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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 19, 2014
More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
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One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
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The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
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  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
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'Green News Report' 4/10/14
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'Green News Report' 4/8/14
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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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
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Republican West gains 500 votes after memory card 'issue' on Diebold op-scan systems prompts partial re-tally in St. Lucie County
West and supporters cry foul, charge election being 'stolen'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/12/2012 12:34pm PT  

On Sunday, election officials in St. Lucie County, Florida re-tallied votes from the last three days of Early Voting, citing what county officials described cryptically as "an issue with the memory cards that record the ballots when they're fed through the machines originally."

Among the races which saw a partial re-tally of paper ballots, as they were sent through the same optical-scan systems which scanned them the first time, was the contentious and very close U.S. House race in Florida's new 18th Congressional district. As The BRAD BLOG reported in detail late last week, Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy was said to have been leading Republican Rep. Allen West in the race by a very slim margin --- just .78% at the time --- after initial Election Day tallies in all three counties which comprise the new district. The extreme and often extremely controversial, far Rightwing West currently represents Florida's 22nd District, but is now running in the new, redistricted 18th.

Following Sunday's re-tally, both candidates reportedly lost votes. West lost 132 votes while Murphy lost an extraordinary 667, for an overall pickup by West of some 535 votes.

On Friday, Murphy was said to have been leading West --- whose attorneys have already been in court, unsuccessfully demanding that voting systems and paper ballots be immediately impounded --- by just 2,456 votes out of approximately 318,000 tallied at the time.

After Sunday's partial re-tally, Murphy is still said to be leading West, according to the Florida Division of Elections website, but by just 1,907 votes. The current .58% margin of difference puts West just barely outside of the .5% margin that would trigger an automatic "recount" (albeit by the same faulty machines) in the state of Florida.

In our report on Friday, supporting West's demand for a hand-count of all paper ballots in the race, we detailed the three different electronic tabulation systems used in each of the counties --- St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach --- which now comprise FL-18, and how each of those systems have a long track record for failure during elections, mistallies and the ability to be easily manipulated by both hackers and election insiders alike.

Following the partial re-tally on Sunday, West's attorneys and supporters were predictably outraged and claiming, without presenting any actual evidence to support them, that "liberals" and/or St. Lucie's Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker, a Democrat, was attempting to "steal" the race...

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

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Tea Party-backed Repub reportedly trails challenger Murphy by less than 2,500 votes as tallied by FL's flawed, failed voting systems
UPDATE: Court denies West's motion to impound, though he still may file for contest, hand-count, after election is certified by state...
By Brad Friedman on 11/9/2012 6:05am PT  

On Election Night, Democrats and progressives celebrated the reported defeat of far Rightwing Tea Party-backed Rep. Allen West (R-FL22) by his Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy in Florida's newly redistricted 18th Congressional district in Eastern Florida.

With precinct votes unofficially tabulated in the three counties which comprise the new Democratic-leaning district --- Martin, St. Lucie and part of Palm Beach --- Murphy reportedly leads West by 2,456 votes out of 318,200 electronically tallied to date. That number does not include what West's campaign manager describes as "tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district."

Nonetheless, Murphy has declared victory, which carries no particular legal weight, while West has filed legal documents in St. Lucie and Palm Beach calling for the impounding of voting systems, paper ballots and a hand-count of those ballots.

West may be a far Right extremist. A fair amount of evidence even suggests that West may be certifiably insane. But, even far right, possibly insane candidates, and especially their supporters, deserve to have their votes counted in a way that they can know, for certain, that they either won or lost an election.

Given the oft-failed, easily-manipulated, unoverseeable electronic voting and tabulation systems --- each with a long and well-documented record of failure and miscounts --- used in the three counties that make up Florida's new 18th district (as well as the rest of the state of Florida, and the rest of the 50 states for that matter), West and his supporters have every reason to demand a public, 100% hand-count of paper ballots before conceding defeat. Particularly in an election with such a slim margin, as reported by the flawed electronic systems, said to stand between the two candidates...

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

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A few questions for the popular pundit that may help better educate both him and the nation's electorate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2012 12:56pm PT  

This morning, NBC News' top election expert, Chuck Todd, tweeted the following...

Todd was responding, no doubt, to the many folks who have been justifiably concerned of late, since it was discovered that a bunch of Bain Capital investors, led by Mitt Romney's son Tagg, via a company called H.I.G. Capital (believed to stand for Hart Intercivic Group) took over control of Hart Intercivic, the nation's third largest voting machine company, in 2011.

