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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Electric BUG-Aloo: How VW Can Save Itself and the World: 'BradCast' 10/6/15
Author Steve LaVine on e-cars and our battery-powered near-future; ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham's short memory; GOP bum fight for U.S. House Speaker; and Jeb's 'death rattle'...
'Green News Report' 10/6/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record rain, flooding in South Carolina -- is this the new normal?; India will cut its carbon emissions; PLUS: EPA announces new ozone rules to cut dangerous air pollution...
Previous GNRs: 10/1/15 - 9/29/15 - Archives...
'New Normal': Climate Change and SC's '1000-Year Flood': 'BradCast' 10/5/15
Climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann joins us to discuss that and much more. Plus: Updates on AL vote suppression; NM's indicted SoS; OR's school massacre...
Sunday Toons: 'Not Making Sense' Edition
A grim week in the Toons, though 'PDiddie' manages to find a few laughs in his latest curated collection of the week's best...
AL Shuts Down Photo ID Offices; IA Blocks Former Felons: 'BradCast' 10/1/15
With ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein; PLUS: All of today's grim breaking news to remind us why voting matters...
'Green News Report' 10/1/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Jeb wants more oil and gas in US; Alberta, home of tar sands oil, wants to phase it out; New standards for refineries; PLUS: Tesla unveils world's first all-electric SUV...
Previous GNRs: 9/29/15 - 9/24/15 - Archives...
Hand-Counting Paper Ballots in Columbia County, NY: 'BradCast' 9/29/15
Guests: Both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners of Columbia County! Plus: Rush on Mars; MSNBC snubs Bernie...
'Green News Report' 9/29/15
China to launch cap and trade system; Pope calls for UN climate treaty; Report: World can move to 100% renewables in just 35 years; PLUS: Shell quits the Arctic...
Exxon Knew All Along: 'BradCast' 9/28/15
Neela Banerjee on Exxon's long knowledge of global warming and their efforts to obscure it. Also: Shell quits the Arctic; NASA's big discovery; Obama, Putin at U.N....
Sunday Toons: 'Political Climate Change'
PDiddie's latest curated collection of an explosive week in political toonery...
Bye, Bye, Boehner; Hello (Again), Florida Vote Suppression: 'BradCast' 9/25/15
And many other breaking world affairs at the end of an insanely busy news week...
Sanders' Three-Phase 'Political Revolution'
Ernest Canning on Bernie's battle for the 2016 Dem nomination, what happens if he receives it, and how he'd be able to govern as President of the United States...
The Pope & the Dopes - Francis Goes to Congress: 'BradCast' 9/24/15
Guest: Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network...
'Green News Report' 9/24/15
Pope delivers climate change message in D.C.; 11 House GOPers call for climate action; Big biz pledges to go renewable; PLUS: Hillary finally announces KXL position...
Pope Francis and the GOP! VW and the Voting Scam!: 'BradCast' 9/23/15
Plus a bunch of callers on all of the above (some quite amusing) and much more!...
Walker's Failed Campaign; Fuller's Serial Spousal Abuse: 'BradCast' 9/22/15
Guest: WI native John Nichols of The Nation. PLUS: Hillary finally takes a position Keystone XL!...
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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 9/25/2015 5:49pm PT  

News is breaking like crazy today. We do our best to cover it all on today's BradCast, along with yet another new chapter in the long and shameful history of voter suppression by Republicans in the state of Florida.

Among the stories covered on today's thrilling, action-packed adventure!...

• The sudden resignation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner; the gleeful reaction to it from Republicans; who might replace him, and who the hell would want to?

• China and the U.S. come to an 'understanding' on least some of President Obama meets with President Xi Jinping in Washington D.C.

• Pope-mania continues, as Francis wows 'em at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City today.

• And we take a trip back down to Florida, where new audio recordings, revealing evidence of a blatant vote suppression scheme in the Sunshine State, remind us (yet again) why it is so outrageous that the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the federal Voting Rights Act...

All of that, plus China announces a nationwide cap-and-trade program to curb carbon emissions; AP has a new way to describe climate change deniers, and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report...

