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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, April 15, 2014
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  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?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
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NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free charitable medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of clientele...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
Previous GNRs: 4/8/14 - 4/3/14 - Archives...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Previous GNRs: 4/3/14 - 4/1/14 - Archives...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Federal Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide documentation related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove the discriminatory intent of the new GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
'McCutcheon' Mints Millions for Mass Media
Veteran journalist and media activist Sue Wilson explains how the new U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a windfall for the MSM. She also has an idea what to do about it...
'Green News Report' 4/3/14
Startling U.N. climate change report; Kochs enviro champs, say Kochs; TX wind power record; PLUS: ExxonMobil says 'F#@K you! We're ExxonMobil!'...
Reproductive Rights & Campaign Finance Law: KFPK 'BradCast'
Katie Klabusich says she's being 'targeted' by Eric Scheidler's anti-choice group. They both join Brad. PLUS: Ian Millhiser on SCOTUS McCutcheon ruling...
SCOTUS 'MCCUTCHEON' RULING TRASHES EVEN MORE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LIMITS
'Free speech' for the super rich wins again at the Roberts Supreme Court...
'Green News Report' 4/1/14
It's our special 'April Fox Day' edition of the GNR! Celebrating the anti-scientists and fossil-fueled fools at Fox 'News'!...
FCC Rolls Back Corporate TV Consolidation
Under its new chairman, the federal agency finally takes one small step to fulfill their mandate of assuring the public airwaves are actually used in the public interest...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'Special Coverage' Archives
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...

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

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
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
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
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Poorly Performing DREs, Lack of Oversight and Transparency Leads to Conclusion of 'Not Acceptable' by WINNER of Last November's CA-11 U.S. House Election...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2007 3:01pm PT  

Congrats to Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney's (CA-11) team of Election Integrity advocates, who did a great job with their election protection analysis and report from his election last November. His Election Protection Task Force has just released their report [PDF] on how it all went, including 36 specific and detailed recommendations for improving the election system used in the four counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Santa Clara) that make up California's 11th Congressional district.

"The McNerney Election Protection Task Force Report" illustrates, among other things, that DRE touch-screen systems made by Diebold, specifically as used in San Joaquin County under the oversight (or lack thereof) of Registrar of Voters Debbie Hench, did not fare well in the election. Broken-down machines caused long lines, there were not enough paper ballots for backup, plus various problems with chain of custody and lousy post-election audit and reporting systems were all accompanied by an embarrassing lack of transparency for the entire system.

The report's overall conclusion: "The current electoral system is not acceptable."

And before you electronic voting apologists haul out your tired old "sore loser" lines, McNerney won his race over the Republican long-time incumbent, Richard Pombo!

Congrats and thank you to all who helped create the very enlightening report, and specifically to McNerney for having the foresight and responsibility to create and work on such an important project. If every candidate did the same, we'd have this mess cleaned up in no time.

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'Frivolous' Lawsuit Seeks to Void $9 Million Contract Awarded to Rival Voting Machine Vendor
A BRAD BLOG Exclusive Report from the Courtoom in Boston...
By Michael Richardson on 3/28/2007 1:48pm PT  

Guest Blogged By Michael Richardson

BOSTON - Diebold Election Systems, Inc., the controversial voting machine supplier, won't be supplying Massachusetts with its machines in 2008 and the company is not happy about it. So they are suing the state over the lost contract bid. But the solemn tone of Diebold's lawyer, William Weisberg, speaking in a hushed voice almost swallowed up by the stately, high-ceilinged courtroom of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court this week, drew laughter from the jovial judge with a Cheshire cat grin and raised chuckles from the courtroom audience.

In a real upside-down, topsy-turvy presentation, Diebold was arguing on behalf of the state's taxpayers and kept talking about the "public interest" --- all while pitching to get its lucrative contract approved. In February, after a year-and-a half selection process, Secretary of State William Galvin picked rival company ES&S to supply the state with AutoMARK, accessible electronic voting equipment, as mandated by the Help America Vote Act.

As reported by the Boston Globe...

Galvin chose AutoMARK voting machines, in part because he said the machines produce the same kind of ballot card as other voting machines, so the ballots could be counted together. He said the Diebold machines produced a paper trail that could compromise the secrecy of ballots cast.

