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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 20, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'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
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

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

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

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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

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

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

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

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

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

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


By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2013 6:35am PT  

Yesterday on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's BradCast I was joined by Tom Courbat, longtime Election Integrity advocate and 25-year former CA county fiscal manager, and Dr. John Maa, who initiated and paid for the first "recount" of a statewide initiative in California (Prop 29).

Courbat helped lead the coalition who recently attempted a "recount" of Prop 37, which would have required Genetically Engineered Foods to be labeled as such. Maa unofficially advised the group, until the entire process was blocked by the outrageous, and seemingly illegal, pricing set for hand-counting paper ballots in Fresno County by their Registrar of Voters Brandi Orth, as we detailed in our exclusive Special Report on Monday.

One election official, Orth, effectively stopped the attempted confirmation of the computer-tabulated results of the election dead in its tracks, and once again put the lie to the notion that secretly-tallied paper ballots are just fine because "we can always count them after an election if there are any questions about the results."

Unfortunately, both Orth and CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen declined to join us on the show today to discuss the disturbing facts we uncovered in our special report, which UC Irvine election law professor and nationally-recognized elections expert Rick Hasen linked to Tuesday night, along with his assessment that the seemingly "arbitrary" pricing of attempts to oversee our own elections "calls for a legislative response."

Plus, in the second part of the show, a few quick news items and, as usual, a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report.

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2013 11:51am PT  

THIS) UC Irvine election law professor and nationally recognized expert Rick Hasen links today to our exclusive special report from Monday which called out the Fresno County, CA Registrar of Voters for illegally overcharging for the citizen-attempted oversight "recount" of last November's Prop 37 initiative (which would have required Genetically Modified Foods to be labeled as such.) As we reported in that investigative report, her actions effectively stopped the attempted "recount" dead in its tracks, highlighted the possibilities for abuse by a single election official and the county-by-county disparities in "recount" pricing.

Our report also puts the lie to the notion that paper ballots, secretly-tabulated by computers, are just fine because if there are any concerns about the results of elections, we can always just count them by hand later. As our report detailed: no, we can't.

When linking to our report today, Hasen added: "This calls for a legislative response." Of course, we concur and thank the professor for noticing.

THAT) We'll be discussing that report today on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast at 3pm PT, when I'll be joined by Tom Courbat, who helped lead the attempted Prop 37 "recount", and Dr. John Maa who helped advise the effort after he, himself, requested and paid for the first statewide initiative "recount" ever after last June's failed Prop 29 initiative (which would have added a $1-per-pack cigarette tax to fund cancer research). Unfortunately, Fresno's Registrar Brandi Orth declined my invitation to join us on the show today to explain her position, while CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office has so far failed to respond at all to several invitations to do so. I'll hope that changes between now and showtime. You can listen LIVE from 3p to 4p PT right here.

THE OTHER THING) I'd been so busy over the past week or three working on that report that I haven't really had much opportunity to enjoy the fact that The BRAD BLOG is now, officially, in our tenth year of trouble-making and muckraking. I was, however, able to take some time to discuss it, and reminisce a bit, with our friend Angie Coiro of In Deep Radio up in San Francisco. You can listen to that interview right here. Long-time BRAD BLOGGERS may particularly enjoy it.

Relatedly, though I made a fairly impassioned pitch for support of The BRAD BLOG in my 9th Anniversary posting, and offered a very cool premium for those who may wish to purchase it, I've had astoundingly few folks willing to contribute or purchase the premium. :-( Given the thousands who read this site every day, it's disappointing to be able to count those who have answered my plea on two hands.

If you've gotten anything of value from this site over the years, please consider supporting us with a donation, so we can try to make it through year number 10. We are truly reader supporter (that means you), and do not rely on foundational or corporate support. You are the only thing that gives us a chance to keep going. Please consider donating a little something, if you can.

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And why secretly tallied paper ballots undermine U.S. democracy
A Special Report by The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 2/4/2013 6:35am PT  

What happened last November in California's Prop 37? Is it really possible that progressive California doesn't want Genetically Engineered Foods to be labeled as such? According to the reported results of that election, that would seem to be the case. But did Californians really vote against such labeling?

Unfortunately, thanks to a lack of overseeable public hand-counts on Election Night, and a gaping weakness in the state's otherwise liberal "recount" law, we're unlikely to ever know for certain.