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/11/2015 5:52pm PT  

Seriously. To hell with false balance.

On today's BradCast: a ton of news on Election 2016 --- from the horse race (as ridiculous as it's become) to the horrible track conditions on which the horses will be running, as Americans try to vote and have their vote counted, counted accurately and in a way that they can know it's been counted accurately.

Meanwhile, the media, particularly the New York Times continue to confuse repeating with reporting on both voter suppression and climate change --- and they actually appear to be getting worse, not better. So, Desi Doyen joins us to debunk the latest global warming denial nonsense from GOPers Trump, Fiorina and, yes, Palin with none of the Times' 'he said, she said' false balance.

And finally, we finish with some thoughts very much worth pondering from Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch and The Nation on this 14th anniversary of 9/11.

That's a very short description for a very busy, news-packed show today. Enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen to the complete show online below...

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Guests: Attorney Ernest A. Canning; Financial journalist David Dayen...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2015 5:45pm PT  

First up on today's BradCast, financial journalist David Dayen joins us to explain why the Dow Jones Industrial average plummeted 1000 points over the past two trading days, whether or not you should be worried about it, and how the U.S. is missing a golden opportunity in the bargain.

Then, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernest A. Canning joins us to explain why --- even after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently found Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction to be discriminatory and illegal (just as the lower U.S. District Court did last year and just as the federal government did well before that) --- the GOP's voting restriction is, increcibly, still in effect anyway and may serve to disenfranchise some 600,000 lawfully registered (largely Democratic-leaning) voters during the 2016 Presidential election.

Canning wrote about the disturbing situation in detail last week in an article at The BRAD BLOG and explains the mess in brief on today's show: "It seems nonsensical to say a law has been struck down but it is still in force. But that's basically where we stand right now."

"This law has a discriminatory impact --- it disparately impacts minorities and the poor," he says, citing the Appeals Court's latest decision. "You now have this identical finding three successive times in court dating back to 2012, and here we are in 2015 and we're having to worry about whether that discrimination is going to occur again in 2016."

Also on today's BradCast: Texas health care situation is still among the worst in the nation; Trump wows 'em in Alabama; California is NOT in chaos (no matter what disinformed Republicans may tell you); And fall-out from my rant last week about the excellent new British government findings on the safety and efficacy of e-cigs; and more!...

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Guests: Peace activist David Swanson; Const. law expert Ian Millhiser
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2015 5:27pm PT  

It was a much bigger show today than we had expected when we started it!

First up on today's BradCast, author, peace activist David Swanson joins us to discuss Obama's speech today at American University on the Iran Nuclear Agreement. While Swanson is (somewhat uncharacteristically) optimistic and encouraged by the deal, he has concerns about how Obama and other Dems are misleading Americans in order to sell it. "I love that, for once, President Obama wants peace. I love that, for once, he's using diplomacy rather than war. I wish he would use that in eight other places on earth," Swanson tells me. "But at the same time he's pushing the propaganda of his opponents."

Then, Swanson asks, "Why Won't Bernie Talk About War?" A new petition from asks Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to start speaking up against U.S. militarism which, as Swanson argues, the U.S. Senator from Vermont has, up until now, been very reluctant to do for some reason.

Then, as we went to break, huge news came in from the very conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal striking down the Texas GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law. The opinion confirms most of a lower court judge's previously ruling finding the restriction to be in strict violation of the Voting Rights Act as well as the U.S. Constitution. Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser joins us to explain the very encouraging opinion from the court --- which comes, incidentally, just one day before the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 --- and what happens next.

"The court got that voter ID laws do not really serve the purpose that their supporters say they're supposed to serve," Millhiser explains. "The court got that this was an attempt to dress up something that looks like a legitimate voter regulation in order to really do something else, which was to prevent groups like racial minorities and low-income voters who tend to prefer Democrats over Republicans from casting a ballot."

But, he also warns, "this wasn't a total victory for the good guys." Listen to the show for all the details.

