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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, December 22, 2014
'Green News Report' 12/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Nothin' but good news for a change! - NY bans fracking!; Obama protects AK's Bristol Bay!; PLUS: More indictments for 'Freedom Industries' in WV toxic chemical spill!...
Previous GNRs: 12/16/14 - 12/11/14 - Archives...
Brad on Hartmann Radio: Wrapping Up a Few More Election 2014 Races
Yes, some of us are still paying attention.
Plus: A BRAD BLOG 'Programming Note'...
'Green News Report' 12/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Congress wraps for year w/ GOP anti-enviro initiatives to be signed by Prez; UN summit wraps up in Peru - ALL nations are in for Paris; PLUS: Another Bush, another climate denier...
Previous GNRs: 12/11/14 - 12/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg Editors Refuse to Correct Inaccurate, Misleading Photo ID Editorial
Read the 'mind-boggling' responses to BRAD BLOG's emailed explanation of blatant errors and inaccuracies in Francis Barry's op-ed...
Proponents of Oregon GMO Measure 92 Concede Defeat
Adverse court ruling, barring inclusion of 4,600 rejected ballots, signals end of road (for now) of state's most expensive campaign, decided by just 800 votes out of 1.5 million cast...
'Green News Report' 12/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP anti-enviro wish list in "Cromnibus" bill; Crunch time at UN climate talks; Calls for an end to fossil fuels; Australia goaded into action; PLUS: CEO indicted for WV chemical spill...
Previous GNRs: 12/9/14 - 12/4/14 - Archives...
The Clint Curtis Story, Ten Years Later: A KPFK 'BradCast' Special Edition
It's been 10 years since we broke the whistleblower's claim about vote-rigging software, Rep. Tom Feeney (R) and more. So it seemed a good time to catch up with him...
SOLVED: Mystery that Flipped Maine Senate Election!
21 'phantom ballots' flipped the results of a Nov. 4th state Senate election from D to R. But a dramatic turn of events and hand-counted paper ballots have now resolved the mystery...
'Green News Report' 12/9/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Super Typhoon Hagupit blows 2014 into record books; Doesn't look good for KXL, if Obama on Colbert Report can be believed; PLUS: Rich v. Poor divisions stall UN climate talks...
Previous GNRs: 12/4/14 - 12/2/14 - Archives...
Bad News for Fox 'News' Viewers: 'Fox & Friends' Calls for Voter Literacy Tests
If they had to pass a test on American history and government, Fox 'News' viewers, as studies show, would be in big, big trouble...
Thousands of Ballots Excluded from Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure 'Recount'
Proponents charge interference by out-of-state corporate opponents, state's failure to count legal ballots due to 'signature problems'...
NC Repubs Trying to Run-Out Clock on Voter Suppression Lawsuit (Again)?
Plaintiffs charge state attempt to reschedule next summer's federal trial 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
'Green News Report' 12/4/14
Biggest German utility spins off fossil fuel assets; Fossil fuel biz running scared? FL punishes homeowners for not polluting; PLUS: MSNBC's Big Coal infomercial...
House Judiciary Letter Suggests Impeachment for Wife-Beating Judge
Bi-partisan congressmen seek update from 11th Circuit Court, cite potential impeachment of Judge Mark Fuller...
'Green News Report' 12/2/14
New UN summit underway; Record rain, drought in CA; Global cost of falling oil prices; PLUS: Legacy of world's worst industrial disaster, 30 years later...
'Recount', Concerns in AZ U.S. House Race
Razor-thin computer-reported margin, failed paper-ballot tabulators, untallied provisionals, terrible 'recount' rules leave Barber-McSally contest in AZ-2 unsettled...
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seems'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in tiny Maine town, reverse results of very close state contest...
'Recount' for Oregon's GMO Ballot Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank's dire warning...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting
A few thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice in the killing of Michael Brown...
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...


More MSM Coverage of BRAD BLOG Reporting...Same Lack of Appropriate Attribution...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2006 2:55pm PT  

Before I register my complaint here with Matt Taibbi's otherwise excellent article on the background of "Mr. Republican" Jack Abramoff and "The secret history of the most corrupt man in Washington," as published in the April 6th edition of Rolling Stone, I'll point to this smart graf amongst many such smart grafs in a very well-researched and informative piece:

One of the ugliest developments in American culture since Abramoff's obscure Cold Warrior days in the Eighties has been the raging but highly temporary success of various "smart guys" who upon closer examination aren't all that smart. There was BALCO steroid scum Victor Conte ("The smartest son of a bitch I ever met in my life," said one Olympian client), Enron's "smartest guys in the room" Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay, and, finally, "ingenious dealmaker" Jack Abramoff. Somewhere along the line, in the years since the Cold War, Americans as a whole became such craven, bum-licking, self-absorbed fat cats that they were willing to listen to these fifth-rate prophets who pretended that the idea that rules could be broken was some kind of earth-shattering revelation --- as though they had fucking invented fraud and cheating. But to a man, they all turned out to be dumb, incompetent fuckups, destined to bring us all down with them --- not even good at being criminals.

Taibbi's piece covers in detail some of the many scams that Abramoff and the rest of the nationwide Republican Network of dishonest, opportunistic players who now comprise the power structure of the Republican party --- or the "vast rightwing conspiracy" as Hillary correctly described it. It's an ugly, but accurate portrait of those who have hijacked all that America was supposed to have stood for while an otherwise distracted and/or media-whipped public was trained to look the other way --- or otherwise give the benefit of the doubt to some very very bad guys who have earned no such benefit.

Those bad guys now run the country, its government, its corporations and its media virtually in its entirety. And more shamefull still, they've got goons played for suckers who are so daft and gullible that, to this day, they run around and play apologist for these people who --- I guess they don't realize it --- are fucking them hard up their own asses with their own hard-earned money and blindly offered good-will. You'll find many of those dopes repeating Fox "News" and Limbaugh-isms over Thanksgiving dinners everywhere, and otherwise plying their foolish and self-destructive trade wherever they can. A stroll through some of the most trollish comments left here at The BRAD BLOG reveals these people have left only the dimmest of connections to Reality as it exists in 2006 on the planet Earth.

With those accolades for Taibbi's work now out of the way, allow me to point to this earlier graf in his piece (emphasis added)...

