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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 29, 2014
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Courtesy of Diebold Spokeshole --- and Former Bush Adminstration Official! --- Mark Radke
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2006 10:58am PT  

In a WaPo article from Saturday (we were outta town, and are just now getting caught up with much) on the possible origins of the double-super-secret Diebold source code which showed up out of the blue in a Maryland candidate's office last week, Diebold's leading spokesliar Mark Radke is quoted as saying the following...apparently with a straight face...

Radke said the company was not averse to disclosing its code if the law were changed to require it. But he said disclosure would dampen innovation in the field.

Heheh..."dampen innovation in the field." Those Diebold spokesguys and their crazy sense of humor.

By the way, as we were looking for a nice photo of Diebold's top mouth-piece, we came across a new little factoid --- new to us anyway. Seems that before Radke came to his new post as Diebold's chief liar, he had been Chief of Staff to George W. Bush's crony SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt. Small world. Go figure.

Diebold's chief obfuscator is a former Bush Administration official. Just one of those wacky coincidences, we guess.

CORRECTION 10/25/06: Good news! After digging around on this one, trying to figure out how it could possibly be that Radke was a former Bush Administration official and none of us knew about that until now, Russ Michaels, one of the filmmakers of HBO's Hacking Democracy writes to let us know that there is a different Mark Radke out there! The Diebold Radke is different from the Bush crony SEC Radke. Details on the other one, Mark S. Radke, right here...

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Experts Begging Diebold to 'Come Back to Reality, Secure Nation's Voting'
Is that the Diebold Secret Source Code that Arrived in my Mail Today?
By Alan Breslauer on 10/22/2006 10:50pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Diebold's "system is utterly unsecured," said cyber-security expert Stephen Spoonamore in the online print version of ABC World News' report on Sunday Night.

Spoonamore continued, "The entire cyber-security community is begging them to come back to reality and secure our nation's voting."

With the election only 16 days away, ABC World News worries "about another Florida style ballot fiasco" in tonight's e-voting segment. One major concern, it seems, is that e-voting machine maker Diebold's source code is turning up in random mail boxes, as The BRAD BLOG reported last Thursday. Yet, despite this latest revelation coming on the heels of a Princeton study evidencing the ease in which Diebold machines could be hacked, Diebold maintains everything is peachy.

-- ABC's Video report here...
-- ABC's printed report (with additional details) here...

UPDATE FROM BRAD 9:22pm PT:

We're delighted to see that ABC News has finally decided that there is a story here worth reporting. Wish they had come on board long ago. In any case, the print version of their story, written by Jake Tapper, Rebecca Abrahams and Eduardo Sunol, has several notable details above and beyond the video report. In addition to the comments from Spoonamore above, there's this...

Diebold, the company that makes the voting machines, told ABC News, "These discs do not alter the security of the Diebold touch-screen system in any way," because election workers can set their own passwords.

But ABC News has obtained an independent report commissioned by the state of Maryland and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation revealing that the original Diebold factory passwords are still being used on many voting machines.

The SAIC study also shows myriad other security flaws, including administrative over-ride passwords that cannot be changed by local officials but can be used by hackers or those who have seen the discs.

The report further states that one of the high risks to the system comes if operating code discs are lost, stolen or seen by unauthorized parties --- precisely what seems to have occurred with the discs sent to Kagan, who worries that the incident indicates the secret source code is not that difficult to obtain.

"Certainly, just tweaking a few votes in a couple of states could radically change the outcome of our policies for the coming year," she said.

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Jack Cafferty's 'Broken Government' Report: 'The greatest democracy the world has ever known is in trouble'
By Alan Breslauer on 10/22/2006 3:39pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


(Hat tip to BRAD BLOG emailer Mike from The Campaign to Give Jack Cafferty a Show)

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ALSO: State Report Finds Sensitive Voter Registration Database Vulnerable to 'Across-the-Board Access'
Diebold, State Election Director Lamone Continue State of Denial...
By John Gideon on 10/19/2006 8:42pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon (with additional snark provided by Brad Friedman)

The Washington Post is reporting in Friday editions that the FBI is investigating the "possible theft" of Diebold electronic touch-screen voting system source code in Maryland.

While the Maryland State Board of Elections admits that the disks contained "the software...used in Maryland in the 2004 elections," Diebold denies everything. Of course. They gave their catch-all apologia --- the software is for "versions...that are no longer in use in Maryland" --- although they were forced to acknowledge "the version of one program apparently stored on the disks is still in use in 'a limited number of jurisdictions.'"

