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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, November 26, 2015
'Green News Report' 11/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Carbon tax coming to Alberta tar sands; Obama: Paris conf must proceed; Senate Repubs to monkeywrench int'l agreement; PLUS: FDA okays GMO salmon for humans...
Previous GNRs: 11/19/15 - 11/17/15 - Archives...
Sunday 'This Means War' Toons
PDiddie's must-see collection of the past shameful week's best -- and most dead-on and occassionally horrifying -- toons...
ISIS Wins in US House; Plus: TPP, NAFTA and the Return of KXL?: 'BradCast' 11/19/15
With guest David Dayen of Salon, Fiscal Times, The Intercept, et al...
'Green News Report' 11/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP's war against climate scientists; October 2015 was hottest on record; Fossil fuel subsidies at $500B/year; UK phases out coal; PLUS: Canada kills another tar sands pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 11/17/15 - 11/12/15 - Archives...
Home of the Brave:
'BradCast' 11/18/15
GOP Governors and Presidential candidates help ISIS dreams come true by turning against refugees from war-torn Syria, as some Americans follow their lead by turning against fellow citizens after the Paris attacks...
How NOT to Respond to the Paris Terror Attacks: 'BradCast' 11/17/15
Anti-war author David Swanson on how we got here, how the media and politicians continue to make it worse, and what we must do instead...
'Green News Report' 11/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate gets short shrift in 2nd Dem Debate; Yes, climate change is a NatSec threat; Intn'l climate talks in Paris after attacks; PLUS: NY's Cuomo vetoes major NatGas project...
Previous GNRs: 11/12/15 - 11/10/15 - Archives...
A Word About Paris; Coverage of CBS' Dem Debate in Iowa: 'BradCast' 11/16/15
Salon's Heather Digby Parton and longtime GOPer Fred Karger on the debate the DNC didn't want you to watch...
Sunday Somewhat Horrible Toons
PDiddie's round-up of a number of smart toons in the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Paris...
'Very Similar, If Not Identical': DoJ's Big Tobacco Prosecutor on Case Against ExxonMobil: 'BradCast' 11/12/15
Attorney Sharon Eubanks on RICO, conspiracy and the big lies of Big Tobacco and Big Oil...
'Green News Report' 11/12/15
2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates talk climate, energy, and the path forward in GOP Debate and Dem Forum...
Decoding and Debunking Fox Biz Channel's GOP Debate: 'BradCast' 11/11/15
Smartest post-debate analysis anywhere! With journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
Impossible Results for OH Pot Measure?: 'BradCast' 11/10/15
Screenshots suggest disappearing 'Yes' votes; OH SoS offers us explanation. PLUS: Calls for KY hand-count...
'Green News Report' 11/10/15
Obama rejects KXL; Big Coal caught lying about climate change; ExxonMobil facing probe; PLUS: 2nd cyclone for Yemen & Sea World responds to critics...
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...

GUEST: Pima County (Tucson), AZ election integrity champ John Brakey...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2015 6:09pm PT  

Election Day is tomorrow in several states and many more local jurisdictions, but on today's BradCast, we've already got our first "irregularity".

My guest today is John Brakey, a longtime Election Integrity advocate from Pima County (Tucson), AZ. Last week, he caught an election official --- on video tape --- breaking the security seal on the county's new, central vote tabulator after party observers had left county election headquarters following pre-election "Logic & Accuracy" testing of the system.

"I looked at my screen,and I go: 'What is that guy doing? What's he doing over there? He's just opened the box up. Where's the Democratic observer?! Where's the Republican observer?!'," Brakey tells me about the incident on today's program.

He goes on to explain what happened, how he caught the guy, what the county did about it, and how you may wish to be concerned about the possibility for similar corruption with similar electronic systems in your home town.

Thanks to Brakey, the incident led to new L&A tests the next day, though the explanation for the entire affair from Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson (the original "Election Official Gone Wild", as seen in this 2006 video tape), remains questionable --- particularly since Nelson was in the room at the same time his subordinate was seen breaking into the system. We sought comment from Nelson, but he has yet to respond to our request.

For the record, Brakey is one of the stars of J.T. Waldron's riveting 2009 documentary film, Fatally Flawed: The Pursuit of Justice in a Suspicious Election which tells the remarkable --- and, at times, uplifting --- story of the years-long fight by Brakey and a transpartisan coalition of others in Tucson to obtain a recount of ballots from a questionable $2 billion 2006 bond initiative election in Pima County.