All along, Abramoff was buying journalists, creating tax-exempt organizations to fund campaign activities and using charities to fund foreign conflicts. He spent the past twenty years doing business with everyone from James Dobson to the Gambino family, from Ralph Reed to Grover Norquist to Karl Rove to White House procurements chief David Safavian. He is even lurking in the background of the 2004 Ohio voting-irregularities scandal, having worked with the Diebold voting-machine company to defeat requirements for a paper trail in elections.

"Lurking in the background" must be MSM code for: Reported by BRAD BLOG but otherwise ignored.

We're glad to see Taibbi pick up on some of our reporting as he writes...

And now it comes out that Diebold, the notorious voting-machine company, paid some $275,000 to Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig, with the apparent aim of keeping legislation requiring paper trails in the voting process from getting into the Help America Vote Act. Conveniently, Abramoff pal Bob Ney, one of the HAVA architects, blocked every attempt to put paper trails into law, even after the controversial electoral debacles of 2000 and 2004.

...But it would certainly help to keep such bad guys from affecting so much corruption and damage for so many years before they actually get busted, if Taibbi would be kind enough to point out some of the sources --- independent, alternative, "blog" or otherwise --- who have been trying to blow such whistles for so long.

With appropriate credit and recognition from the mainstream, as we opined a several weeks ago, reporting such as ours and many others would likely have the effect of stopping the bad guys before they manage to wreak quite as much havoc on our once-great American democracy.

We'd hope that even the usually independent-minded Rolling Stone would keep such important points in mind by choosing to give appropriate attribution where possible in their future reporting. As we've said before: It matters.

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Head of 'Non-Partisan' Republican Front Group 'American Center for Voting Rights' Singled Out by Rove
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2006 2:46pm PT  

Working on several items, so we'll defer to RAW STORY's coverage of the story.

Suffice to say, Karl Rove spoke to Republican lawyers this weekend (carried on C-SPAN) and thanked them for their work ensuring "clean elections" in 2000 and 2004.

He singled out Mark F. "Thor" Hearne by name. Hearne was the National General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc. who, along with RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, created the so-called non-partisan "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR) just three days before being called to testify before Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) U.S. House Administrative Committee hearing in March of 2005 on the Ohio Election. The front group, which declared tax-exempt 501(c)3 status, has still failed, to our knowledge, to disclose any information of it's funders or proof of their 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan status. They operate out of a PO Box in Houston, TX, though neither of their founders live in Texas.

ACVR was the only "Voting Rights" group called by Ney to testify at the hearings, and identified himself only as a "longtime advocate of voter rights" in his testimony. He failed to mention his connections to Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.

Hearne and ACVR have done little more since they opened shop beyond creating propaganda reports to suggest that their is an epidemic of Democratic voter fraud in the country to encourage state legislatures around the country to implement Democratic voter disenfranchising "Photo ID requirements" at the polls. Their charges of a voter fraud epidemic has been roundly disproven in various court cases around the country. (Though it does appear that at least one voter, Ann Coulter, seems to have engaged in voter fraud lately.)

The "non-partisan" Dyke went on to work for the White House to flak for John Roberts during his Supreme Court nomination, and now works out Dick Cheney's office.

Ney, who pushed the so-called "Help America Vote Act" (HAVA) through Congress in 2002 --- the bill which urges all States and Counties in the country to impliment hackable electronic voting machines by 2006 --- recently stepped down from his chairmanship of the House Admin Committee after being named in the on-going Jack Abramoff investigations. His former chief of staff, David DiStefano is Diebold's main lobbyist in congress, as BRAD BLOG reported in January, and Diebold has made thousands of dollars in so-far unexplained payments to Abramoff's old firm, Greeburg Traurig.

See RAW's story for Rove's comments about Hearne and the other "non-partisan" GOP attorneys over the weekend.

For more information on the "non-partisan" tax-exempt ACVR scam and the snakeoil salesmen who invented it, Bush/Cheney '04 National General Counsel Mark F. "Thor" Hearne and RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke, please see BRAD BLOG's full Special Coverage of the "American Center for Voting Rights" at http://www.BradBlog.com/ACVR.
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By John Gideon on 4/2/2006 5:06pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, of VotersUnite and VoteTrustUSA

The "DVN Top 5" is a feature in the weekly voting newsletter of VoteTrustUSA. The March 27 edition can be found here. The selection of what will be the "Top 5" for each week and where it goes on the list is all mine. The fact that you may disagree with my choices is great because it shows that you have been reading the DVN articles that I've posted throughout the week here on The BRAD BLOG!...

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

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Carolyn Wilson Crnich Admits Hackable Diebold Optical-Scan Voting Machines Kept at Poll Worker Homes the Night Before Elections
Can't Speak to Security Vulnerabilities
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2006 2:36am PT  

Blogged by Brad on the Road...

I know I'm supposed to be taking a few hours off (how's that going, Brad?)...But I couldn't help sharing with you a quick piece of audio from my regular Friday guest appearance on KRXA 540am's Peter B. Collins Show today (broadcast out of Monterey, CA).

I was pleased that Carolyn Wilson Crnich, Elections Registrar of Humboldt County, CA was able to join us on air for one of the segments (posted below.)

Crnich is one of the officials named as a defendant in the recent lawsuit against CA Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and other county elections officials around the state. The suit calls for the ban of use and purchase of Diebold touch-screen voting systems in the state since (amongst other reasons) they have proven to be hackable and their recent certification was in violation of state law requiring all certified voting systems to conform to Federal Voting System Standards. Diebold's machines do not conform to such standards because they contain "interpreted code" --- which is specifically banned by the Federal standards. Diebold has now admitted to the existence of such code on their systems. The forbidden code went unexamined and untested by Federal authorities when the machines received Federal certification.

Nonetheless, Crnich (we believe) is one of the good guys. She's proven willing to dump her previous plan to use Diebold AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) machines, which she was going to use in order to meet the disabled-accessible voting device requirement in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). She is now hoping to use the paper-ballot based Vote-PAD system in Humboldt County this year instead.

However, as our on-air conversation revealed, there are still very serious concerns with Humboldt County's optical-scan system since they use the very system, made by Diebold, which was shown to be hackable last December in Leon County, FL.