The Austin-based Hart company, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, supplies electronic voting machines and paper ballot tabulators that will be used to tally votes in the Presidential Election this year in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

I offered my point of view about those concerns earlier this month, explaining that it was not just the private ownership of Hart's machines by Romney backers which voters should be concerned about, but the private ownership of the similar systems in all fifty states that will once again be used to tabulate the results of this year's Presidential Election with little --- and very often zero --- possibility of oversight by the public or even by election officials.

Todd does an extraordinary disservice to the electorate with Tweets like the one above, and I'd be happy to come on his daily MSNBC show any time to explain why, as I have told him via Twitter in response to the above.

As Todd has not responded in kind, and to expand upon my response to Todd there, I'd like to ask him these few respectful questions...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2012 2:15pm PT  

Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.

"Several tanker trucks full of political ink have been spilled on Mitt Romney's tenure as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital," Bello and Fitrakis wrote. "A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O'Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election."

Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.

Hart's announcement of the deal describes H.I.G.'s role as as "co-investors", though the financial services firm which brokered the deal described it in their own announcement as a full-fledged acquisition: "Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital late last week. The deal caps off a 2+ year relationship with Hart! Congrats to both Hart and the HIG team….its going to be a great partnership!"

Also this week, in a video that has gone a bit viral, The David Pakman Show expressed understandable concerns about Romney's close business partners having this type of corporate control over a large e-voting company whose, extremely vulnerable and insecure [PDF] --- and often 100% unverifiable --- voting and tabulation systems are now used, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. [Pakman's video is embedded below.]

When the story initially broke, I spoke about it on the radio with Fitrakis, but didn't comment on it at The BRAD BLOG for a number of reasons. One being the time we've been spending, during the same period, consumed by the continuing breaking story of the RNC/Romney consultant Nathan Sproul and his companies at the center of the national GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal which we've been covering in detail since it first broke several weeks ago. Secondly, and not to downplay this story, because it's a very good and important one, the fact is that, though the names of the corporate titans and companies are different, it is essentially the same story that we have been telling here, over and over again --- and warning about with hair afire --- at The BRAD BLOG for nearly a decade.

Moreover, I've been on the road all this week for a conference, with much less time online than usual. But since so many folks have picked up on the Romney/Bain/H.I.G./Hart Intercivic stories and have sent email and Twitter queries to me about it, allow me to very quickly share a few thoughts, on this, some of which I sent to a reporter who also raised this issue with me late this week...

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

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'The Art of the Steal'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2012 12:18pm PT  

I was first interviewed by Anastasia Churkina of RT America, the English language Russian-sponsored cable and satellite news outlet in the U.S., about the failed e-voting systems in this country (and the failed U.S. corporate media as well) back before the 2008 election.

Here we are, four years later, and Churkina has put together another report or RT, for which I was interviewed again, on the same e-voting and e-tabulation concerns. Four years later and things are arguably no better in the U.S. than they were then, except that now we all know even more about the dangers of the oft-failed, easily-manipulated systems which tally votes in all 50 states --- while still having done almost nothing about it. Her new report ran Friday on RT, and afterwards I was interviewed live, via Skype, about it on their Evening News program.

As I noted earlier this week, when running CBS4 Miami's excellent first-in-a-series investigative report on the issue, focus on the serious concerns about computer tabulation failure and malfeasance have been largely lost this year, once again, amidst the continuing (and necessary) focus on rampant GOP voter suppression efforts. So it's nice to see at least a few outlets keeping their eye on this particular ball, even if it always comes way too late --- just weeks before the election --- to do much about it, other than to raise a bit of needed awareness.

Here's Churkina's very good pre-taped RT special report...

And here's my subsequent live interview following it, on the RT Evening News with anchor Kristine Frazao. Appropriately, a few computer issues, at a key moment, made the interview a bit more difficult, if instructive...

* * *

P.S. For those who may have noticed, yes, I was also interviewed by (gasp!) Fox "News" this week on the latest in the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal. The interview, by their "voter fraud" reporter Eric Shawn, was pre-taped and then parts of it were used first on Special Report with Bret Baier Thursday night, and then a longer portion on one of their afternoon shows on Friday in a separate package. I hope to share both of those videos with you, and, knowing me, a few thoughts on them as well --- as soon as I can get to 'em...

