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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, May 29, 2016
A Minimum Income and Maximum Infrastructure?: 'BradCast' 5/26/16
Guest host Angie Coiro with Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future; Plus: Historians on the Trump/Hitler comparison...
L.A. County Clerk Explains 'Uncharted Territory' of CA Primary: 'BradCast' 5/25/16
Guest: L.A. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan; Plus: Orange County, CA pollworker-in-training w/ viral video calls in...
Why Dems Should be BEGGING Sanders to Stay in Through CA: 'BradCast' 5/24/16
Guest: Washington Monthly's David Atkins; Plus: Sanders files for 'recanvass' in KY and very good news for OH voters!...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canada insurers call for climate strategy; Pakistan and India heat wave; Renewables record in Portugal; Exxon killed the electric car; PLUS: Trump preps for rising seas (really!)...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/16 - 5/17/16 - Archives...
Think Twice About 'Bernie or Bust': 'BradCast' 5/23/16
Columnist and Sanders supporter Harold Meyerson offers some historic warnings for other Sanders supporters; Also: More bad polls for Clinton; More bad 'track conditions' for Dems; Planet's climate crisis worsens...
Sunday Toons of the Slowly-Realized Moment
A number of toons in PDiddie's collection of this week's best should be prize winners, frankly. Check them all out...
Jill Stein: 'We're Seeing the Dean Scream of 2016': 'BradCast' 5/19/16
The Green Party's 2012 Presidential nominee and 2016 candidate offers thoughts on Dems, Sanders, the 'two-party system', the 'spoiler effect' and more in our exclusive interview...
'Green News Report' 5/19/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump will toss UN climate pact; Coal export terminal halted in WA; Nestle water plant halted in OR; Duke ordered to close coal ash pits in NC; PLUS: Another climate win for kids in MA...
Previous GNRs: 5/17/16 - 5/12/16 - Archives...
OR, KY Results, And 'Fraud' Concerns Examined (Where Possible): 'BradCast' 5/18/16
Also: Climate disaster in Sri Lanka; CT adds automatic voter registration; KS ordered to restore voting rights to 18,000...
Trump Gains on Clinton; Big Win Against Coal in WA State: 'BradCast' 5/17/16
Sierra Club's Mary Anne Hitt on another huge win for grassroots activism; And corporate media fails us again...
'Green News Report' 5/17/16
Global climate protests ignored by MSM; New evacuations for Ft. McMurray fire; New EPA methane rules; Shell spills in Gulf; A win for whales; PLUS: April 2016 hottest ever...
MO Repubs Seek To State Amendment To Impose Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Some state Dems back 'compromise' that will leave 200k legally registered voters at risk of disenfranchisement...
SCOTUS Punts ObamaCare Case; NV Dems Descends Into Chaos: 'BradCast' 5/16/16
Ian Millhiser on Court's latest unprecedented (post-Scalia) move; Chaos at NV state Dem convention...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
Big Government bathroom inspections in NC, Trump and Sanders shaking up the establishment, and more in PDiddie's collection of the week's best political toons...
Strange Days Indeed: 'BradCast' 5/13/16
Oil Spills; Pathological Trump lies; GOP transgender freak outs; EXCLUSIVE details on MD's decertification of Baltimore's 4/26 Primary Election results...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'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...


California Primary Election Eve Complaint, Filed Within the Hour in LA Superior Court Claims E-Voting Tabulators Placed in Room with Internet Access, in Close Proximity to Uncertified Tabulator Software
Complaint Filed by Plaintiffs Cindy Asner and Peace & Freedom Party Chair, Declaration Filed by Green Party Election Inspector, Several Troubling Details Alleged...ALSO: Voter Given Wrong Ballot in Winograd Race on Diebold Touch-Screen Early Voting Machine...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2006 4:04pm PT  


UPDATE 6:56pm PT: Judge Denies Injunction! Suit Dismissed! Details follow in an update following our original coverage...

A last-minute Election Eve compaint has been filed in a Los Angeles courtroom within the hour calling on LA County's registrar of voters, Conny B. McCormack to immediately remove Diebold elecronic voting machine tabulators, said to have illegal access to the Internet as well as uncertified tabulation software, from counting rooms at the county's main facility in Norwalk, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

The plaintiffs in the case are Cindy Asner and Cynthia Henderson, LA County Chair of the Peace and Freedom Party.