Of note in our conversation, Crnich admits that optical-scan systems are sent home with poll workers the night before elections where --- even if the hackable memory cards are wired into the machine so they can't be removed --- they can still be accessed by other means. If so, a malicious poll worker could modify the code on the memory cards, allowing an election to be hacked without a trace left behind during that breakdown in chain of custody for such home-stored voting machines.

Give the interview and discussion between Crnich, myself and Peter B. a listen. See what you think. It's good to have such an admission on the public record, and the fact that she admits to not knowing what could happen when these machines are stored at poll workers' houses.

Again, I'm glad she was willing (unlike many other Elections Officials around the country) to come on air and face some of these tough questions. Happy to hear your thoughts.

-- Carolyn Wilson Crnich, with Brad on the Peter B. Collins Show, 3/24/06 [MP3, about 13 mins]
-- Complete Brad appearance on Peter B. Collins Show, 3/24/06 [MP3, about 35 mins, and quite a bit funnier, IMHO]

(Thanks to Joe at the Peter B. show for sending the audio!)

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Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, 18 County Registrars Named as Defendants
Violations of State, Federal Laws Alleged, State Senator Releases Comment Condemning McPherson, Outlining Violations
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2006 1:46pm PT  

As The BRAD BLOG broke yesterday, a lawsuit has today been filed in San Francisco Superior Court demanding that California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson follow state and federal law in regards to his recent re-certification of Diebold voting machines in the state.

McPherson is named, along with 18 California county registrars, as defendants in the suit which calls for a ban on the use an new purchase of Diebold voting machines in the state. The suit was filed by VoterAction.org on behalf of 25 California voter/plaintiffs.

-- Here is a complete copy of the lawsuit file today [PDF]

Reuters originally reported on the story an hour or so ago as "Diebold Inc. sued over California voting systems". That headline is, in fact, incorrect. They have now reissued the story with the more accurate headline "California sued over Diebold voting systems".

The lawsuit against Diebold, we imagine, will come later after California is ready to admit how they've been screwed by the company and they try to recover the millions they've lost in betting on the wrong horse.

VoterAction is the non-profit organization who brought the actions that led to both the decertification of Diebold in California in 2004 and, more recently, the ban on the purchase of Sequoia voting machines in New Mexico (which led to a new law in the state requiring a paper ballot for every vote cast.)

We're short on time today, and haven't even been able to review the complete suit yet, so we'll let State Sen. Debra Bowen's press release in regard to the lawsuit, do the reporting for us since she's generally nailed all the factual basis for the complaint and explains exactly how McPherson's certification of Diebold is in violation of several state and federal laws.

Bowen, who is running herself for Sec. of State this year, also presents a very useful timeline in the release, explaining how we got here in the first place, and how it is that McPherson seems to have simply disregarded the law in favor of his good friends at Diebold.

Remember, as goes California (or as Diebold likes to call it, "America's largest voting market") goes, so goes the country...In other words, this suit is much bigger than just California...

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

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Lawsuit to Name Sec. of State Bruce McPherson, Alleges 'Severe Security Risk', Noncompliance with HAVA's Disabled-Voting Provisions, and Violation of CA State Law!
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2006 2:28pm PT  

UPDATE 3/21/06: Suit now filed, full coverage here...

=====

We've hinted of late at upcoming legal actions, in several states, against the use of Diebold voting machines. The BRAD BLOG can now reveal that such a legal action will be filed tomorrow morning in San Francisco's Superior State Court in response to Secretary of State Bruce McPherson's recent re-certification of Diebold Electronic Voting Machines in the state.

VoterAction.org is announcing their intention to file suit, on behalf of several plaintiffs, "aimed at halting the use or purchase of Diebold electronic voting systems" in the state.

The same group recently carried out a similar action in the state of New Mexico, in regard to the use of Sequoia Touch-Screen voting machines there. That suit ultimately led to the ban of use of such machines, and a bill which was recently signed by Gov. Bill Richardson requiring a paper ballot with every vote cast in the state.

Diebold's optical-scan and touch-screen systems were revealed last December to contain "interpreted code" which is banned by Federal Voting System Standards. It was that "interpreted code" which was exploited in the recent hack of a test election in Leon County, FL where the results of the election were completely flipped without a trace being left behind.

Despite that startling revelation, California's Sec. of State Bruce McPherson certified the systems anyway in California, after they had previously been decertified in 2004 when Diebold admitted they had used untested and uncertified software patches on their machines in the state.

Diebold has now admitted [PDF] that their voting systems, both optical-scan and touch-screen, contain such "interpreted code." That, despite the fact that its use is banned at the Federal level. California state law requires that voting systems certified in the state meet those Federal standards. McPherson, apparently, has chosen to blatantly ignore that state law. (We'll have further details outlining the above allegations very specifically, and in no uncertain terms, in a future post here at BRAD BLOG.)

According to VoterAction's press release (posted in full below), the legal action is being filed because "Diebold's TSx touch screen voting system is a severe security risk, and does not accommodate all disabled voters as required by law."

Sources have told The BRAD BLOG that the action is to encompass many, if not all, of California's counties. Some 18 of them are currently doing business with Diebold.

The press release goes on to charge that, "The Diebold system is difficult if not impossible to audit or recount, and has been proven vulnerable to malicious tampering in tests and studies. Diebold technology contains 'interpreted' code, which is easily hacked, and illegal for voting systems in the State of California."

Diebold is currently facing litigation in several investor class action lawsuits alleging Securities Fraud Violations such as insider trading and the false manipulation of stock prices by eight current and former company officials.

A press conference will be held to discuss the latest legal action involving Diebold tomorrow morning. The complete Press Release from VotersUnite.org follows...

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

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Diebold's Toilet Paper Democracy --- a Photographic Essay
How America's Votes Will be Counted (or not) in 2006 and Beyond...Unless Something is Done About it.
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2006 12:00pm PT  

You've heard the reports of the new Diebold touch-screen voting machines which have recently been updated to include a so-called "voter-verified paper trail."

You may also have heard how the printers they've added to produce these "paper trails" on their previously-paperless touch-screen voting machines are reported to jam up in test after test --- like the one last summer in California [PDF] where some 33% of such machines failed due to screen freezes, software failures and paper jams.