The disks feature logos from Ciber Inc. and Wyle Labratories, Inc., two labs that test voting machines and software (sort of) for Diebold. Both firms deny the disks are theirs.

According to the article...

The disks delivered to [ex-Delegate Cheryl C.] Kagan's office bear labels indicating that they hold "source code" --- the instructions that constitute the core of a software program --- for Diebold's Ballot Station and Global Election Management System (GEMS) programs. The former guides the operation of the company's touch-screen voting machines; the latter is in part a tabulation program used to tally votes after an election.

Three years ago, Diebold was embarrassed when an activist obtained some of its confidential software by searching the Internet. The company vowed to improve its security procedures to prevent another lapse.

The release of such software poses a risk, computer scientists say, because it could allow someone to discover security vulnerabilities or to write a virus that could be used to manipulate election results."

WaPo goes on to report...

The Washington Post obtained copies of the disks Wednesday and allowed Avi Rubin, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University, along with a colleague and a graduate student, to review the software on the condition that they make no copies of it.

"I would be stunned if it's not real," Rubin said.

Rubin, who has said that electronic voting systems that do not produce a paper record of each vote cannot be secured, led a team that produced an analysis that pointed out security vulnerabilities in the Diebold software found on the Internet in 2003.

Sam Small, the graduate student, said the version of Ballot Station "was consistent with what we've seen previously." Small could not gain access to the GEMS software because the material on two of the disks was protected by a password."

...

The Diebold statement said "it would take years for a knowledgeable scientist" to break the encryption used on the software apparently contained on the disks delivered to Kagan. But Rubin said "the data and files were not encrypted" on the Ballot Station disk he reviewed.

So will Diebold just continue to deny that anything has happened or can happen? Will MD State Election Director Linda Lamone just pass on Diebold disinformation as she always does (despite knowing better...since she's seen the unredacted scientific reports on these systems from security organizations like SAIC and RABA?) Or will someone finally understand that this is a massive problem that needs immediate attention?

Maryland, along with Georgia, was one of Diebold's original "showcase states," implementing Diebold's hackable paperless touch-screen voting across virtually the entire state since 2002. With failure after failure, we might add.

If it's all not bad enough, in what is reported by WaPo as "an unrelated development" in the same article, a new report from Maryland state auditors revealed that the state's new voter registration database does not have proper security controls in place for access to the data...

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

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The Revolving Door Seems To Be Working Fine For Ex-Insiders as Thousands in Campaign Contributions to the Commission Chair from Old Friends Ensure Diebold's Premier Local Outfit Gets the County Contract!
State Election Integrity Advocates Issue News Release With Some Superb Reporting That Seems to Have Eluded the Local Mainstream Media!
By John Gideon on 10/13/2006 3:33pm PT  

Yesterday the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project (IBIP) issued a press release that is, as I explained to Brad Friedman, "un-freaking-believable". The DuPage County chapter of IBIP has been hard at work tracking cronyism and favoritism on the part of DuPage County, IL Election Commission Chairman J.P. "Rick" Carney in his dealings with Diebold Election Systems representatives from Fidlar Elections and Liberty LLC.

Kudos to IBIP for some great reporting!

The complete "un-freaking-believable" press release follows below...

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

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'Candorville' Skewers 'Liebold' and the Mainstream Media...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2006 12:25pm PT  

Kudos, btw, to Candorville cartoonist Darrin Bell, who has had his sharp eye on this issue for a while. His strip is widely syndicated (it's in our copy of LA Times for one), so his coverage of "Liebold" should be receiving quite a few eyeballs today.

He contacted us this morning to alert us to today's toon, along with the promise that "there will be more to this storyline as the election approaches."

He asks that we also point folks to the main Candorville website. We're happy to oblige!

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Website Guarantees Results at the Polls Through New Technology...
But Only in E-Voting Jurisdictions...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2006 11:35am PT  

So what shall we make of this?...

Among several of many interesting points on the website...

Winning Elections
The future of election management is today's reality. Election Consultants delivers results - guaranteed.
...
Outdated Methods
Ineffective strategists, costly marketing and unreliable polls have been a mainstay for centuries of election campaigning. Over hundreds of years, virtually no substantial improvements have been achieved in the reliability of election outcomes... until now.
...
Guaranteed Results
Election Consultants is so confident in our ability to secure a desirable outcome for your next election, that we guarantee complete satisfaction. If any individual precinct covered by our services fails to deliver promised results, then all service fees will be waived.