Finally, in the few minutes we have left, we squeeze in some Presidential politics in advance of tomorrow night's first GOP Presidential debate, as sponsored --- and rigged by --- Fox "News". And, yes, that Republican debate will take place, ironically enough, on the 50th Anniversary of the landmark federal Voting Rights Act which Republicans used to support...until they decided they couldn't win elections anymore if all those "people" (read: qualified American voters who tend to vote Democratic) were allowed to vote.

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By Brad Friedman on 7/23/2015 4:50pm PT  

A big BradCast today!...

First up, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (R) continues his years-long phony "voter fraud" crusade, but now he's been given more authority to cause even more damage to the fundamental right to vote! After years of blatantly lying about "voter fraud" in the state (which we document in detail), he has now been given prosecutorial authority by the state's Republican Governor to personally clean up his pretend scourge in Kansas.

His first act? Setting up a webpage to allow the public to report instances of fraud on the SoS website (since he's been unable to find any on his own during his five years in office since being elected to "Stop Voter Fraud!"). But, conveniently, he's left off the option for the public to report on Kansas' much more pressing problem: voter suppression --- especially by guys like Kobach, who, since taking office, has successfully blocked tens of thousands of legal Kansas voters from being able to vote in state elections.

Then, former FBI Special Agent, 9/11 whistleblower and TIME Magazine's 2002 Person of the Year, Coleen Rowley joins us to explain why Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston, SC shooter and avowed racist, was charged with hate crimes this week, but not terrorism. What's the difference between terrorism and hate crimes? And does the SC shooting now prove (once again) that the term "terrorism" has become little more than meaningless propaganda?

The term "terrorism", Rowley tells me, is now "uniquely set for Muslims, or for Arab nations that we have had agendas with in the past. The media is primed for that message."

"The definitions have a propaganda value, but they are not clear, and they're not good for purposes of law enforcement at all because they're not even making sense. In fact, I think that's all they are serving now --- as propaganda," she explains, before citing one of her favorite quotes: "A poor man's war is terrorism. A rich man's terrorism is war."

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with the climate position of the latest entrant into the 2016 GOP race and how a Democratic candidate has made Fox "News" heads explode by telling the truth about the relationship between climate change and the rise of ISIS...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Author/journalist Ari Berman of The Nation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/17/2015 4:08pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we start where we left off on yesterday's show, regarding Thursday's amazingly corrupt and disturbing ruling in favor of Scott Walker and his cronies --- by the amazingly corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court --- and how, if Republicans have their way, that ruling may soon enough become the law of the land for the entire nation.

As our producer Desi Doyen noted on today's show: "This is your early warning system." Ignore at your peril. Then it was on to a couple of quick items and updates, including dumb Confederate flag wavers in Oklahoma and Maine's even dumber Governor Paul LePage.

From there, we head to North Carolina, where "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era", as we initially described it when it was passed by state Republicans back in 2013, is finally now facing trial against the NAACP, the ACLU, the DoJ and other democracy and voting rights advocates.

We are joined by The Nation's author/journalist Ari Berman, who was in the federal courtroom in Winston-Salem, NC this week as the trial finally got under way. The results of this trial are likely to head all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, one way or another, and may well determine the future of voting rights in this country. The new voting restrictions were passed in 2013, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court demolished the provision of the Voting Rights Act that otherwise, says Berman, would have kept this law --- which is "already disenfranchising voters" --- from even taking effect.

"That's such a clear case study to me that the Supreme Court was wrong when it said that the special protections of the Voting Rights act weren't needed." Berman goes on to explain why he believes NC, a state which had made astounding progress in voting rights over the previous decade, has now become the new Selma, Alabama, where the bloody fight for voting rights led directly to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965.

"In North Carolina, they had seemingly everything," Berman tells me. "They had all these voting reforms --- early voting, same day registration, pre-registration for 16 &17 year olds. And it was all taken away or reduced" when the GOP took over both the state legislature and Governor's mansion for the first time since Reconstruction in 2013.

