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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Impeachable Offenses: Trump's 'ObamaCare' Lie: 'BradCast' 10/17/17
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'Green News Report' 10/17/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane batters Ireland; Deadliest wildfire week in CA history; Puerto Ricans drinking water from toxic Superfund sites; Coal plants closed in TX; PLUS: Oil rig explodes in LA...
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Something's Happening Here (Maybe): 'BradCast' 10/16/17
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'PDiddie' rounds up yet another week in American politics where words frequently fail, but the political cartoonists do not...
'Chaos':
'BradCast' 10/13/2017
In less than 24 hours, Trump aggressively unleashes fresh havoc on the American health care system and foreign policy with Iran...
'Green News Report' 10/12/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
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North Korea, Iran and Trump's Determined 'Path to WWIII': 'BradCast' 10/10/17
Guest: Dr. Trita Parsi of the National Iranian-American Council on Trump's dangerous, and foolish, scheme to break the Iran nuclear deal...
'Green News Report' 10/10/17
Deadly wildfires explode in CA; 2017 shattering disaster records -- and not over yet; PLUS: Trump EPA moves to kill Obama 'Clean Power Plan' to curb global warming...
Underestimating 'Trump's Dangerously Coherent Agenda': 'BradCast' 10/9/17
Guest: Author, journalist John Nichols; Also: Massive wildfires explode across CA; Trump EPA announces reversal of Obama 'Clean Power Plan'...
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GOP says 'not time' to discuss gun safety or climate or anything else they don't want to talk about. Cartoonists in PDiddie's latest toon collection beg to differ...
'Calm Before the Storm'?!:
'BradCast' 10/6/17
Trump's chilling remark; More deadly coal, chemical shills for EPA; Trump's 'reverse Midas touch'; Plus: Time to abolish the 2nd Amendment?...
Trump's Cabinet of 'Trickle-Down Corruption': 'BradCast' 10/5/17
Guest: Brendan Fischer of Campaign Legal Center; Also: GOP Rep. resigns in sex/abortion scandal, NRA gives (some) cover to GOP...
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
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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
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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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CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
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Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

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

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

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
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GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


'40-50 People in Line...4 of 8 Machines Not Working...Poll Workers Didn't Offer Paper Ballots...Get Rid of These Diebold Machines and Get Something That Works!' Declares one Buckeye Voter
Switch to Paper Ballots Reportedly Going 'Exceptionally Well' in Cuyahoga (Cleveland), So Far, According to New Election Director...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2008 3:41pm PT  

The ever-necessary caveat: Most problems and failures with election systems don't fully begin to reveal themselves until the night of, and, more often, the days and weeks following the elections.

That said, this from RAW STORY's compilation article of various reports of trouble so far today, coming out of Ohio...

In southwest Ohio, the Dayton Daily News was collecting voters' tales from the voting booths on Tuesday. Most voters reported a pleasant experience, although some trouble persisted.

"About 40-50 people in line and 1 of the voting machine were down," one commenter wrote. "Waited to 7:00 AM and the line didn’t move 3 more machine went down, now 4 0f the 8 machine not working. The poll worker didn’t offer paper ballot and seemed overhelmed by the process. Let get rid of these Diebold machines and get something that works! I will be back tonite to vote, hope the machines are working by then."

"The district I am in had a line the full length of the gymnasium and there were 4 voting machines down that had been report[ed] 1 1/2 [sic] before but no one had been there to look at [them]," said a commenter from Beavercreek, Ohio. "I talked to several people in line, and everyone seemed to be enthusiastic."

On the other hand, for some good news --- at least for now --- Cuyahoga County (Cleveland)'s new Election Director Jane Platten reports that things were going well there so far today, in the county which has been the center of much controversy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its recent switch from Diebold touch-screen machines to paper ballots to be scanned at the county by ES&S machines. As of noon today, Platten said things were going "exceptionally good" and that all precincts had been able to open on time. For a change.

In Dayton's Montgomery County, where the report of Diebold touch-screen machine failures above comes from, things are not going quite as well...

