(In which we subtly bite the very Huff Po hand that feeds us...)
w/ Brad & Desi
w/ Brad & Desi
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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(In which we subtly bite the very Huff Po hand that feeds us...)
And we entrust these guys to correctly count our votes?! Are we out of our minds? Can these guys do anything right? (These questions have long ago been answered on these very pages, of course.)
ORLANDO, Fla. - Five counties received new touch-screen voting machines that weren't certified for use in Florida because they were upgraded without approval from state officials, officials said.
The Diebold Election Systems machines were delivered in Volusia, Polk, Leon, Putnam and Glades counties with memory, processor, display and other improvements.
DELAND --- A funny thing happened when Volusia County elections officials fired up their new touch-screen voting machines --- they discovered the equipment wasn't certified by the state.
Diebold Election System shipped upgraded models --- 210 of them --- not yet verified by the Florida Division of Elections.
How much higher can the mountain of evidence get to make the case that these guys should be put out of the election business and our democracy's misery immediately and entirely?
Who the hell is running the federal Elections Assistance Commission (EAC)? OJ's jury?!
United States Election Assistance Commission
1225 New York Avenue N.W., Suite - 1100
Washington, DC 20005
Telephone: (202) 566-3100
Toll Free: (866) 747-1471
Fax: (202) 566-3127
E-mail Address: HAVAinfo@eac.gov
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
Just hours ago Betty Ireland, the Secretary of State of West Virginia filed a formal complaint against ES&S with the federal Elections Assistance Commission. A story in the State Journal quotes Secretary Ireland:
"And, Ireland says, now that the election is over, strategy talks about the problems with Election Systems and Software will begin...but, "We will not and cannot discuss publicly our legal strategy. As before, we continue to work with the Attorney General's Office to address our options"."
"The state's selection committee chose ES&S because of it's past service in the state and it's knowledge of West Virginia election deadlines and procedures. Ireland says, "Unfortunately, we now feel ES&S let West Virginia down"."
There have been failures all over the state. A small sampling of problems gives us:
- and ?
The national media? Mums the word for them, it seems.
John Gideon contributed to this report.
A group of Arizona voters have filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against Sec. of State Jan Brewer to halt the purchase of electronic touch-screen voting systems in the state made by both Diebold, Inc. and Sequoia Voting Systems.
The voters announced today that the motion was being filed in time to stop the use of the Diebold TSx and Sequoia Edge II systems in the state's upcoming 2006 elections, due to security, verifiability, and disability access problems with these systems.
In addition to the litany of security issues concerning Diebold's TSx, details from the most severe one to date were just revealed publicly last Friday with more chilling details filed in the Oakland Tribune by Ian Hoffman today, the suit also contends the machines, being purchased and implemented in many Arizona counties for the first time this year, are accessible only for a small number of voters with disabilities.
Indeed, on Monday, Diebold issued a press release about new disabled-accessible features that the company is now making available for their line of touch-screen voting machines. The press release can be seen as a tacit agreement, of sorts, that those systems had not been previously accessible to all disabled voters as required by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA)?
"Obsessively?" Me? (He says as he writes this at 4:39am) Well, maybe. But someone's gotta.
So begins the editor's intro to a piece I was invited to submit to the Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism's Watchdog site. The invitation came from Deputy Editor, and Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin, so I was honored to accept.
I was asked to submit questions for mainstream media folks to ask of Elections Officials about our current Electoral Train Wreck-in-Progress in hopes that someone in the MSM might actually do so. These are the tough questions which, frankly, ought to be asked of every damn Election Official in the country by every damn responsbile media person.
Several questions were edited out by Dan before posting for reasons that I don't completely understand. But as I consider him one of the good guys (who occassionally even links to BRAD BLOG from his WaPo page) I won't hold it against him.
So here's the piece as posted at Nieman Watchdog. (Including a swell pic of yours truly!)
And for the hard-cord Election Reform junkies, read on for the extra bonus questions which didn't make the cut. Who knows? Maybe someone in the MSM may one day want to know what they completely failed to ask about...
