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'Green News Report' 7/31/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
20m gallon water main break in L.A. exposes decrepit U.S. water sytem; Record wildfires depleting budgets; Repubs fiddle as West burns; PLUS: Flesh-eating bacteria in Florida...
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After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
'Green News Report' 7/29/14
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Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
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'Green News Report' 7/24/14
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Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
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Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
Record wildfires in Pacific NW; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
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Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
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'Green News Report' 7/17/14
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Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
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Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
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Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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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...

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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...

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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
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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
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 12/24/2007 2:13pm PT  


(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG reader Jim Cirile)

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Once-Great, Now-Disgraced American Company Also Facing SEC Probe, Lawsuits, Upcoming 2008 Election Meltdowns
Not to Say We Told Ya So, Diebold Shareholders...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2007 11:27am PT  

The death spiral for the 131 year-old company, once respectfully known as Diebold, continues, as its stock price falls to a 5-year low today, near year's end (currently $29.23/share and still sinking, from a 52-week high of $54.50/share), along with the additional news that the U.S. Department of Justice has now joined the SEC in an investigation concerning the company's "Enron-like" bookkeeping tricks...

Diebold Inc. (NYSE: DBD) said it has learned that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation that parallels a previously disclosed investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the company’s discontinued practice of recognizing certain revenue on a “bill and hold” basis.

Diebold announced in early October that it has been engaged in an ongoing discussion with the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant regarding its former use of the "bill and hold" method of recognizing revenue.

Under bill and hold, ownership of a product contractually passes to a customer and revenue is recognized by the supplier prior to delivery of the product to the customer.

Diebold said it’s in continuing talks with the Office of the Chief Accountant so that it can determine what the company termed “the most appropriate revenue recognition method” to replace its bill and hold practice.

The BRAD BLOG, of course, originally reported on the SEC's investigation into Diebold's book-keeping chicanery back in May of 2006, just a few months after our first exclusive report, based on information from a company insider we dubbed DIEB-THROAT, preceded a 20% stock-price plunge just days afterward.

At the time, back in late September 2005, the stock price plunged to a 52-week low of about $44.37/share (which we're sure they'd kill for now --- not that we wish to give them any ideas) and DIEB-THROAT told us in response to the related news: "the last time this kind of deception occurred it was called Enron."

Then came a class action securities fraud suit against the company in December 2005, as first broken by The BRAD BLOG natch, before the parallel SEC investigation first became public.

Since then, following one independent study after another after another after another, finding their electronic voting systems to be virus-prone, hackable, unreliable and inaccurate, the company finally dumped it's controversial CEO who had infamously promised in a Republican fundraising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to" George W. Bush in 2004, before attempting again to fool the American public by renaming its election division "Premiere Elections Solutions" (same pig, fresh lipstick), just after stock prices plummeted again in August of this year to $47.60 as The BRAD BLOG noticed what appeared to us, and at least one financial analyst, to be possible insider trading among a number of company officials.

Prices have continued to fall ever since --- a lucky coincidence, no doubt, for those executives who just happened to unload a bunch of stock near the year's high at $53.05 - to today's 5-year low of $29.20.

Additional bad news arrived last Friday for Diebold when a new study by the state of Ohio found their systems to be easily hackable (again), with better news coming last Tuesday as the state of Colorado's own certification tests, surprisingly, gave their their machines a pass while decertifying many others. Yesterday, however, the reason for the inexplicable get-out-of-jail card they received in CO may have become a bit clearer: As it turns out, the Republican Secretary of State who oversaw the new certification testing, Mike Coffman, is running for Congress, and his campaign shares the same consultants as Diebold/Premier in the state. Go figure.

Diebold/Premiere's spokeshole, Chris Riggall told the Rocky Mountain News in response yesterday, that the company just had no idea about the extraordinary conflict of interest. But with the mission already accomplished, he announced to the paper: "Effective tonight that relationship is terminated."

With their stock-price still spiraling this morning, Diebold is quoted by Crain's Cleveland Business today as saying the company "anticipates [the DoJ] review will be completed in the first quarter of 2008" ... Though rest assured, The BRAD BLOG's review of the company won't be completed by then. Not by a long shot.