He also said that disabled voters who tested all the machines preferred the AutoMARK machines.

The hearing in the recently filed lawsuit was over Diebold's three emergency motions for a temporary injunction to stop delivery of the ES&S equipment, an expedited discovery order, and a confidentiality order. The judge later ruled, after the hearing, against all three motions although he allowed the lawsuit to proceed on a regular schedule.

While laughing, the judge wondered aloud about admissions made by Weisberg in the news paper that seemed to wholly contradict his failed court room strategy...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2007 11:22pm PT  

{Ed Note: All of the signed DVD premiums we had available have now been spoken for. They will soon be on their way to the folks who got in in time. Thanks to all for the support!}

The tremendous, if extraordinarily disturbing, HBO documentary Hacking Democracy is finally being released on DVD this week. I reviewed the film for ComputerWorld, just before its premier in the days prior to the November 2006 election --and just after Diebold's inane and embarrassing attempt to try and force HBO into not letting America see it. (Sorry Diebold, you lost, get over it, move on, fix your shitty voting machines, then throw 'em out, we don't want 'em.)

If you've been living in a cave, or in San Diego, the landmark film is the harrowing detective tale of Election Integrity advocates around the country, including the crew at BlackBoxVoting.org, which eventually leads to the now-landmark Harri Hursti hack of a Diebold system in Leon County, FL, in December of 2005. The hack heard round the world completely flipped a mock election without a trace being left behind. All told in before-your-very-eyes documentary footage as the sometimes hilarious, always terrifying (at least to Democracy-lovers) events unravel.

With the release of the DVD version, the filmmakers Simon Ardizzone, Robert Carrillo Cohen, and Russell Michaels, have been kind enough to hand sign a limited number of copies for premiums to BRAD BLOG supporters! For a donation of $50 or more, we'll ship one out to you ASAP! First come, first served, so click fast (and I'll update this item when we've run out).

The NY Times' review of Hacking Democracy called it "disturbing stuff," and went on to say, "it's not shocked-shocked you feel watching this; it's genuine shock." Well, little wonder they were shocked. They ignored the issue for years on end, referring to it as "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers" until the story showed up on their doorstep in movie form. But don't get me started.

No doubt the still-largely-clueless Times would be shocked again by some of the DVD Extras footage including scenes deleted from the original airing. Never-before-seen segments on the DVD include...

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

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Diebold Document Exposer in First Broadcast Interview! Plus CODEPINK's Jodie Evans! As we Guest Host 'Action Point w/ Cynthia Black' on AAR/Nova M Phoenix
Listen Up Sunday @ 12noon PT (3pm ET) on 1480kphx.com
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2007 8:59am PT  

I'll be sitting in again this week as Guest Host on Sunday for the good Cynthia Black Nova M and Air America Phoenix' Action Point with Cynthia Black on 1480am KPHX.

This week, we'll have a live broadcast exclusive first as Diebold document whistleblower Stephen Heller will be LIVE in studio to be interviewed on air for the first time! We'll also take your calls! As well, CODEPINK's Jodie Evans will join us to discuss the Democrats courageous Iraq Policy, or lack thereof. Don't miss it! More details follow...

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

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56 of 125 Machines Tested, after Voter Complaints, Incorrectly Registered Votes!
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2007 3:35pm PT  

Finally. Someone is actually bothering to test the voting machines which voters have been complaining about as flipping their votes for years. In Montgomery County, OH, where an official complaint was recently filed by 20 voters who claimed vote-flipping on their Diebold DRE touch-screen systems, comes this refreshing, if disturbing, report from today's Dayton Daily News...

DAYTON — After two days of tests, the results are in: About 2,500 people cast ballots in November on 56 malfunctioning electronic touch-screen voting machines in Montgomery County, said Steve Harsman, county board of elections director.

He said it is impossible to know how many people finalized their electronic ballots without realizing that the Diebold Elections Systems machines were inaccurately registering their votes.
...
"No other counties in Ohio have done this analysis yet," said Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. "My guess is now that we've done it here and found there were real problems, it will encourage boards of elections in other counties to do this same investigation."