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

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Veteran FL election official, Ion Sancho warns: 'It is wrong to assume that the machines are always right. They’re not'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2012 1:23pm PT  

Lost in all of the front-end voter suppression and voter registration fraud news over the past many months this cycle, is the continuing "back-end" threat to Election Integrity still very much present in our unoverseeable, easily-manipulated, oft-failed electronic voting systems --- both touch-screen and paper ballot optical-scan systems.

Helping to balance that, if only a bit this week, we get some excellent investigative local TV news reporting from Miami's Michele Gillen and her CBS4 Investigative team. They have noticed that we still have a very serious problem with the privatization of our supposedly-public electoral system, which now employes proprietary computer systems from private companies to determine the results of our elections...

From the printed version of the above report...

MIAMI (CBS4) – Ion Sancho is a man on a mission. Just weeks from the presidential election, one of the most veteran election supervisors in the state of Florida, thinks there’s plenty for him and his colleagues to lose sleep over.

What keeps him awake at night? Whether you can trust the machine you will be voting on.

“We still have not secured the process to ensure that that machine has read that ballot correctly and it is 100 percent accurate. Because it is wrong to assume that the machines are always right. They’re not, ” Sancho tells CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen.

“I think the citizens should be screaming from the rooftops,” he punctuates with the candor and directness he is known for.

The legendary Ion Sancho, quoted above, is Leon County, FL's long-time Supervisor of Elections, so trusted by both parties that he was named to oversee the (eventually aborted) 2000 Presidential Election recount in the Sunshine State. He was also the first election official in the nation to allow an independent hack test of an electronic voting system. That test resulted in the stunning hack of a Diebold optical-scan system as seen in the shocking climactic scene of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy.

Despite that very public hack, almost seven years ago, the very same machines are still in use in dozens of states. All the rest use computers that are virtually identical, and as easily manipulated and as often malfunctioning.

Sancho goes on, in the report above, to give today's Florida election system a grade of "F. F. F." He's being kind though.

CBS4's report goes on to add that "other Florida election supervisors" that they have met with to date have similarly stressed that "they are uncomfortable that they must rely so heavily on the machine’s manufacturers for answers as to what’s working…. and potentially not working… in their voting systems."

Sound familiar?

Just go read the rest and/or watch the video report above from CBS4's Michele Gillen, please.

We spoke earlier this week to the producer of the CBS4 investigative series, and she promises The BRAD BLOG there will be regular, new installments in the series between now and Election Day, including what she described to us as a "very big" story in the weeks ahead.

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

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Same vulnerable systems set for use in 24 states this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 12:42pm PT  

Apparently, they never learn. Or they just don't care.

It's Primary Election day in Alaska today, with voters heading to the polls to cast mostly paper ballots for U.S. House of Representative candidates, state House and Senate candidates and two ballot measures (one concerning property taxes and another concerning new Alaska Coastal Management Program standards for the review of projects in coastal areas.)

While turnout is expected to be low, at least the Diebold optical-scan machines are fully rested and ready to go after their lengthy "sleepovers" at poll workers' houses in the days prior to today's elections! Yes, the state of Alaska still sends their incredibly vulnerable Diebold optical-scan systems home with poll workers days before the election, where they can do whatever they like with them, so they can bring them to the polls on the morning of Election Day.

For example, here's a photo of one of those machines that will be in use today, as obtained from an Alaskan source over the weekend by The BRAD BLOG. The machine appears as if it has received a full going over at the workshop of one of the poll workers who enjoyed the time spent with their machine during the several days of "sleepover" over the past week...

Alaska, like some 24 states across the country, still uses the exact same system which was used to flip an entire mock election in Leon County, FL in such a way that only a manual hand-count of the paper ballots would have revealed that the results had been reversed after the machine's memory card was accessed and manipulated by a computer security expert. The haunting event was revealed in the climactic final scene of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. [The full scene is also embedded below.]

The photo above from an Alaskan poll worker is the same system seen being hacked in Leon County, FL in the HBO film. The only difference is that Diebold removed their name from many machines afterward, given the hit their company took when their then CEO promised to deliver the state of Ohio to George W. Bush in a Republican fund raising letter before the 2004 election.

Of course, there are "tamper-evident" security seals placed over some of the most vulnerable parts of the optical-scan systems, and those could never be defeated without leaving visual clues behind, right?