Merry Christmas, Diebold!

And if you'd like to wish The BRAD BLOG a Merry Christmas, we hope you'll feel free to consider sending a much needed ONLINE DONATION --- in dishonor of Diebold! --- as the holiday grows near.
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EPROM Chips Fed-Exed from CA Secretary of State Turn Up Missing, Package Arrives Empty, Police Investigating
UPDATE: SoS Confirms Precinct-Based Scanner Chips Missing, Will Voting Machine 'Sleepovers' Be Held Anyway?
By John Gideon on 12/19/2007 3:31pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon of VotersUnite.org

Two shipping tubes sent from the California Secretary of State's office in Sacramento to the San Diego County Election Office arrived without their contents. The tubes left the SOS Office with more than 174 memory chips, or Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory (EPROM), containing firmware for the county's Diebold/Premier central-count optical scan voting machines. UPDATE: Precinct-based op-scan chips confirmed by the SoS to be missing as well! See update info at end of article.

The tubes arrived in San Diego but they were empty. The chips are now considered to be either lost or stolen.

WIRED's Kim Zetter reports today...

Two cardboard shipping tubes containing more than 174 EPROMs loaded with voting machine software were sent via Federal Express from the secretary of state's office in Sacramento last week to election officials in more than a dozen California counties that use optical-scan voting machines made by Diebold Election Systems. But two shipping tubes arrived empty to one county on Monday.

In San Diego County, one of the empty tubes arrived with no lid on the end of it to close the tube; the second tube had a lid, but it was loosely taped shut.

According to Zetter, the new firmware was being sent to San Diego following software and security modifications made following the state's recent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of e-voting systems. The packages were sent from the Secretary of State's office after being packaged by Diebold/Premier employees with SoS personnel standing witness. The Secretary of State's office confirms that Diebold/Premier regularly uses Fed-Ex as their preferred shipper.

New chips will now be sent and the state says the February primary will not be delayed by the issue. The California Highway Patrol and Sacramento Police are now investigating.

But the story gets worse, in this LATE UPDATE (FROM BRAD):

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

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Diebold's GEMS Tabulator Files, Containing Data from '06 Election, Ordered Released to Democratic Party Experts for Scrutiny, Possible Release to Full Public
Decision Seen as Important Victory for Election Integrity Advocates...
By Michael Bryan on 12/18/2007 4:14pm PT  

Pimacountyaz_dieboldGuest Blogged by Michael Bryan, Esq.

Judge Michael Miller, in a carefully reasoned and balanced opinion, today ordered the release of the final Diebold GEMS tabulator database files from the contested 2006 Regional Transport Authority (RTA) election 2006 primary and general elections . The judge denied, without prejudice, full public access to every MDB and GBF database file for the 2006 elections in the possession of Pima County until and unless the plaintiffs can address remaining security concerns which might arise from that larger release.

[CORRECTION: Several correspondents point out correctly that the databases for the 2006 Primary and General elections have been released, but not those of the RTA election, which was a mid-year election. Sources near the case speculate that perhaps the judge believed that the RTA election may have been tampered with and did not want further controversy around the results of that election.]

[UPDATE: For a detailed analysis of the judge's ruling see my post on BlogForArizona.com.]

The BRAD BLOG has been following this case closely because unsecured tabulation systems like GEMS are widely used in American elections and completely open to insider manipulation. For background and detailed commentary about the case see my 12/8/07 wrap-up post on the trial.

The immediate goal of the Democratic party --- to be able to look closer at the final election databases for the 2006 election --- is fully satisfied by the ruling. But the broader goal of being able to look at a time series of backups for discrepancies or discontinuities that could indicate manipulation, as Arizona Election Integrity advocates have feared, is stymied for the moment...