Also today: Obama "Bans the Box" that had required job applicants to reveal a criminal record before they've even had an interview on federal employment applications; The GOP's 2016 Presidential candidate/cry babies meet over the weekend to make new demands for networks holding GOP Presidential debates; Another candidate drops out of the 2016 Presidential contest; And, some quick tips (here are some more) on how to try and help protect your vote, and everybody else's, during tomorrow's elections around the country!...

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

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Guest: Lawrence Norden, co-author of Brennan Center's disturbing study
PLUS: Walker drops out, Fiorina moves up...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2015 5:39pm PT  

We've got a lot to cover on today's BradCast (in addition to welcoming about our newest affiliate partner, WLRI 93FM in Lancaster, PA!)

First, some Presidential politics, including the late breaking news of Republican superstar and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker plummeting to the bottom of the 2016 GOP race for President and then promptly dropping out. At the same time, failed businesswoman and successful fantasist Carly Fiorina has surged in to 2nd place nationallly, even as Fox "News", of all outlets, challenges her on her pretend memories of a deceptively edited Planned Parenthood smear video.

Then, Volkswagen admits that their cars were built to hoax emissions testing by only kicking in pollution controls when the cars' computers sensed that they were undergoing emissions tests!

That, sadly enough, is meant to take us to our main story today, the new report from Brennan Center for Justice warning that "America's Voting Systems are at Risk" [PDF]. My guest is Lawrence Norden, co-author of the new report with Christopher Famighetti, explaining how the electronic voting systems in at least 43 states are more than a decade old and could fail entirely at any moment.

"The biggest finding is that, in the vast majority of the country, machines are at or rapidly approaching the ends of their life spans, and that, right now anyway, in most places, there aren't plans or budgets to replace them," Norden explains. "With older machines also comes just a difficulty in finding replacement parts. They're often running on very old software which creates security vulnerabilities --- so there are a lot of reasons that we need to start taking this more seriously."

Those failing machines, he goes on to tell me, resulted in some 500-700,000 votes being lost in last year's election alone, thanks to long lines that occur when these machines fail to work at all on Election Day. There is also a racial disparity to go along with those numbers, as Norden details, because "wealthier counties are in a position to replace their equipment that is aging, and those that don't have those resources are not."

While the report is expansive, well-researched and, justifiably, received a decent amount of attention from mainstream media sources upon its release last week, I share my concern with Norden that, while the study covers so much of what we've known for years (and have reported, virtually non-stop, for more than a decade both here at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast), the study's recommendations to replace old electronic systems with new electronic systems that will have many of the same problems is quite troubling. Nowhere in the report are overseeable, fully transparent hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballot systems discussed, despite such systems being regarded by many as Democracy's Gold Standard.

I also share my concerns with Norden about the report's timing, coming out right now when it is largely too late to replace voting systems --- at least with new electronic systems --- before voting begins in the 2016 cycle.

Norden, who I've had lively debates with in the past on related issues, says the Center's report is "not favoring any kind of technology," even if it is clear that they are calling for computer technology over more transparent and overseeable hand-counted systems. "I'm not crazy about the idea of having people just vote on paper without some kind of notification of potential errors," he argues, "notification that their vote won't be read."

He also argues, in making his case that computers are "more accurate" than hand-counts, that "a lot of vote-by-mail is not counted", mostly due to voter error.

Beyond that, I'll let you give the conversation a listen and you can decide for yourself what to make of the new report and its recommendations. I'll be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!...

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

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RWers finally become 'believers' concerning 'liberal conspiracy theories' about vote flips on 100% unverifiable touch-screens...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2014 2:17pm PT  

By our count, Virginia is now the 7th state to report touch-screen voting flipping in the 2014 election (though we may have missed a few in Pennsylvania and elsewhere).

During Early Voting, prior to today's mid-term, we've covered 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes reportedly flipping on screen in Texas (D to R), in Illinois (R to D), in Tennessee (NO to YES on anti-choice initiative), in Maryland (R to D) and in Arkansas (unclear which direction the votes were flipping in several different counties), and in North Carolina, where votes were said to be flipping from D to R in the crucial, neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race there.