From Jacobs' lips to God's ears.

Oh, and there's this little tidbit from the story:

Harsman said several malfunctioning machines were clustered at certain precincts, indicating they may have been damaged during delivery by a trucking company that hauls the machines to the polls.

Ah, yes. The trucking company dunnit! That's the ticket!

(Hat-tip again to BRAD BLOG reader "A Concerned Citizen" for the heads up!)

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County's Election Director, Steve Harsman, Wholly Clueless...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2007 11:35am PT  

And still another complaint registered against DRE/touch-screen voting systems. It's Diebold's turn again this time. According to the Dayton Daily News...

DAYTON — A legal rights advocacy group wants Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to investigate complaints from about 20 voters that Montgomery County's [Diebold] touch screen electronic voting machines changed their votes during the November election.

The avalanche of these types of complaints and lawsuits is just beginning, people. Will Congress and Elections Officials figure it out any time soon?

In any case, it doesn't look like Montgomery County's Election Director, Steve Harsman, has joined the rest of us here in Reality Land yet.

Even after the story linked above detailed a member of the board of elections who "said the machine he used would not record his vote" properly, Harsman told the paper that "he believes most of the problems can be explained by voters unfamiliarity with the new machines, rather than equipment failure."

The BRAD BLOG begs to respectfully disagree with Harsman. We believe most of the problems can instead be explained by Mr. Harsman's overfamiliarity with the bullshit he's been peddled by Diebold, in addition to a complete Election Director failure.

E-Voting - Game Over. We win. They lose. Move on. Get over it. The only question now is how long it takes them to get it and how many more elections jerks like Harsman are willing to see trashed (and how many voters he's willing to trash along the way.)

(Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "A Concerned Citizen")

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Princeton's Computer Science Professor, Ed Felten, Begins to Look at the Failed Jennings/Buchanan U.S. House Race in Florida, But Seems to Buy Into a Flawed Theory and Solution
'Paper Trails' on Sarasota's Voting Machines Would Have Made the Situation Worse, Not Better...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2007 1:33pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from on the road...

To be clear, despite the headline, we don't mean to call Princeton's computer science professor Ed Felten "stupid" by any means. We do, however, mean to make clear --- in no uncertain terms --- that the oft-floated idea that adding so-called "paper trails" to failed, paperless ES&S touch-screen voting machines, such as those used in last November's U.S. House race in Sarasota between Christine Jennings (D) and Vern Buchanan (R), would not have avoided the situation we're now in. In fact, such "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPAT) added to Direct Recording Electronic (DRE/touch-screen) systems would likely make our current crisis of democracy worse instead of better.

As we've said before, DREs with or without a VVPAT are a threat to democracy. VVPATs are little more than a band-aid at best, and more likely serve only as a panacea to offer a false sense of security.

Adding a "paper trail" to a DRE/touch-screen system is like requiring a seat belt in a Ford Pinto; what good will the seat belts do when the Pinto explodes?

Today then, Princeton's Felten (he of the infamous Diebold Touch-Screen Virus Hack) has posted an article on his blog looking at what may have happened in the contested U.S. House race in Florida's 13th Congressional District between Jennings and Buchanan, in which some 18,000 votes seem to have disappeared completely on the paperless ES&S touch-screen voting machines. Just 369 votes separate the two candidates in the flawed state-certified final results.

In his essay, the first of a promised series to come this week, Felten correctly points out that the situation can only be attributed to problems with the ES&S voting machines themselves, since the undervote rate for the very same race in the very same county was a reasonable 2.5% on the paper absentee ballots, but jumped nearly 15% as recorded on the ES&S touch-screen machines.

Even ES&S's only expert witness so far to take the stand --- Dartmouth College's political (not computer) scientist, Michael Herron --- in the election contest down in Florida admitted that were it not for problems voters encountered in using those voting machines, Jennings likely would have been named the winner. That point was reported by Sarasota Herald Tribune who reported on the testimony this way: "Had those ballots been cast without problems, Jennings would have won by as many as 3,000 votes, according to the ES&S expert's statistical 'best guess.'" Reporting from both Wired News and our own discussions just after the testimony with Lowell Finley, the attorney for VoterAction.org, one of several non-partisan groups who argued the case on behalf of the Florida voter plaintiffs who joined Christine Jennings in filing an election contest, confirmed that point as well.