Well, funny thing. In Alaska, when a security seal is discovered broken on their tabulation computers --- if they are discovered broken --- poll workers are instructed to simply replace it with another one and start the voting, as both several poll workers, as well as an Alaska election official (who has now been fired) confirmed with The BRAD BLOG. Several seals, the now former Alaska election official told us when she still had a job, are provided to poll workers to make replacing broken seals very simple, as seen in this next photo...

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Similarly failed systems set for use in all 50 states this November...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2012 11:33am PT  

By Ernest A. Canning and Brad Friedman

We now have yet another ominous sign of trouble that may be on the horizon for this November's election. As if we needed yet another sign. And, once again, the concerns come via failures on paper ballot-based optical-scan computer tally systems.

Election officials in Genessee County, Michigan have acknowledged failures by the county's M-100 model optical-scan system, made by Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), during its Aug. 7 primary.

According to the county's Supervisor of Elections and Vital Records, Doreen D. Fulcher, the system experienced paper jams that resulted in ballots being fed through the system more than once. Fulcher, who also noted that there were a "number of ballots cast" that "didn't initially match poll book numbers," downplayed the scope of the problem. Flint's MLive, however, reported that the County Board of Canvassers were "still unraveling" the problem ten days after the election.

It is not the first time the M-100, set to be used in 32 different states again this November, has caused headaches for election officials and voters. The systems have a documented record of failing to count the same ballots the same way twice during pre-election testing. Nor is it the only optical-scan system made by ES&S, the largest e-voting vendor in the nation, that has failed time and again during elections.

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, ballots obtained by the New York Daily News through a public records request revealed that ES&S op-scan systems used in a South Bronx precinct in 2010 failed to count some 70% of the paper ballots correctly in that year's primary election. In November's general election that year, some 54% of the ballots were mistallied at the same precinct.

The South Bronx used the newer ES&S model DS200, which the company confirmed could overheat, causing anywhere from 30% to 70% of the votes scanned by the machines to be erroneously discarded or erroneously counted. Thus, in the case of New York, that meant that tens of thousands of perfectly valid votes went uncounted, while thousands of "phantom votes" in races that voters hadn't intended to vote in at all were counted as valid.

The confirmation of the New York failure came almost two years after the election, once the newspaper was finally able to review the paper ballots by hand, under public records laws.

While Genessee County used the earlier ES&S Model M100, as we previously reported, the unreliability of opaque optical-scan computer tallying systems are, by no means, confined to the DS200 or, for that matter, to ES&S systems. Similar systems will once again be used across the entire country this November, to tally the Presidential election and all the races below it...either accurately or not...

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

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Similar systems used by millions of voters in majority of states also found to have failed as 2012 Presidential election looms...
By Brad Friedman on 5/14/2012 6:51pm PT  

New paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulator systems used to tally millions of votes in New York --- as well as "swing states" such as Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin --- do not tally votes correctly. That stunning admission comes courtesy of a new report released by the private company which manufactures, sells, services and programs the systems which are now believed to have mistallied tens of thousands of ballots in New York in 2010.

The votes of more than ten million voters could be affected by a newly revealed failure in the voting systems set for use in those four states in this year's Presidential election, and in more than 50 different jurisdictions in Wisconsin during next month's historic recall elections.

Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), the largest e-voting machine company in the U.S. and the maker of the paper ballot op-scan tally systems in question, have confirmed that their systems may overheat when used over several hours (for example, during an election!), and that they then may mistally and/or incorrectly discard anywhere from 30% to 70% of votes scanned by the machines.

The only way to know that a hand-marked paper ballot had been mistallied by the system would be to examine the ballots by hand to assure that the computer had read and recorded the voters' selections correctly.

The New York Daily News editorial board --- which has been persistently forcing the issue on state Election Officials who initially ignored massive mistallies discovered in the South Bronx during the state's 2010 election --- reports on ES&S' confirmation of the latest failure in a story headlined "We told you so: Newfangled voting machine screwed up". Their article today begins this way...

You know those new electronic vote-scanning machines that are supposed to be foolproof in reading and counting every ballot in an election? Well, they're anything but foolproof.

In fact, they can screw up voter tallies to a fare-thee-well even after technicians carefully calibrate and test them.

So state and city election officials have discovered, along with the machine's manufacturer, thanks to insistent prodding by this page.