You may have heard that Diebold actually includes a magnifying glass with each machine to help voters see these tiny, virtually unreadable "paper trails."

You may even have heard how the virtually uncountable thermal paper rolls, which scroll back into the machine after supposedly being "verified" by the voter, have turned up blank on some of the busiest machines at the end of Election Day --- as occurred in Lucas County, OH during the November 2005 Election in Toledo.

Now, for the first time, a hands-on examination of actual Diebold Accu-Vote TSx "election-ready" machines in Utah --- where the newly state-approved and purchased machines are just now being delivered across the state --- has been conducted by Security Innovations and computer security expert Harri Hursti. The examination was done in Emery County, UT with the approval of the county's elected official in charge of elections, Clerk-Recorder Bruce Funk.

Hursti's complete findings are soon to be released by BlackBoxVoting.org (BBV) who helped to organize the precedent setting examination where, for the first time, independent experts have been allowed to actually study the very touch-screen voting machines being deployed around our country this year for use in the up-coming 2006 Elections. Normally, these machines are guarded by secret non-disclosure agreements of Voting Machine Companies and the mandates of government officials who have allowed these machines and their software, incredibly, to remain the "proprietary" secret of the companies paid to run our public elections.

BBV has already disclosed over the weekend one or two of the items discovered in the initial examination. One of them, in fact, is so "shocking" that it would seem to merit a complete recall of these TSx machines solely on consumer safety grounds!

Amongst the findings from the landmark study conducted last week in Utah that they've shared exclusively with The BRAD BLOG is a first-hand glimpse at the printer module now added to Diebold's Accu-Vote TS machines in light of the national outcry for "paper trails" to be produced when votes are cast in American elections.

These "afterthought" printer modules, and the "paper trails" they produce --- which are largely uncountable and uncounted by election officials not to mention unreadable by mere human mortals --- have failed in all sorts of test situations.

Most states require no actual counting or meaningful audit or even cursory review of these toilet-paper "paper trails" (distinct from a countable paper ballot.) Some states (hello, Florida!) even disallow the hand-counting of such "paper trails" by law! So how well the printing modules actually work, is almost beside the point. Their main purpose seems largely to be instilling a false sense of security in the voter that their vote will actually be counted and counted accurately.

To be clear: These devices provide no assurance that ones votes will actually be counted accurately --- or even at all.

Here then, for first time ever, is a close-up photographic look at how these printers actually work --- or don't as the case may be --- and what it is that Diebold and the other Voting Machine Companies who produce such poorly designed hardware and software to tally the votes in America's democracy, are currently shipping to virtually every state in the union for their 2006 rollout.

We'll see an actual printer-jam in progress, reasons for why it may occur so frequently on Diebold's Accu-Vote TSx machines, and a close-up look at the plastic "fresnel lens" (a cheap Cracker Jack prize-like magnifying glass) which is included with each machine's printer --- theoretically to help voters read their own "paper trail."

The photos which follow are all of the same machine, with the same section of jammed "paper trail" never touched or moved throughout the series of photos.

The following photographs, and the bulk of the information contained in the descriptions of same were provided exclusively to The BRAD BLOG by Republican BlackBoxVoting.org investigator, Jim March as he and the rest of the BBV team were leaving Utah on Sunday afternoon after their first close-up look at the Diebold Accu-Vote TSx...

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

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AP Joins 'Tallahassee Democrat' Alleging Violations of State Law When Meeting Between Sue Cobb and Ion Sancho Suddenly Closed, Police Ordered to Remove Reporters
Election Supervisor/E-Voting Hero Buoyed By Broad Support, But Controversy is 'Taking a Toll'
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2006 4:49pm PT  

The Associated Press is now joining the Tallahassee Democrat in a complaint sent to the Florida Attorney General objecting to an open meeting in the state's capital last Monday which Florida Sec. of State Sue Cobb suddenly took it upon herself to close. She then called the capital police and ordered them to remove reporters from the area.

Earlier this week, The BRAD BLOG reported on the aborted "open meeting" as called by Cobb with Leon County Election Supervisor Ion Sancho and two other county commissioners. The meeting was called in order to discuss the situation in Leon County, where Sancho recently revealed that Diebold optical-scan voting machines could be hacked without a trace left behind.

Sancho told The BRAD BLOG last night he felt "there was no reason" to close the meeting.

"There was nothing we talked about in there that needed to be kept secret. They just don't like open meetings. They like doing their business in secret," Sancho said.

Cobb, on behalf of the state, has been putting pressure on Sancho to purchase new voting equipment, threatening him with removal from his elected position, and suggesting that U.S. Marshall's might come in to run the county's election. That, despite the fact that all three companies certified to do business in the state have now refused to work with Sancho.

Voting Machine Companies, it seems, don't like doing business in the open either.

The meeting last Monday --- held on the first day of "Sunshine Week" celebrating "open government" in Florida --- was suddenly closed by Cobb who then called the police to remove reporters.

"On the first day of 'Sunshine Week' it was a pretty stupid thing to do," Sancho said.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, both they and the AP have now sent letters of complaint to Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist and State Attorney Willie Megs "expressing outrage" at being barred from the meeting in apparent violation of state law.

As reported by the Democrat...

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

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Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson Is Sorry...
Local TV News Covers Tirade, New Diebold Touch-Screen Voting Machine Controversy in State
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2006 3:54pm PT  

Tuscon Arizona's local NBC TV news affiliate ran a story Wednesday night on the raging controversy across the state concerning Sec. of State Jan Brewer's recent agreement to allow hackable Diebold touch-screen voting machines into the state.

Their report (linked below) included a snippet of the video that The BRAD BLOG ran as an Exclusive at the end of February featuring Pima County, AZ Election Director, Brad Nelson freaking out and verbally assaulting Election Integrity Advocate, John Brakey --- on video --- during a public local precinct council meeting.

Nelson, the station reports, has apparently apologized for his tirade. Brakey is also interviewed in the new report on Pima County being "pushed into a national controversy."

Their coverage of "both sides" of the story led last Wednesday's 6 O'Clock newscast in Tuscon.