So the question --- for those legitimately trying to figure out what went wrong, as opposed to Buchanan and his supporters who simply want to claim the House seat as their own, even if it's an aberration of democracy --- is whether the problem was due to bad ballot design, machine malfunction, or, most likely, some combination of both. With just 369 votes between the two candidates in the state-certified final result (which is being challenged in both Florida courts and the U.S. House), virtually every analysis has determined that even a minor machine malfunction would likely have thrown the race to the Republican in the Democrat's strongest areas in Sarasota. That's where the largest undervote rates occured.

Felten's thesis, however, as he begins to discuss today in his first article on the topic, would seem to suggest --- incorrectly, in our view --- that a "paper trail" on those paperless touch-screens would have avoided this problem. We'll answer by suggesting it would only have made it worse.

In the meantime, an as-yet under-reported affidavit obtained by The BRAD BLOG from a poll worker, which accompanied a complaint filed by a Republican (yep, you read that right) in Sarasota who believes machine malfunction was clearly the culprit, seems to demonstrate clearly that a problem with the ES&S iVotronic system, not a problem finding the race on the ballot, was to blame for the massive undervote rate.

Couple that with two excellent reports from Daniel Hopsicker as filed last week (one here, the second here) analyzing, in crystal-clear detail, a number of contemporaneous news reports from Sarasota before, during, and after the election, it becomes very clear that machine failure was the problem in the FL-13 election and not "bad ballot design" --- the favored theory of folks hoping to keep the "provisionally seated" Buchanan in power.

Hopsicker's excellent review of those news reports, both as the problem was first emerging and just after the election, when voters' and poll workers' recollections were still fresh, reveals that voter and poll worker complaints at that time overwhelmingly focused on problems voters had casting their votes in particular races and not on problems finding particular races on the ballots!

We'll take a look at the complaint filed by the Republican mentioned above, along with the poll-worker affidavit, in a future report this week. But for now, we'll look at Felten's "Paper Trails Would Have Avoided the Problem" theory.

As Felten averred today...

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

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If You Missed 'Em, Here They Are Again...
You're Welcome Diebold!
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2007 11:05am PT  

Blogged by Brad from on the road...

There were a number of notable updates added, in the subsequent 24 to 48 hours after we published our piece on the idiots at Diebold who gave away the keys to the kingdom (literally).

The story, btw, shot to the top of a bunch of sites --- no easy feat for an Election Integrity-related story which doesn't feature Ann Coulter --- and was even picked up by the rightwing "news" site, WorldNetDaily who (unlike CNet's coverage, tsk tsk) gave us the appropriate attribution. Should I be pleased or horrified?

Anyway...As we reported initially, Diebold --- incredibly --- posted a picture of the actual key which --- incredibly --- opens all Diebold touch-screen voting systems on their website. Not so incredibly, the photo was subsequently used to hack the key and create working duplicates by an IT expert. Just the latest jaw-dropping chapter in the incredible series of blunders by one of America's largest, and most irresponsible, voting machine companies...the same ones who are --- incredibly --- contracted to protect the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence at the National Archives and who, in early January, --- incredibly --- received certification from George W. Bush's U.S. Homeland Security department for high-security contracts.

As the notable updates to the original story came after you may have read it, but they deserve to be noticed, we re-run them here in full just to make sure everyone is able to play along at home and that Diebold enjoys the maximum amount of shame that they've worked so hard to earn.

Read on. Watch Diebold run. Be amused or horrified as you see fit...

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

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Princeton University Computer Scientists Confirm 'Secret' Key For Every Diebold Voting Machine 'Revealed' on Company Website!
[UPDATED THRICE] Shutting the Barn Door After Horse Has Left: Diebold Removes Photo, PLUS: Receives Certification for U.S. Homeland Security Contracts...NOW BAIT & SWITCH: Diebold Puts Digital Key Online Where Mechanical Key Was Previously!
By Brad Friedman on 1/24/2007 6:05am PT  

Ed Note: Several important updates now added to the end of the story...