Earlier this year, the newspaper discovered --- through public records requests for the paper ballots in a single precinct in the South Bronx --- that the ES&S model DS200 op-scan system had failed to count some 70% of paper ballots correctly in the 2010 primary election. In that November's general election, some 54% of the ballots were mistallied at the same precinct.

The result, as confirmed by ES&S, tens of thousands of perfectly valid votes may have gone uncounted, while thousands of "phantom votes" in races that voters hadn't intended to vote in at all were counted as valid votes.

The Daily News characterizes the initial response by election officials in NY, after the paper had discovered the massive failures, as "a statement of severe psychological denial."

All of the above likely sounds very familiar to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG, where we are considering changing the name of our news site to "We Told You So: Newfangled Voting Machines Screw Up," as a tip of the hat to the NY Daily News, and to better reflect a great deal of our nearly 10 years worth of content here.

Unfortunately, the latest example of secret vote-tallying computers made by private companies failing to accurate tally our once-public elections, is not only affecting New York. Moreover, the failure isn't isolated to the ES&S model DS200 paper ballot optical-scan system. As we've reported here for years, and on a number of recent occasions over just the past few months, similar failures have been discovered in other states and on other similarly designed paper ballot optical-scan systems.

If you think that simply because you are not forced to vote on a 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machine that your ballot will be counted and counted accurately this year, think again...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2012 5:51pm PT  

Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate and 'Tea Party' favorite Joe Miller is no stranger to flawed election processes in Alaska. The BRAD BLOG strongly supported Miller's attempt to receive a hand-count of questionable results in his 2010 race against Democrat Scott McAdams and victorious Republican write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The experience left him understanding, as he writes in a statement given today to the progressive Alaska blog The Mudflats, that "the integrity of elections is one of the bedrocks of our nation" and "a non-partisan issue, critical to the survival of our Republic."

We've been in touch with Miller ourselves, both during his own election contest, offering advice on how his campaign might achieve oversight of the results that were tallied only by Diebold optical-scan computers (either accurately or inaccurately, who knows?), and at various times in the months that followed. Last September, Miller linked from his own website, to our exclusive on the findings by Argonne National Laboratory that Diebold systems can by hacked by remote control with little more than an 8th grade computer science education and about $10 to $25 in electronic parts.

Now the frequently far Right politician is ringing in on the recent election disaster in Anchorage, which we detailed here last month, after a ballot proposition to extend anti-discrimination measures to the LGBT community was set to win by big margins according to a conservative pollster [PDF] just before the election, but ended up "losing", according to the Diebold op-scan systems, by an even greater margin for reasons which still remain a mystery...

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By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2012 8:26pm PT  

Oh, neato. Remember that recent disastrous Anchorage, Alaska election I told you about, during which voters were turned away all across the city because not enough ballots were distributed, and where the Deputy Municipal Clerk Jacqueline Duke, responsible for ballot and voting machine distribution, admitted to me that she had told poll workers not to worry if they found voting machine security seals broken on the morning of the election?

Aside from Prop 5, a ballot measure which would have extended anti-discrimination protection to the LGBT community --- which a pre-election poll predicted would win by 9 points (before the Diebold computer tabulators reported that it lost by 16 points) --- Anchorage's Mayor Dan Sullivan was also on the ballot that day.

Unlike Prop 5, however, the anti-Prop 5 mayor reportedly won, according to the Diebold op-scan tabulators, by almost the same exact margin that the same pre-election poll had predicted he would.

And, whaddaya know? There's Mayor Sullivan himself, in the photo above, seen celebrating on St. Patrick's Day with none other than his old employee [PDF] turned Anchorage Deputy Municipal Clerk Jacqueline Duke! (She's the one on the right.)

Neat, eh? I wonder why, according to a source of Alaska radio host, blogger and election integrity advocate Shannyn Moore, Duke scrubbed that photo from her Facebook page recently. I tried to find out and get confirmation, but Duke didn't respond to the email I sent to the address she gave me when we spoke. As a matter of fact, according to The Mudflats' Linda Kellen Biegel, who tried to ask Duke a question at a recent Election Commission meeting called to investigate the continuing mess, the Deputy Municipal Clerk is no longer allowed to speak to anyone in the media.

Wonder why. Was it something she said?

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Municipal election officials see no problems despite unexplained ballot shortages, broken op-scan seals and a 25-point swing that 'defeats' an LGBT anti-discrimination ballot measure...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2012 7:05am PT  

I know I shouldn't be, but I'm still amazed at the absolute cluelessness of far too many election officials. Yes, some of them are great, know exactly what they're talking about, and realize that the electronic voting systems we use in this nation --- every single one of them --- are complete garbage.