MORAL: Always bring a video camera (or audio recording device) when meeting public Elections Officials. They often don't fare well under the harsh light of actual public scrutiny, and footage of such encounters may help your local TV affiliate suddenly become interested in reporting on the story.

Report on AZ's Diebold Touch-Screen Voting Machine Controversy:

-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Windows Media Player Version...

-- Our original Video Exclusive story, featuring Nelson's full tirade is here.

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Diebold Gets Desperate, Sends a Pro to Work the Corner of BRAD Street and Democracy Blvd.
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2006 2:34am PT  

With the constant buzz of helicopters and blimps overhead since dawn this morning (No, not "Black Helicopters"...I'm about two blocks from the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards were tonight) and two old schoolmates of mine nominated (Hoffman and Huffman - nice going guys!), granted I may have a touch of the Oscar Fever.

But the winner of the best song tonight, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp", couldn't help but remind me, to remind you --- in case you missed it --- of our new Special Guest Diebold Comment Troll/Pimp calling himself "Wally O'Diebold".

While he may be too cowardly to give his real name publicly --- even while sliming folks like myself, Bev Harris, Jim March, Avi Rubin, Sen. Debra Bowen and others who are not afraid to put our real names on our work and behind our beliefs --- he's a Diebold insider with a lot of knowledge of the systems, and (WARNING) a lot of mis/disinformation he's suddenly very eager to spread.

He also seems to be, as he referred to Rubin, "a self-serving tool". And I don't mean that in the pejorative sense in which he meant it.

Interestingly, while the Diebold "company line" has always reportedly been to dismiss Election Integrity Advocates like myself, and March and Harris et al as "conspiracy theorists," it's the faceless "Wally O'Diebold" who now cowers in the shadows of anonymity because BRAD BLOG readers, according to "Wally" in comment #56, "would not hesitate to stalk me to my home and possibly try to kill me."

Watch out for them Black Helicopters, "Wally"! Unless you're also near the Kodak Theater, eh?

But forthrightness, honesty and openness has never been much of a hallmark for the Diebold corporation. At least during their Voting Machine Years of Shame. Their latest spokesperson/mac daddy/anonymous slimer is no exception. Secrecy, disinformation and cowardly scurrilous attacks on those who have nothing to gain but the free and fair democracy their country once promised...ah, yes, that's Diebold all over. They never rest.

The desperation displayed by "Mr. O'Diebold" is entertaining sure, but not particularly becoming...especially when it's accompanied by ad hominem attacks and knowing disinformation --- lots of it, very cleverly drawn, I might add --- all launched from behind the veil of secrecy. But that's his company's business model after all, so who are we to quibble now that he's willing to offer us a reminder.

If they would only call me back when I call them for comment, they'd be able to actually put such comments on the record under their own names for a bit of credibility. But I guess it's easier to talk to journalists who don't ask follow-up questions, and who are easily fooled by the company spin. Which is to say, most of the non-BRAD BLOG media out there.

So if you're in the mood and have the stomach for it (and before I lose my patience, and remove this guy's feeding tube all together) pull up a chair, grab some popcorn and enjoy the BRAD BLOG nominee for Best Original Comment Thread Hijacked by a Diebold Pimp Based on Stuff That Sounds Like Fact, But Actually Isn't.

And the Oscar goes to...

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Pima County Election Director Brad Nelson Launches Outburst Towards Election Reform Advocate in Response to Question About New Touch-Screen Voting Machines
Letter Calls for Censure of Official as Onlookers Stunned by Encounter, Feared Violence Would Break Out...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 10:57am PT  

The battle between Election Officials and Election Integrity Advocates has been simmering and intensifying for some time. Last week, in Arizona, one such confrontation boiled over briefly into an outburst at a public meeting which was documented on video tape. In what could be a preview for the Electoral Integrity fight still to come, Pima County, Arizona's Election Director Brad Nelson went into a short tirade last Tuesday as the video camera rolled during a local Democratic precinct council meeting in the state's 26th Legislative District.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained the exclusive video of the event which reveals the Republican Nelson flying off the handle and shouting as he confronts Election Integrity Advocate, John Brakey, "nose to nose" during a question about Diebold's DRE (touch-screen) voting machines. Before Brakey was able to get to his main question concerning Nelson's plans for Logic and Accuracy testing on the machines, he was interupted by Nelson's outburst over whether or not he had, in fact, signed a contract for use of the new voting machines in the county.

Diebold's hackable touch-screen machines have been recently approved for first-time use in the state by Arizona's Secretary of State Jan Brewer.

Ironically enough --- especially in light of this new video --- Brewer herself recently referred to election integrity advocates as "anarchists" in an interview with the Arizona Star after demonstrators concerned about Diebold interrupted her re-election campaign announcement just after the first of this year.

While Nelson's confrontational rant was just short of anarchic, it certainly sent a shockwave of concern throughout the room of stunned onlookers.

One of the witnesses present, Rev. Gerry Straatemeier, described the "intimidating behavior" displayed in the incident as "completely out of line for a public official". Straatemeier was so troubled by the display that she sent an open letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors calling for Nelson to be censured for the behavior. In the letter (posted in full at the end of this item, along with a text transcript of the event) Straatemeier says, "I really thought he was going to land a blow on Mr. Brakey and I was scared to death."

In the video, Nelson charges towards the camera at one point --- which Brakey was standing near --- coming so close that it's impossible to see anything but his chest in full camera's full frame.

Straatemeier, in her letter, suggests the tirade was an attempt to intimidate Brakey --- and other election integrity advocates --- from further inquiry into the controversial Diebold touch-screen voting equipment now coming into Arizona despite a Dept. of Homeland Security warning that their tabulator software is hackable, a non-partisan GAO report confirming the failures and loss of ballots via electronic voting, and a recent independent analysis [PDF] commissioned by the Sec. of State of California which warns about the hackable "interpreted code" used in Diebold voting machines despite a ban on such code by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines.

As we reported in May of last year, Brakey has for some time been closely investigating a number of troubling anomalies in recent Arizona elections. His intensive work auditing his own precinct in Pima County, where he says evidence suggest fraud occurred in the 2004 election, was covered in detail last year by The Tuscon Weekly. That work has brought him in contact many times in the past with Nelson --- without incident apparently, until last week.