The emergency filing, being heard at this hour, is based on an affidavit filed today by Green Party election system inspector, John Wenger, a PhD and retired software engineer from Northrup Grumman who has been tracking LA County's use of electronic voting machines over the past month along with several other inspectors from both the Green and Democratic parties. The BRAD BLOG spoken at length with Wenger over the weekend, and has reviewed a draft version of his declaration being filed with the suit. (The final version of Wenger's declaration is now posted at the end of this article.)

Los Angeles county is the largest voting area in California. The state is holding its Primary Election tomorrow. Touch-screen Diebold voting machines --- now shown to be hackable and highly vulnerable to malicious tampering at both the point of the voting machine itself and its central tabulator software --- are used for early voting only in LA County. Though early voting in LA began several weeks ago and ended last Friday, tabulation of votes cast during that period will not begin until the polls close on Tuesday evening at 8pm PT.

The race is an important one to Election Integrity advocates since state senator Debra Bowen is running in a primary race in hopes of winning the Democratic nomination to take on Republican CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson who has been a supporter of vulnerable electronic voting machines, including Diebold's, in the state. As well, the LA County Registrar of voters, Conny B. McCormack has been a long-time supporter of Diebold and their election equipment and has even been featured, via photograph and endorsement, on promotional brochures distributed by the controversial Ohio company. (See graphic below.)

This year's primary is also being closely watched due to a Democratic primary challenge by anti-war candidate Marcy Winograd against powerful pro-war Democratic U.S. House Representative Jane Harman in the state's 36th U.S. Congressional district.

Further, another troubling detail about Diebold's touch-screen systems in the county was revealed on Friday of last week when The BRAD BLOG received an email indicating that one voter at least --- Michael Shure, a political commentator on Sirius Sattelite's The Young Turks radio program --- who voted on the Diebold touch-screen machines was given the incorrect ballot.

Shure, who lives in CA's 36th congressional district noted that his touch-screen ballot gave him the option to vote for Rep. Henry Waxman, who is running unopposed in his U.S. Congressional primary, instead of the Winograd/Harman race which should have been on his ballot.

"Unbelievable," Shure wrote in his email. "Had I not known, as I am sure many voters don't, who my Rep. was, and what district I live in, I would have been voting for someone else."

Indeed, Shure's experience underscores further dangers of combined precincts using elecronic touch-screen voting machines as Los Angeles offers during the early voting period when voters may go to any early voting location and cast their ballot on machines which --- supposedly --- offer them the appropriate ballot for their particular district.

The experience has left the Winograd campaign wondering how many other voters may have missed out on the opportunity to vote in that contentious race and whether or not they may need to file a challenge to the election in order to find out.

UPDATE 6:56pm PT: Judge Denies Injunction! Suit Dismissed! Details follow below...

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




Spokesman David Bear Says Touch-Screen Machines 'Not Vulnerable', Just Require 'Redundant Enhancement'
Flaw Described as 'Major National Security Risk', 'Only Vulnerable to Those Who Would Commit a Felony,' Says Desperate Flack...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2006 2:10pm PT  

There's an excellent article today in the Salt Lake Tribune concerning Emery County, Utah's 23-year elected (and now embattled) county clerk, Bruce Funk. Funk allowed computer security experts to examine his new Diebold touch-screen voting systems, resulting in the discovery of an enormous security flaw that would allow anybody with a bare minimum access to the machines to completely change the election software, the operating system, and even the computer firmware in a matter of minutes --- and with no password necessary!

We broke the early details on this story several weeks ago. States around the country have been scrambling to figure out how to deal with this huge security flaw ever since (as it effects every Diebold touch-screen machine in every state in the country, and access to one, can effect all the others in the same precint and/or county). States other than Utah, anyway, whose officials are attempting to push Funk out of his job and are claiming that everything is just fine with their hackable Diebold touch-screen voting systems. Nothing to worry about here.

Read the article. It's very good. But I'm pulling it out, just so that I can give you another taste of Diebold's sad spokesman, David Bear's latest --- and perhaps most pathetically ridiculous --- statement to date on this thing...