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




UTC Chairman Says Irresponsible Republican Voting Machine Company an 'Excellent Fit' in Letter Explaining Hostile Offer, Twice Rejected by Diebold...
Election Integrity Advodcates Bristle at 'Disastrous,' 'Surreal' News...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2008 12:17pm PT  

Prices for Diebold stock shares are soaring out of the 7-year basement this morning, where they have been sitting for the past several months since a coordinated insider sell-off by a dozen or so officers on the very same day last August, when the stock had been near its 52-week high at $53.04/share. Within days after the sell-off, the company renamed its humiliated Diebold Elections Division to Premier Election Solutions, and the stock has been falling, some 50% in total, ever since. Until today.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported a take-over attempt of the entire company by defense contractor conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTC). The initial $3 billion hostile bid to buy Diebold at $40/share is "a 66 percent premium over Diebold’s Friday closing price of $24.12," according to the Times' report.

As of 2pm ET today, Diebold's share price has soared some 60% to more than $38/share.

Diebold's board had unanimously rejected a similar offer from UTC two years ago, and the company once again rebuffed a private offer in February, requesting that United Technologies "refrain from contacting any of its directors." Over the weekend, UTC went public with its offer, which has both Wall Street and Election Integrity advocates abuzz.

As The BRAD BLOG has covered in detail over the years, Diebold, the 150-year old company and second largest American manufacturer of faulty, hackable, error-prone voting systems, faces myriad financial and legal problems.

It is currently under investigation by the SEC, under investigation by the DoJ, is facing a Securities Fraud Class Action suit, was recently forced to restate earnings to admit that it had overstated its election business in 2007 by some 300% in the wake of report after report showing its voting systems to be failures, leading a number of states to decertify many of their voting machines. Last month the firm announced planned layoffs of 5% of its workforce, some 800 employees, as its share price continued to dive. As well, the company may be facing still more fraud suits and liabilities in the future in the wake of problems and failures with its voting machines found with alarming consistency in state after state.

The UTC offer seems like a difficult one for Diebold's board to justify turning down, at least to shareholders who have lost so much of their investment value in the company over the past six months, even though it has alarmed Election Integrity advocates, who are troubled to see yet another defense contractor encroach on the business of America's public electoral system...

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




By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2008 5:11pm PT  

Hilarious...If a little too on-the-money, in too many regards. A MUST VIEW.

Congrats in advance, Mr. McCain. Enjoy...


Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

(P.S - The company name is correctly pronounced DEE-bold, as opposed to DIE-bold. Just so's ya know. Since it drives us crazy. Beyond that, hat-tip John Gideon of VotersUnite.org.)

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Braintrust Also Adds a Former Election Official and a Military Intelligence Officer Just to Help Keep Up Their Image...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2008 5:35am PT  

If it wasn't for the damage they're doing to the very core of our nation, the billions of dollars in fraud they've perpetrated on American tax-payers, the insider trading at the expense of rank and file stockholders, and now the hundreds of employees that will be laid off due to all of the above failures by the e-voting machine company, Diebold would be one of the funniest corporations in America!

The latest chuckle comes by way of the company's latest press release, natch, as issued yesterday by their newly lipsticked pig renamed election division which they are calling "Premier Election Solutions" instead of "Diebold Election Systems." (Try not to notice the bait-and-switch, please. They would appreciate that.)

"As the next step forward in its revised corporate governance structure, Premier Election Solutions has named a new, independent board of directors to guide the realigned company," reads the release.

And who comprises this "new, independent" board of directors? Back to the geniuses at Diebold...

Premier's new board includes: Sharon Priest, former Arkansas Secretary of State; M.H. (Mac) McMillan, co-founder and CEO of CynergisTek, Inc.; Dave Byrd, president of Premier Election Solutions; Sheila M. Rutt, vice president and chief human resources officer for Diebold; and Chad F. Hesse, corporate counsel and assistant secretary for Diebold.

Granted we don't have the accurate tabulating expertise of the folks at Diebold, but by our count, out of 5 board members on the "new, independent" board of directors, there's 1 former election official just through the revolving door (Priest) , 1 20-year military intelligence man who should come in handy (McMillan), and 3 senior Diebold officials.

Brilliant! We can smell the new independence from here!

The release explains the formation of the board is part of the company's plan to "increase its operational independence from its corporate parent, Diebold, Incorporated."

Well, they're off to a great start!

"Forming an independent board of directors continues our focus and emphasis on providing the best election solutions for current and future customers," said Premier's President and new board member Byrd, in Premier's press release about Premier's new independent board featuring Premier's Byrd and his fellow independent Diebold officials.

Keep up the bad work, boys! And good luck finding those "future customers"!