Last Tuesday, as the following video shows, the simmering frustration and growing anger roiling up between many Election Officials and Election Reformers, has finally begun to make its way to the surface and into the public eye...


Additional versions of the video...
-- Video in Streaming Flash format...
-- Video in Windows Media format...

===
UPDATE 3/17/06: Tuscon's local NBC affiliate runs a report including this video, Nelson says he is sorry for the outburts. Full report here...
===

A complete text transcript of the incident, and a copy of Straatemeier's open letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors calling for censure of Nelson follows...

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

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Huffington Post Picks Up the Cause...
Please take action!
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2006 10:36am PT  

Last week we briefly discussed Stephen Heller who, out here in Los Angeles, is now facing three felony charges for exposing the illegal scheme by Diebold to use uncertified software on their voting machines in the state several years ago. The LA Times coverage is here.

Heller blew the whistle on the company's plan to defraud California voters when he exposed documents he saw while working as a temp worker at Diebold's California law firm, Jones Day. The courageous act, from which Heller stood to gain nothing (he, in fact, was fired for it) led to the decertification of Diebold in the state by former Sec. of State Kevin Shelley, and then to the eventual settlement between the company and the state of California for $2.6 million in 2004.

Today, several Huffington Post blogger take up on Heller's behalf, along with issuing some calls to action to contact the LA District Attorney's office to encourage tell them to drop this appalling case of punishing the patriot, Heller at the behest of the the bullies at Diebold.

Peter Soby Jr.'s coverage is the most complete. Here's a snippet:

Let's make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were "fixed." This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it.

And for allegedly exposing Diebold's felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney's office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold's crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE'S the one facing jail time. Only in Bush's America!

Soby goes on to offer some talking points and helpful contact information for the LA District attorney. Please check them out and take action.

As well, Lyn Davis Lear (Norman's wife), speaks up in support as well.

...CONTACT...
District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

Email: lada@co.la.ca.us

Telephone: (213) 974-3512
Fax: (213) 974-1484
TTY: (800) 457-7778 (8:30am - 5:00pm M-F)

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State's Top Security Officer Refuses Public Record Release of Diebold GEMS Database Files
The Latest Chapter in the Rollercoaster Battle to Audit Puzzling 2004 Poll Numbers Continues...
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2006 7:51pm PT  

A bizarre story concerning Alaska's 2004 Election has taken yet another even more bizarre turn this week, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

A long-standing public records request for the release of Election 2004 database files created by Diebold's voting system had been long delayed after several odd twists and turns, including the revelation of a contract with the state claiming the information to be a "company secret."

But while it finally appeared as though the state had agreed to release the information (after reserving the right to "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing it), the state's top Security Official has now --- at the last minute --- stepped in to deny the request. The grounds for the denial: the release of the information poses a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.

The state Democratic party has been attempting since December of last year to review the Diebold GEMS tabulator data files from the 2004 election in order to audit some of the strange results discovered in the state, including a reported voter turnout of more than 200% in some areas.

"At this point," Democratic Party spokesperson Kay Brown told the Anchorage Daily News in January, "it's impossible to say whether the correct candidates were declared the winner in all Alaska races from 2004."

Some of the questionable results from the 2004 Election were outlined in a January 23rd letter [PDF] to the state's Division of Elections from the Alaska Democratic Party chairman, Jake Metcalfe. Amongst the anomolies detailed in Metcalfe's letter: "district-by-district vote totals add up to 292,267 votes for President Bush, but his official total was only 190,889."

The state Division of Elections, which had previously relented and agreed to release the data after refusing at first to do so, announced its latest about-face in a letter to Metcalfe on Wednesday citing the following concern from Alaska's Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis after he reviewed the public records request:

"release of any security related information creates a serious threat to our ability to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our systems and services..."

The complete letters from Alaska's Division of Elections Director Whitney Brewster and Chief Security Officer Darrell Davis are both available in full here [PDF].

The earlier twists in this strange tale occurred first in January and then in early February.

In late January, we reported that the state had refused to release the Election Data Files on the grounds that their contract with Diebold disallowed the release of the files. Their contract, apparently, recognizes the voter information to be a "company secret" and thus the proprietary property of the company which could not be released to the voters of Alaska.

A week or so later, in early Februrary we reported that the state and Diebold had capitulated. Sort of. After conferring with Diebold, the state relented and agreed to release the files. However, they reserved the right to --- sit down for this --- "manipulate the data" in consultation with Diebold before releasing them!

As the Elections Director Brewster stated in a February 3rd letter [PDF] to Metcalfe announcing they would release the data:

To this end, we are consulting with the Enterprise Technology Systems in the Department of Administration as well as Diebold on this issue...please be advised that the Division will charge for its costs incurred in manipulating the data to provide the records you seek."

And now, the new wrinkle, the state's "security risks" lead them to announce that "after careful consideration," they "will not authorize the release of the GEMS database or audit files" after all.

"Delivery of the database itself, and some of the information contained within this database," says the letter from Davis, "presents numerous security risks to the State of Alaska Government."

We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried.

So just to recap: First the voters of Alaska were not allowed to see their own voting data from the 2004 Election because it was the proprietary "company secret" property of Diebold. Then they would be allowed to see it as long as the state and Diebold could "manipulate the data" before releasing it. And now finally it's determined that allowing the voters to see how they actually voted in the 2004 Election would be a "security risk" to the state of Alaska.

No word yet on whether the Alaska Democratic Party will take the matter to court to seek resolution.

The American War on Democracy continues...

(Hat-tip to VoteTrustUSA.org for the heads up and additional information!)

* * *

UPDATE 4/18/06: The insane roller coaster continues. State Democrats are forced to file a lawsuit to get at the records showing how voters voted in 2004. Details now here...

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IrDA Protocol Can 'Totally Compromise System' Without Detection, Warns Federal Voting Standards Website
So far, no state or federal authority --- to our knowledge --- has dealt with this alarming security threat
By Brad Friedman on 2/22/2006 12:06pm PT  

We hate to pile on... (Or do we?)

But, really, with all the recent discussion of California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson's mind-blowing about-face re-certification of Diebold --- against state law, we hasten to add --- this may be a good time to point out one small item that we've been meaning to mention for a while.