Diebold spokesman David Bear says the so-called security hole is really a "functionality" that allows the software to be efficiently updated. What critics call a fix, Bear prefers to call a "redundant enhancement." "Keep in mind, this is not a vulnerability," Bear says. "[Election officials] are just asking for an enhancement to the existing system." The machines are already well-protected through standard procedures, including integrity tests, seals and, of course, honest elections officials, Bear says.

"It's only a vulnerability to those who would commit a felony [tampering with an election]," he says.

And why would anyone, with millions and billions of dollars at stake in each and every one of these elections ever have any interest in committing such a felony? Good lord.

Bear's classic 'Orwellian/Bushian Doublespeak' concerning a "redundant enhancement" is one for the hall of fame. Keep slingin' it, Dave!




By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2006 3:54pm PT  

In a sidebar editorial to today's expos頯n what Robert F. Kennedy suggests was a stolen 2004 Presidential Election in Rolling Stone a call is made for an official investigation into the Electronic Voting Machine scam.

Sub-titled "Electronic voting machines pose a grave threat to democracy," the editorial details one confirmed problem after another with Electronic Voting Machines (most of which we've been reporting here at The BRAD BLOG for the past two years). Included are details on how Diebold scammed their way into Ohio and helped push the Help America Vote Act through congress in 2002 (as we originally reported our own expos頨ere.)

"Enough." the RS editorial concludes, "Only a complete investigation by federal authorities can determine the full extent of any bribery and vote rigging that has taken place. The public must be assured that the power to count the votes --- and to recount them, if necessary --- will not be ceded to for-profit corporations with a vested interest in superseding the will of the people. America's elections are the most fundamental element of our democracy --- not a market to be privatized by companies like Diebold."

Hear! Hear!

Our discussions with Kennedy over the last several weeks, in advance of today's article, make it clear that he's not done with this issue yet. Not by a long shot. Stay tuned...




Complaint Seeks to Stop Use of Electronic Voting Systems Made by Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S and Hart InterCivic
Broadest State Filing Against Voting Machines Yet Filed, Follows Similar Suits in California, Arizona, New Mexico
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2006 11:37am PT  

In a complaint said to be the broadest yet filed to halt the rise of the electronic voting machines, a non-partisan group of voters have announced they are filing suit today in Colorado to stop the purchase and use of Direct Recording Electronic ("DRE" or touch-screen) voting machines in the state, The BRAD BLOG can now reveal.

The suit, being filed today in Denver District Court and modeled after similar actions filed previously in California, Arizona and New Mexico, calls for an immediate halt to the use of touch-screen machines made by all four of the major electronic voting machine vendors currentlly doing business in Colorado.

The group, advised and organized by VoterAction.org contends that voting machines made by Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems, Election Systems and Software Inc. (ES&S) and Hart InterCivic "have a well-documented history of problems with security, reliability, verifiability, and disability access."

According to a press release issued this morning (posted in full below) by the Denver law firm of Wheeler Trigg Kennedy LLP the machines "are easily hacked and compromised, and have a history of operational problems which have disrupted elections across the country."

Defendants named in the suit include Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis and the Boards of county commissioners in 9 different CO counties.

"The Secretary of State's Office has failed to issue rules setting minimum standards for security of these systems. The election rules permit the DRE manufacturers to simply tell the State that their machines are secure," said Wheller Trigg Kennedy attorney Paul Hultin in the release. "Worse, the Secretary is not following the law. No certification reports required by law have been prepared even though these systems have been certified for months and counties are preparing to use these dubious systems in the upcoming election," he says.

"Some of the security risks with these machines are so high that it is unconscionable that their manufacturers, who have known of the problems for years, have not taken the necessary steps to correct them," says Univesity of Iowa computer science Professor Dr. Doug Jones, who is one of several experts who will be offering testimony in the case.

"The Help America Vote Act is being turned on its head, weakening the integrity of our elections in the rush to purchase untrustworthy DRE computerized voting systems," said Lowell Finley, Co-counsel for the Colorado voter plaintiffs, election law expert, and Co-director of Voter Action, according to the release. "The sanctity of our elections is too important to turn over to private corporations which operate without accountability. There are better and more secure options available, such as optical scan-paper balloting."

The complete filing is now online here [PDF]...

We're busy covering the Robert Kennedy article on Election 2004 in Rolling Stone today (we'll have extended excerpts on BRAD BLOG shortly), so we'll leave you with the complete press release below for more details on this developing case...