We've now been able to gather a great deal of additional information concerning details about the story we first posted yesterday on the official Pennsylvania state warning issued about the new "security vulnerability" discovered in all Diebold touch-screen electronic voting machines.
That warning, which has now brought a lock-down on all Diebold systems in PA, where early absentee (non-machine) voting is about to begin prior to their upcoming May 16th primary election, was reported by the Morning Call yesterday. The warning says the serious security vulnerability could allow ''unauthorized software to be loaded on to the system."
Public details about the warning are still sketchy as those in the know have acknowledged that the problem is so serious, they are hoping to keep the info under wraps until mitigation steps can be taken to safeguard systems.
The BRAD BLOG has been told on the record, however, by one person involved in the matter, that the vulnerability is a "major national security risk."
We've been speaking to many sources today, and we've been able to get several first hand comments on the problem from top officials and analysts directly involved in both state and federal certification of the Diebold systems, as well as from those involved in the initial discovery of the problem.
What's clear is that Morning Call's reporting that it was Diebold who found the "glitch" are flat wrong. The discovery of the "glitch" (which is anything but) emanated from the examination of Diebold AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) machines recently in Emery County, UT.
A source has told The BRAD BLOG that Diebold was "cornered" into admitting to the problem, a far cry from them having "found" it, as the Morning Call characterized it.
What's also clear is that neither Diebold themselves, nor federal officials at the Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) have been notifying states about the serious problem which apparently affects all Diebold AccuVote touch-screen systems, including both their newer TSx models, and the older TS and TS6 models.
The Diebold TSx models, with the security vulnerability still intact, were apparently used in the primary election last Tuesday in Ohio.
A document at Diebold's website describes [PDF] the TSx models as featuring "Industry Leading Security."
In Utah's Emery County, state officials are attempting to force Bruce Funk, the 23-year elected County Clerk out of his job in the wake of his having allowed a security evaluation of the county's new Diebold touch-screen systems by both computer security firm Security Innovation and Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti. According to several sources, that analysis revealed many new vulnerabilities and problems in the Diebold touch-screen systems, including the one that seems to be at the heart of the problem now being warned about by Pennsylvania officials.
Funk --- who has since been "vilified," as one source told us, by both Diebold and Utah state officials as high as the Lt. Governor --- was forced to implement the new Diebold touch-screen systems for the first time this year against his own objections. His prudent subsequent security evaluation of the systems was arranged by electronic voting watchdog organization, BlackBoxVoting.org. (We recently interviewed Funk on the radio concerning that evaluation, and his subsequent removal from office in its wake. Listen to that interview here [MP3].)
Here's some of what we've so far been able to learn from a number of officials, both on the record and off, in Pennsylvania, elsewhere around the country and at the federal level, as well as those involved in the initial Emery County discoveries...
The soon-to-be-indicted lead pusher of the disastrous Help America Vote Act (HAVA), Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) had his primary race in Ohio's 18th District tonight. While most congressmen named in four different criminal indictments and convictions would usually be toast, this is, after all, Ohio.
That said, Justin Rood over at TPM Muckraker, had this to say earlier this afternoon about the outlook for Ney tonight...
I called Giroux to get his take on the election. While he expects Ney to win, he said, he's curious about what kind of "protest vote" Republicans in the district will cast for Harris, reacting to Ney's ethical troubles.
"I'd be surprised if Harris got more than 20 or 25 percent," Giroux told me. "That would be a sign that there is a chunk of the Republican base that's disenchanted with the incumbent."
"If Ney gets in the 80s --- and he very well may --- that'd show that at least Republican voters are behind him, and they weren't willing to look at this alternative candidate," Giroux said.
100% of the results are now in from all but 1 of the 16 counties which make up Ohio's fightin' 18th. (Belmont County's results have been stuck at 25.3% for the last several hours, about which I suspect we'll hear more tomorrow. Trouble with those pricey new op-scan machines, Belmont?)
As of 2:13am ET, these are the results from the Ohio SoS website:
If Giroux is correct, it looks like Ney may be in for a tough ride this fall...If he makes it that far without ending up in the slammer.