As Jody Holder's recent comment points out, McPherson's silly "conditions" for re-certification of Diebold in California require a few much-less-than-adequate knee-jerk "safe guards" towards protection of the handling of the hackable memory cards in Diebold's voting machines. (Here's McP's full "Certificate of Conditional Certification").

Never mind, as Holder mentions, that the protective seals to be required are easily peeled away without tearing. Or that such voting machines have been stored in poll workers houses for weeks leading up to an election. More to the point, for the moment, there are ways to manipulate the information on those memory cards even without removing them or breaking the seals. This is more of a concern than ever, since it was recently proven, by the now-infamous Harri Hursti hack in Leon County, FL, that changing the information on the memory cards can force election results to be flipped...without a trace being left behind.

On that note, here's the little item we've been meaning to point out. It's a photograph from the side of a Diebold AccuVote TSx TS6 touch-screen voting machine:

Now we have no idea what that "IrDA" port is meant to be used for with a touch-screen voting machine, but we do know that the IrDA (Infrared Data Association) is an Infrared port used for wireless connection between two devices. We used to have one on the back of our notebook and desktop computers which we used to keep the two systems synched up via wireless data transfers over that Infrared port.

A few election watchdog groups, including some members of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who works with the federal authorities on these matters, have issued warnings about the IrDA port and protocols on voting machines. However, little --- if anything --- seems to have been done to mitigate the rather obvious security threat posed, as far as we can tell.

Here's how a page at Microsoft.com, last updated December 4, 2001, explains cable-free Infrafred data transfer on the Microsoft Windows CE operating system (the operating system which happens to be used in Diebold's AccuVote touch-screen voting machines --- like the one pictured above)...


Imagine the following scenario: Two notebook computers are placed beside each other. A computer icon appears on both desktops with the name of the peer computer below it. Open one of the icons to display a folder with the contents of the peer computer's desktop. Drag-and-drop between your desktop and the open folder to move files between the two computers.

  • Imagine that the only configuration that this application required to be installed or used was the ability for the user to enable or disable it. Imagine that multiple such applications could be running at the same time without interfering with each other.
  • Imagine that this application could run on 23 million existing notebook computers at a transfer speed of 115Kbps, and on 14 million existing notebook computers at 4MBps. Imagine that all applications, regardless of the speed of the underlying hardware, would work with all other applications at a common fastest speed.
  • Imagine that the other notebook computer in this example was a digital still camera, a handheld personal computer, a data capture device or a device that supports electronic commerce.
  • As a bonus, assume that the two computers do not need to be cabled together.
  • This application is currently possible under Microsoft® Windows® CE and the Windows family of operating systems. The underlying technology is based on inexpensive, widely available short-range infrared transceivers that adhere to the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) standards. IrDA standards (available from the IrDA at http://www.irda.org) also enable non-Windows devices to talk to Windows-based applications.

    There ya go.

    The issue of the IrDA port on touch-screen voting machines hasn't been much discussed as far as we can tell. VotersUnite.org issued an alert mentioning it, with a photograph (seen at right), back on October 26, 2004. The alert warned:

    3) A dangerous port on the Diebold touch screen!!

    This from TrueVoteMD: Diebold AccuVote TS electronic voting machines have an infrared (IrDA) port installed. This is a remote communication port through which another remote device could communicate with the touch screen and change either its data or its software or both.

    If your county uses Diebold touch screens, let your county officials and election judges know that it is crucial to cover the IR port with opaque tape.

    The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) --- who works with the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to develop and recommend guidelines for electronic voting machines --- issued a similar warning [PDF] about the Infrared ports on voting machines in a report which warned "The use of short range optical wireless," like infrared, "particularly on Election Day should not be allowed."

    As mentioned, since touch-screen machines have been stored at poll workers' houses and other unsecured locations prior to Election Day, and since data can be transferred to the machines and their memory cards via Infrared --- even without removing the cards or breaking their protective seals --- the IrDA ports would seem to be a tremendous concern.

    The NIST report discusses such concerns and some of the troubling security issues with IrDA protocols:

    How Secure is IrDA

    IrDA does not provide encryption at the Physical Layer, and depends on the end systems to implement security if any.
    ...
    With optical, it is possible for a session to be ‘hijacked’ unless strong authentication measures are implemented between communicating systems. When a session is hijacked, a foreign device masquerades as a trusted system that is authorized to exchange data. Because the system has no way to distinguish the masquerader from the authorized system, it will accept anything from it as if [sic] was authorized.

    The undated report --- from the EAC's own standards body, NIST --- then goes on to describe how simple and readily available IrDA software drivers are to obtain for use with UNIX and most Windows Operating Systems, including Windows CE. As well, it points out that such software could add executable code to the machines on, or prior to, Election Day and could then delete itself after ithe code has completed its main purpose [emphasis ours]:

    IrDA Software

    IrDA software drivers are available form [sic] a number of sources for use with UNIX, Windows and other Operating Systems (OS). Most versions of MS Windows come with support for IrDA already included. This is true of the MS Windows CE operating system as well as Windows XP. Microsoft also provides a free IrDA driver which can be downloaded from it web site. Other suppliers of IrDA systems (e.g., Ericsson) offer their own drivers including source code (Texas Inurnments [sic]).

    With the source code available, an interrupt handler (executable code) could easily be added. For example, when the voting terminal receives a special bit configuration (caused by holding down multiple keys concurrently) that is outside the usually accepted range, a special interrupt could be generated invoking a handler that could be programmed to perform any desired function. This would require a small amount of code and could easily be hidden; such code would be difficult to discover.

    If such code was installed in the driver, which is considered to be Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) [even if compiled and installed by the voting system manufacturer] it would not be examined by the ITAs [the federal Independent Testing Authorities].

    Code in such a handler could be designed to place the voting terminal in a mode where it downloads and install [sic] an executable module, thus allowing unapproved logic to be added to the voting machine while in use on Election Day. Obviously this executable could perform any function the programmer desired including deleting itself when finished. The only recourse is to disallow communications with the voting terminal during use. It might be augured [sic] that such code could be added the day before Election Day.

    Obviously, that last paragraph is very troubling. But also note the section about COTS.