"What Selma in the 1960s and what North Carolina in the 2013-2015 era shows is how far these conservative white Southerners will go to protect political power. There aren't billy clubs. There aren't literacy tests. But they're saying this is how black turnout increased --- North Carolina went from 48th in voter turnout in the late 80s, to 11th in voter turnout in 2012 --- Republicans there basically said we're gonna tamp this turnout down."

And now it's left to the courts to find out if those rights, once granted, can be taken away by political whim --- and if NC, and other states with a history of racial discrimination in elections, will be forced once again to face preclearance from the federal government before they can enforce any new voting restrictions.

Berman has a lot of insight on all of this. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, will be published next month to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of passage of the VRA. As I note during the show, the book is an exhaustively researched and heart-wrenching documentation of the uniquely American and harrowing tale of the fight to vote in this country --- and the outrageously long and continuing effort to block it. That fight continues, sadly, to this day. Go buy his book!

Finally, Desi joins us again for some listener email and then a stunningly upbeat Green News Report for a change!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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New Harvard, Univ. of Sydney survey finds elections in U.S. rank just below Mexico, just above Barbados...
By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2015 6:35am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Electoral integrity has not improved in the U.S. over the past year, according to a new study. In fact, elections in Mexico now have more integrity than ours, the new survey, based on the observations of some 1,400 international election experts, finds.

Last year we reported: "A report [PDF] by researchers at Harvard and the University of Sydney finds the U.S. ranks just 26th on a global index of election integrity. That finding places the U.S. in the category of nations with 'Moderate' election integrity, ranking the country one notch above Mexico and one notch below Micronesia, according to the findings tracking elections in 66 countries."

Well, bad news --- of a sort. This year's new Electoral Integrity Project report [PDF] is now out. It takes into account the 2014 mid-term elections in the U.S. and more elections in a number of additional countries. It appears the U.S. has fallen a few pegs from it's 26th place ranking in last year's report [emphasis in the original]...

[C]ontests in the United States scored the worst performance among any long-established democracy. Hence the 2012 Presidential elections was ranked 42nd worldwide, while the 2014 mid-term Congressional races was ranked 45th, similar to Colombia and Bulgaria. One reason is that experts expressed growing concern over US electoral laws and processes of voter registration, both areas of heated partisan debate.

To make matters worse, the survey fails to examine the effects of vote-casting and counting technology on the integrity of elections. But, while the new report highlights what appears to be a huge drop in U.S. election integrity since last year's study, with our most recent national elections now ranked just worse than Mexico's and slightly better than those in Barbados, it's not all as bad as the plummeting ranking would seem to suggest...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2014 1:39pm PT  

It's investigative Election Integrity muckraking in East Coast/West Coast stereo!

My thanks to Thom for inviting me for this week's longer-than-usual panel conversation on his Big Picture TV show, and to Palast for being the inimitably indefatigable Greg Palast!

Lively discussion includes everything from the secret GOP Crosscheck program to Greg's assertion that it cost Democrats several key U.S. Senate races to the U.S. now ranked 26th in electoral integrity among world democracies (last among Western nations) to the Republicans' long hard fight to return to Jim Crowism in TX and beyond...

[Thanks to Palast's office for stitching both segments together in one easy-to-watch clip! I've replaced the original embed with that version above.]

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By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2014 6:35pm PT  

On this week's KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast I was joined by investigate journalist and author Greg Palast to discuss his disturbing report on the GOP's secret "Interstate Crosscheck" database and the hundreds of thousands of voters it may have knocked off the rolls this year.

PLUS: A flashback to my interview with then 25-year old paralyzed Iraq War veteran turned anti-war activist Tomas Young at "Camp Casey" in Crawford, TX in August of 2005. It was Young's first national interview proceeding his story being told on CBS 60 Minutes in 2006 and in Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's documentary Body of War in 2007. During the interview, Young (who had driven 13 hours from Kansas City on his honeymoon, despite unceasing pain) describes the tragic story of how he was wounded during a rescue mission in an unarmored truck in Sadr City; how and when he turned against Bush's war; we joke about BBQ in Missouri and more; and then hatch a (successful) plot to bring his story to national attention.