UPDATE 5/3/06: 100% of counties now reporting in full. Ney: 68.38% Harris: 31.62%
UPDATE 5/4/06: As expected, the reasons for the delayed reporting out of Belmont was due to all manners of mess in counting votes off of their new machines. Here's a description of the mess..
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
On top of Brad's earlier report today on the ES&S meltdown in Texas, and loads of other states, we find out that still more problems with ES&S have been encountered in West Virginia.
On Thursday the Associated Press reported that a software "glitch" has delayed testing in 11 counties. The reason?
Though electronic ballots on the ES&S iVotronic Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines are programmed and seem to recorde votes accurately during testing, it's taking six hours or more to tabulate all the results. That is a huge problem for machines sold on the premise of accuracy and speed.
But the larger concern? "Version control". Apparently an ES&S engineer programmed the machines using outdated software. The company seems to not bother to ensure the correct version of software is being used and installed on the machines. And counties are not watching to ensure ES&S is keeping their machines current.
Ben Beakes, the chief of staff for WV Sec. of State Betty Ireland, explained:
That said, was the software version used federally qualified with the hardware and firmware version being used by those 11 counties? Do the states or counties even care? Maybe not but they should because not all versions of software will work with all versions of firmware. That's why there are version numbers.
And that's just one more reason why we're headed for an electoral train wreck.
BRAD BLOG reader and kick-ass blues man Shannon Williford (that's him at right) sends us a rockin' blues ditty titled simply "Election Reform".
While we're fairly certain it's the first blues tune to include the word "blogs" in the lyrics, we're damn near positive it's the first one to include the words "BradBlog.com" in it. And even "VotersUnite.org" (shout out to our pal John Gideon!) makes the cut for that matter. And others as well!
Shannon posted the lyrics, some observations on playing this song around Nashville and a few other thoughts on the current state of anti-establishment music in this comment on our Neil Young Living With War album review.
The tune certainly makes me smile. Hope it does the same for you. Turn up the speakers and...Give it a listen!
(Here are additional details on Williford's Delicious Blues Stew!)
Did you know that if your state took any funds from the federal government to purchase voting machines you have the legal right to file a complaint? And that you must be given a public hearing in the bargain if you ask for one?
According to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Section 402 any person who believes that there is a violation of any provision of HAVA Title III (including a violation which has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur) may file a complaint which must then be dealt with in 90 days time.
Title III of HAVA is the section that includes such things as the accessibility mandates of voting devices for disabled-voters, the ability to verify the votes selected by the voter on the ballot before the ballot is cast and counted, the requirement for warning voters of overvotes, audit capacity of voting systems, provisional voting, computerized statewide voter registration lists, and other issues.
Part of this right to file a complaint is the right to request, and be granted, an on-the-record public hearing of your complaint. This cannot be denied to you according to federal law.
Realizing that I had this right, I spoke with some attorneys who are working on voting technology issues and I was told that actions that I took by filing a complaint would not hurt their work in any way and it might be helpful as it will help to build a public paper record. I then composed my complaint, which is now posted at VoteTrustUSA in full, and filed it yesterday.
We'll see where it goes, but I wanted to mention this to BRAD BLOG readers who might consider doing the same thing. HAVA mandates that every state must create a process for such complaints to be filed by voters. Check with your Secretary of State's office to see what might be required in your state.
If "6 or 7" of us do this in each state, who knows what might come of it? Since all the states have different procedures, please feel free to share your experiences for others here in comments, along with any tips for filing in your own state as you may find them.
"These machines are a problem. This is not some Internet conspiracy; this is a serious problem that faces American democracy. These machines are not reliable and they shouldn't be used. We should not be using machines in this country where the results of the vote can't be verified after the fact. Period. Any machines."
-- DNC Chair, Gov. Howard Dean, 4/19/06
David Grossman (formerly of MediaMatters.org, currently of PoliticsTV.com) attended a breakfast with Howard Dean the other day. He asked Dean about his concern over Electronic Voting Machines. Dean's answer was interesting (transcript of complete answer is below.)