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

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All Voting Systems by ES&S Completely Decertified; DRE Touch-Screens from Sequoia Banned; Optical-Scan Paper Systems by Hart InterCivic Banned; All Systems by Diebold/Premier Conditionally ALLOWED for Use!
SoS Admits Federal Certification Process, Now Overseen by Former CO SoS on Behalf of EAC, 'Has Been Very Weak to Date'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2007 3:37pm PT  

Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, has announced that a number of Colorado's e-voting machines have failed state certification testings, and will not be allowed for use in the 2008 election cycle. The announcements came at a news conference in Denver which completely just minutes ago.

Describing the state's testing of four major voting machine companies previously certified in the state, Coffman explained to reporters at the presser that there were "over 3000 tests on each vendor['s systems], and over 40,000 pages documenting the tests."

"This has been an extensive process," he said, after detailing several remarkable findings from each of the systems testing. For example, test results showed that paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart InterCivic "could not accurately count ballots." While Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) systems made by ES&S, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, could be disabled by "denial of service" attacks at the polling place with a device as simple as a magnet.

"If you were to put a magnet in close proximity or inside the port," Coffman said at the press conference today, "that would, in fact, disable that particular voting machines and it would have to be literally reprogrammed...to bring in back into circulation for that election."

While virtually all of the systems tested were found to have major vulnerabilities, a number of them were "conditionally certified" for use as long as new security mitigation requirements are met. Notably, both op-scan systems and DREs made by Diebold (now known as Premier) were given conditional certification for use, despite Diebold systems having been banned in several states previously, including California, Ohio and Florida, due to a long list of critical vulnerabilities.

A summary of the decertified and conditionally certified systems follow (links to more information on each, at the end of this article):

  • All voting systems made by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), both paper-based optical-scan and DREs, were completely decertified. Their op-scan systems tested, according to Coffman, "both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors." Their ubiqutous, and fatally flawed iVotronic DRE system "failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems were conditionally certified, while their DRE systems were completely decertified for use, as they "failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart Intercivic were decertified "because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots"(!), while their DRE voting system was conditionally certified.
  • And finally, both optical-scan and DRE voting systems made by Diebold/Premier were conditionally certified for use in Colorado.

Coffman's announcement comes today, months after the state had hoped to have the results available, due to sluggish participation by the voting machine companies, many of whom delayed supplying required information, such as voting system source code, as requested by the Secretary of State's office.

All of Colorado's electronic voting systems were decertified just prior to the November 2006 election when a state judge ruled, in a lawsuit brought by state voters, that testing and certification procedures for e-voting systems in the Centennial State were inadequate, largely non-existent, and in violation of state law. As the judge's decertification order came just prior to that years' elections, the systems were allowed for use, but decertified immediately thereafter. The state was forced to begin the certification process from scratch thereafter...

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

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Laughable Response Similar to Those Made by Academics, Election Law Attorneys in Support of E-Voting Technology...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2007 6:30am PT  

Try not to laugh. But here's Diebold's response to the new study from the state of Ohio showing their crappy, untested, inaccurate, unsecure voting machines --- and those made by their equally duplicitous friends at ES&S and Hart Intercivic --- to be extremely vulnerable to tampering with the use of household items as simple as a magnet or a personal digital assistant.

As if to continue pushing their bad luck with yet another dare, the Diebold statement says, "It is important to note that there has not been a single documented case of a successful attack against an electronic voting system, in Ohio or anywhere in the United States."

Okay, guys. This is getting exhausted (and just plain sad), but be careful what you wish for.

"Even as we continue to strengthen the security features of our voting systems," Diebold/Premier writes, "that reality should not be lost in the discussion."

"Continue" to "strengthen"? (Supply own joke here)

Yet, the company who is so proud of their work that they changed their name from Diebold to Premier for no other reason beyond the fact that the horrible, corrupt and fraudulent work of their voting division has disgraced the parent company, says "Premier has performed a host of modifications and enhancements to its software to further strengthen system security. Our new suite of products is expected to soon complete the yearlong federal certification process, and will be available for installation in 2008."

Goody. We'll buy a new supply of magnets right away.

Finally, and without evidence, they add: "We should also not lose sight of the very real improvements in voting accuracy that have been achieved with the deployment of modern touch screen systems."