Please support The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive and our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available for new contributors!



Company Forced to Restate Revenue as Shares Devalued More than 50% Since Insider Sell-Off Last Summer, Renaming of Election Division to 'Premier'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2008 11:18am PT  

Following a short "dead cat bounce" at the end of last month, after a precipitous six-month stock price plunge devaluing the company's net worth by more than 50% since an insider sell-off last August, Diebold's fortunes began turning south again late last week as the company was forced to begin restating previously-inflated revenue figures from 2006 and 2007.

The company's stock price is continuing to plunge today towards a seven-year low, after it admitted last week that it had over-estimated revenues of its election systems division by more than 300%.

As well, the company announced it will soon be laying off 5% of its full-time global workforce. The restatement of revenues comes as part of a deal worked out with the SEC, which continues its ongoing investigation into the financial practices of the once-great, now-disgraced company. Diebold also acknowledges that it is still being investigated by the DOJ, although the reasons and details of that particular investigation remain undisclosed at this time.

The 50% decrease in the company's share price began just after a number of company executives sold off several thousand shares of stock, all on the same day in August of last year, at $53.05/share, very near the company's 52-week high of $54.50, as The BRAD BLOG reported exclusively at the time. In the following week, the company's share price fell 15% just before the management attempted to misdirect investors by renaming their election division in order to offer "a fresh identity for our company."

Following the insider trading and fresh identity, now dubbed "Premier Elections Solutions," the company's share price has continued to fall ever since. The stock is down more than 3% so far today, selling currently at $24.64/share.

A statement released by the company late last week reveals once again that, despite the attempted name change bait-and-switch, the company still bears the liabilities of the old Diebold elections division; the company admits that the SEC and DOJ investigations continue and sales are sharply off for its voting systems, which have been decertified by several states after being found easily hackable and error-prone in study after study over the past year.

As well, there is a Securities Fraud class action lawsuit still pending against the company, as investors cast the only vote that counts --- the one that hits the 150-year old company in the pocket book. The company that made its bones in the security business has tumbled quite a ways since untouchable crime-fighter Eliot Ness served as chair back in the 1940's.

In the wake of its latest round of misfortunes/karmic return, Diebold announced plans for layoffs of some 800 workers last week. We're not happy to hear that. Though if any of those who find themselves out of a job due to the arrogance, corruption, and general failure of this company to perform as a responsible corporate citizen would like to share any inside information, we'd be delighted to hear from you. Your confidentiality, as needed, will always be respected by The BRAD BLOG.

A partial restatement of 2007 revenue estimates, released by Diebold last week in the wake of the SEC investigation which has forced it to discontinue its previously misleading practice of declaring revenues before products were actually delivered, reveals that the company continues to be rocked by its failing election division, newly renamed or otherwise...

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




Wait Times Up to Two and a Half or More in Metro Atlanta, While New E-Registration Computers Cause Delays
Officials Fall Back to Old Fashioned Paper Check-In, as Two and a Half Hour Delays Seen at 'Welcome All Park'...
By Emily Levy on 2/5/2008 3:15pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us...

UPDATE:
Video of Long Lines at Welcome All Community Center added to end of this article.

Problems with new Diebold electronic registration poll books and new Photo ID restrictions are causing voting delays up to two and a half hours at some polling places across Georgia and metropolitan Atlanta according to news reports, Election Integrity problem report hotlines, and state officials who The BRAD BLOG has spoken with throughout the day.

Diebold electronic voting machines are standing idle at many precincts, as voters wait in long lines while being forced to face sign-in verification procedures on the company's new, and once-again failing, e-pollbook system at locations across the state...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2008 2:50pm PT  

After virtually ignoring the issue for some six straight years, our hometown newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, has run a two-part, 2,800-word "series" on concerns about voting machines, right on schedule, just in time to do absolutely no good at all before next week's upcoming Tsunami Tuesday election in the state. Waytago, LATimes!

The series reports absolutely nothing that has not already been reported over the last several years here at The BRAD BLOG, which is why the LATimes folks makes the big bucks and we don't.

They do, however, include an important point at the very end of the second article, in quoting from one of the country's most notable long-time voting machine apologists, Kimball Brace...