Last month, we reported on a recent Palm Beach County, FL, election in which the paper-ballot optical-scan system declared several losing candidates as the "winners." Thanks to the diligence the Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher --- who told me when we spoke, "I don't want you to have to trust your election officials. I think your election officials have to prove it." --- the software failure on the Sequoia Voting Systems tabulator was discovered and the correct winners of the election were ultimately discovered via a 100% hand-count instead, weeks after the election.

Also last month, we highlighted two great election officials in Columbia County, NY where both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners are smart enough to refuse to rely on the electronic optical-scanners made by Dominion Voting that were forced on them by the state. They choose, instead, to count 100% of their paper ballots by hand.

"Since I, as election commissioner, have to certify to the accuracy of any election run under my watch, that steers me in the direction of a more elemental process --- a hand count under the watchful gaze of individuals who are invested in its accuracy," Democratic Commissioner Virginia Martin wrote in her must-read 2010 op-ed, explaining her refusal to rely on computer tabulated elections. The Republican Commissioner, Jason Nastke, agrees with his counterpart. "The most accurate and reliable method is a 100% visual audit," he told The Columbia Paper, "The machines are not completely reliable."

Late last year The BRAD BLOG reported in detail on the Interim Board of Elections (two Republicans, one Democrat) in Venango County, PA, who bucked their own County Commissioners and legal threats from ES&S, the nation's largest e-voting company, to have their 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems independently investigated after failures in several recent elections. The forensic study found the central tabulator had been "remotely accessed" by someone on "multiple occasions," including for 80 minutes on the night before the 2010 general election. As thanks, the commissioners were pushed out of their jobs before the investigation was completed. Asked why the County Commissioners and ES&S were so opposed to an independent forensic analysis by two Carnegie-Mellon computer scientists, the Republican Director of the Board, Craig Adams told me: "They know there's something wrong."

Those are just a few of the many great election officials I've had the pleasure of reporting on over the years, and the voters of their respective counties are very lucky to be served by them.

And then there are the election officials of Anchorage, Alaska, where, on April 3rd, there was another disastrous election, held on Diebold op-scan systems, in a state becoming known for its disastrous elections.

"Those are amazing machines - utterly amazing," Anchorage Election Commissioner Gwen Mathew told members of the Anchorage Assembly last Friday night during a working session as they tried to unravel the latest disaster.

"It is impossible for them to go haywire," she misinformed the law makers. "They are highly accurate. I think that I could almost say that they're totally accurate. I've never found a discrepancy."

"You can get as 'conspiracy theory' as you want," Anchorage's Deputy Municipal Clerk Jacqueline Duke said when I asked her about some of the many reported concerns about the validity of the election in Alaska on Monday. She seemed to have even more faith in the infallibility of the machines than Mathew...

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UPDATED with comment from the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2012 5:48pm PT  

There was a bit of trouble across Illinois polls today, as some of the paper ballots in about 25 different counties, according to the Chicago Tribune, had been cut too wide to fit into the Diebold AccuVote precinct-based op-scanners.

Officials spent the day in panic, reprinting ballots with on-demand ballot printing systems, where available, and otherwise finding paper cutters to trim about one-eighth of an inch off the edge off the ballots that were said to have been cut incorrectly by two different printing companies.

The Washington Post reported the problems as "widespread" earlier today, but by mid-afternoon, officials were downplaying concerns, saying that they'd been able to get out new ballots to affected locations.

Most ballots that could not be trimmed will reportedly be hand-counted in the presence of officials from both the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Some ballot, however, will be "remade", incredibly enough, according to the Tribune, "under the supervision of representatives of each party." That means that some human being will actually copy votes from one ballot, by hand, onto another, so they can then run the "remade" ballot through an optical-scanner. (Never mind how much more time that takes --- and how votes can be changed in the process --- than simply counting those ballots by hand in the first place.)...

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Is that even plausible?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2012 3:22pm PT  

Earlier today, we highlighted Rachel Maddow's latest report on the "GOP War on Voting" which, among many other important things, referenced the ridiculously close results from Ohio's GOP Presidential Primary last Tuesday as currently reported, and the fact that there are still a bunch of untallied votes there even today for some unknown reason. Her point in noting the slim margin is to underscore the very serious effect that new Republican voter-suppression laws are likely to have on not just the Presidential race this year, but also on State and local races as well.