Really? Where's the evidence for that? Unfortunately, Diebold is not alone in making that specious claim...

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

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Result of State's First Ever Testing of E-Voting Systems Find All Systems 'Vulnerable' to Manipulation and Theft by 'Simple Techniques'
SoS Brunner Recommends Paper Ballots Optically-Scanned at County Headquarters for Buckeye State...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007 2:35pm PT  

The results of new, unprecedented testing of e-voting machines in the state of Ohio are in, and the findings mirror the landmark results of a similar test carried out earlier this year in California.

"Ohio's electronic voting systems have 'critical security failures' which could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State," says Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in a statement which accompanied the release of the report today on the SoS' website. Brunner, a Democrat, was joined in her press conference (video now here), called today to discuss the results of the testing, by Ohio's Republican House Speaker, Jon Husted.

Brunner is calling for a ban on all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in the state, along with a ban on precinct-based optical-scan paper based systems, charging that the central counting of ballots at the county would eliminate "points of entry creating unnecessary voting system risk."

The State's bi-partisan "Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing" (EVEREST) report finds, as did California's study, as did virtually every other independent test of such systems, that violating the security and manipulating the "federal approved" electronic voting systems, is a breeze.

"To put it in every-day terms," Brunner said, "the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant."

"The results underscore the need for a fundamental change in the structure of Ohio’s election system to ensure ballot and voting system security while still making voting convenient and accessible to all Ohio voters," said Brunner, who has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for failing to act quickly enough concerning the voting systems to be used in next year's crucial election, as well as for failing to seek accountability for the exceedingly well-documented and now-infamous charges of election fraud and voter suppression in the 2004 Presidential election under her predecessor J. Kenneth Blackwell.

While the effort is long overdue in Ohio, actions being taken by Brunner, in light of the test results, are less stringent than those taken by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen after tests in her state. Brunner's recommendations, some of them quite puzzling, are likely to come under some fire in the bargain, from Election Integrity advocates in Ohio and elsewhere...

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

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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
NOW AVAILABLE! Video of the closing argument, exclusive to The BRAD BLOG and BlogForArizona.com
By Michael Bryan on 12/8/2007 3:35pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan, Esq. from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ..

The final day of testimony over the Pima County Democratic Party's public records request featured the remainder of the county's witnesses for the defense, a surprise call on an adverse witness, and pugnacious closing arguments. The matter now rests with Judge Michael Miller, who says he will decide the case within the next two weeks.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial is about, please see my introductory post. If you haven't been following along, you may want to take a look at my summaries of the first day, the second day, and the third day of trial.

In brief, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party is demanding Pima County release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election, and those from all future elections, arguing that they are public records. The GEMS software is highly insecure, allowing anyone with access to the computer it runs on to manipulate the outcome of elections at will and likely cover their tracks. Elections are thus highly succeptable to manipulation by elections insiders, and there is no way to detect or deter them without access to the databases for forensic analysis. Pima County's position is that we should trust them to take care of that risk through internal checks and balances, and that releasing the databases simply creates more security risks by outsiders seeking to hack an election.

The county's expert witnesses were Merle "the Man from Diebold" King, and Dr. John Moffatt, a consultant for Pima County's IT strategy. Summaries of and commentaries on their testimony is available on BlogForArizona.com, along with an detailed chronicle of the entire trial.

Both experts sought to convince the judge of the many security threats posed by release of the GEMS databases, and in my view, failed to sustain that position under the cross examination of the Democrats' attorney Bill Risner. Risner poked holes in all the threat scenarios the experts presented, showing them to be impracticable, absurd, or simply undefined.

Here's Risner's closing argument:


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

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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
PLUS EXCLUSIVE COURTROOM VIDEO of the Democratic Party's Attorney Presenting Case During Yesterdays Hearings...
By Michael Bryan on 12/7/2007 1:55am PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan, Esq. from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ...