Good lord in heaven. How dumb are these guys at Diebold?! Can you believe the United States has actually entrusted them to build a security system for the original U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?!

After everything else... now comes this.

It was revealed in the course of last summer's landmark virus hack of a Diebold touch-screen voting system at Princeton University that, incredibly, the company uses the same key to open every machine. It's also an easy key to buy at any office supply store since it's used for filing cabinets and hotel mini-bars! That is, if you're not a poll worker who already has one from the last time you worked on an election (anybody listening down there in San Diego?).

The Princeton Diebold Virus Hack, if you've been living in a cave, found that a single person with 60 seconds of unsupervised access to the system, who either picked the lock (easy in 10 seconds) or had a key, could slip a vote-swapping virus onto a single machine which could then undetectably affect every other machine in the county to steal an entire election.

But the folks at Princeton who discovered the hack (after our own organization, VelvetRevolution.us, gave them the Diebold touch-screen machine on which to perform their tests) had resisted showing exactly what the key looked like in order to hold on to some semblance of security for Diebold's Disposable Touch-Screen Voting Systems.

But guess what? Diebold didn't bother to even have that much common sense.

This idiotic company has had a photograph of the stupid key sitting on their own website's online store! (Screenshot at end of this article.)

Of course, they'll only sell such keys to "Diebold account holders" apparently --- or so they claim --- but that's hardly a problem. J. Alex Halderman, one of the folks who worked on the Princeton Hack and tried to keep the design of the key secret for obvious reasons, revealed Tuesday that a friend of his had found the photo of the key on Diebold's website and discovered that was all he needed to create a working copy!

As Halderman writes...

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

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State Lawmakers Moving Towards Paper 'Trail' Voting Instead of Paper BALLOTS...
By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2007 7:21pm PT  

Maryland was one of the first states in the country (along with Georgia) to adopt Diebold's paperless touch-screen voting. Now that they've learned from that mistake, it looks like their legislature is preparing to make the same mistake again by moving to paper trail voting, instead of paper ballots, according to the Washington Post.

If you're still confused about the difference --- and even if you're not --- please see this short and to-the-point Open Letter to Congress Members, and the accompanying e-mail petition, signed and released by more than 35 non-partisan Election Integrity organizations just before the holidays.

It calls for a paper ballot --- not "trail" or "record" --- for every vote cast in America. That is, of course, the only acceptable first-step solution on the long road towards restoring America's electoral system and the voters' confidence therein.

After you've read it and signed it, please pass it on. Maybe Maryland will take notice before they screw things up again. We certainly hope so.

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ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: Details of Attorney Oral Arguments Concerning Whether the U.S. Congress Can Overrule State Election Laws Simply by Swearing Someone In
Also, Updates on Some of the Sad Players...Some Gone, Others (Hopefully) on Their Way Out...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2007 11:05am PT  

Yes, like the Energizer Bunny, the case in CA50 (Jacobson v. Bilbray) is still going. The first oral arguments on the appeal took place on Monday.

To recap: the original case was filed last Summer by San Diego voters Gail Jacobson and Lillian Ritt against then-candidate Brian Bilbray and SD County Registrar of Voters/Voter Hater Mikel Haas, after a BRAD BLOG report revealed that pre-programmed, election-ready, hackable-in-60-seconds Diebold voting machines were sent home illegally (in our rarely humble opinion, though one shared in a recent interview by California's new Secretary of State Debra Bowen) with poll workers on overnight "sleepovers" days and weeks before the U.S. House Special Election last July to replace the disgraced Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

There is much more than just the "sleepovers" at question in the case, like the fact that Haas, one of America's worst Elections Officials, arbitrarily and capriciously quoted a legal request by voters for a hand-count in the race at $150,000, effectively stymieing the possibility that such a count would happen at all. Also at issue is the fact that the case was tossed out by a lower court judge after the Bilbray team argued --- with the help of a letter [PDF] from the then-Republican U.S. House Admin Committee in Congress --- that California courts and voters had no say over the issue.