While I'm encouraged somewhat by Dean's response --- he seems to have a general grasp of the concerns --- it seems to me that he's still vastly "misunderestimating" the disastrous situation now afoot in the country in the wake of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). He just doesn't yet seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation and the extent of the problems and dangers posed to our democracy.
To that end --- in case there are any of Howard Dean's peeps reading this --- I will make the same offer I've previously made to people close to John Kerry, Wes Clark and, personally today, to Russ Feingold (more on that later). Namely, I'll be happy to brief Dean and/or his staffers by phone, in person, or any other way they might like to full explain what we are now dealing with in this country, and how incredibly important it is that they pay attention and take action now. They may feel free to contact me here, if interested in taking me up on the offer.
Dean also speaks, in his full response, about his experience
a year or so ago in 2004 hacking a Diebold GEMS central tabulator with "someone" on "live TV". That "someone" was Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org and the live TV was a CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown which Dean was Guest Hosting. The clip of him hacking the machines with Harris is right here. He added, in his response, that he didn't know for sure, but it "could have been a program that was elaborately programmed to fool me into thinking I was doing something I really wasn't doing."
No, Dr. Dean. It wasn't anything of the kind. We'll assume you were kidding. But what you did on live TV was exploit a vulnerability allowing a malicious user to hack the Diebold GEMS central tabulator, in about 30 seconds, to change the reported results of a Diebold election.
That is, of course, precisely what the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT, a branch of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security) warned about in a "Cyber Security Bulletin", as published prior to the 2004 Election.
Of course, nobody reported the US-CERT "Cyber Security Bulletin", originally posted on August 31, 2004, anywhere in the media until The BRAD BLOG did so more than a year later on September 15, 2005. As far as we know, nobody in the Corporate Mainstream Media has bothered to report on the warning even since then.
A huge thanks to David for asking Dean his question about Diebold! David's full blog item is here. The complete transcript of his exchange with Dean on this matter follows...
Before I register my complaint here with Matt Taibbi's otherwise excellent article on the background of "Mr. Republican" Jack Abramoff and "The secret history of the most corrupt man in Washington," as published in the April 6th edition of Rolling Stone, I'll point to this smart graf amongst many such smart grafs in a very well-researched and informative piece:
Taibbi's piece covers in detail some of the many scams that Abramoff and the rest of the nationwide Republican Network of dishonest, opportunistic players who now comprise the power structure of the Republican party --- or the "vast rightwing conspiracy" as Hillary correctly described it. It's an ugly, but accurate portrait of those who have hijacked all that America was supposed to have stood for while an otherwise distracted and/or media-whipped public was trained to look the other way --- or otherwise give the benefit of the doubt to some very very bad guys who have earned no such benefit.
Those bad guys now run the country, its government, its corporations and its media virtually in its entirety. And more shamefull still, they've got goons played for suckers who are so daft and gullible that, to this day, they run around and play apologist for these people who --- I guess they don't realize it --- are fucking them hard up their own asses with their own hard-earned money and blindly offered good-will. You'll find many of those dopes repeating Fox "News" and Limbaugh-isms over Thanksgiving dinners everywhere, and otherwise plying their foolish and self-destructive trade wherever they can. A stroll through some of the most trollish comments left here at The BRAD BLOG reveals these people have left only the dimmest of connections to Reality as it exists in 2006 on the planet Earth.
With those accolades for Taibbi's work now out of the way, allow me to point to this earlier graf in his piece (emphasis added)...
"Lurking in the background" must be MSM code for: Reported by BRAD BLOG but otherwise ignored.
We're glad to see Taibbi pick up on some of our reporting as he writes...
...But it would certainly help to keep such bad guys from affecting so much corruption and damage for so many years before they actually get busted, if Taibbi would be kind enough to point out some of the sources --- independent, alternative, "blog" or otherwise --- who have been trying to blow such whistles for so long.