The trial is heading into overtime. What was to be the third and final day of the trial ended with the Democratic Party having rested their case at the afternoon break and the County just getting into their witness list. Judge Miller called to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning with a determination to finish the trial.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial is about, please see my introductory post, and you may want to take a look at my summaries of the first day of trial and the second day of trial.

In brief, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party is challenging Pima County to release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election, and those from all future elections, on the presumption that they should be public records. There is a belief that the databases, if obtained by the party, may show fraud or other malfeasance by county election officials. The county maintains that releasing such information will make tampering in future elections easier, even though those same county officials and insiders have all the means and opportunity to manipulate elections.

Today, I have posted a full summary of the testimony of Pima County's head elections programmer Bryan Crane, started Wednesday and concluded Thursday. His testimony was expected to be very important, as it is the appearance of impropriety on his part that prompted the Democrats' inquiry and led to an investigation by Arizona's Attorney General and, ultimately, this lawsuit.

Crane didn't do the county any favors. He undermined his own credibility, developed a great fondness for the expression "I can't recall," and, upon questioning by Judge Miller, revealed that the security threats the County claims are posed by the release of the GEMS database following an election are illusory or highly implausible.

There was brief testimony from the former Chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, Paul Eckerstrom, who explained the decisions that led to the formation of the Election Integrity Committee, whose findings and research led to this point.

Once the Democratic Party rested their case, the county moved for a judgment as a matter of law, which asks the judge to decide the case in their favor on just the plaintiff's testimony. It is largely a pro forma motion, but it provided an opportunity for counsels to frame the case thus far. Democrats' attorney Bill Risner took the opportunity to test a few of the themes that will likely figure in his closing arguments.

That footage of Risner making his case, is about 10 minutes long and is presented at the end of this post, hot off our press pool camera, in a BRAD BLOG exclusive. The judge took only a few minutes to decide that the plaintiffs had presented a sufficient case that the County must proceed with their side of the case.

The County put on their first witness, the elections director of Gila County, Arizona, another jurisdiction using an identical GEMS tabulation system. The choice backfired significantly. Her testimony revealed that she was completely ignorant of any security issues with the Diebold system her county uses, presumably because she relies on the Arizona Secretary of State and the Diebold corporation for security information. Her county contracts out their election preparation to a private company based in Glendale, Arizona, rather than do it in-house like in Pima County. The private company she contracts with just sends them back a prepared database, which the county then uses in their elections, never having checked the contents of the database.

Except for logic and accuracy testing (running a few sample ballots), the integrity of Gila County's elections rests entirely on the honesty of that private contractor.

The county then put on Merle King, the director of Georgia's Kennesaw College Center for Election Systems. The Democrats' legal team calls him 'The Man from Diebold.' He is a professional expert witness in voting systems who never saw a Diebold system he didn't love. The county made quite a production of eliciting the information that Mr. King had been paid the handsome sum of $10 to appear. I guess it was meant to illustrate how independent he is, but his expenses are being underwritten by someone: my money is on Diebold. His testimony and more will be available tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy the Democratic Party's champion Bill Risner presenting his motion for judgment, direct from the courtroom yesterday...


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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
PLUS: Deposition footage of chief election programmer, Bryan Crane
By Michael Bryan on 12/5/2007 11:47pm PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ...

It was a day packed with testimony Wednesday in Tucson as the plaintiffs' attorney, Bill Risner, continued to crank through his witness list. The day ended with the last witness that will be called by the Democratic Party, Bryan Crane, whom Pima County Attorneys have repeatedly labeled "much maligned," just preparing for a rehabilitating friendly cross-examination by Pima County attorneys. Crane's testimony is pivotal to the case, and will be posted in its entirety tomorrow after cross and re-direct are complete.

To get up to speed with details on what this trial about, please see my introductory post, and if you missed yesterday's action, you may want to take a look at my summary of day one. In general, the Pima County (Tucson) Democratic Party, is challenging Pima County to release the Diebold GEMS tabulator databases containing voting data from the 2006 election on the presumption that it should be of public record. There is a belief that the databases, if obtained by the party, may show fraud and other malfeasance by county election officials. The county maintains that releasing such information will make tampering in future elections more feasible, even though those same county officials and insiders, currently have the easiest route to tampering with such elections, since they already have all the access they need to such information.