Now, "Republicans and Democrats alike" are reporting votes flipping in a U.S. House race in Virginia Beach and Newport News, and one of the Republican candidates involved has supplied a video tape of the flipping votes cast on the town's Diebold AccuVote touch-screen systems...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/30/2014 9:35am PT  

The Politicus USA headline typified MSM coverage of what Brad Friedman often refers to as the "horse race" --- "Democrats Surge As Michelle Nunn Leads Georgia Senate Race In Third Straight Poll."

For The BRAD BLOG, and for a good many election integrity advocates and computer scientists, that narrow focus ignores "the track conditions," which, in Georgia entails the continued use of touchscreen voting systems courtesy of a 2009 determination by the Georgia Supreme Court that "unverifiable elections are just fine."

Where horse race coverage focuses exclusively on the here and now, this site feels it helpful to look back a dozen years to what took place in Georgia shortly after Democratic Secretary of State Cathy Cox signed a May 2002 contract with what was then known as Diebold Election Systems Inc....

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

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The first state, along with GA, to install Diebold's 100% unverifiable systems in 2002 are still forcing them on voters in 2014...
By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2014 6:05am PT  

As we told you recently, after 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems reportedly began flipping votes from Democratic to Republican in Texas, and from Republican to Democratic in Illinois, and then from "NO" to "YES" on an anti-choice measure in Tennessee, there would be more. There always is, as we discussed on Thom Hartmann's TV show earlier this week.

Now it's reportedly happening in Maryland. Again.

Yes, there are still many states and counties out there that have so little respect for their voters that they force them to use these horrible, completely unverifiable electronic voting systems because, clearly, they don't give a damn whether votes are recorded accurately or, more to the point, whether any voter can ever know that any election result actually reflects the will of the voters. Whether these systems fail (as they often do), whether they are hacked (as they easily are), or whether they work accurately, voters can never know one way or another --- and that is the core problem with them.

Nonetheless, these machines are still in use across the country in 2014. One of the very first states to foist them on voters back in 2002 was Maryland, when they installed 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems across the entire state.

Those systems are still being used there today and --- whaddaya know? --- they are flipping votes, according to the state Republican Party which is now demanding an investigation after receiving complaints from "about 50 voters in 12 Maryland counties"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2014 12:31pm PT  

It occurred to me on the way over to the studio on Monday, when I was worried I might be running late, that if I didn't make it, Thom could just re-run the almost identical conversations we've had about virtually the same damn thing from back in 2012 or back in 2010 or back in 2008 or back in 2006, etc...

For much more on the above, please see these stories from Friday:

"E-Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois: More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)"
"Touch-Screen Votes Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on Abortion Amendment to State Constitution in TN"

...and whatever other similar stories we may have to run between now and Election Day next Tuesday.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2014 6:05am PT  

And so begins our traditional, biennial (if not more frequent) coverage of partisans understandably freaking out when their 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes are seen flipping on screen from a candidate or candidates of their preferred party to a candidate or candidates from a different party.

Historically, over the past decade since we've been covering it (and related issues), this issue has occurred far more often for Democratic voters seeing their votes flip to Republicans. Nonetheless, the opposite phenomenon (as well the scenario involving third party or independent candidates) is not entirely uncommon. And, in all cases, voters should be concerned, election officials should be embarrassed and elected officials who continue to allow the use of these unverifiable secret vote-counting systems --- antithetical to American democracy and public elections as they are --- should beg forgiveness from their constituents, rather than begging for more money and more unverifiable votes.

As Early Voting is now under way in much of the country, we are, predictably, beginning to receive our first reports from voters seeing their votes flipped before their eyes on touch-screen voting systems. One such case involves a tip we received about straight-party Democratic votes reportedly flipping to Republican straight-party votes in Collin County, TX. Another case, reported widely on Thursday in the rightwing media, concerns a similar incident in Cook County, IL, where a GOP candidate says that his attempted Republican votes flipped before his very eyes to Democratic ones on that county's unverifiable touch-screen voting systems.

There is good and bad news here. And there are a number of myths and truths about these systems and these sorts of incidents which we've documented almost non-stop over the past ten years at The BRAD BLOG. So let's review a few key points about what actually occurred and didn't, what you should be concerned about in both the TX and IL cases and what you should do if it happens to you, as these occurrences are almost certainly going to continue between now and Election Day on November 4th...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2014 6:05am PT  

On Monday night's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg joined Hayes to discuss "smart gun" legislation she helped pass in her state. But it was the curious assertion by a supporter of the technology, claiming that electronic voting machines are now "fool-proof", which kinda just blew my mind.