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




Admits: 'Originally Dismissed as Exaggerations, Criticisms Now Viewed With Increased Gravity'
Otherwise, Article Creates a False 'Balanced Debate' Where There is None...
By Brad Friedman on 5/30/2006 3:06pm PT  

Again, we're always happy to see coverage of the mess concerning Diebold's proven and severe security vulnerabilities as well as the hackable electronic voting machines made by their compatriot (competitor) companies. All of that, as our electoral democracy crumbles out from under us while very few are paying attention or giving a damn even if they are.

So, we're happy to see the issue brought up again in today's Washington Post "A section" in a "special to WaPo" by Zachary A. Goldfarb who has done some decent coverage on these issues in the past.

Not as happy, however, to see this report as yet another indication that the Fox "News"-ization of WaPo seems to be complete.

In the name of phony "balance" (the word Fox "News" has perpetrated on a gullible public and a terrified mainstream media in order to level decidedly unlevel playing fields to the advantage of the bad guys), today's report, headlined "Debating the Bugs of High-Tech Voting," creates a completely false sense of "balance" in an otherwise unbalanced "debate."

Aside from the article appearing in WaPo at all, the biggest upside to it is this admission in the following graf:

Many of the criticisms of voting technology were originally dismissed as exaggerations promulgated by partisans displeased with election results. But the criticisms have been viewed with increasing gravity as prominent computer scientists have rallied behind them.

Beyond that, however, the article sets up a phony "level playing field" between Computer Scientists, all of whom now criticize the Diebold electronic voting machines --- even folks like Prof. Michael Shamos of Carnegie Mellon who had previously been a major defender of e-voting --- Goldbarb then goes on to frame things as if the points of the defenders of E-Voting (those who have a financial stake it in) are somehow equal to those who have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that that the defenders were lying and/or wrong about E-voting.

With E-Voting vendors and Elections Officials on one side and Computer Scientists and Election Integrity activists on the other, the appearance of a Fox "News" style one side versus the other side debate is created.

Goldfarb even manages to define Elections Officials as "strik[ing] a middle ground" between the vendors and the Election Integrity advocates when he then goes on to quote a spokesperson from CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's office repeating precisely what Diebold has said publicly about the latest huge security vulnerability discovered in Diebold systems [emphasis ours]:

"There certainly are potential security vulnerabilities that have arisen," said Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for California's secretary of state. "But you have to be realistic about it: When you're administrating elections, there's a very low risk of any" tampering.

That ain't a "middle ground", that's Diebold propoganda.

Here's a quote from a letter sent by Diebold to states after they could no longer conceal the vulnerability problems from the public. Note the similarities to Kerns quote above:

The probability for exploiting this vulnerability to install un-authorized software that could affect an election is considered low.

You can see the full Diebold letter, and the nearly identical (word-for-word!) "Directive" from Pennsylvania officials, who struck that same "middle ground" when they had to deal with the problem just days before their recent primary elections right here.

Beyond that, the article goes on to quote Diebold spokesman/known-liar, David Bear, repeating his same old "there are no evil election officials" canard, while otherwise doing a nice job, at least, of pointing out Shamos' apparent about-face concerning the security on these machines, after he had once been an ardent supporter/defender of e-voting.

Bottom-line, however: This is not an even debate. Nor even a "debate" at all!

The Computer Scientists and Election Integrity Advocates have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Diebold voting machines, both optical scan and touch-screen, are hackable and unsecure. They have also been federally certified despite violating federally created standards for certification. They should be decertified immediately at the federal level on that basis alone.

The other side is not debating. They are spinning in an attempt to downplay the issue as "not all that important."

That's not a debate. That is FACT versus SPIN and coverage of these issues ought to be clear on that. Especially from Washington Post where we'd expect them to be a bit more honest than Fox "News". But perhaps it's time to simply do away that expectation once and for all.

UPDATE: While WaPo misses the point (or chooses to), the smaller papers, such as the Lakeland Florida Ledger get it right anyway...




'The bloggers have apparently been right all along,' says host Cenk Uyger
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2006 1:33pm PT  

The Young Turks had NEWSWEEK's Steven Levy as a guest on their show yesterday to discuss his article on the Diebold disaster from this week's issue. (See our item discussing his article here, including an update with a response from Levy concerning our coverage.)