The witnesses on Wednesday included a slate of employees from the Pima County elections department. The summaries of the testimony of Isabel Araiza, Robert Evans, Chester Crowley, Romi Romero, and Mary Martinson are posted together on BlogForArizona.

These employees' testimony was sought by the plaintiffs to try to establish a pattern of negligent oversight and security procedures at the elections department, including the actions of head programmer, Bryan Crane (deposition video footage of Crane at bottom of this article), taking backups of election data home and illegally printing summaries that included current vote totals in the midst of elections and then sharing that data with persons not part of the election department.

The prime witnesses of the day, however, were Brad Nelson, the director of the elections department, Crane, the "much maligned" head programmer, and the man with responsibility for the entire bureaucracy, Chuck Huckleberry, the County Administrator...

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

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A Courtroom Report as Pima County Democrats Seek Public Records Access to Diebold Election Databases
By Michael Bryan on 12/5/2007 8:19am PT  

Special to The BRAD BLOG by Michael Bryan from the courtroom in Tucson, AZ...

It was an eventful day in the courtroom in Pima County yesterday, with opening statements and the first two plaintiff's witnesses' testimony. Already, the general shape of the controversy is becoming more clear and many of the media access issues have been favorably resolved. The Election Integrity press pool is providing video to local news and other interested parties on a non-exclusive basis and there is a ground-swell of support and interest in the trial and use of the resultant footage among journalists and documentarians.

Full summaries of the opening statements of the plaintiff's attorney Bill Risner and Pima County Deputy County Attorney Christopher Straub are available on BlogForArizona.com and they lay out the positions of the litigants.

See our initial backgrounder/intro to this trial, as posted yesterday, right here.

The position of the Democratic Party, argued in the courtroom yesterday, is that the statutory role of the political parties in Arizona, and in America historically, has been to oversee and participate deeply in our elections. The elections belong to the people, not the government. The database the party seeks access to on behalf of all political parties is the only computer record of the election that can provide the information needed to ensure that elections insiders cannot, and have not, manipulated the election. Absent a clear statement by the legislature, the parties should not be denied access to this crucial information to carry out their traditional role of ensuring the public's political rights. Certainly no tortured interpretation of outdated language regarding computer technology from a statute written in the 1980s should be allowed to deny the people access to their election data, only a clear and unambiguous expression from the legislature should be able to do that.

The position of Pima County, however, is that the database requested must remain confidential.

They argue that providing the database to the political parties would violate the standards promulgated by the Arizona Secretary of State because the files contain procedural information and code that is used to program elections machines, and could reveal information that might compromise future elections. The county agrees that the Diebold GEMS software used to tabulate votes has serious security flaws, but that is all the more reason to not allow the information in the database into the public domain...

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

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The Pima County Democratic Party sues Pima county for public records access to election databases
PLUS FLASHBACK VIDEO: Pima's Election Director, Brad Nelson, Gone Wild on Video Tape...
By Michael Bryan on 12/4/2007 8:07am PT  

Guest Blogged by Michael Bryan

I am Michael Bryan, an attorney and blogger whose home is Tucson, Arizona. Starting today and continuing through Thursday, at BlogForArizona.com (my blog) and The BRAD BLOG, I will be covering the trial of Pima County Democratic Party v. Pima County. The proceedings will be live-blogged at BlogForArizona every day, with a daily summary posted each evening of the trial here at The BRAD BLOG.

The trial concerns the Pima County Democratic Party's demand for access to public records. Specifically, they seek access to database files that contain the raw tabulator vote data from a past local bond election. They seek to establish the public's right to inspect and analyze those records to search for any irregularities or manipulation by elections department insiders. Ideally, the Democrats want the judge to declare that all such files must be given to all political parties in Pima County in all future elections, so that public scrutiny can help ensure that the vote is honestly counted.