A weeks-long investigation by The BRAD BLOG into the months-long attempted effort to confirm the results of the Prop 37 ballot initiative last November, serves to highlight not just the weakness in California "recount" law, but also the notion that paper ballots, secretly tallied by optical-scan computers, are just fine, since, as the knee-jerk saying goes, "we can always count the paper ballots by hand afterwards if there are any questions about the results."

The fact is: no we can't. As our investigation reveals, election officials have the ability to stop an attempted "recount" dead in its tracks, by simply charging contestants anything they like for the effort. They are able to price such oversight beyond the means of most citizens, and are even doing so in apparent violation of state election code and regulations, as we found in Fresno County, CA last month during an attempted citizen oversight campaign of Prop 37 results.

But that election was not the only one where an attempt to examine paper ballots to assure accuracy of the secret computer tallies has been stymied by officials in the Golden State. The matter is rife for abuse and continues to frustrate Election Integrity advocates, even as both the CA legislature and the CA Secretary of State have done little to correct the situation...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2013 1:36pm PT  

Speaking to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show this week, former Vice-President Al Gore said:

Our democracy has been hacked. It's been taken over. It no longer operates the way our founders intended it to, because of anonymous donors, big money, corporations as people, might makes right. The lobbyists and special interests are now in control. They can't do anything without begging permission from the powerful special interests and it is time that we take our democracy back and it can be done.

Gore also offered a few interesting words about capitalism in the 1/30/2013 clip from The Daily Show which is posted below. In a lengthier conversation on MSNBC's Morning Joe this week, posted below as well, Gore also discusses the deadly costs of the uncontrolled dumping of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and the ravaging effects its having on our planet, criticism of his sale of Current TV to the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera, and he goes on to say that "both capitalism and democracy have been hacked"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2013 7:05am PT  

Yesterday, a Virginia State Senate committee killed a GOP plan to completely revamp the state's "winner-take-all" electoral vote system despite a last minute change to the bill by its sponsor in hopes of making it more palatable. The original scheme would have awarded electoral votes by Congressional district instead of "winner-take-all". Had that plan been in place in 2012, Mitt Romney would have been awarded 9 electoral votes to Obama's 4, despite the President winning the popular vote in the state by some 150,000 votes and being awarded all 13 of the VA's electoral votes.

The bill's author, Republican Sen. Charles W. "Bill" Carrico, tweaked the bill at the last minute, so that electoral votes would be awarded proportionally, based on the popular vote, rather than by Congressional district. It didn't help. The scheme was defeated in committee by a bi-partisan vote of 11 to 4.

Before that scheme was killed in the VA Senate on Tuesday, I appeared on The David Pakman Show, via Skype, to discuss that and related issues, including the impending U.S. Supreme Court threat to the very important Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Following-up on the Year of GOP Election Fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2013 3:41pm PT  

Last year we spent quite a bit of time detailing what we described, with much justification, as The Year of GOP Election Fraud.

From the three felony voter fraud convictions of Indiana Sec. of State Charlie White (R), to the admitted ballot petition fraud of the campaign of Newt Gingrich (R) and of the staff of U.S. House Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R) to the attempted voter fraud by Rightwing propagandist James O'Keefe's co-conspirators, to the registration fraud allegedly committed by employees of the firm hired by the RNC to carry out voter registration in seven key swing states, to the actual apparent voter fraud of the GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and beyond, it was another year in which the Republican Party pretended there was a massive Democratic voter fraud epidemic in order to institute new polling place voter suppression laws, even while carrying out their own crime spree which largely went ignored by the very same media covering the GOP attempts to enact polling place Photo ID restrictions.

But it wasn't only the GOP superstars named above who attempted to game the system. Some of their gullible followers, who were distracted and conned into buying into the pretend "Democratic voter fraud" panic, decided to take matters into the their own hands by attempting to double-vote, claiming they were simply "testing the system".

Two different such cases in two different states led to voter fraud felony arrests last November. One of the cases, in Nevada, has now been settled with a guilty plea. The other appears to still be pending in New Mexico against a man who claims he thought his job as a Republican precinct challenger was to challenge the system itself...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2013 11:30am PT  

As it is said when it comes to voting technology: As California goes, so goes the nation. To that end, there is some disturbing news on the horizon from BlackBoxVoting.org as the Internet Voting virus threatens to spread to the Golden State.