EXCLUSION: Guarantee does not include precincts that use non-electronic voting equipment. Click on Technology for a list of supported electronic voting equipment

...And much more. Well, what will they think of next?

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Landmark Documentary Will Feature Exclusive Footage of First Known Hack of Diebold Optical-Scan Voting System!
Investigative E-Voting Fraud Film --- Three Years in the Making --- to Debut on Cable Channel Nov. 2nd!
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2006 6:35am PT  

Think things have gotten bad for Diebold and friends? Something tells us they're about to get a whole lot worse.

HBO has just announced that they will be debuting Hacking Democracy, the long-awaited documentary film by Simon Ardizzone, Robert Carrillo Cohen and Russell Michaels, on November 2nd --- just days before millions of Americans will head to the polls to use all-new untested, inaccurate, hackable, electronic voting systems for the first time.

The BRAD BLOG received the first press release issued by HBO on this film late yesterday; it's posted in full at the end of this item.

We've yet to see the final version of the eagerly anticipated film (though we're told a screener is headed our way) but we've spent hours of time in conversation over the last year or two with both Michaels and Cohen as the pieces --- and the evidence --- were coming together.

We're told there are some remarkably damaging revelations to be seen --- and heard --- in the film, which includes not just interviews with Elections Officials, Computer Scientists, Security Experts, and Diebold Spokesliars, but loads of on-the-scene, first-hand documentary footage of some of the most remarkable and stunning moments during the long road of discovery in the E-Voting Revolution Scam that's been perpetrated on American democracy before, during and since the 2004 Election.

The investigative film, nearly three years in the making, is said to lay out a devasting case against E-voting in general, and Diebold in particular. The film, previously known as VoterGate, was released on the Internet in a very short, barebones "Presidential Election Special" just prior to the 2004 Election. At the time, that early, quickly compiled version --- which was jaw-dropping in and of itself --- followed the early stages of investigations into electronic voting machine fraud, vulnerabilities, and malfunction by Bev Harris and the late Andy Stephenson of BlackBoxVoting.org.

The earlier clips were released for free on the Internet in 2004 when the filmmakers felt they had already acquired so much important footage that they felt a responsibility to do something with it before the Presidential Election.

But as remarkable as the revelations of that short version were, that was then and this is now: some two years, miles of footage, and at least two or more actual demonstrated voting machine hacks later. The now-retitled film includes scores of fresh never-before-seen interviews, damning statements, and documents, and culminates in one of the most devasting moments in E-voting's short and sordid history: The Leon County Florida Hack, by computer security expert Harri Hursti, of a Diebold optical-scan voting machine in December of 2005.

The filmmakers were there for that watershed moment when the legendary Supervisor of Elections in Leon County, Ion Sancho, allowed independent computer security experts the opportunity to try and hack his paper-based Diebold optical scan voting system. The result was a flipped mock election, with no trace of the hack left behind, save for the paper ballots (which, in Florida, are now illegal to examine by hand after they have already been counted by a machine.)

Diebold said it couldn't be done. Diebold, apparently, lied.

That hack resulted in shockwaves across the national electoral landscape as it revealed the very real consequences of what had, up until then, been a largely theoretical fear about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines to malicious tampering.

An election had now been flipped for the first time on an actual voting system, this one a paper-based Diebold model. The touch-screen systems, we would later learn, are even more vulnerable.

The Leon County Hack will be seen, as it occured, for the first time when HBO premiers the film just days before this November's general election, when millions of Americans will be using those same new, hackable, optical-scan and touch-screen voting systems made by Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S, Hart InterCivic, and others for the first time.

It's about to get much worse, indeed. We hope to have more on Hacking America in the coming days.

UPDATE 10/15/06: Details now available on HBO's site here...

HBO's complete first press release on the film, including a schedule of air-dates, follows in full...

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

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Challenge to Unconstitutional and Premature Swearing-In of Republican Brian Bilbray Continues...
By Emily Levy on 10/6/2006 10:30am PT  

Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray will meet again in November's election for the 50th Congressional District in San Diego County, California. Because Bilbray was declared the winner of the Special Election on June 6, he will be running as an incumbent this time. However, there has not yet been a trustworthy count of the votes that reportedly brought him into Congress after the initial disputed election. The court case challenging his victory has yet to be resolved.

