGregorio's most shamelessly misleading garbage... (You can contact the EAC here.)

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

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By John Gideon on 10/26/2006 9:41pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org

In what may be the most revealing of all of the "Democracy At Risk" series Lou and Kitty discuss the broken system of certifying electronic voting systems for use by the voter. Lou correctly points out that the system represents a conflict of interest between the manufacturers and the Independent Test Authorities (ITA) who are paid by the manufacturers to test and approve the manufacturers products.

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

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

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Bush-Appointed Soaries: 'The Republican-led Congress and the Republican White House have failed...The public should be outraged.'
By John Gideon on 10/24/2006 8:22am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.Org


In this segment Lou interviewed two ex-Commissioners of the Election Assistance Commission. Ex-Chairman Deforest Soaries and Ex-Assistant Chairman Ray Martinez. As revealed in an earlier interview reported by BradBlog, Chairman Soaries is speaking out and speaking out loudly.

Of note in tonight's interview is this exchange:

Well, I think we're worse off because in 2000, at least we knew what we didn't know. And the hanging chad became center stage in 2000. Today six years later after spending $2.5 billion, we don't know what we don't know. We don't know about security, we don't know enough because the EAC never got enough money for research. The Congress passed a law that authorized $30 billion for research. EAC to this date has received zero of those dollars. The Republican party...

DOBBS: Zero.

SOARIES: The Republican-led Congress and the Republican White House have failed. And what Ray and I were invited to do was really a charade. And I think the public, as Ray said, should be outraged and demand results from the local to the federal level.

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

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

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BRAD BLOG FRONT PAGE: They're Not 'Glitches', And They're Not the Fault of the Poll Workers! Stop Blaming Them!
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2006 2:40pm PT  

On the same day as NYTimes front paged a story on the coming electoral meltdown. Chicago Trib follows suit in a front pager today that focuses on massive problems in Chicago and Cook County.

Like the Times, who modified their original headline yesterday shortly after publishing to refer to "Voting Woes" instead of "Voting Chaos" as it was originally described, the Trib turns backflips to downplay the concerns, blame as much as possible the poll workers and "human error," along with "glitches" and "hiccups," instead of placing blame where it squarely deserves to be placed: on the Voting Machine Companies and the Elections Officials who approved this garbage for use in our elections.

The headline is "Voting Glitches Feared on Nov. 7," but as a close reading of the article reveals, these are not "voting glitches." They are not even "glitches." They are FAILURES of the voting machine companies and elections officials. Period. End of story. Got that?

The story rightly refers to "a virtual meltdown" in last spring's primary in Chicago and Cook County, and goes on to add that vote totals can be completely fried...

[I]t will still be possible for workers to accidentally fry vote totals if they forget to disconnect the power from ballot scanners before data cartridges are removed at the end of the night.

"We don't want you to erase any of the memory," warned Gail Weisberg, Cook County's equipment manager/coordinator, during a training class last week in Hoffman Estates.

So vote totals can be entirely "fried" and yet we're actually using this system on November 7th?! Moreover, note the language above that says it's "possible for workers" to fry the vote totals. Instead of the more appropriate, "it's possible that the poorly designed systems could have their entire vote totals fried."

As I've gotta hit the road to head up North for speaking engagements and meetings over the next several days, and as things are now melting down all around us, as predicted --- with some 20 days left until Nov. 7th --- my patience is just about worn thin with the apologists, liars, and those journalists, "advocates," and public officials who have no excuse to claim ignorance anymore.

So I hope you'll pardon the more graphic language I feel compelled to use below...

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

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California Secretary of State Has Difficult Relationship With the Truth
McP Squares Off, Falls on Face, Against Non-Lying Opponent Debra Bowen in Live Debate
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2006 11:35am PT  

We spoke about the Democratic, and actually qualified candidate for California Sec. of State Debra Bowen yesterday.

So, equal time. Let's talk about the completely unqualified, partisan mouthpiece, the current Schwarzenneger-appointed California Secretary of State and accomplished liar, Bruce McPherson.

Oh, and as the end of yesterday's debate revealed, he's also a loathsome human being.

The two debated before the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. It was broadcast live --- now available to watch on the web --- and very informative. Here are some thoughts of ours on several of McP's obfuscations lies comments during the debate.