If you're not familiar with the many insane dangers of this idea, and if the Academy Awards' recent nightmare wasn't enough, here's an article or two or three or four from the past year or two here which should do well to appropriately scare the hell out of you.

In the meantime, here's how BBV cuts to the chase --- and the core --- of the real concerns of Internet Voting, as the anti-democratic profiteering vultures descend into the state...

California Assemblyman Phil Ting has proposed AB 19, a bill to require the California Secretary of State to implement an Internet voting pilot project.

They tell us Internet voting is secure. It's not. It's not secure, and can't be made secure, but that's not even the point.

The point is it's not transparent. The whole premise in our Constitution is that we self-govern. To do that, the public must be able to see and authenticate essential processes, like who actually voted and the vote count, and that is not possible with Internet voting.

Internet voting transfers all control to whoever runs the server. (The server is just a computer that sits in a room --- and one Internet voting company, Scytl, has its server physically sitting in Spain.)

Internet voting gives the administrator complete control over the front end (who put the votes into the system) and the back end (the counting of the votes).

Internet voting is trying to come on with a vengeance, and not just in California. It is now imminent. Unless we are vigilant, many of us will be forced to vote online in 2014 and 2016. Lobbyists are at work to persuade your legislators to install Internet voting.

Political support has been secured from officials in several states. The governor of Hawaii has announced he wants Internet voting. Secretaries of State from Connecticut, West Virginia, Washington, and Oregon are already pushing online voting, and soon you'll hear about it near you. Federal bills promise cash to states that "expedite" their voting systems, with vague language as to what that means.

Because Americans are skeptical about Internet voting, politicians and reporters describe it as "smart phone voting" and "iPad voting." They also call it "convenience voting" but what they don't tell us is that, in exchange for convenience, we will lose the ability to self-govern.

To put this into blunt terms: It's not whether Internet Voting is or isn't secure. (It's not, but that's actually beside the point.) It's whether you, or anybody else, can ever know that it's secure. And the hard, cold, scientific fact is that you cannot.

More on "Ting's Thing" from BBV here...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2013 4:35pm PT  

After Harry Reid decided to fail to reform the filibuster today, despite his pretend outrage last year at the undemocratic U.S. Senate process being "abused, abused, abused" by the Republican minority in the Senate, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein tweeted what seems a pretty silly question: "Interesting Q on all this is whether Reid's restraint now will lead to R restraint when they're in charge and D's are filibustering".

No clue why Klein would even imagine that Republicans would show similar restraint when it comes to anything these days. For evidence of that, one needs look no further than what the VA state State Senate did just across the river on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, as President Obama was being sworn in for his second term.

Normally balanced with 20 Democratic and 20 Republican state Senators, Republicans took advantage of one of those state Senators, Democratic civil rights icon Henry Marsh, taking the day off to be at the second Inauguration of the nation's first black President, to carry out a complete state redistricting coup.

Stephen Colbert covered the coup in his Alpha Dog of the Week segment last night, quoting Martin Luther King thusly: "I have been to the mountain top, and while I was there, they heavily redistricted the promise land."

The coup described above is separate, though related to, a parallel effort also moving forward in the VA legislature, to rig the next Presidential Election by dividing up electoral votes based on the winner of each Congressional district, rather than the current "winner take all" system. Had the Republican plan for this, currently moving through the state Senate, been in place during the 2012 election, Romney would have won 9 of the commonwealth's electoral votes to Obama's 4, despite the President having won the popular vote there by some 150,000 votes (4 percentage points).

For a less amusing, if similarly maddening, explanation of the Virginia Republicans' shameless redistricting coup on Monday (we hope to have more on their subsequent electoral vote gimmick in the near future) and where it is likely to go from here, see Rachel Maddow's explanation from Tuesday posted below...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2013 7:18pm PT  

Via Politico:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that Republicans should not have tried to reduce voter turnout during their failed effort to win the White House, doubling down on his recent criticism of the GOP.

“Should we really have gone after reducing the turnout of voters in those places where we thought it would make a difference? The Republican Party should be a party that says, ‘We want everybody to vote,’ and make it easier to vote and give them a reason to vote for the party, [whereas] not to find ways to keep them from voting at all,” Powell said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The Grio has the video here...