With appropriate credit and recognition from the mainstream, as we opined a several weeks ago, reporting such as ours and many others would likely have the effect of stopping the bad guys before they manage to wreak quite as much havoc on our once-great American democracy.
We'd hope that even the usually independent-minded Rolling Stone would keep such important points in mind by choosing to give appropriate attribution where possible in their future reporting. As we've said before: It matters.
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
The BRAD BLOG has received a copy of the 'Complaint For Declaratory and Injunctive Relief', as filed earlier this week in Allegheny County, PA, by several disabled voters. The complete suit is now available here [WORD format].
As the suit itself is some 43 pages, we will distill it for you a bit, and cover the most notable aspects. The BRAD BLOG is just thoughtful that way.
As we reported on Wednesday, the complaint was filed against the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, other state and county officials, an Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the US Dept. of Justice, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The complaint asserts that the state certified Electronic Voting Machines made by Elections Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) are not accessible by voters with disabilities --- contrary to the requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Nonetheless, Allegheny County has selected their machines for use in upcoming elections. That, after previously hoping to go with Diebold, and then with Sequoia Voting Systems, until finally settling on ES&S after the first two choices fell apart either due to the politics of the companies involved and/or due to the discovery their Electronic Voting Systems were found to be hackable.
As mentioned, the choice to not use Diebold in Allegheny occurred, in no small part, because of the company's known hard-right partisan leanings. The lawsuit, however, points out the irony of finally choosing to go with ES&S�considering their own dubious partisan background�
Guest Blogged by John Gideon
Just announced by KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is the news that a group of citizens and People For The American Way have filed suit against the Secretary of State; Dan Onorato, Allegheny County Chief Executive; James Flynn, County Manager; and senior officials at the federal Department of Justice. The citizen group includes members of the disabilities community who want to make sure the County purchases machines that are accessible to all individuals with disabilities.
"This rush to a new and flawed technology just weeks before the election threatens to sow chaos in the primary and compromise the fundamental rights of thousands of voters for years to come," says Harry Litman, the former United States Attorney in Pittsburgh and an attorney for the plaintiffs. "It's a bad deal for Allegheny County, and, we believe, a violation of federal law."
The suit, Celeste Taylor v. Dan Onorato asks the court to prevent use of machines manufactured by Election Systems & Software until the County has spent the time necessary to identify voting systems that are secure; reliable; and accessible to voters with disabilities.
The plaintiffs cite elections in Texas, Florida, California, Ohio, and North and South Carolina where ES&S machines failed on Election Day.
A report by the Inspector General in Miami of a 2002 election found that the ES&S machines were not properly prepared; their results could not be audited; poll workers were unable to operate machines; and large number of voters simply gave up as a result.
The complaint alleges that DOJ has pressured Allegheny to buy the new machines by improperly threatening to take back about $12 million that has been given to Pennsylvania for improved voting systems.
These machines are sold and serviced by Elections Systems and Software, the same company that has played a major role in failures of memory cards and is a large reason why this nation is headed for a "Train Wreck" in our primary elections and, if no action is taken, in November.
More on the Phone-Jamming charges against (so-far) Republican officials. The matter now seems to be reaching into the White House as reported by AP:
The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 --- as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.
Democrats plan to ask a federal judge Tuesday to order GOP and White House officials to answer questions about the phone jamming in a civil lawsuit alleging voter fraud.
The phone records show that most calls to the White House were from Tobin, who became President Bush's presidential campaign chairman for the New England region in 2004.
While national Republican officials have said they deplore such operations, the Republican National Committee said it paid for Tobin's defense because he is a longtime supporter and told officials he had committed no crime.
Virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number, which currently rings inside the political affairs office. In 2002, White House political affairs was led by now-RNC chairman Ken Mehlman. The White House declined to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002.
Read the full story for many more details, but it should be noted that the White House hired Tobin to work their North-Eastern regional campaign in 2004 even after they already knew he was under investigation for the 2002 charges. He was only asked to leave his '04 post once the reports of the '02 investigation became public knowledge.
(Hat tip to RAW STORY.)
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