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




Same Model Used in New Hampshire and Hacked in HBO Documentary, as Other Reported Voting System Problems Crop Up Around the Sunshine State During Today's Primary Election...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2008 5:37pm PT  

Diebold (which now calls itself Premier Election Systems) quietly released a "Product Advisory Notice" last Friday to the state of Florida, concerning an explained malfunction in the paper-based optical-scan voting machine used across the state. While reports of problems on those systems, and others, began surfacing throughout the day today across the Sunshine State.

The Diebold advisory warns that "No Error Message is Displayed when Ballot Fails to Feed Completely Through AccuVote-OS."

The AccuVote-OS is Diebold's precinct-based optical-scan ballot counter. The advisory is said to apply to "AccuVote-OS with Version 1.94w firmware" --- the same system which was used in New Hampshire earlier this month, and the one on which ballots were found to have gone uncounted or miscounted in virtually all of the precincts counted during Dennis Kucinich's election contest in that state.

Diebold's AccuVote-OS with v1.94w firmware is the identical system seen being hacked in HBO's Hacking Democracy after code found to be in violation of federal Voting System Guidelines was discovered on the system, and exploited to flip a mock paper ballot election without detection in late 2005.

Last November, The BRAD BLOG offered an investigative report on Diebold memory card failures discovered in Florida, and other states, about which both Diebold and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- mandated by law as a clearing house for such issues --- refused to notify jurisdictions that use the same system about the problem.

Though it was too late to check by the time we obtained a copy of the advisory, we are aware of no such notice having been sent to either New Hampshire nor any of the many other jurisdictions around the country which use the same, fatally flawed hardware and software...

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




Sequoia Voting Machine Freezes While Rightwing Radio Host Tries to Vote in Republican Primary in Sunshine State...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2008 4:29pm PT  

Earlier today from a Palm Beach Post blog item...

Count Rush Limbaugh among the voters confused by Palm Beach County’s touch-screen machines.

On his syndicated talk show this afternoon, Limbaugh said he was trying to vote in today’s primary when the screen seemed to freeze or “stick” on the list of presidential candidates.

“I hit ‘Next’ and it didn’t go there,” said Limbaugh, who lives in Palm Beach and often recounts the county’s electoral foibles on his show.

Then he hit the “Back” button and “got my candidate page again with the vote already recorded there. So I said ‘hmmmmm, I wonder if this is going to count twice.”

So he unclicked his favored candidate, clicked that candidate again and hit “Next” a second time - and it worked.

“I don’t know if I voted twice,” he said. “Probably not.”

For the record, although Florida's Republican governor and legislature have voted to finally trash the touch-screens and move to all paper ballot elections, today's Primary still uses the old touch-screens in many counties. Elsewhere, problems are occurring --- yet again --- with the paper-based Diebold op-scan systems in the Sunshine State. The same machines used in New Hampshire, and the same ones seen being hacked in HBO's Hacking Democracy, are reportedly failing in several locations there. More on that soon.

The touch-screen systems used by Palm Beach County, also home of voter fraud felon Ann Coulter, are made by Sequoia Voting Systems.




By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2008 12:22pm PT  


(Hat-tip Mike Finnigan of C&L)

ADDENDUM...
By way of happy coincidence, we had mocked up the above item on Friday night for prep to run later, and then showed up to speak Saturday morning at the independent media conference here in Santa Cruz where a guy who looked very similar to the video above was making a few announcements from the podium. Turns out it was the same guy, Bryan Sacks of Philadelphia, and he was one of the organizers of the conference. Small world. Got to chat with him for a while later in the day, and happily so. He's a good guy. Plus, he thoroughly apologizes for not giving The BRAD BLOG its proper hat-tip in the above video, claiming that he did in the original script, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. We shall endeavor to forgive him and look forward to him otherwise keeping up the good work!




And Other Recent News from the Election Contests in New Hampshire...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 3:01am PT  

Now that we're finally back at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters in Los Angeles (for a few days at least) and have shaken off our road buzz (for now), gotten through the latest Sibel Edmonds blockbusters (until the next shoe drops) and have overcome last Friday's maddening 24 hour Internet outage, we've got some catching up to do on New Hampshire's continuing mess of a "recount."

Luckily for us, as we've been traveling for the last few days, and pulling off other related miracles, the hand counters in Concord took a break as of last Friday for a long weekend, which includes today's Martin Luther King Day holiday. As we all know, MLK would have hated the idea of anybody actually counting votes on his holiday, so we're glad the folks from the NH SoS office decided to let the ballots sit around and cool off in the darkness for three long days in a vault somewhere (maybe). The counting, which has so far covered just a small portion of all of the ballots, will resume on Tuesday.