Mark Glaze, spokesman for Everytown for Gun Safety, a group which, according to its website "brings together survivors of gun violence to share their stories and advocate for laws that will prevent future tragedies," said twice during the conversation, that e-voting systems are now "fool-proof."

While there were once concerns about e-voting systems, he said (see his full remarks below), those worries have now been assuaged thanks to "public and private partnerships at both the federal and state level that guaranteed that these machines were fool-proof".

Huh, what?! When did that "partnership" take place? And how did they "guarantee" such "fool-proof" results? Was that before or after, for example, the 2012 election in Palm Beach County, FL, when a paper-ballot optical-scan computer tabulation system (made by Sequoia Voting Systems) was discovered, through pretty much a stroke of luck, to have inaccurately declared the "winners" of three different elections, such that the contests were overturned and a hand-count by human beings found that the computers had declared the wrong "winners" in two of them? After that incident came to light, the Vice-President of Dominion Voting, the e-voting vendor which now owns Sequoia, admitted that the bug which caused the wrong "winners" to be named by the computer tabulator exists in all versions of it's Sequoia systems --- both paper-ballot op-scan systems as well as touch-screen systems --- in use across the country.

"And guess what?," Glaze continued telling Hayes on Monday night's show, "Today, there are very few questions about electronic voting machines." Really? Someone must have forgotten to tell that to the voters in St. Lucie County, FL, where hundreds of votes were mistabulated thanks to faulty memory cards in the county's computerized paper-ballot tabulation system (made by Diebold) in the contested U.S. House race between Rep. Allen West (R) and Patrick Murphy (D), also in 2012?

I could go on --- and on, and on --- with similar recent examples along those lines, but I'll spare you. For now. You're welcome. Hopefully you get the picture.

Glaze then went on to assert that, whatever the initial concerns may have been about electronic voting and tabulation systems, "we figured out how to get around it and today electronic voting makes things more fool-proof and easier and reduces the risk of fraud."

Yes. That's actually what he said. And on television, where everyone could hear it!

We've sought comment from Glaze, asking for details in support of his remarks --- and on his great, if unconfirmed news about electronic voting systems! --- and will update this item when and if we receive a response.

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Here's the segment from the 5/5/2014 segment of All In. Mark Glaze's gob-smacking comments on e-voting begin just after the 4:20 mark, and I've transcribed them in full below...

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

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Post-election battles in closest ever statewide race could run through Christmas and include a partisan 'nuclear option'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/3/2013 5:05am PT  

Election 2013 is but a memory --- good or bad --- for much of the nation. But, in Virginia, election officials, attorneys and partisans will still be busy as elves throughout much of the holiday season, and potentially even beyond, determining final results of the statewide November 5th Attorney General's election this year.

Last week, on the day before Thanksgiving, Virginia's Republican AG candidate Mark Obenshain filed for a recount [PDF] of the incredibly close race at the Richmond Circuit Court. Two days prior, his Democratic challenger Mark Herring had been certified by the state as the winner of the race by just 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million votes cast early last month.

Should those state-certified results hold, Herring would replace Republican Ken Cuccinelli as Virginia's AG. Cuccinelli was unsuccessful in his own run for Governor in November against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Along with the Democratic win in the Lt. Governor's race as well, a Herring victory would result in the first time since 1969 that Democrats held all three statewide offices, and the first time in twenty years that Virginia will have a Democratic AG.

A "recount", in Virginia, however --- as we've documented previously (see last section of this article) --- amounts to much less than it may seem, given the technology used in the state and some of the ridiculous "recount" laws specified by the Virginia election code [PDF].

As bad as those "recount" statutes are, however, a margin of 165 votes could certainly be reversed, even in a state where most votes are currently recorded (either accurately or inaccurately, who knows?) by 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems, and where the rest are tallied (either accurately or inaccurately, who knows?) by paper-ballot optical-scan tabulators that will be used once again to "recount" (either accurately or inaccurately, who knows?) most of the state's paper ballots.