San Diego voters Barbara Gail Jacobsen and Lillian Ritt filed an election contest challenging Bilbray's reported victory based on a number of factors including the now-infamous Diebold electronic voting machine sleepovers. Judge Yuri Hofmann dismissed that suit after intervention by Republican Congressional leaders claiming that once Bilbray was sworn in, California courts had no jurisdiction to rule on California's election, even though swearing in took place before the election was certified in California. That dismissal is now being appealed by California attorney Ken Simpkins and election attorney Paul Lehto on behalf of Jacobsen and Ritt.

According to Simpkins, this "was a unique situation because they actually swore Bilbray in before we got certification of this election, before all the votes were counted. Congress is basically saying we're going to swear in whoever we want to swear in, it doesn't matter if the election has been completed or not. That's another treading on the state's constitutional right to determine the time, place and manner of elections," he said.

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2006 6:56pm PT  

More VoterAction.org lawsuits and complaints are now being filed to stop the use and/or purchase of electronic voting systems around the country. On Wednesday, two more. One in California, another in Wisconsin.

In Alameda County, CA a suit was filed to stop of the use of Sequoia Voting Systems touch-screen DRE's, alleging the county "has not performed independent, expert security vulnerability testing on its new Sequoia voting equipment. The group claims such testing was a prerequisite stipulated by county supervisors before the county would issue payment for the system." ...

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

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Voter Given Wrong Ballot on Diebold Touch-Screen Machine, as the First Reports of 'Glitches' in the Buckeye State's General Election Begin...
By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2006 1:53pm PT  

Of course, we've heard such reports during Primary Elections around the country already this year (see this one, where the Diebold touch-screen voting machine gave a voter a ballot for the wrong election, noticed only because he happened to be an eagle-eyed talk radio political reporter.)

Now, this just in yesterday from "bonobo", a blogger at dKos, on the first day of Early Voting on the same unreliable, hackable Diebold touch-screen voting machines, but this time in Franklin County, Ohio. And, again, from someone who happened to be politically involved enough to notice the "error"!...

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

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Columnist Writes Masterfully on Mountain of Evidence Against Company's Crappy Systems, Officials in State of Denial and More...
Only Small Quibble: His Advice to Vote by Absentee...So Here's Ours Instead...
By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2006 3:24pm PT  

A great column yesterday by Andrew Kantor in USA Today on the failure that is Diebold's electronic voting systems. An amusing (if painfully so) piece as well. He covers the mountain of evidence against Diebold's e-voting systems ("We send people to death row on flimsier and more circumstantial evidence," writes Kantor), the damage to our democracy, and the state of denial that officials, and the other dead-enders who support this technology, are now in.

His column includes this...

What more do people need to hear or to see or to read to convince them Diebold voting machines simply can't be trusted? A burning bush?

...And this...

And as for election and elected officials who insist that there is no danger in using Diebold machines, here's an important question: What will it take to convince them that these machines are not safe?

And I mean that. There has to be some threshold of evidence that will cause them to de-certify these machines. What is it? Does the San Diego Chicken have to be elected governor before you admit there's something wrong?

Because if we've entered the realm of "Nothing will convince me that these machines pose a problem," then they don't deserve to be in office. Period.

...Amongst other gems.

I hope he'll broaden his coverage to include the other manufacturers (ES&S, Sequoia, Hart InterCivic et al) soon, since there is no reason to believe their machines are any less shitty than Diebold's.

Only complaint is the headline and sidebar encouraging folks to vote by absentee ballot. On that, I sent Kantor the email below which I hope he (and you) will consider when advising folks to vote by absentee...

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

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Story Picks up on Robert Kennedy Jr.'s Recent Rolling Stone Exposé...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2006 4:21pm PT  

In an Atlanta Progressive News article today, Matthew Cardinale advances the ball forward a few steps concerning Diebold's chicanery and undocumented and/or questionable software patches down in Georgia just prior to the 2002 election.

Georgia, along with Maryland, was one of the original Diebold "showcase" states where paperless touch-screen voting machines were originally, and disastrously installed by the now-outgoing Democratic Secretary of State (and Diebold apologist) Cathy Cox.

Cardinale's coverage --- which has a quote or two from us --- picks up from RFK Jr.'s recent Rolling Stone piece covering this matter (and many others) as discussed by former Diebold contractor Chris Hood and others.

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'It's the Help America Vote Act, not the Help Diebold Profit Act,' Says Dem Nominee
State Senator Debra Bowen, Staunch Election Transparency Proponent, Issues Strong Statement on Congressional Initatives!
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2006 8:30am PT  

The Democratic nominee for Secretary of State in California issued a powerful statement in support of recent legislation filed by several Senators and Representatives in both the U.S. House and Senate calling for Emergency Paper Ballots at the polling place this November.