So...From the latest hand count numbers, to the latest media coverage, to the latest reports from Election Integrity experts on the ground --- including one amazing photo essay illustrating New Hampshire's "chain of custody" protocol for its ballots, 80% of which have never been counted or examined by a single human being (that we know of) --- let's get caught up a bit.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your Pinto has a full tank of gas...

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




By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2008 12:01am PT  

While getting caught up with New Hampshire, after three days of travel and other related maladies, in preparing for a long catch-up article on the latest there (to be posted late late late tonight), I came across the following, from the latest numbers as posted last Friday night on the NH SoS website results page.

I've translated the numbers from the SoS's ridiculously impossible-to-read page, to something a bit more useful...

NASHUA, WARD 5
Diebold
Result
Hand
Tally
Discrepancy
Total
Votes
%
Error
CLINTON 1,030 959 -71 7.40
EDWARDS 405 377 -28 7.42
OBAMA 673 678 +5 0.73

Beyond the folks above, in Nashua, Ward 5, Richardson lost 3 votes (out of 72, as tallied by Diebold originally) and Biden lost 1 (out of 9). Everyone else, including Kucinich, remained exactly the same after the hand count in that one precinct.

Note: The above numbers are from Nashua, Ward 5. As opposed to Manchester, Ward 5, which we pointed out last Thursday, with some consternation, after enormous disparities were revealed by the post-election hand count in that precinct as well.

Much more later. Or, as the democracy-hating editorialists at the Eagle-Tribune wrote today: "[W]e have a partial recount of Democratic ballots underway in New Hampshire even though it is certain that the results will not change an iota....The whole idea that it will is a fallacy that is destructive to Americans' confidence in the democratic process."

UPDATE: As promised, much more now here...

CORRECTION: The original headline for this article referred to the disparities being in Nashua, Ward 4. In fact, they were in Nashua, Ward 5, as the rest of the article had properly reported. We have corrected the headline, and regret the original typo.




Scores of Votes Mistallied for Every Major Democratic Candidate
UPDATE: NH Union Leader Says Disparities Discovered in Hand Count Due to Veep Votes Added to Prez Totals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/17/2008 6:26pm PT  

As mentioned last night in this disturbing article, the early results of the hand counts of one Diebold precinct in Dennis Kucinich's election contest in New Hampshire are now being posted, as they come in, at this New Hampshire SoS page.

As mentioned earlier today, NH SoS Bill Gardner told WMUR in NH that "We did nine of the 12 wards in Manchester, and a lot of the votes were exactly the same...Some went up by a vote or two." He didn't, of course, note that a lot of the vote counts (most of them) were off by 5 or more.

And now, the rest of the numbers from the rest of the Manchester wards are coming on. And get a load of Ward 5:

Diebold
Result
Hand
Count
CLINTON 683 619
EDWARDS 255 217
OBAMA 404 365

All of the other candidates seem to have lost votes as well. No clue who received them instead, and must run out to tonight's Oakland screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. But I thought you'd want to know.

WMUR might want to know too. Since their only source seems to be whatever Gardner tells them. They can be contacted here.

There are more fresh numbers there, but we haven't yet had time to review 'em. Other than that, everything is fine with your election system. Or, as WMUR "reported" at 6pm ET today: "The continuing Democratic primary recount in New Hampshire has not found any voting problems."

UPDATE: The New Hampshire Union Leader reports this as the reason for the huge disparities discovered via the hand count:

The widest variations so far were in Manchester's Ward 5. Vote counters there mistakenly transposed write-in votes for vice president as votes for presidential candidate. As a result, all major candidates lost votes. Kucinich lost three in the ward and has a total of 20 votes there. Hillary Clinton lost 64 with a new total of 619; John Edwards lost 38 and has 217 votes; Barack Obama lost 39 and has 365, and Bill Richardson lost seven, leaving him 39.

We've been on the road, and thus, unable to confirm that explanation one way or another, or even add this update from yesterday's paper until now. But we're happy to share it with you nonetheless (even as some dKos fans in comments, have suggested our lack of pointing it out as some sort of "conspiracy theory". Get over yourself, kids. And stand up for democracy while you're at it!)

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary.