Yes, that's right. Hundreds of thousands of 100% unverifiable electronic votes cast in the closest statewide race in VA state history cannot be "recounted" now in any meaningful way. For those votes, state election code specifies that, during the "recount", election officials will merely recheck the voting machine computer printouts from Election Night to make sure the certified results match. Meanwhile --- and short of a court order --- votes that were cast on paper ballots will simply be run through the same optical-scan computers that tallied them the first time, after they've been reprogrammed to set aside all ballots which the scanner sees as an over vote, an under vote or a write-in vote in the AG's race. Those set aside paper ballots, at least, will then be examined by hand, in public, by actual human beings.

As ridiculous as the VA "recount" statute is, the "contest" law --- another procedure which the candidate who loses the "recount" may file thereafter --- is even more ridiculous. But, depending on the results of the "recount", that may be the only option Obenshain is left with...and it could result in a GOP "victory", even with fewer recorded popular votes, presuming there are enough heavily partisan Republicans in the VA state legislature...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2013 5:54pm PT  

The tally of the last of the provisional votes in Fairfax County, VA is now completed. See the blow-by-blow details below. Or see this breaking story for the final results before the certification deadline at midnight tonight.

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I'm testing out Twitter's new "Custom Timeline" feature below, while following the tallies of the provisional ballots in Fairfax County, VA...

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

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GOP-requested review of several precincts in Richmond City gives Mark Herring (D) edge over Mark Obenshain (R)...
By Brad Friedman on 11/11/2013 1:18pm PT  

For the first time since the bulk of votes were tallied in Virginia on Election Night last Tuesday, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General, state Sen. Mark Herring appears to now have taken the lead over Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain in the razor-thin results of more than 2.2 million votes cast.

Herring just barely leap-frogged Obenshain's totals on Monday afternoon after tallies from a voting machine in the city of Richmond --- the results of which had been previously missing from official tallies since Election Night --- were added to the running totals. The addition of 190 votes from electronic voting machine #3791, plus a few other votes from seven other precincts re-reviewed by Richmond City's Electoral Board on Monday, resulted in what now appears to be a 115 vote lead for Herring over Obenshain.

While the results posted by State Board of Elections (SBE) do not yet reflect that change in the state tally (showing, instead, a 17 vote lead for Obenshain for now), a number of election experts following and closely documenting the post-election canvassing and correction of vote tallies from across the state have confirmed Herring's new lead. Those experts have been consistently and accurately ahead of the SBE in reporting results in many cases over the past week.

[Update, 9:50pm ET: The SBE website now shows Herring up by 117, as predicted. The extra two votes were from provisional ballots added to the tally in Montgomery County.]

Ironically, the review of the poll tapes printed out by the tabulation computers from eight different precincts in very-heavily Democratic-leaning Richmond City today, came at the request of the Republican Party...

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

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Memo from State Board of Elections delays final tally in heavily Democratic Fairfax County, where hundreds of provisionals remain...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2013 7:53pm PT  

As of late Saturday, just 55 votes separated the Democratic candidate from the Republican in the Virginia Attorney General's race, according to the State Board of Elections (SBE) website. 55 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast after four days of canvassing, double-checking and processing a number of provisional ballots cast across the state during last Tuesday's election.

The state's 55 vote spread, however, is still larger than the margin cited by the election geeks who have been following this race on a county-by-county and often precinct-by-precinct (even ballot-by-ballot) level. And they have been consistently and correctly ahead of the SBE-posted numbers. One of them, Virginia political expert and self-identified "vicious campaign insultant," Ben Tribbett declared just a 15 vote margin earlier Saturday, after the spread had been just several hundred over the last few days. Late tonight, after a few more provisionals were tallied in the City of Richmond, Tribbett adjusted his tally to a 44 vote margin.

Another one of those geeks, Dave Wasserman of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, predicted Friday night on Twitter that, after all provisional ballots are added in, "this thing could be single digits." It looks like he wasn't kidding.

For what it's worth, it's the Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain currently leading the Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring by either 55 votes or 15 votes or somewhere in between right now. But there still remain between 400 and 500 provisional ballots to be adjudicated and possibly added to the totals in heavily Democratic-leaning Fairfax County as of Saturday night, according to Michael McDonald, a specialist in American elections at George Mason University in Fairfax.

Indeed, it was a surprise edict concerning provisional ballots, as issued by the Republican State Board of Elections, that stopped the Fairfax County Electoral Board dead in their tracks on Saturday before they were able to adjudicate all of the county's provisionals as previously planned.