Powell went on to note that "What’s happened in the last few years, is the party has shifted dramatically to the right — that’s perfectly acceptable, but if you stay that far to the right, you’re losing where the country is."

Please note, though Powell endorsed Obama twice, he was George W. Bush's Secretary of State and still considers himself a Republican. He says he voted for seven straight Republicans for President before voting for Obama.

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Henry Decker on 1/15/2013 10:07am PT  

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That appears to be Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus’ philosophy when it comes to rigging elections in the GOP’s favor. In 2012, the strategy was suppressing votes through polling place Photo ID restriction laws, ending same-day voter registration, and clamping down on early voting, among other restrictive legislation. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 25 laws and two executive actions were passed in 19 states over the past two years with the aim of making it harder to vote.

In 2013, the plan appears to be changing the way that votes are counted. Priebus has stepped forward as the latest Republican to support a proposal that would split Wisconsin’s electoral votes by congressional district.

"I think it’s something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at," Priebus said of the plan, which would deliver two electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in the state, and divide the rest based on who wins each Congressional district.

As Dave Weigel points out at Slate, in 2011 Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled statehouse gerrymandered the state’s districts to create five Republican seats and three Democratic seats. Under the Priebus-backed proposal, Mitt Romney would have won as many electors in Wisconsin as President Obama, despite winning 213,019 fewer votes.

Unsurprisingly, the victims of this plan would be the same urban voters whom an apparently shocked Paul Ryan blamed for the Republican defeat in 2012, and whom most voter suppression efforts in the last election targeted.

According to National Journal’s Reid Wilson, Republicans are already preparing electoral vote-splitting laws in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and hope to eventually expand the push to Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. If the GOP had successfully enacted the laws in all six states before the 2012 election, President Obama’s electoral vote margin of victory would have shrunk [PDF] from 322-206 to 270-268. Under two other proposed reforms --- in which the overall statewide winner would not automatically receive two electoral votes --- Romney would have been elected president, despite losing the popular vote by 4 percent (nearly 5 million votes).

"If you did the calculation, you’d see a massive shift of electoral votes in states that are blue and fully [in] red control," a senior Republican who is actively involved in pushing the electoral split scheme told Wilson. "There’s no kind of autopsy and outreach that can grab us those electoral votes that quickly."

So there you have it: instead of examining why voters overwhelmingly rejected their party in 2012 and adjusting their policies accordingly, some Republicans hope to simply steal the next one, and do it quickly. For voting rights advocates who warned that democracy was being threatened in 2012, there will be no rest for the weary.

* * *

Cross-posted at National Memo...

Henry Decker is Associate Editor of The National Memo. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryADecker.

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Steve Schneider on 1/12/2013 1:15pm PT  

Last week we asked (mostly) satirically: "If Lincoln ends up winning this year’s Best Picture Oscar, how early in the night will Karl Rove admit it?"

Well, now, given the Academy's latest Titanic disaster, a certain Hollywood blogger would be within her rights to say, "TOLDJA!"

The Oscar nominations that were announced last Thursday provided clear evidence that the experiment with Internet Voting by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) was exactly the disaster some members had expected --- and that the reason wasn't technological befuddlement on the part of older voters, as AMPAS had unpersuasively claimed. Rather, the problem was a simply crummy online voting system that stymied the ballot-casting efforts of even computer-savvy "youngsters" like documentarian Morgan Spurlock.

The nominations list is so devoid of internal consistency and logic that show-biz pundits are using terms like "baffling" to describe it. That's a far cry from the supposed cross-category bias toward edgier, more youthfully skewing pictures we were supposed to see after the Academy's old guard supposedly gave up on learning how to use the Internet. Instead, the lack of any pattern whatsoever to the noms shows that Internet Voting was every bit the nightmare for the Oscars that it has been for the American and even the Canadian elections systems as a whole, as The BRAD BLOG has detailed for many years.

But so far, it seems, no mainstream journalist or Academy member is willing to voice the unavoidable conclusion that this year's contest is now hopelessly tainted, and its results even more meaningless than usual. If your nominations basically represent a compendium of votes that were able to get past a firewall of interface and design ineptitude --- not to mention the votes of anybody else who might have inappropriately succeeded in entering and perverting the system --- legitimacy for this year's supposed winners is now largely gone with the wind.