Why the concern that public officials, whose job it is to count the vote, may be instead manipulating the vote? Because the software Pima County (and many, many other jurisdictions around the country) is using to tabulate the vote is "fundamentally flawed" as to security according to an independent audit [PDF] commissioned by the Arizona Attorney General.

The "fundamentally flawed" software is made by Diebold and is called Global Election Management Software, or GEMS. Election integrity activists and researchers have long known that vote totals can be easily manipulated by insiders with access to the computers on which GEMS runs. The software is so fundamentally insecure that vote data can be changed by simply using the common database software Microsoft Access --- and the fraud can potentially be completely untraceable. With security conditions like that, it becomes imperative that the public have oversight of that data, just as the public has (or should have) oversight over the rest of the elections process.

For more background information about the software and the issues behind the trial, please see my post, Pima County Election Integrity Blues, or my introduction to the trial, both on BlogForArizona.com.

You may also wish to see Steve Rosenfeld's excellent report yesterday at Alternet, offering more specific details on what is at stake here.

If you would like to just listen to a discussion of the issues in the trial, please take a few minutes to listen to my recent interview with Action Point host Cynthia Black on Phoenix' Air America station...


For additional context here, I'll point you to a video (at right) of one of the men at the center of this controversy, Pima County's Election Director Brad Nelson. BRAD BLOG readers may remember this remarkable video referred to as "Election Director Gone Wild" as Nelson breaks into a tirade after being questioned by Pima County Election Integrity activist, John Brakey, about the Diebold DRE voting systems that Nelson was preparing, back then, in February of 2006, to bring into the county.

Please check my blog, BlogForArizona.com, for regular updates on the trial as it unfolds, and here at The BRAD BLOG for updates at the end of the days proceedings today through Thursday. Please use the comments on either blog to ask questions or make suggestions, we'll have someone monitoring the comments during the trial and will do our best to respond.

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The 'Diebold Whistleblower' Sees His Charges Reduced to a Misdemeanor, But Unlike Republicans Who Have Committed Far More Serious Crimes, Heller Continues to Pay
Reflections on Selective Criminal Punishment in Bush's America...
By Steve Heller on 12/2/2007 5:57pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Stephen Heller

I am no longer a felon.

In brief, I became known to some as the "Diebold Whistleblower" when, in January of 2004, I stole and exposed legal documents [PDF] proving that Diebold Election Systems, Inc. was using and planned to continue using illegal, uncertified software in their California voting machines. (By the way, Diebold recently changed its name to Premier Election Solutions, but don't let that fool you; it's still the same bunch of idiots.) Details about my case can be found here and here [PDF].

The documents I stole were covered under attorney-client privilege, so my theft was a serious crime. In February of 2006 I was charged with three felonies. On November 20, 2006, I plead guilty to one felony count of unauthorized access to a computer, and in exchange for my guilty plea and a restitution payment of $10,000 to the law firm from which I stole the documents, the law firm promised they wouldn't bring a civil suit against me, and I was put on felony probation instead of being sent to jail. The term of probation was to be at least one year, and as much as three years.

Now, one year after my guilty plea, because I've stayed out of trouble and because I'm a first offender, the judge has reduced my felony to a misdemeanor. Sometime in 2008, my lawyers will petition the court to have my misdemeanor expunged.

The bad part is that the most troublesome aspect of my probation is still in force. Before I can accept a job at which I would use a computer networked to one or more other computers (basically any job for which I'd be qualified), any potential employer must write to the judge in my case, tell him that they know about my conviction and that they still want to hire me, and then we have to wait until the judge responds with a "yes" or a "no" before I can accept the job and start work (and then only if the judge says "yes"). So as you can see, employers will be falling all over themselves to hire me.

Yeah, right.

Meanwhile, my wife (an actor, filmmaker and writer) certainly hasn't lost her sense of humor. She had been calling me Felonious Punk, but now that I'm no longer a felon, she's switched to Mister Meanor. Ain't it great being married to a comedy writer?

To be clear, breaking attorney-client privilege is a very serious crime, and I accept responsibility for what I did. I'm still being punished for it, and so far the punishment has cost my wife and me over $210,000 - and counting. $210,000 is an enormous amount of money to us. My wife and I have paid and are continuing to pay a very high price for my crime.