Says host Cenk Uyger during the interview: "The bloggers have apparently been right about this all along."

Other items that jumped out at us: When asked how many states have "reliable systems", Levy said, "26 states have instituted some sort of paper trail."

We'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he understands that a "paper trail" law, particularly when it's never actually counted, and it almost never is, means nothing (as we pointed out in our piece covering his article a few days ago.)

And this from Levy, who does, I think, generally "get it" --- even if he may somewhat underestimate the full gravity that this issue deserves, as it underscores our entire democracy: "The big thing would be to take the election system out of the private sector, and put it into the public sector."

On that score, of course, he's right on the money.

One more note: They discuss the "blogosphere" several times in several ways in relation to this issue. No names mentioned (can't imagine who they may be referring to.) And co-host Ben Mankiewicz --- who I've sat in for once or twice while he was gone, so haven't gotten to speak with him much on this --- seems to be the most skeptical of the bunch. I've told Cenk this morning that I'd be delighted to go back on the show to answer any and all of Ben's (or his) questions, skepticisms, concerns or anything else on this matter. Hopefully, we'll be able to arrange something along those lines soon.

-- Watch/Listen to the complete interview with Steven Levy here...

(Thanks for the heads up, Cenk!)




Electronic Machines, Shown Vulnerable to Easy Tampering --- Yet Said by State Officials to Be Physically Protected Under New Guidelines --- Now Available for Easy Access to Temp Workers!
Rationalizations from Diebold Company Apologists Appearing Sillier by the Day...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2006 11:48am PT  


So much for those vaunted claims by California's Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and his partners at Diebold, Inc. about increased security surrounding the physical access to electronic voting machines in light of newly revealed vulnerabilities to easy tampering.

A tip received by The BRAD BLOG on Monday reveals that Temp Workers are currently being sought in San Francisco for California's upcoming primary election to "assist in dropping off election voting machines and picking these machines up when voting is complete," as the says.

A classified ad seeking the workers is currently posted on the Internet at Monster.com by Kelly Services. (A screenshot of the complete ad is posted at the end of this article.) The salary offered to temp workers hired for the job --- who will have private unsupervised access to the state's voting machines before and after election day --- is $11.99/hour according to the posting.

A litany of recent studies and independent scientific analyses of electronic voting machines, in California and elsewhere --- and reportedly widely in the mainstream media of late --- have warned that such systems and the data they contain are easily alterable via such physical access.

State and voting machine company officials have now admitted as much, but claim that stringent security procedures ensure that the danger posed by such access can be mitigated.

The ad, however, seeking temp workers for three weeks beginning on May 31, the week prior to California's June 6th primary election, would seem to belie official claims, while serving to underscore the extraordinarily precarious and dangerously vulnerable state of our current electoral system...

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




Company Spokesman/Dead-Ender David Bear Running Out of Spin!
[UPDATE: Newsweek's Steven Levy Responds to This Article]
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2006 1:09am PT  


"If Diebold had set out to build a system as insecure as they possibly could, this would be it," says Avi Rubin, a Johns Hopkins University computer-science professor and elections-security expert.

Things aren't looking good for our friends at Diebold. Even NEWSWEEK is finally paying attention as Steven Levy files a report for this week's issue on the story we broke two weeks ago.

(Just pointing that out, so you generous BRAD BLOG donors realize you're getting your money's worth by getting the scoops long before the rest of the world even wakes up :-) And by way of torturously cryptic value-added teaser: Much more to come from other major MSM sources in the near future. Much.)

But back to NEWSWEEK...Levy's piece begins this way...

May 29, 2006 issue - Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the voting booth, here comes more disturbing news about the trustworthiness of electronic touchscreen ballot machines. Earlier this month a report by Finnish security expert Harri Hursti analyzed Diebold voting machines for an organization called Black Box Voting. Hursti found unheralded vulnerabilities in the machines that are currently entrusted to faithfully record the votes of millions of Americans.

How bad are the problems? Experts are calling them the most serious voting-machine flaws ever documented. Basically the trouble stems from the ease with which the machine's software can be altered. It requires only a few minutes of pre-election access to a Diebold machine to open the machine and insert a PC card that, if it contained malicious code, could reprogram the machine to give control to the violator. The machine could go dead on Election Day or throw votes to the wrong candidate. Worse, it's even possible for such ballot-tampering software to trick authorized technicians into thinking that everything is working fine, an illusion you couldn't pull off with pre-electronic systems.