Some Election Officials Voice Concern That Recent Changes Restricting Use Of Some Voting Machines Jeopardizes Integrity Of Elections
But Secretary Of State Debra Bowen Defends Actions By Calling Voting Machines 'A Major Threat To Democracy'
By Alan Breslauer on 1/16/2008 8:27pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

According to a NewsHour report, some county election officials in California believe that changes ordered by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, including decertifying some voting machines, may put the integrity of upcoming elections in jeopardy. Seriously. This despite Bowen's explanation for her actions:

Bowen: Our scientist found that every system they looked at could be compromised in ways that made me uncomfortable. They were able to bypass security seals by undoing two screws and opening the whole machine. They were able to change the results without ever having any knowledge of the computer code itself.

Steve Weir, an election official from Contra Costa County, explains why election officials are concerned with Bowen's directives not to use some newly purchased machines:

Weir: You can't keep changing voting systems. You don't make changes to your voting system without really jeopardizing your own security and your own reliability, um, this close to an election.

However, Stanford professor David Dill backs Bowen and proclaims, "It seems that there is almost a national consensus that we have a serious problem". Dan Ashby, of the Election Defense Alliance, agrees that the use of voting machines is a dangerous endeavor:

Ashby:The election department public servants are not capable of running the election without having all kinds of technical help from the voting machine companies. [Which is dangerous because] They have the access and the means, motive and opportunity, if they were inclined, to change the programming in ways that no election official or voting member of the public could possibly perceive such that it would change the outcome of the election in an undetectable untraceable way.

Voting machines pose another, often overlooked, problem beyond the technical problems most often associated with such machines. Mainly, voting machines have led to a vast public distrust of elections. According to Bowen, the lack of trust in voting machines has caused people to "check out and not participate" and is thus, "a major threat to democracy".




Also: Diebold Memory Cards Unaccounted For; Public Record Request by Election Integrity Advocates on Ground Reveal 550+ Votes Read as Blank by Op-Scanner in Stratham...
Clinton, Kucinich Observers There, Nobody from Obama or Edwards, Says Election Attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 1/16/2008 8:09pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from on the road...

(As mentioned in previous items, I'm now on the road --- currently in Oakland for the Thursday night screening of the more-ironically-named-than-ever documentary, UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections --- and doing my best to keep up while moving. So apologies for the terse reports for the moment, as I continue to roll and have limited time online.)

LATEST OUT OF NH: Disparities being found during hand-counts of ballots, in many wards, many candidates. Diebold op-scan memory cards unaccounted for at the moment, Secretary of State (SoS) doesn't track them after elections, doesn't track error reports during elections. LHS Associates (see below) handles all of it instead, according to reports on the ground. Public records request reveals hundreds of ballots in one area scanned as blank due to incorrect ink used on ballots, and other problems on LHS problem report forms.

* * *

Numbers are now being posted from both the Democratic and Republican hand-counts in the NH Primary Election contest. So far, only wards in Manchester (Hillsborough County) have been hand-counted, and disparities between the original counts from the Diebold optical-scan machine and the hand inspections seem to be occurring in many wards, and for many candidates.

Here is the SoS Recount page with the totals, that I haven't yet been able to review in full.

While sources on the ground at the counting today have told me that officials were not announcing the originally counted results at the counting room, the SoS web page lists what they claim are the original counts --- previously verified by nobody --- versus the recounted numbers.

The disparities, as I've quickly been able to review them, are small, but consistent, in ward after ward, across almost all of the candidates. I'm told that the manufacturers of the optical-scan machines (in this case, Diebold) have estimated an expected error rate of 1% on this type of tallying device which, as noted by one of our contacts in NH, is ridiculous, if you consider that most states and counties only kick in "automatic recounts" when the margin between the two leading candidates is less than .5% or so.

ADDITIONALLY...Public records requests are being made on the spot, for errors and malfunctions at various voting precincts. An early review of the error forms turned over from the public record request made by Election Integrity experts overseeing the counting, has revealed that in Stratham there were some 550 ballots that were not read by the op-scan at all. They were seen as blank ballots. Officials there noticed the problem, and then hand-counted some 3000 ballots after the error was discovered.

Apparently, as we've seen elsewhere, voters were given the wrong pen to use and the op-scanners did not "see" this particular type of ink.