But, as we're not Republicans, we might have expected that.

Which got me thinking about other crimes in America that have recently been committed or alleged, and what's happened to those involved. Among the first of many, Lewis "Scooter" Libby comes to mind...

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

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Fear 'Train Wreck' in Upcoming Presidential Primary Election as Cost of Move to Electronic Voting Translates to 40% Fewer Voting Booths...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2007 8:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the Kansas/Colorado border...

Salt Lake City Weekly covers the state's recent electoral woes in the wake of moving to Diebold touch-screen voting machines. They even use a word we reference often here at The BRAD BLOG in regard to upcoming elections: "train wreck."

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake County, election officials are trying to figure out how to persuade voters not to come to the polls. With the switch from punch cards to touch-screen voting, the county ended up with 40 percent fewer polling booths. A large turnout will overwhelm the setup, says county Clerk Sherrie Swensen.
...
The presidential primary in February might be a good test of what is in store next year. Utah is participating in Super Tuesday with Mitt Romney on the ballot, and Swensen expects at least 40 percent turnout. If the vote goes anything like the recent city election, it could be a train wreck.

Utah, of course, was the home of one of the most notorious touch-screen voting system investigations in the country when Emery County Clerk Bruce Funk allowed renowned computer security expert Harri Hursti and e-voting watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org to examine the new Diebold touch-screen systems forced on him for use by the state.

Their startling vulnerabilities revealed in the Diebold systems by the study were described at the time as a "major national security risk" and "the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system" by Election Integrity, Voting System and Computer Security experts.

For his diligence on behalf of his voters, Funk, the 23-year elected County Clerk, was subsequently locked out of his office and removed from his job with the support of the very state officials who had gone into business with Diebold to create the mess the state now faces.

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Diebold Fails Again, as County Officials See Potential Disaster on Horizon in Upcoming Presidential Primary...
By Brad Friedman on 11/28/2007 9:50am PT  

Diebold touch-screen voting disasters continue in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. When will the new SoS Jennifer Brunner simply pull this plug on this entire mess?

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer...

A recount after next year's presidential election could mean disaster for Cuyahoga County based on problems discovered Tuesday with paper records produced by electronic voting machines.

More than 20 percent of the printouts from touch-screen voting machines were unreadable and had to be reprinted. Board of Elections workers found the damaged ballots when they conducted a recount Tuesday of two races, which involved only 17 of the county's 1,436 precincts.

"If it is as close as it's been for the last two presidential elections and it's that close again in 2008, God help us if we have to depend on Cuyahoga County as the deciding factor with regard to making the decision on who the next president of the United States is," said County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, a longtime opponent of the county's touch-screen voting system.
...
"This is very much a cause for concern," board member Inajo Davis Chappell said. "All the technology issues pose a challenge to us, especially given the volume of voters we expect in the primary."
...
The county still doesn't know why its vote-counting software crashed twice election night. An investigation into the software problem could begin next week, once the county's recounts are finished.
...
"I wish those paper trails would come out pristine --- and they don't, and they're not going to," [Board of Elections Director Jane] Platten said. "We're going to have to deal with it again."

While the county was able to re-print paper trails on these machines to be counted in the recount, the practice completely defeats the point of such paper trails in the first place, since they are supposed to be verified by the voter (even though we know they usually aren't, and even when they are, voters fail to notice vote-flips).

If the paper trails are re-printed from the internal machine numbers, which can't possibly be verified by the voter, there is absolutely no point in even having such paper trails at all.

So again we ask, when is SoS Jennifer Brunner going to simply declare these machines uncertified all together. When will the rest of the election officials in the country declare same? It looks like it won't be before the 2008 elections begin. So...here we go again...

(Hat-tip Ed Still's VoteLaw. For much more continuing, detailed, on-the-ground, first-hand reports on these various latest disasters from the counting room in Cuyahoga, please see citizen Adele Eisner's top-notch blog coverage!)

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