Of course, Oscar results have never been overseeable or "verifiable" by the public. Unlike organizations like the National Society of Film Critics, the Academy doesn't reveal the number of votes received by each winner, nor does it even name the runners-up. It's always lacked the transparency required for legitimacy of any small "d" democratic "election". But under the old, paper-ballot-only system, at least Pricewaterhouse Coopers (the pedigreed professional-services firm that is AMPAS' official vote tabulator and certifier) could see with their own eyes who had won. We could either trust their accounting or not.

But now, not even they know who won or lost, since there's no way for them to verify the accuracy or completeness or integrity of the online vote by the time it got to them. Thus, nobody --- least of all the Academy --- will ever know who "won" the Oscars. Ever!

The calamitous insecurity of untransparent e-voting --- whether in person at the polls or via the Internet --- is something interested parties are loathe to acknowledge. That's why opportunistic companies like Everyone Counts --- which provided the Oscar voting software despite their rich history of gumming up the works in more important, governmental races --- get to fail ever upward.

If we as a society can't cry foul when a shady but well-connected software firm louses up something as comparatively inconsequential as the Academy Awards, how are we ever going to confront the reality of what they and their ilk are doing to our democracy?

Read my full story on this year's epic Oscar Internet Voting collapse, posted at Orlando Weekly, right here. It starts this way:

Aaaaand now it's official: We will never, ever know who really won this year's Oscars.

That's because we'll never know who was even nominated...

* * *

Steve Schneider is an Orlando-based media critic who writes about the intersection of popular culture and public policy. He holds a master's degree in Media, Culture & Communication from New York University. Read his blog, "Vision Thing", at Orlando Weekly and follow him on Twitter: @Schneider_Stv.

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Steve Schneider on 1/7/2013 6:05am PT  

Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) had to extend its deadline for Oscar nominations, after outlets like The Hollywood Reporter spread the news of extensive difficulties with AMPAS' new online voting system.

Yes, Oscar has caught the dreaded Internet Voting disease, and it seems to be working out about as well as it did for Canada in 2012 and just slightly better (as far as we know) than it did for Washington D.C. back in 2010 or for Honolulu in 2009 (where the same company ran that particular Internet Voting disaster.)

From rejected passwords and missed deadlines to fears of system hacks and depressed participation, the whole thing has apparently been a colossal clusterfudge --- not to mention a chilling echo of the catastrophic insecurity of the American election system as a whole in the age of electronic balloting.

Of course, AMPAS should have known better when they hired the disastrous Everyone Counts outfit to run their Internet Voting scheme. But this would hardly be the first time the Academy swooned over the influence of a former Washington power broker. The revolving door between the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and Everyone Counts may finally be paying off for the Internet Voting democracy-be-damned company.

Making the situation even worse, AMPAS and its surrogates have attempted to recast the meltdown of their system as mere techno-confusion on the part of older Academy members, thus smearing anyone concerned for the legitimacy of this year's Oscar as a clueless adversary of "progress."

Sound familiar?

Watching this offensive and destructive meme take hold everywhere from Deadline Hollywood to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is a sobering reminder of how important it is to fight for paper balloting in every governmental contest in the nation, and how much P.R. firepower we'll have to overcome in the process.

Read my full story on the entire fine mess, posted at Orlando Weekly, right here. It starts this way:

If Lincoln ends up winning this year’s Best Picture Oscar, how early in the night will Karl Rove admit it?

* * *

UPDATE 1/12/13: It's official. The "baffling" nominations are now out and no one can ever know who really won this year's Oscars. Details now here...

* * *

Steve Schneider is an Orlando-based media critic who writes about the intersection of popular culture and public policy. He holds a master's degree in Media, Culture & Communication from New York University. Read his blog, "Vision Thing", at Orlando Weekly and follow him on Twitter: @Schneider_Stv.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 12/11/2012 3:33pm PT  

Well, "at least he was honest", as one observer notes. Via John Stephens at HuffPo...

Republican campaign consultant Scott Tranter appeared on a panel Monday hosted by the Pew Center on the States to discuss the long lines and voter ID controversies that plagued the 2012 election. In his comments, Tranter seemed to imply that he believed these issues were helpful to Republicans and should be pursued for that reason.