With that said, we recommend you read Levy's piece --- it's not long --- for a few more thoughts and details. But we'll nitpick one or two of them here. Most notably taking the opportunity to highlight Diebold's desperato spokesman, David Bear's latest gasp...

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




Reports from Pennsylvania During Last Tuesday's Primary
(Brad Consulted NPR a Bit on the Report)...UPDATE: Now Includes Text Transcript of Report...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2006 12:58pm PT  

This morning, NPR's Weekend Edition covered the latest trouble with Diebold's touch-screen systems. They went to Pottsville, PA during last Tuesday's primary election.

The producer on the story had contacted us last week, prior to the story, for some background information. The resultant report, aired this morning, was generally a good --- and for a chance, accurate! --- one, we think.

By way of quick summary: Diebold spokesman Mark Radke explains the latest security hole, which had caused a lockdown of all Diebold touch-screen machines in PA, just days prior to the election, was there for a good reason --- to update software quickly, he says.

No explanation, of course, for why Diebold didn't feel it necessary to warn PA themselves about such a need for these extreme measures long ago. Especially since they were warned about the problem as long ago as January 2004.

Johns Hopkins computer science professor, Avi Rubin, says he can't think of a problem ever revealed in a voting machine as severe as this one --- the one which Radke predictably downplays --- adding that a TIVO system has more built-in security than a Diebold voting machine!

Radke says the physical security of the machines would make it impossible to exploit the security hole. Radke, of course, knows he's just spinning. Rubin makes that clear in his response, explaining how he could have compromised an election in about 5 seconds as a poll worker through this ridiculous vulnerability.

-- Listen to the full report (about 5 mins) here...

...And let us know what you thought of it in comments.

UPDATE: Barb Burt over at CommonCause, blogs on the NPR item as well this morning, giving it high-marks, along with a few other notable thoughts.

UPDATE 5/24/06: A text transcript of the NPR report is now included below...

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




Two-Year Old Public Report Reveals Diebold Was Warned of 'Newly Discovered' Vulnerability Allowing Software to be Overwritten Without Password in Matter of Minutes
Experts Suggest Decertification of System, Violations of Federal Standards, Describe Diebold's Failure to Act as 'Criminal'
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2006 12:56pm PT  

The massive security flaw recently revealed in Diebold touch-screen voting machines --- which allows election software and systems to be overwritten with rogue software in minutes, without need of a password --- and which has sent Elections Officials from Pennsylvania to California to Iowa to every state in the union which uses them, sequestering the machines and scrambling for a solution to mitigate the problem, was previously revealed in a 2004 security report commissioned by the state of Maryland, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

The security assessment of Diebold's touch-screen voting systems was completed by RABA Technologies, and presented to the Maryland State Legislature in January 2004. The report, reviewed at the time by both Maryland election officials and officials at Diebold, consisted of "a 'Red Team' exercise to discover vulnerabilities in the actual voting system" prior to the state's March 2004 primary election.

A "Red Team" attack is used by computer security teams to attempt to hack into a computer system or software package. The results of the RABA report in 2004, spelled out specific details of the latest Diebold security problems which have been splashed across the pages of maintream media outlets from coast to coast since last Wednesday.

Maryland was one of the first states to adopt Diebold's paperless touch-screen systems in 2002 and, as previously reported, spent millions of dollars , in an initiative with Diebold at the time, to promote the new electronic voting systems to state voters.

The security problem exists in both Diebold's paperless touch-screen systems, as well as their newer models which include a so-called "voter-verified paper trail."

The BRAD BLOG broke exclusive details of the story originally on Friday before last, several days before the MSM joined the fray...but we're glad that they're all finally paying attention.

Apparently, though Diebold was apprised of the serious security problem back in early 2004, Diebold programmers and company officials appear to have done nothing to fix the flaws which were found as still present in voting systems being sold by the company this year. In March of this year, an independent security analysis of Diebold touch-screen systems deployed in Utah for the first time, confirmed the continuing presence of the same flaw and, additionally, found even more troubling details surrounding the same security vulnerability.