NOTE: Quotes of his below aren't always exact, but damned near. With one of McP's quotes, however, we had to go back and check three times, just to make sure we heard him right. We did. And we're appalled.

He actually said, "Under Secretary of State Bowen, if that ever happens, I will tell you, the blind and disabled will not be eligible to vote privately and independently."

Bowen replied gracefully by saying his comment was "shameful" and "not [McPherson's] finest moment."

Our personal replies to that appalling comment, and McP's host of other lies, follow below, and are far less charitable. As you may know, the election for California SoS may prove to be the most important race for the future of the nation's electoral system. Our snarky, point-by-point rebuttal to the truth-challenged McP --- who is working for the voting machine companies, not the voters of California --- follows in full...

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

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'New Machines, Long Lines, Confusion'...
UPDATE: Times Replaces Word 'Chaos' With 'Woes' in Headline!
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2006 5:33pm PT  

Nice of New York Times to start paying attention...now that it's too late to do much of a damn thing about it.

FLASHING now at DRUDGE REPORT...

NYT: BE PREPARED FOR CHAOS ON ELECTION DAY; NEW MACHINES, LINES, CONFUSION
Wed Oct 18 2006 19:12:07 ET

With an unusually large number of tight races and dozens of states shifting to new electronic voting systems, election officials across the country are bracing for long lines and heightened confusion at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 7, the NEW YORK TIMES will front on Thursday.

"North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi and Missouri are among the states considered most likely to experience difficulties, according to voting experts who have been tracking the new technology and other election changes.

Developing...

UPDATE 7:35pm PT: Complete NYTimes story now up. "New Laws and Machines May Spell Voting Chaos". It's well worth a read!

FURTHER UPDATE BY JOHN GIDEON 9:00pm PT: The story reveals that many of the voting machines now being used in Yolo Co, California for voters with disabilities only work in Vietnamese. These machines are only being used in the county because SoS McPherson and his staff unfairly denied certification to Vote-PAD which was supposed to be used in that county.

FURTHER UPDATE BY BRAD 9:20pm PT: Looks like the NY Times, who hasn't done much of any reporting on this topic up until now has had second thoughts already. The original headline discussed "...Voting Chaos" but has now been softened to "...Voting Woes". I've got my money on "chaos", not "woes" this November. It's a shame they've backed off. They were so close to telling the truth. Sigh...

FURTHER UPDATE BY JOHN 8:10am PT: While my 'UPDATE' from last night says many machines only worked in Vietnamese the article actually says 'some machines' and I have now found that, in fact, 3 machines were affected. My apologies for the incorrect wording.

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Debra Bowen States the Obvious...Necessarily...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2006 5:30pm PT  

Is this sort of thing actually necessary? Apparently it is.

While the following 10 items seem painfully obvious, apparently these no-brainer items need to be issued as a "Voter Bill of Rights" by CA Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen, given the mess we currently face (made possible, in no small part, by the hapless, duplicitous current CA SoS Bruce McPherson)...

1. The Right To Register To Vote.
2. The Right To Vote.
3. The Right to Vote In A Tamper-Proof Election.
4. The Right To Vote On Paper.
5. The Right To Have Each Vote Counted Accurately.
6. The Right To Have Election Results Properly Audited.
7. The Right To An Open, Transparent, Public Process.
8. The Right To Elections Officials Who Operate Free of Partisan Influence.
9. The Right To Know that Elected Officials Are Free From the Influence of Campaign Contributions From Voting Machine Vendors.
10. The Right To Find Out How Money Is Being Raised And Spent In The Political Process.

Have we mentioned that Bowen's victory in defeating McPherson is perhaps one the most important elections in the country if we hope to ever see Electoral Integrity in this country again? Sign on to support here...

UPDATE 10:28pm PT: Bowen and McPherson debated today. Video here. Haven't gotten to watch it yet, but McP would never out and out lie would he? Not before an important editorial board, right?

UPDATE 10:33pm PT: Whoops! Just watched the first five minutes and he already did! Go figure...I suspect there are many more to come.

UPDATE 10/18/06 4:37pm PT: Holy cow! Lies o' plenty! And more! Full coverage of the debate now here...