After years of demanding accountability for the Bush/Cheney Administration war criminals, Young died earlier this week just before Veterans' Day and just weeks shy of his 35th birthday.

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By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2014 6:02am PT  

It's been happening for years now. On the day after elections like last Tuesday's, media figures begin navel gazing to figure out how pre-election polls, created by dozens of independent pollsters using dozens of different methodologies, could all find the same thing but turn out to be so wrong once the election results are in.

The presumption is that the results are always right, and if they don't match the pre-election polling, its the polling that must be wrong, as opposed to the election results.

On Wednesday morning, after Tuesday's mid-term election surprise in which Republicans reportedly won handily in race after race despite pre-election polls almost unanimously predicting much closer races or outright Democratic victories, FiveThirtyEight statistics guru Nate Silver declared "The Polls Were Skewed Toward Democrats".

His analysis of aggregated averages from dozens of different pollsters and polls this year found that the performance of Democrats was overestimated by approximately 4 percentage points in Senate races and 3.4 points in gubernatorial contests. Silver's assessment relies on a "simple average of all polls released in the final three weeks of the campaign," as compared to the (unofficial and almost entirely unverified) election results reported on Tuesday night. He doesn't suggest there was anything nefarious in the polling bias towards Dems this year, simply that the pollsters got it wrong for a number of speculative reasons.

Citing the fact that nearly all of the polls suggested Democrats would do much better than they ultimately did, when compared to the reported election results, Silver asserts it wasn't that the polls were more wrong that usual, per se, but that almost all of them were wrong in a way that appears to have overestimated Democratic performance on Election Day.

"This year's polls were not especially inaccurate," he explains. "Between gubernatorial and Senate races, the average poll missed the final result by an average of about 5 percentage points --- well in line with the recent average. The problem is that almost all of the misses were in the same direction."

Silver is much smarter than I when it comes to numbers; I'm happy to presume he has the basic math right. But he seems to have a blind spot in his presumption that the pre-election polls were wrong and the election results were right. That, despite the lack of verification of virtually any of the results from Tuesday night, despite myriad and widespread if almost completely ignored problems and failures at polls across the country that day, and despite systematic voter suppression and dirty tricks that almost certainly resulted in election results (verified or otherwise) that were skewed toward Republicans...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2014 8:05am PT  

On the stump this week for Republican candidates, NJ's Gov. Chris Christie said GOP governors need to win this year, so they can be in control of the "voting mechanisms" during what he believes might be his own run for President in 2016. He cited three races in particular, in three states that would be crucial to him as the GOP nominee, as reported by New Jersey's The Record...

Governor Christie pushed further into the contentious debate over voting rights than ever before, saying Tuesday that Republicans need to win gubernatorial races this year so that they're the ones controlling "voting mechanisms" going into the next presidential election.

Republican governors are facing intense fights in the courts over laws they pushed that require specific identification in order to vote and that reduce early voting opportunities. Critics say those laws sharply curtail the numbers of poor and minority voters, who would likely vote for Democrats. Christie - who vetoed a bill to extend early voting in New Jersey - is campaigning for many of those governors now as he considers a run for president in 2016.

Christie stressed the need to keep Republicans in charge of states - and overseeing state-level voting regulations - ahead of the next presidential election.
"Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?" he asked.

Great questions, Governor Christie! Let's take a crack at offering some answers for ya...

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

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Judge Richard Posner: 'If the WI legislature says witches are a problem, shall WI courts be permitted to conduct witch trials?'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2014 3:04pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

If you read just one top-to-bottom dismantling of every supposed premise in support of disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions laws in your lifetime, let it be this one [PDF]!

It is a dissent, released on Friday, written by Judge Richard Posner, the Reagan-appointed 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who was the one who approved the first such Photo ID law in the country (Indiana's) back in 2008, in the landmark Crawford v. Marion County case which went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Posner's ruling was affirmed.

If there was ever evidence that a jurist could change their mind upon review of additional subsequent evidence, this is it. If there was ever a concise and airtight case made against Photo ID laws and the threat they pose to our most basic right to vote, this is it. If there was ever a treatise revealing such laws for the blatantly partisan shell games that they are, this is it.