But one of the items she does not note about Ohio's reported tally, and which I've been trying to get more information on since Tuesday night, is some of the actual reported numbers out of the U.S. House Primary race between progressive Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich. Their Congressional Districts were combined by the recent Republican redistricting there, so they were forced to face off in last Tuesday Democratic primary.

Kaptur reportedly won the race, according to the numbers posted on the Ohio Sec. of State's website. Those results, summarizing the numbers in each of the five districts which now make up Ohio's new 9th Congressional District, include these reported results out of Lucas County (Toledo):

Now Toledo is Kaptur's current district, so it might make sense for her to win a lopsided victory there. Kucinich reportedly won handily in his own Cuyahoga County district of Cleveland by a 72.5% to 24% margin.

But really? 94% to 3.7% over Kucinich in Lucas County? 22,269 votes to just 870 votes? Those are Saddam Hussein-like numbers. Are they even plausible? I've been trying to learn more and would certainly welcome any input from folks who know the politics in that area of the state better than I do. If there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for those results, I'm certainly open to hearing it.

Unfortunately, all Lucas County voters are forced to vote on 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting machines on Election Day. So whatever the numbers really should have been will ultimately remain unknown, as it's strictly impossible to determine if even one vote, ever cast on any such voting machine, for any candidate or initiative on any ballot, in any election, has ever been recorded accurately as per any voter's intent.

Some 20 to 30% of voters across the nation will still be forced --- shamefully, even after all that we now know about these oft-failed, easily-hacked machines --- to cast their ballots on the very same and other similarly 100% unverifiable voting systems on Election Day during the 2012 Presidential Election.

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By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2012 12:30pm PT  

The voting systems in use for the nation's first three all-important electoral contests in the 2012 primary --- from Iowa to New Hampshire to Saturday's South Carolina Primary --- go from pretty great to intolerably horrible. And then comes Florida, which deserves its very own special category, thereafter.

The "First-in-the-Nation" caucuses in Iowa allowed voters to vote on hand-marked paper ballots, counted by hand in front of the public at the caucus site, with results announced to everyone right then and there before being called in to GOP headquarters and before ballots were move anywhere. The wonderfully transparent system allowed for Republican voters by the Iowa GOP (which they hypocritically fight against allowing for everybody else in other states, and even in their own during general elections) is just about as close as we general get in this country to Democracy's Gold Standard. It's also what allowed reporting errors to be discovered and confirmed by the public after an election with some 122,000 votes counted transparently within an hour or so of polls closing, leading to almost nobody charging "fraud" even though just 34 votes are said to separate first and second place in the certified results of the impossibly, and historically, close election.

As of the "First-in-the-Nation" primary in New Hampshire, however, election transparency for voters and their ability to oversee their own elections began to disappear. While a lucky 10% of voters enjoyed hand-marked, publicly hand-counted paper ballots, the rest of the state's voters were allowed to vote on hand-marked paper ballots, but forced to tolerate secret tabulation on oft-failed, easily-manipulated Diebold optical-scan systems programmed by a company (LHS) with a history of criminal behavior and convictions. The results from those 90% of Granite State voters may have been tallied accurately by the Diebold op-scanners or, as seen in the disastrous 2008 Presidential Primary, not. Since NH doesn't bother to actually check to see if their machines tallied the hand-marked paper ballots correctly, we're unlikely to ever know if they did --- barring a recount request where, by then, the secure chain of custody of the paper ballots would be uncertain (to put it mildly.)

And now we come to the "First-in-the-South" Republican primary in South Carolina, where all evidence of how voters vote disappears entirely as the voters will be forced across the entire state to vote on easily-manipulated, oft-failed, 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems made by the nation's largest voting machine company, ES&S. When the machine-reported results are announced tomorrow night they will either be accurate or not. Either way, there will never be a way for anybody to know one way or the other as there will be nothing to prove how voters voted and nothing to "recount", even if anybody wanted to.

Appropriately enough, perhaps, Saturday's primary in the Palmetto State will offer 100% "faith-based" voting, since it will be scientifically impossible to prove that even a single vote for any candidate on the ballot has been recorded accurately by the ES&S iVotronic touch-screens as per any voter's intent. Known what we mean, Alvin Greene?...

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