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DU Commenter Says 'Show Me' State Election Directors Encouraging Use of Paper, not Plastic...
Votes Will be Counted as NORMAL Ballots (Not Provisional!), According to Report
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2006 4:40pm PT  

Haven't had time to check into this (I welcome folks in Missouri to please do so themselves!) as too much rolling fast and furious now. Galloglas at DU reports that the Missouri Secretary of State's office may be encouraging use of paper ballots on Election Day. He reports that they may be available for "optional" use and will NOT be counted as Provisional Ballots.

That's good news. But, as with California's SoS announcement we reported last week, it sounds like the SoS office in the "Show Me" state (...pausing to ponder the irony...) could use a bit of a nudge to do the right thing and develop specific plans and procedures for use of optional and/or Emergency Paper Ballots in every precint. See Galloglas' report. Sounds like they are well aware of our efforts here at The BRAD BLOG, so be polite and give them our best wishes!

Contact info for Missouri SoS/Election Division here.

We recently sent a letter, along with more than 50 other Election Integrity organizations and notable individuals, calling on SoSs, Governors, and State Election Officials to develop immediate plans and procedures for the use of Emergency Paper Ballots this November 7th.

You can contact your own state officials via email here. We also encourage you to call them on the phone. They'd love to hear from you!

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Disabled-Accessible Paper Ballot Device Torpedoed as State Changes Testing Procedures, Refuses to Certify System
Company Files Suit with California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board
By John Gideon on 10/18/2006 9:32am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon

In August Vote-PAD learned that the California Secretary of State had decided to deny them certification that would allow Vote-PAD's voting assistive devices to be used in the state of California. They did this even though some counties had already contracted for Vote-PAD or were in the purchase process and even though Vote-PAD showed clear and convincing evidence that the testing process was biased. This denial by Bruce McPherson and his underlings led to the now famous "Off With Their Heads" blog here at The BRAD BLOG.

On Monday Vote-PAD issued a press release to inform the public that they had filed a formal complaint with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. According to the press release, Vote-PAD "asserts that the Secretary of State violated a number of State and Federal protections during the Vote-PAD certification process: 'a violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitutions of both the United States and the State of California, a breach of contract, a violation of the California Administrative Procedures Act, a violation of the Election Code provisions governing voting system certification and an abuse of discretion in the Secretary's authority to certify voting systems.'"

The full press release follows...

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

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Weekly Radio Program Starts Tonight Out of WNJC 1360AM, Philadelphia's Renaissance Radio
By John Gideon on 10/18/2006 8:28am PT  

The Coalition For Voting Integrity (CVI) in Pennsylvania has announced that beginning tonight and weekly they will be doing a one-hour radio program that centers on voting issues and democracy.

The program can be heard locally in the SE Pennsylvania and S New Jersey area via WNJC Radio 1360AM or it can be heard live via the internet by going here. They are encouraging audience participation so if you have questions/comments for tonights guest, Lowell Finley of VoterAction you can call 856 227 1360.

We are happy to see another group sharing their voices with Brad and the others who are on the radio spreading the good, bad and ugly news about our elections. The whole CVI Press Release has upcoming guests and more information....

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

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Former Chair Says He 'Was Deceived', EAC and Federal Efforts for Election Reform 'A Charade', 'Travesty'!
In Stark Contrast to Current EAC Chair, Rev. DeForest Soaries Blasts White House, Congress in Transcript of Unaired Interview from Major Broadcast Network!
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2006 7:35am PT  

The BRAD BLOG has obtained an EXCLUSIVE partial transcript from a recent, unaired interview by a major broadcast network with former U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Rev. DeForest Soaries.

Soaries was appointed by George W. Bush as the first chair of the commission created by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election Debacle. In the interview, available here for the first time, Soaries excoriates both Congress and the White House, referring to their dedication to reforming American election issues as "a charade" and "a travesty," and says the system now in place is "ripe for stealing elections and for fraud."

Having resigned from the commission in April of 2005, Soaries goes on to explain that he believes he was "deceived" by both the White House and Congress, and that neither were ever "really serious about election reform."