All of this, before a likely "recount" --- of 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes in most VA counties and, barring a court order, no more than a computer re-scan of most of the paper ballots in the others --- that is almost certain to be requested by whichever state Senator named Mark finds himself "the loser" of the final canvassed tally as of midnight, Tuesday, November 12th, the deadline for certification of the election...

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

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Diebold paper ballot optical-scan tabulator behind recently discovered 'unaccounted for' votes in Fairfax County
But there was yet another unexpected computer tally twist on Friday...
By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2013 9:07pm PT  

On Thursday night, we explained as much as we could figure out about thousands of seemingly "missing" votes suddenly "discovered" in the incredibly close Attorney General's race in Virginia between Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D).

Some 2.2 million votes were cast on Tuesday in the contest, yet just a few hundred (depending on what time of day one checked, as tallies were being canvassed and double-checked and corrected from around the state) separated the two on Thursday. Obenshain was said to be in the lead, according to the State Board of Elections (SBE) website, by a few more than 700 votes at night's end.

That's when several election porn geeks --- like Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report and Ben Tribbett --- who had been combing over the results for the past several days, confirmed with elections officials an unusually low rate of absentee votes in Congressional District 8 in Fairfax County, VA. If accurate, it would have been the lowest return rate for absentees in the state, and it was considerably lower than adjacent districts in the same county. Fairfax leans heavily Democratic and, if absentee ballots were cast at the same rate there as other districts in the county, Wasserman and Tribbett concluded, there were about 3,000 votes unaccounted for in the SBE tallies. Those "missing" votes, if tallied, would be enough to give Herring the lead and, potentially, the first AG victory for a Democrat in the state in twenty years.

So what happened to those 3,000 or so absentee votes? Why were they seemingly 'missing' from the tally? By late Thursday, one of the Republican officials on the Electoral Board, Brian Schoeneman, said he was "convinced now too that there is an issue" and promised to "figure this out". Late late Thursday night, Wasserman had received an email from Fairfax County General Registrar Cameron Quinn acknowledging that VA08 totals were "in error" and that she suspected "machine totals that either didn't print tapes, or didn't show full tallies on the tapes." She said that the Electoral Board would "make figuring out what happened the first order of business in the morning" on Friday.

Unlike much of the state, which votes on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, Fairfax, the largest single voting jurisdiction in the state, uses paper ballot optical-scan systems made by Diebold. Those same systems --- as we described last night --- have a long history of failure, including dropping entire stacks of votes from the totals without notice to the system administrator. Could that be what happened?

Well, there were a few more twists and turns today, as the Fairfax County Electoral Board attempted to figure out what had gone wrong with their tallies, and as other counties wrapped up their canvass of the election. The Board plans to meet tomorrow to offer their official findings (their full statement below), but the only thing we know conclusively for the moment, is that one of Wasserman's tweets this afternoon was absolutely correct:

"Folks, I've been neck deep in MS Excel for 3+ days & I'm ready to make a projection," he said. "The next Virginia AG will be...Mark"...

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

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Inexplicably low absentee results in parts of Fairfax County, which uses paper ballot op-scan systems with history of dropping votes
UPDATED: Diebold op-scan probs 'suspected' by County Registrar: 'Machine totals either didn't print tapes, or didn't show full tallies'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2013 11:01pm PT  

We reported yesterday on the incredibly close race for Attorney General in Virginia. With more than 2.2 million votes cast, the margin between Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D) has been within a few hundred votes since Election Night on Tuesday.

Within the last few hours, an unexplained discrepancy has been discovered by those combing over the reported numbers in Fairfax County. The county leans heavily Democratic and, unlike much of the rest of the state which uses 100% unverifiable touch-screen, Fairfax uses optically-scanned paper ballots for its main vote tabulation system.

After Democrats reportedly won both the Governor and Lt. Governor races, only the AG's remains undecided at the top of the ticket. For the last 24 hours or so, the Republican Obenshain has been leading during the canvassing of ballots by about 700 votes, as absentee and provisionals are tallied and doubled-checked.

But now, thanks to some smart detective work by both a Democratic political team in Fairfax County and by Dave Wasserman of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, the fortunes for the Democrat candidate Herring may just have taken a big turn, even as a new mystery is added to the equation...

--- 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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