At least one computer scientist and E-voting expert has now described Diebold's delinquency in failing to correct the problem after two years to be "criminal" and meriting complete decertification.

Furthermore, the security vulnerability --- being described by computer security professionals as "the most serious security breach that's ever been discovered in a voting system," and "a major national security risk" --- appears to be yet another apparent violation, by Diebold, of federal Voting System Standards...

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




Diebold Sales Rep 'Buck' Jones Demos Touch-Screen Voting Machine as State SoS Declares it 'The Most Secure Thing Outside of a Wells-Fargo Truck!'
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2006 11:30am PT  

Apropos to the discussion of late concerning the unquestioning relationship between Voting Machine Company Officials and State Elections Officials (see our last entry with documents revealing Pennsylvania simply reformatted a Diebold notice and released it as their own), The BRAD BLOG has obtained exclusive video from a public meeting held in Mississippi last year in which Diebold representative Charles "Buck" Jones demonstrates the AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) machines to a number of people, including the Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Clark.

Clark, who clearly states that his mind is already made up as to the security of Diebold's touch-screen systems refuses to stick around to answer questions at the meeting. Incredibly, he's recorded in this video tape, made in 2005, describing the security of the Diebold's touch-screen machines as "the most secure thing outside of a Wells-Fargo truck."

Jones, "The Diebold Man", as described in the video, is the one trying to refute "reports you might have seen on the Internet" to some Election Integrity Advocates present at the meeting. He's the one who says directly to the camera: "I'm not gonna see it on the Internet or anything like that, right?"

BRAD BLOG readers may recall Jones as the one who'd contacted us via email on a Saturday last March just moments after we'd posted an article concerning an election in New Hampshire which had to be rerun after it was discovered the electronic voting machines had apparently recorded more votes than there were voters. The story Jones contacted us about covered the New Hampshire Union-Leader's report of the incident, which had errantly described the voting machine in question as one of Diebold's. Jones kindly informed us the Union Leader report was in error, and the faulty machine was, in fact, made by their competitor, ES&S.

We quipped at the time that it would be lovely if Diebold was as responsive to the myriad problems revealed in their own systems, as they apparently are in pointing out problems found in their competitor's systems.

Given the litany of recently revealed, irrefutable security problems found in Diebold electronic voting machines, this seems a good time to share this video with you. It was made by one of the attendees at the meeting...

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




Media Then Reported Diebold's Downplaying of Threat as State's Own Assessment
(Why not just do away with the middle man and let Diebold run everything?)
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2006 8:31am PT  

"It is like the nuclear bomb for e-voting systems," said Avi Rubin, computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University. "It's the deal breaker. It really makes the security flaws that we found (in prior years) look trivial."
-- From Security Focus, 5/12/06

Pennsylvania officials warned local election registrars last week about the vulnerability in the mechanism that installs and upgrades software on Diebold equipment. It said the risk of the vulnerability being exploited was "low".
-- From AP, 5/11/06

The first graf above, quoting Rubin, comes from a superb and indepth article by Robert Lemos at Security Focus on the latest Diebold security disaster. We recommend his report for a host of reasons, amongst them; his broad coverage of dozens of the stories we've yelled and screamed about here at The BRAD BLOG over the past several months, but also because he adds loads of details to the latest Diebold mess which is finally being picked up by the mainstream media. Big time. (Here's an eye-popping compilation of scores of articles from just last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with many more to come.)

We point to Rubin's quote --- similar to on the record statements from of the other computer scientists and e-voting security professionals familiar with the details of the built-in "feature" in Diebold's touch-screen systems now revealed to be an extraordinary security vulnerability --- by way of contrast to the way both Diebold and the State of Pennsylvania (and subsequently the bulk of the media) reported their characterization of the problem. That would be the second graf of this story in which AP quotes PA officials describing the risk as "low."

From Diebold's Mouth to Your Ears...

We're often asked, by media folks and others, why it is that Election Officials seem to stand by their E-Voting Machines and Vendors, such as Diebold, ES&S and others, instead of holding them accountable and independently verifying their (usually unsupported) claims about the security and reliability of their voting machines --- as Leon County, FL Supervisor of Elections, Ion Sancho and Emery County, UT County Clerk, Bruce Funk, both rare exceptions --- did.