His dissent includes a devastating response to virtually every false and/or disingenuous rightwing argument/talking point ever put forth in support of Photo ID voting restrictions, describing them as "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government."

Posner is, by far, the most widely cited legal scholar of the 20th century, according to The Journal of Legal Studies. His opinions are closely read by the Supreme Court, where the battle over the legality and Constitutionality of Photo ID voting laws will almost certainly wind up at some point in the not too distant future. That's just one of the reasons why this opinion is so important.

This opinion, written on behalf of five judges on the 7th Circuit, thoroughly disabuses such notions such as: these laws are meant to deal with a phantom voter fraud concern ("Out of 146 million registered voters, this is a ratio of one case of voter fraud for every 14.6 million eligible voters"); that evidence shows them to be little more than baldly partisan attempts to keep Democratic voters from voting ("conservative states try to make it difficult for people who are outside the vote"); that rightwing partisan outfits like True the Vote, which support such laws, present "evidence" of impersonation fraud that is "downright goofy, if not paranoid"; and the notion that even though there is virtually zero fraud that could even possibly be deterred by Photo ID restrictions, the fact that the public thinks there is, is a lousy reason to disenfranchise voters since there is no evidence that such laws actually increase public confidence in elections and, as new studies now reveal, such laws have indeed served to suppress turnout in states where they have been enacted.

There is far too much in it to appropriately encapsulate here for now. Ya just really need to take some time to read it in full. But it was written, largely, in response to the Appellate Court ruling last week by rightwing Judge Frank Easterbrook which contained one embarrassing falsehood and error after another, including the canards about Photo ID being required to board airplanes, open bank accounts, buy beer and guns, etc. We took apart just that one paragraph of Easterbrook's ruling last week here, but Posner takes apart his colleague's entire, error-riddled mess of a ruling in this response.

Amongst my favorite passages (and there are so many), this one [emphasis added]...

The panel is not troubled by the absence of evidence. It deems the supposed beneficial effect of photo ID requirements on public confidence in the electoral system "'a legislative fact'-a proposition about the state of the world," and asserts that "on matters of legislative fact, courts accept the findings of legislatures and judges of the lower courts must accept findings by the Supreme Court." In so saying, the panel conjures up a fact-free cocoon in which to lodge the federal judiciary. As there is no evidence that voter impersonation fraud is a problem, how can the fact that a legislature says it's a problem turn it into one? If the Wisconsin legislature says witches are a problem, shall Wisconsin courts be permitted to conduct witch trials? If the Supreme Court once thought that requiring photo identification increases public confidence in elections, and experience and academic study since shows that the Court was mistaken, do we do a favor to the Court-do we increase public confidence in elections-by making the mistake a premise of our decision? Pressed to its logical extreme the panel's interpretation of and deference to legislative facts would require upholding a photo ID voter law even if it were uncontested that the law eliminated no fraud but did depress turnout significantly.

And this one...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

And remember, once again, this is written by Richard Posner, the conservative Republican icon of a federal appellate court judge --- the judge who wrote the opinion on behalf of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals approving of the first such Photo ID law in the country in 2008, the very case that rightwingers from Texas to Wisconsin now cite over and over (almost always incorrectly) in support of similar such laws --- now, clearly admitting that he got the entire thing wrong.

One last point (for now): Our legal analyst Ernie Canning, who (along with me) will undoubtedly have much more to say on this dissent in upcoming days, suggests we award The BRAD BLOG's almost-never-anymore-bestowed Intellectually Honest Conservative Award to Judge Posner. And so it shall be.

Now go read Posner's dissent...

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WARNING: Amount of irony in this story may lead to head explosion...
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2014 5:03pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

UC Irvine law professor Rick Hasen says this development, which he describes as coming from the "Irony Dept", is just "too delicious".