The explosive comments are the latest evidence highlighting serious deficiencies in the federal body, created by HAVA for oversight of elections systems, including new electronic voting devices, and standards for the use and security of those systems.

In the unaired interview, conducted last August, Soaries says there are "no standards" for voting systems and that Congress and the White House "made things worse through the passage of the Help America Vote Act."

Due to underfunding and lack of attention to the EAC and the Election Reform it was supposed to oversee, Soaries says we now have an "inability to trust the technology that we use" to count votes in our American democracy, even as "we’re spending a billion dollars a week in Iraq."

"We know more today about how to build a machine to take pictures of rocks on Mars than we know about how to build a machine to safeguard the American right to vote," complained Soaries in the interview.

On Electronic Voting System standards --- which HAVA mandated would be created by the EAC --- Soaries blasts both the White House and Congress for failing to supply them with the needed resources to complete the mandate, both for the federal government and the states that were relying on them to do so.

"[T]he states were forced to comply and they were asking us for guidance. We were ill-equipped to provide guidance. We didn’t begin our work until January 2004 and we spent the first three months of our work looking for office space. Here we were, the first federal commission, responsible for implementing federal law in the area of election administration and for the first three months we didn’t even have an address. And we physically had to walk around Washington DC looking for office space. This was a travesty. I was basically deceived by the leaders of the House, the Senate and the White House."

"Someone has got to be able to say, no one in America should use machine 'A' ever again," he says, in reference to the EAC's failure to decertify electronic voting systems even after they have been proven to be easily vulnerable to hackers and tampering.

"And if it’s not EAC," he continued, "it’s got to be someone. Someone in America has got to hold America accountable for protecting the most fundamental right in a democracy and that is the right to vote."

The straightforward comments from the EAC's first chair are in stark contrast to the actions of his Bush-appointed replacement, the current EAC head, Paul DeGregorio. The outgoing chair, DeGregorio, whose term has now ended, made news several days ago when it was discovered he had allowed the commission to withhold the release of a May 2006 report revealing claims of epidemic "Voter Fraud" --- as made by GOP operatives in order to push an agenda calling for restrictive, unconstitutional Photo ID laws at polling polaces --- are wholly unfounded.

Where Soaries was disappointed at the lack of interest by officials for true reform by the EAC during his tenure, his successor appears to have been using the post as an arm of the White House to continue its manipulation and perversion of the American electoral system.

UPDATE 7:27pm PT: The folks from KTLK in Los Angeles called to say they will have Soaries on the "Harrison on the Edge" show tonight to discuss this interview at 8:30pm PT. You can listen online here...

The transcript of Soaries comments, as taken from the unaired August 2006 interview are posted below…

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

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Court Rulings (and Facts) Continue to Pile Up Against Those Who Hate Democracy (Like Thor Hearne and the ACVR), Who Want to Keep YOU From Being Able to Vote!
Decision Echoes Other Such Findings in Georgia and Arizona...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2006 3:16pm PT  

Good news for voters and democracy in Missouri!

Bad news for Mark F. "Thor" Hearne II, the democracy-hating, snake-oil selling, high-level GOP/Team Bush operative and the insidiously evil man behind the entire phony disenfranchising Photo ID legislation movement across the entire country through his phony "non-partisan" front group, "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), whom we exposed long ago.

The most satisfying part of this, perhaps, is that "Thor" is from our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, where's he's been pushing his powerful, behind-the-scenes buttons fighting in favor of this crap for years.

On calls and deadlines right now, so can't give much more info for the moment. Will try to update as needed later...Just out from AP...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. --- The Missouri Supreme Court struck down the state's new voter identification law Monday that would have required voters to show a photo ID card at the polls starting this fall.

A lower judge ruled last month that the ID requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental right to vote. The state Supreme Court agreed in a 6-1 unsigned opinion.
...
The court found the requirement violated several provisions in the state constitution. The justices said requiring otherwise legitimate voters to obtain an appropriate ID imposed too great of a burden on their voting rights.

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Internal Memo from SoS Office to County Election Officials Informs That Any CA Voter is Entitled to Choose Paper over Plastic!
Apparent Response by Republican State Officials to Our National Call for Emergency Paper Ballots Causes Concern for Some...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2006 6:35am PT  

Every California voter who wishes to vote on a paper ballot in this year's general election may do so, The BRAD BLOG has learned, according to an October 3rd, 2006 memo issued by the California Secretary of State's office!