Setting aside that both Sancho and Funk have been fighting with state officials to hang on to their jobs ever since, The BRAD BLOG has obtained a few documents which underscore what's really at work in the bulk of Election Official/Election Machine Vendor relationships...

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




Diebold Disasters Leading to Self-Destruction As ES&S Continues to Meltdown and Miss One Contractual Obligation After Another?
By John Gideon on 5/15/2006 6:53am PT  

By John Gideon, www.VotersUnite.Org and www.VoteTrustUSA.Org May 15, 2006

Yes, the wheels are wobbling on the locomotives. The vendors --- ES&S, Diebold, and the rest --- attempt to keep a stiff upper lip as they both fail to perform, yet continue collecting tax-payer dollars from the county election coffers. Meanwhile some elections officials have just turned a blind-eye to what is happening while they continue to make excuses for their vendors: The private corporate American Electronic Voting Machine behemoths that are being paid to take over America's Public Electoral system.

And the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) which was put in place by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), theoretically, to keep all of this from occurring? Well, all they do is raise their hands and shrug and tell anyone who asks, that they don't do voting systems certification so they just don't know anything. The Sergeant Schultz Defense, perhaps?

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2006 4:33pm PT  

And we entrust these guys to correctly count our votes?! Are we out of our minds? Can these guys do anything right? (These questions have long ago been answered on these very pages, of course.)

From AP today...

Five Florida counties get uncertified voting machines

ORLANDO, Fla. - Five counties received new touch-screen voting machines that weren't certified for use in Florida because they were upgraded without approval from state officials, officials said.

The Diebold Election Systems machines were delivered in Volusia, Polk, Leon, Putnam and Glades counties with memory, processor, display and other improvements.

And from the Daytona Beach News-Journal...

Touch-screen voting devices not certified

DELAND --- A funny thing happened when Volusia County elections officials fired up their new touch-screen voting machines --- they discovered the equipment wasn't certified by the state.

Diebold Election System shipped upgraded models --- 210 of them --- not yet verified by the Florida Division of Elections.

How much higher can the mountain of evidence get to make the case that these guys should be put out of the election business and our democracy's misery immediately and entirely?

Who the hell is running the federal Elections Assistance Commission (EAC)? OJ's jury?!

...CONTACT...
United States Election Assistance Commission
1225 New York Avenue N.W., Suite - 1100
Washington, DC 20005

Telephone: (202) 566-3100
Toll Free: (866) 747-1471
Fax: (202) 566-3127
E-mail Address: HAVAinfo@eac.gov




Glad They've Noticed! But that said...
By Brad Friedman on 5/11/2006 9:51pm PT  

An article in the conservative Wall Street Journal tomorrow covers a number of E-voting meltdown/train wreck issues around the country, including the nine lawsuits currently in progress around the country to push back these damned, untested, unsecure, hackable machines and other points of which The BRAD BLOG has been reporting over the last many many months.

We're glad to see them finally take notice and report on these problems to the nation.

The niceties now set aside, the article minimizes the myriad severe problems and security issues throughout. One way of doing that, is referring to these problems as "glitches" no less than five times by our count. Another way of doing that, is quoting Election Integrity attorney Lowell Finley of VoterAction.org in half a sentence. And devoting the rest of the quotes in the piece to spokespersons from Diebold (known liar, David Bear) and ES&S, along with unsecure electronic voting proponent (and cowardly disinformation expert), AZ Sec. of State, Jan Brewer.

None of the many Election Integrity advocates, computer science or security professionals, apparently, were allowed to refute the silly apologists disinformation statements of Brewer, Bear or Ken Fields of ES&S.

Still, one passage from late in the article is just flat wrong:

Despite common charges that the machines lack adequate security, no cases have emerged proving that a hacker or an insider has or could electronically manipulate the vote.

Sounds a whole lot like David Bear talking there. The fact is, the so-called "Hursti Hack" in Leon County, Florida in December, 2005, covered in some detail by the mainstream media, confirmed by CA SoS and Diebold proponent Bruce McPherson's own independent analysis [PDF], proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that both a hacker and an insider could electronically manipulate the vote.

We're happy to see the national coverage. It would be nice if they could avoid such statements that are demonstrably wrong and misleading.

National media may feel free to contact us. We'll be happy to help you avoid such easily avoidable errors and will put you in touch with all manner of experts who can help you understand what's really going on here.




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