The 11th hour Congressional bills, filed on Tuesday and Wednesday, just days before both chambers adjourn for the Election Recess, will offer voters the right to vote on paper ballots this year and see those costs reimbursed by the Federal Government. The legislation, if passed, is estimated to cost approximately $10 million. It would amend the disastrous 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which has mandated some $3 billion to encourage States and Counties to "upgrade" to electronic voting systems.

Monumental failures in those systems, during primary elections across the country over the last several months, have sent thousands of voters away from the polls without being able to cast any vote at all. The situation could be far worse during the general election when voter turnout will be a great deal higher than it's been so far in the mid-year primaries.

"Remember, it's the 'Help America Vote Act,' not the 'Help Diebold Profit Act,'" said Bowen, in a stinging comment referring to one of America's largest manufacturers of inaccurate, untested, hackable elecronic voting machines. "It's why this low-tech option makes so much sense, especially in light of all of the problems electronic voting machines have had in primary elections this year, not just in California, but also in Texas, Illinois, and most recently Maryland."

The BRAD BLOG originally proposed the idea for Emergency Paper Ballots early last week. The low-tech, high common-sense notion has gained considerable steam since its inception on these pages. It has now been officially introduced as legislation in Congress by Senators Boxer, Dodd, Feingold and Kerry in the Senate, and by Representative Rush Holt and several co-sponsors in the U.S. House.

Bowen's Republican opponent, Sec. of State Bruce McPherson was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and has come under considerable fire for re-certifying Diebold systems in the state in light of severe warnings from his own team of scientific advisors about more than a dozen "serious vulnerabilities" in those particular voting systems.

An investigate report from BlackBoxVoting.org [PDF], a non-partisan E-voting watchdog organization, found that representative of Diebold's had actually drafted official documents on behalf of the California Secretary of State's office!

That same rep, Rob Pelletier, had previously been presenting disinformation in comments here at The BRAD BLOG under the name of "Wally O'Diebold" until he was found out.

Diebold voting systems were decertified in California by McPherson's predecessor, just prior to the 2004 election, when it was discovered the company had been installing uncertified software and systems in several counties across the state. They settled a qui tam (fraud) lawsuit with the state for $2.8 million later that year.

Though the legislation in the Congress so far has been sponsored by Democrats, the problem is a decidedly non-partisan issue. Maryland's Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich recently called for paper ballots to be used in his state this November after failures across the state disenfranchised thousands of voters during their September 12th primary. Maryland, along with Georgia, was Diebold's "showcase" state having installed their paperless electronic touch-screen systems as early as 2002 with the cooperation and ardent support of the Democratic MD Elections Director, Linda Lamone.

Citing the irony of the public outcry for a return to countable paper balloting, the failure of the U.S. Congress to take action on growing concerns, and the plunging confidence rate in electronic voting amongst the American electorate, Bowen said in her statement, "It's about time Congress provides counties with the incentive to allow their voters to cast a paper ballot at the polls on Election Day, a step that will help begin to restore voter confidence in the elections process and the results."

Bowen, in her capacity as chair of the CA State Senate Elections Commission, held hearings in Kern County, California after the state's marred June 6th primary, when voting systems failed to start up --- or sometimes even show up at the polls at all --- until hours after voting was supposed to have begun. The Kern County Registrar of Voters had, incredibly, given instructions that "back-up paper ballots were not to be used" on Election Day according to the State Senators statement.

"Kern County is the reason why I wish counties were required to provide this option to voters," Bowen remarked.

Citizens are asked to call upon Congress to pass the Emergency Paper Ballot legislation immediately. You may easily contact your Senators here, and your House Members here.

Debra Bowen's complete statement on Emergency Paper Ballots follows in full...

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

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UPDATE: Just After BRAD BLOG Posts Day Long Results Showing Massive Distrust of E-Voting, Results Suddenly Flip After Hours!
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2006 3:10pm PT  

Results of C-SPAN's online poll as of 9/27/06, 6:07pm ET...

UPDATE 9:49pm ET: Well, isn't this interesting?! After the poll was at 75% or so "NO" all day long, throughout the entire working day when most folks are at their computers, suddenly, after hours, as of 9:49pm ET, there's been a sudden and remarkable change in the results! Here's where things stand as of now...

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

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