"A lot of us are campaign officials --- or campaign professionals --- and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that's voter ID, sometimes we think that's longer lines --- whatever it may be," Tranter said with a laugh.

Tranter owns Vlytics, a company that was paid more than $3,000 by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign for "data consulting."

Tranter's actual remarks, and a bit of commentary about them from Jacob Soboroff of Why Tuesday and Dr. Michael McDonald of George Mason University's Election Project, follow below..


* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...
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By Brad Friedman on 12/10/2012 1:32pm PT  

The Rightwing, (not) "non-partisan", Republican-allied "election integrity" group calling themselves "True the Vote" knows first-hand what fraud actually is.

On Election Day this year, their own observers were barred from monitoring the polls in Franklin County, OH, after the county's bipartisan Board of Elections had determined that the group had "forged" and photocopied the signatures of candidates needed to allow the group's poll monitors access to precincts in the county during the Nov. 6 Presidential Election.

That's the same True the Vote who also used a fraudulent photo of an African-American woman holding up a (Photoshopped) sign reading "I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!" in a well-polished video used to announce their national launch back in 2010. (The real photo, before it was faked, reveals the woman holding up a sign at a Florida protest during that state's Presidential Election debacle in 2000. The sign actually read, ironically enough, "DON'T MESS WITH OUR VOTES".)

It's also the same True the Vote which claimed 501(c)3 non-profit status as a "non-partisan" charity, only to be found to be quite partisan indeed by a Texas court. Their lie about their non-partisan, not-for-profit status resulted in the group --- formed as an off-spring of the Houston-based Tea Party group calling itself King Street Patriots, by the same officers at the exact same address --- having to return a $35,000 charitable grant from a foundation which also backs the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.

So the group knows very well what actual fraud is. The problem, however, is that the Rightwing group enjoys dishonestly scamming their supporters by pretending that all "voter fraud" --- even absentee ballot fraud or voter registration fraud that doesn't even result in a vote --- is evidence that polling place Photo ID restriction laws are needed to combat a scourge of nationwide "voter fraud" being committed on a systemic basis by, of course, Democrats.

In the bargain --- as the successful pattern of Rightwing propaganda has long worked --- pretend "news" outlets such as Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller go on to cite True the Vote's claims as if it was actual "evidence" supporting the dishonest agenda that both groups hope to forward. That's exactly what happened last week when The Daily Caller, in an article related to the battle over polling place Photo ID restriction laws cited a list of supposed "voter fraud convictions in 46 states" at True the Vote's website.

You'll be shocked --- SHOCKED! --- to learn that True the Vote's list not only doesn't include "convictions in 46 states", it doesn't even include one single conviction, prosecution or even allegation of the type of "voter fraud" that the polling place Photo ID restriction laws both The Daily Caller and True the Vote are advocating for are supposedly designed to prevent.

In short, both The Daily Caller and True the Vote are using fraudulent claims to push for laws to prevent "voter fraud". We told you you'd be SHOCKED!...

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

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Refuses to disclose identity of those he alleges 'committed fraud', lots of it, at brother-in-law's residential care facility...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2012 6:35am PT  

There's a reason why most Republican wingnuts don't venture outside of the safe confines of Fox "News" or other venues where they won't have to face actual, reality-based information and questions from outside of their comfortable, fact-free bubble.

My conversation on air Thursday with RW "voter fraud" fraudster, commie-hunter, and fact-challenged Fox fave David Horowitz illustrated that point with crystal clarity once again. The result wasn't pretty. At least for him.

When asked for actual facts to back up his extraordinary claims about "Democratic voter fraud" --- specifically, that caretakers at his brother-in-law's residential care facility "committed fraud" by helping the brother-in-law, and purportedly sixty others at the home, to vote --- Horowitz had nothing.

He was, however, able to call me a "communist wanna be", a "liar" and an "extreme partisan" for having displayed the temerity to ask him for such facts. He was even able to pile on top of all of that by claiming (falsely) that I'd called him all sorts of names and even that I had accused him of committing fraud!

That's why these guys don't leave the Fox Fantasy World bubble.

As I say, it wasn't pretty. But the audio of yesterday's radio "interview", and the background on what happened, all follows below. I think you may enjoy it...

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

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