In that letter, the House Admin Committee argued that they, not the California courts or voters, had sole jurisdiction over the case once Bilbray was sworn in. He was sworn in after a fax was sent claiming he was the winner of the election, from the very partisan and now-former CA SoS Bruce McPherson's deputy, Susan Lapsley. Lapsley sent the fax just days after the election, despite the controversy that had erupted over the effectively-decertified voting systems used in the race, the slim reported margin between the two candidates, and the fact that the state hadn't yet actually certified the race, in which tens of thousands of votes in San Diego county had yet to be counted at the time.

Attorney Paul Lehto, working with Carlsbad attorney Ken Simpkins, filed both the original case and the appeal. UPDATE: We've now got a number of accounts of the argument from folks in the courtroom on Monday.

First, Simpkins sends us the following update (which is shorter than our recap) from the first day of hearings last Monday in the appellate case...

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

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ALSO: LA Times Blogger Calls us 'State's Most Persistent Blogger-Watchdog on the Dangers of E-Voting'
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2007 11:57am PT  

There's been a fair amount of media coverage (at least in California papers), since our scoop yesterday of new CA SoS Debra Bowen's brilliant appointment of dogged E-voting critic and VoterAction.org attorney Lowell Finley to the post of Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy.

There are a couple more ironic points to the Finley appointment above and beyond the ones we mentioned yesterday. One we knew about, another we hadn't.

In his report on the matter, Oakland Tribune's Ian Hoffman reminds us of the qui tam lawsuit filed by Finley against voting machine company Diebold and joined by the state in 2004, which eventually resulted in a settlement:

Working with Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org, Finley sued Diebold Election Systems Inc., alleging the firm made misrepresentations to Alameda County and California to sell its voting machines. Diebold settled the case for $2.6 million.

In a point we hadn't previously known, the Los Angeles Times blogger on state capitol and gubernatorial issues, Robert Sallady, highlighted our coverage here --- describing us as "The state's most persistent blogger-watchdog on the dangers of voting technology" (thank you, sir) --- and advanced the story a bit with this irony-laden chestnut about the man who will now, officially, be working as an appointed member of Schwarzenegger's own Executive Branch:

Almost exactly three years ago, Finley represented Bill Camp of the Sacramento Labor Council. They successfully convinced a Superior Court judge that Schwarzenegger had illegally "loaned" his campaign $4.5 million. The ruling forced Schwarzenegger to pay the money back from his own pocket rather than through campaign contributions. The absurdly optimist governor called the ruling "fantastic," but Finley told the S.F. Chronicle (me, working there) at the time: "He is on some kind of medication that I would like to have a prescription for."

Office Christmas parties next year in Sacramento ought to be a hoot. Hopefully the Governator supplies the medication.

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Debra Bowen Appoints Lowell Finley of Election Integrity Watchdog Group VoterAction.org to Role of 'Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy'
[UPDATED] Critics of E-Voting Hail News as 'Collosal Suprise,' Very Good for Voters, Very Bad for the Nation's Electronic Voting Machine Companies...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2007 2:31pm PT  

It may not be a very good day in the corporate offices at Diebold, but The BRAD BLOG has learned some big news that may well indicate today is a very good day indeed for the voters of America and specifically in California.

As incoming Sec. of State Debra Bowen was sworn in to her new office just moments ago, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that one of the nation's top critics of unverifiable electronic voting systems --- and a key player across several states in the legal battles against voting machine companies such as Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Hart Intercivic --- is today being named by the new California Sec. of State Debra Bowen as Deputy SoS for Voting Systems Technology and Policy.

Lowell Finley, the lead attorney for the non-partisan voting machine legal watchdog organization VoterAction.org, will be named to the position today.

In his new capacity, Finley will oversee testing and certification for all voting machine technology in the State of California. In a phone call this morning, Finley confirmed that he would be working closely in his new role with key national associations like the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC).

E-voting critics and at least one California Registrar of Voters have hailed both the swearing in of Bowen as SoS and her appointment of Finley, expressing delight to The BRAD BLOG over the news, characterizing it as a "colossal surprise" and a "very, very good sign for the future of voters' rights in California."

America's voting machine companies are less likely to feel quite as happy about the news.

Finley and VoterAction have filed a number of landmark lawsuits in several states, including in California, over the past year or so, demanding an immediate halt to the use and purchase of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE/touch-screen) voting systems and decertification of many of those systems, as well as improved processes for certification of such systems.