Some of the election day error and incident reports, as read to me over the phone just now by Susan Pynchon of Florida Fair Elections Coalition and Paddy Shaffer of Ohio Election Justice Campaign, both of whom are on the ground in NH overseeing the counts, and assisting Republican contest candidate Albert Howard...

(Town of Stratham, 9:00pm)

PROBLEM: Printout indicated 550 "blank voted" ballots which indicated that bad pens were used.
SOLUTION: Went to Stratham to confirm that approximately 15 bad pens were used on election day. The town had, by that time, hand counted and announced those results as official.

PROBLEM: Too many blanks, used wrong marking pens
SOLUTION: Sent Gerry and Tina with lucid machines.

(Town of Lebanon, precinct #2, 9:00 (am or pm?))

PROBLEM: Corrupt Count.
SOLUTION: Shut off and back on. Count back to 155.

(Town of Manchester, 9:30pm)

PROBLEM: P/U 3rd Bad Machine per John S. (likely refers to John Silvestro, owner of LHS)
SOLUTION:

I spoke with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, who is also on the ground in NH, and she asks: "If it wasn't 550 ballots, but just 55 or so in some places, would they even have seen it and known to recount ALL of the ballots?"

She also noted that the error report came from LHS Associates, the private company (with the, um, less-than-reputable background) that is the sole Diebold vendor, programmer, operator and service provider in NH and most of the other New England states.

(UPDATE: Harris has more of her own first-hand observations now posted here at BBV.)

LHS, apparently, is the one responsible for tracking (or not) and reporting (or not) any such errors, rather than the Secretary of State or local election officials. That tracks with previous BRAD BLOG reporting on LHS, and how they operate in Connecticut, where there are similar concerns for whether or not the SoS even knows what the error rates are for the system they use, since problem reports are given to LHS instead of to public officials.

The BRAD BLOG has reported within the past few days machine problems during the election in a number of towns. In fact, of the first four towns we called that used the Diebold machines, all four reported machine failures of one type or another.

FURTHER...Voting Rights attorney John Bonifaz, legal director of VoterAction.org, was on the scene today, and just told me that he has great concerns about the transparency of both the initial election and the hand-count auditing process that got under way in earnest today.

"I'm very concerned that this is not a fully transparent process that is happening there," he told me.

The sensitive memory cards containing the programming and tabulation from the Diebold optical-scanners are apparently "missing in action" for the moment. Those cards, as viewers of HBO's Hacking Democracy know by now, may be used to hack an election, such that only a proper hand-count of the paper ballots afterwards will reveal the hack. (See the video of that hack for yourself right here. The same exact machine being hacked in that film was used across the state to count 80% of the ballots in NH in last week's primary.)

And yet, says Bonifaz who spent time today speaking with New Hampshire Secretary of State, Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Attorney General, nobody seems to have any idea where those cards are and what has become of them.

He says he was told by Secretary of State William Gardner that his office doesn't get involved in tracking what happens to those memory cards. Some have reportedly been returned to LHS, and may have had their memory erased already.

"When you have a private company counting 80% of the votes, and you later learn that the memory cards are unaccounted for, you have a serious question about the transparency and accountability in that process," Bonifaz said.

He notes that federal law requires all materials from elections be preserved for 22 months after the election. So if those materials have already been lost, destroyed, or over-written, there are legal questions that must be addressed.

Bonifaz also noted that while representatives and observers for the Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich campaigns were on site, nobody at all seemed to be there from either the Barack Obama or John Edwards camps. (Incredibly enough, I might add!)

* * *

Our earlier report today had a number of important updates that you may wish to review. Including the fact that the Kucinich people have asked for more observers (with video cameras if you have them!) at the State Archives Bldg., 71 South Fruit Street, Concord, New Hampshire, to help oversee the 6 counting teams. Much more in that report as well...

UPDATE 1/17/08 6:25 PM PST by Emily Levy: There are enough volunteers for tomorrow's counting. After Friday's counting, the count will be suspended for the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday weekend and is scheduled to resume next Tuesday. Folks on the ground in NH ask that you not show up there without talking with someone first, as they don't want anyone to make the trip unless they're needed. Volunteering will be coordinated, and that system is being set up now. Check back here for updates.

For related coverage, please see our index of notable New Hampshire-related BRAD BLOG articles, since the '08 Primary. And please consider donating to our efforts to continue to report on issues of Election Integrity in NH and elsewhere, as what virtually nobody else in the media (MSM or blogosphere!) seems willing to do at this time.



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