The terse, single-page internal memo, sent to "All County Clerks/Registrars of Voters/Vendors" on CA SoS stationery (download complete memo here [PDF]) instructs elections officials across the state that they should "have an adequate supply of paper ballots" if electronic voting machines should break down or "if a voter chooses not to vote on electronic equipment."

Written by CA's Asst. SoS, Susan Lapsley, the memo was issued in apparent response to our recent call for Congress to introduce and pass immediate "Emergency Paper Ballot" legislation. While bills were subsequently introduced in both the House and Senate, neither chamber succeeded in voting on the legislation before adjourning for the election recess. Eagle-eyed BRAD BLOG readers may remember Lapsley as the one behind the Busby/Bilbray fax to Congress, declaring the Republican Bilbray the winner of the recent CA50 U.S. House Special Election to replace "Duke" Cunningham weeks before it was certified, while thousands of votes remained to be counted --- and well after we had already exposed that the tainted election included voting machine "sleepovers" with poll workers in the days and weeks prior, in contravention of both state and federal law.

Lapsley's memo was written just after Congress adjourned and prior to the letter [PDF] we sent last week, along with more than 50 other Election Integrity organizations and leaders, to all 50 Secretaries of State and Governors calling on them to institute immediate plans and procedures for Emergency Paper Ballots.

The good news here, as we see it, is that all California voters across what Diebold refers to as "the country's largest voting market" may now demand paper ballots when they go to the polling place this year. This will be crucial in counties such as San Diego and San Joaquin, where the Registrars of Voters have chosen to side with the voting machine companies instead of the voters by supplying only hackable touch-screen Diebold voting machines for their citizens this year.

In enormous Los Angeles County, which includes some 8 million voters, such dangerously unreliable touch-screen systems are used only for early voting. It seems clear, however, from Lapsley's memo, that even early voters in LA County may now choose to vote on paper ballots instead!

From the CA SoS' memo...

[A]ll county elections officials shall have an adequate supply of paper ballots, as determined by the elections official, available at the voting locations for use in the event of a temporary loss of the ability to use electronic equipment, or if a voter chooses not to vote on electronic equipment.

This back-up supply can be absentee ballots or other option as determined to be reasonable by the elections official. If absentee ballots are used at the polls the voter need NOT apply for an absentee ballot in order to be able to use it to vote at the polls. You may also use paper provisional ballots to satisfy voters wishing to vote on paper in the event that DRE counties do not have a sufficient supply of absentee ballots to satisy the needs of the precinct voters. In such instances, the ballots of verified eligible voters who wish to vote on paper and are provided a provisional ballot to do so should not be treated as a provisional ballot cast but, rather, as a regular ballot.

Seems clear enough to us. And, we believe, it's very good news for the voters of California in general.

With that in mind, however, some Election Integrity Advocates have expressed concern about the vagaries and other dangers of the Lapsley memo, including the Democratic Secretary of State candidate Debra Bowen and election attorney Paul Lehto, both of whom we have immense respect for...

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

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Urgent Plea Mailed to 50 State Governors, Sec's of State and Election Directors Signed by Broad Coalition of Election Integrity Advocacy Orgs, Congressional Members, Elections Officials, Computer Scientists, Civil Rights Attorneys and Journalists
Initial Federal Effort Calling for Back-Up Paper Ballots Now Moves to States, Citizens Asked to Join the Call!
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2006 1:03pm PT  

An urgent letter has been sent today to the Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors of all 50 states urging them to immediately create and implement plans and procedures for allowing the use of Emergency Paper Ballots at every local jurisdiction during this November's general election.

The missive, signed by a broad coalition of more than 50 Election Integrity Advocate groups, congressional members, elections officials, computer scientists, attorneys and journalists comes on the heels of Federal legislation recently introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate. Those bills, which were not brought up for a vote before Congress adjourned for the Election Recess, called for funding to states who implement plans to provide Emergency Paper Ballots. The legislation was introduced in the wake of recent primary elections around the country where voters were unable to cast a vote due to failure, malfunction, or other inability of electronic voting systems.