Leslie Rutledge, the Republican candidate for Attorney General in Arkansas, has been discovered to have been registered to vote in multiple states in addition to Arkansas, and even voted by absentee ballot in Arkansas' general election in November of 2008 --- after she had registered to vote in Washington D.C. [PDF] in July of the same year.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Rutledge has now been removed from Arkansas' voting rolls by the Pulaski County Clerk, after he confirmed that she was registered to vote in D.C., and possibly Virginia. The removal from the rolls may also lead to her ineligibility to be elected to office.

Rutledge's Arkansas absentee ballot request form for the 2008 general election is here [PDF]. And, indeed, her subsequent voter registration form from Virginia is here [PDF].

"For the AG candidate of the party who likes to scream about voter fraud to be registered in two (or three) places at once is ironic and amusing on its own," writes Matt Campbell of Arkansas' "Blue Hog Report", which was on this story from the jump.

"However, the bigger implication is Article 19, section 3, of the Arkansas Constitution," he adds, which states: "No persons shall be elected to, or appointed to fill a vacancy in, any office who does not possess the qualifications of an elector." If Rutledge is not registered in Arkansas, she no longer "possess[es] the qualifications of an elector."

But, believe it or not, none of that is the actual ironic part that Hasen was referring to in his piece on this today. Yes, it gets even more ironic!...

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

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'Fraud is rare, but when it does occur, absentee ballots are often the method of choice'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2014 1:27pm PT  

Following the national shame of 2012 when long lines at the polls on Election Day and during Early Voting (which was restricted by Republicans in a number of states) once again suppressed the vote and endangered American democracy, President Obama called for electoral reform as he declared victory on Election Night.

"I want to thank every American who participated in this election...Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time," he said, adding: "By the way, we have to fix that."

During his second Inauguration speech, he repeated the message: "Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote."

At his State of the Union Address in 2013, he again re-iterated the call for reform --- citing the story of 102-year old Desiline Victor, an African-American Florida woman who was forced to wait in line for hours on end to cast her vote in 2012 --- before announcing his creation, by Executive Order, of a bi-partisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration. It would be headed up by both his own top election attorney, Robert Bauer, as well as Mitt Romney's lead election attorney and long-time GOP operative, Benjamin Ginsberg.

After six months of hearings and conferences around the country, that commission has now released its unanimous recommendations [PDF] for improving access to the voting booth and for other much-needed improvements for electoral administration.

While coming to bi-partisan consensus with a report on such a contentious topic is no small achievement in and of itself in this extraordinarily divisive environment, the Commission highlighted one fairly obvious point which will almost certainly disappoint the most partisan Republicans, but also, perhaps less obviously, some Democrats...

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

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Incredibly close race was run mostly on 100% unverifiable electronic touch-screen voting systems...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2013 12:33pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

As of today, following yesterday's off-off year Election Day 2013, the race for Virginia Attorney General is still uncalled by the media, and for good reason. Out of some 2.2 million votes cast in VA yesterday, the Democratic candidate for AG, Mark Herring and the Republican candidate, Mark Obenshain are now reportedly just a hair's breadth apart.

Depending on whose numbers you look at, as of 2p ET this afternoon, Obenshain is reportedly ahead by either 965 votes, according to the State Board of Elections (SBE), or by 286 votes, according to AP (which was often well ahead of the SBE numbers during reporting of results last night), with all precincts now said to have been accounted for in unofficial results.

The last numbers I had seen before going to bed last night at around 4am ET, showed Herring up over the Republican by 616 votes, but there were still said to be about 4 precincts out at that time, according to AP. The SBE's numbers had several more precincts unreported at that hour, as it looks like they had knocked off for the night several hours earlier.

Given the tightness of these reported numbers, and the fact that Republicans are certainly hoping to deny Democrats of a "clean sweep" win last night (the Ds took both the Governor's and Lt. Governor's race), a Commonwealth-wide "recount" is almost certain in the Attorney General's race. Current AG, and last night's failed Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli will likely oversee that "recount," as luck would have it.

But a "recount" in VA, may offer much less than one would think. So, here's why I put the word "recount" in quotes. This is what the map of Virginia looks like, courtesy of Verified Voting's 2012 database, as identified by types of voting systems used across the state...

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

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