VoterAction is one of over 30 Election Reform organizations who recently went on record with an open letter to Members of Congress demanding federal legislation requiring a paper ballot for every vote cast in America. Such legislation would effectively ban the use of DRE systems, with or without a so-callled "Voter Verified Paper Trail" (VVPAT).

Bowen has been a dogged critic of former Secretary of State Bruce McPherson during her candidacy and in her role overseeing the Elections Committee as a California State Senator. She has criticized his lack of oversight and lax testing procedures, and has championed a "Voters' Bill of Rights" for the Golden State.

While a suit by VoterAction.org filed against former SoS McPherson and several CA Registrars of Voting --- concerning McPherson's certification of Diebold TSx touch-screen systems --- is still pending in state court, the disposition of that suit will likely change due to the fact that the lead defendant, McPherson, is no longer in office.

The Berkeley-based attorney Finley --- also one of the attorneys representing voter plaintiffs in the contested election in Florida's 13th Congressional district in Sarasota --- had one of his most recent and notable successes last September, when a Colorado judge ordered a complete review of certification procedures for voting machines in the state. The court found the official placed in charge of testing and certification didn't have the qualifications necessary, and performed little or no testing. That man, John Gardner, was appointed by former CO Sec. of State Donetta Davidson, who has been appointed by George W. Bush to head the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission.

The news of Finley's appointment will undoubtedly be of concern to the major voting machine companies that received little oversight from the former Sec. of State McPherson.

"I wish I was a fly on the wall in the offices at Diebold as they learn of this appointment. I'm sure jaws will be dropping and damage control will be ramping up," John Gideon of election watchdog organization VotersUnite.org told us today. (Gideon is also a frequent Guest Blogger here at The BRAD BLOG.) ...

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

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(Might Have Been #1, But Diebold Handled the Vote Tabulation)
By Brad Friedman on 12/27/2006 1:03pm PT  

Tech Mag PCWorld named E-Voting #3 on their list of "The 21 Biggest Technology Mistakes of 2006"...

3. Hacking the Vote
Are electronic voting machines insecure? In May, security researchers discovered a previously unknown backdoor in Diebold's AccuVote-TS touch-screen voting machines that could allow an attacker to manipulate votes, cause malfunctions, or create a 'voting virus' that spreads from machine to machine--all in under a minute and with little fear of detection. Meanwhile, Princeton researchers also found Diebold's touch-screen machines could be opened with the same kind of key used for hotel mini-bars, offering easy access to the machine's memory card. Diebold promised to fix the vulnerability eventually, but also said they weren't too worried. Why? Because such hacks would require "evil and nefarious election officials"--who don't exist.

We feel much better now.

Big Mistake: Allowing insecure voting machines anywhere near this country's electoral process.

Bigger Mistake: Electing Homer Simpson president--which might happen if we keep using these machines.

We've come a long way, baby.

And we also take year-end great pride in that folks look back on Princeton's Diebold Virus Hack as one of the seminal moments in this whole sordid affair. (The machine used in the research was a DRE/touch-screen system supplied to VelvetRevolution.us by a BRAD BLOG source and we then gave it to Princeton for their now-infamous study.)

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they attack you.
Then you win.

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State Officials Say Kathy Rogers, Democratic Director of State Elections Division Under Outgoing Democratic Secretary of State, Said to be Going to Work for Un-American Voting Machine Company
(At least now she'll be getting paid for it!)
By Brad Friedman on 12/23/2006 3:19pm PT  

We're shocked. SHOCKED! Knock us over with a feather!

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Georgia state officials are claiming that Kathy Rogers, the recently resigned Director of outgoing Secretary of State Cathy Cox's State Elections Division, is going to work for Diebold.

Rogers resigned on November 30th, and rumors have been swirling ever since in the state where Diebold first planted it's dirty claws with paperless touch-screen voting machines in 2002 (along with the state of Maryland). Democrats Cox and Rogers have been apologizing and covering for the deceptive and anti-democratic Voting Machine Company ever since.

Cox even went so far as to appear on a Diebold promotional brochure singing the company's praises.

"Rogers apparently will serve as a liaison between elections officials throughout the United States and Diebold," according to the AJC...

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

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