The two-page letter [PDF] (also posted in full at the end of this article) was signed by individuals such as: Sen. Barbara Boxer, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Rush Holt, Leon County, FL Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, OH elections attorney Cliff Arnebeck and University of Iowa computer scientist Doug Jones. Organizations signed on include: Common Cause, VerifiedVoting.org, VotersUnite.org, BlackBoxVoting.org, VoterAction.org, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, MoveOn.org, TrueMajorityAction.org and many other national, state and local Election Integrity advocate groups.

"No legally registered voter should ever be told to 'come back later,' or be forced to use a provisional ballot simply because a voting system is unavailable to them at the time they are able to vote," the letter reads. "It is imperative that an ample supply of Emergency Paper Ballots be made available to account for any unforeseen circumstance."

The letter continues, "All voters must have the option to vote on an Emergency Paper Ballot if necessary and all such ballots must be counted as regular --- not provisional --- ballots."

As well, it's pointed out that some states already have certain procedures required by law to ensure that registered voters are allowed to vote, in the event that primary balloting procedures break down. Officials are urged to check those requirements and otherwise "draft, establish and publicize your own state's common-sense plans for Emergency Paper Ballots at every polling place this Nov. 7th, so that every election official, poll worker, and voter may be crystal clear on the procedures for utilizing such measures."

The movement calling on states to create Emergency Paper Ballot plans began just three weeks ago when The BRAD BLOG first called on the U.S. Congress to introduce and pass legislation in order to ensure that legally registered voters would not be turned away from the polls without being allowed to vote, as has been the case for thousands of voters in a number of states this year due to voting machines that failed to start up, were misprogrammed, failed during voting or, in some cases, hadn't been brought to polling places at all until several hours after polls were to have opened.

Many voters were either told to "come back later" or given Provisional Ballots, which are not counted as normal ballots on Election Night and frequently not counted at all.

Legislation for Emergency Ballots was introduced the following week in the U.S. Senate by Senators Boxer, Christopher Dodd, Russ Feingold and Kerry. A matching House version was filed the next day by Rep. Rush Holt and co-sponsored by 28 other House members. As well, Feingold and Kerry introduced a "Sense of the Senate" resolution calling for same, but that effort was also never brought up for a vote on the floor before the recess.

The letter, drafted by this journalist along with a number of other signatories, was sent to all recipients via return-receipt requested certified mailing this morning by VelvetRevolution.us. [DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR.]

With the failure of Congress to pass such crucial legislation prior to this November's important general election, the effort now moves to the State and Local level. Organizations and individuals are called on to contact their State and Local Elections officals to assure that plans are in place to accommodate any and all unforeseen circumstances.

Alluding to Americans who have fought for and defended the right to vote in the past, and indeed to this day around the globe, the letter concludes: "Our vote is our precious franchise. We believe it is worth defending, and worth the effort to guarantee that that right remains assured and inviolate."

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), one of the initial signatories, has created an online petition for citizens to urge their Secretaries of State and Governors to ensure such plans and procedures are created and implemented immediately. Take action by clicking here...

The open letter, sent to all State Governors, Secretaries of State and State Election Directors calling for Emergency Paper Ballot plans and procedures and signed by 55 organizations and individuals, can be downloaded here [PDF]. It also follows below in full...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2006 10:35am PT  

...Or so the emailer who called it to my attention aptly referred to this editorial today by E.J. Dionne in WaPo. We concur. Lame.

For the record, and once and for all, American democracy doesn't need paper trails! American democracy needs paper ballots! Can we at least get that much straight by now?!

If you don't believe me, just wait until your first high-profile challenged election occurs on touch-screen voting machines which use paper trails instead of a paper ballots. (You may not need to wait very long.) Just watch and see how much confidence those paper trails will offer skeptics during the challenge.

Beyond that, did we mention how lame the editorial was? It would have been a great piece had this been October 2004 instead of October 2006!

And they actually pay people to write those columns in the Washington Post? While we have to beg for donations??? (Speaking of which...we haven't done so in a long time, so please feel free to drop something in our tip jar if you can! We could use it. And we'll endeavor to not be lame in return.)

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