    The source code for that "Commercial-Off-The-Shelf" software is what Diebold recently argued that they couldn't provide to North Carolina after they changed their law to require all voting machine vendors to submit such code in order to receive state certification. Diebold went to state court arguing they shouldn't be forced to supply the source code for COTS software. Eventually, they lost that battle, and notified North Carolina they preferred to pull out of the state entirely (if the state wouldn't change the law for them) rather than complying with the state law requiring the submission of all such source code.

    And another comment posted to NIST's voting website [PDF] by James C. Johnson on October 5, 2005, also discusses the concern, revealing that the use of the IrDA protocols could be used at any time, even after final "Logic and Accuracy" tests have been performed, and thus "totally compromising the system":

    In Diebold System's AccuVote TS systems these [IrDA] ports are supported using Microsoft's Windows CE with Winsock. This makes the application interface easy to program to, and all required drivers are already installed in the OS.

    It is interesting that the VVSG [Voluntary Voting System Guidelines] currently under development, while mentioning this technology does nothing to restrict or prevent its use, not even on Election Day.

    It is understandable that communications technology be used for pre election preparation, but is totally irresponsible and inexcusable to allow it to be used during an election. The presence of this technology makes it possible to upload to the voting system anything that is desired after the final "Logic and Accuracy" test have been performed, thus totally compromising the system.

    Perhaps some of you have additional thoughts on this matter. Like why such a port would be needed, or even present, on a touch-screen voting machine at all. And why the existence of such a port --- to our knowledge --- has hardly been discussed at all in conjuction with these machines. Especially in light of the now-infamous Leon County, FL "hack test" proving that executable code can be added to Diebold's memory cards resulting in a completely flipped election...as we've said...without a trace being left behind.

    CORRECTION: We had previously identified the machine in the article's first photo as a TSx, when it's actually from a slightly older TS6 like those used in Maryland and elsewhere. The second photo, with all of the various ports identified, was originally taken from the Diebold AccuVote TS User's Manual. We have conflicting reports on whether the IrDA port is still used on the newer TSx machines and will try to follow up later with definitive information when we can get it.

    UPDATE 6/28/06: Something happened during our import to the new software here at BRAD BLOG to munge up the comments section of this post. We'll see if we can figure out how to restore them correctly. Until then, we've turned off the comments on this post.

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    FEATURING: An EXCLUSIVE Video Tape Interview with CA's Clueless SoS Stating 'We'll Wait to Hear from the Feds About Diebold Before Certifying' (apparently, he was just kidding)
    ALSO: Action Items for Americans Who Care About Democracy --- Five Phone Calls is All We Ask Right Now to Force E-Voting Vendors to Answer Questions Under Oath!
    By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2006 2:18pm PT  

    Inveterate Huff Po contributor, R.J. Eskow picks up on our coverage of the latest mind-blowing Dieboldery by California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson and what it may bode for the Golden State as the GOP sets their sights on political manifest destiny.

    Connecting a few dots, and noting big Bush Adminstration gunslingers, like Steve Schmidt, who are roving their way westward to help shore up the Governator's re-elect prospects out here, Eskow concludes:

    So what does this all mean? It suggests that California, with its treasure trove of congressional seats and 2008 electoral votes, is the next battleground. Yes, Gov. Schwarzenegger is wildly unpopular now. But, as the GOP proved in the 2004 Presidential race, unpopularity need not be a barrier to re-election - especially when Diebold machines are counting the votes.

    All the 'heavy hitters' are coming into town, their shiny cars pulling up to the curb. You've seen the movie. You know what happens next. If you live in California, my friend and blog-comrade skippy has a suggestion for how you can help.

    Note: Eskow's appropriate concerns about McPherson's inexplicable Diebold double-cross don't even mention the Dept. of Homeland Security's warning about their hackable tabulator software, the recently flipped-without-a-trace-left-behind mock election in Leon County, FL, the GAO Report confirming the dangers of electronic voting, and his link to a page describing the failure rate of Diebold machines in a massive election test last summer pins the percentage of failed Diebold touch-screen machines at just 10% (a later report confirmed the number was more like 20%, and a later one still pegged it at 30%.)

    It also still remains unexplained why McPherson didn't wait to hear back from the federal "Independent Testing Authority" (ITA) --- which isn't actually independent, as it's created and funded by the Voting Machine Companies themselves --- to whom McPherson had sent back the Diebold memory cards after the Leon County hack test revealed their machines employed hackable "interpreted code" which is expressly banned by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) guidelines for software used in electronic voting machines.

    Back in December, McPherson's office sent a letter to Diebold explaining that they would not re-certify Diebold in California until the ITA completed their re-examination of the code in light of the hack test discovery:

    We require this additional review before proceeding with further consideration of your application for certification in California. Once we have received a report from the federal ITA adequately analyzing this source code, in addition to the technical and operational specifications relating to the memory card and interpreter, we will expeditiously proceed with our comprehensive review of your application.

    Apparently, the SoS's office was just kidding.

    They went ahead and re-certified Diebold out here last week without waiting to hear back. They announced their decision late on Friday, at the start of the long holiday weekend and in apparent defiance of state election law and McPherson's own "10 Strict Standards" [PDF] which include "State certification testing does not begin until the federal qualification testing is successfully completed."

    Apparently, he was just kidding about that as well.

    With all of that in mind, readers of this blog would be remiss if they failed to take the actions described in Eskow's link to Skippy. Five phone-calls and/or emails this week are all that may be needed to finally see representatives from these unpatriotic Voting Machine firms subpeonaed and forced to answer questions --- under oath --- in a public hearing before elected officials concerning their secret software, shitty machines and under-the-table efforts to work around state and federal election laws. Hit that link, and call the five members of the California legislature's Rules Committee now!

    By the way, McPherson himself also refused to show up at that hearing and refused to send a representative from his office to boot.

    It should also be noted that Diebold is not the only bad player here. Add ES&S, Hart-Intercivic, Sequoia and several others to the list of cowardly unAmerican firms who recently refused the invitation to show up to testify before the California State Senate's Election Committee last week. All of those companies, apparently, believe it's none of our damned business how they count the votes (or not) in our American democracy.

    Take action.

    For full disclosure, we should also mention that we had the privilege of meeting both R.J. and Skippy in person over the weekend in an L.A. Blogger's get together out here. Good folks all of them, and we're delighted to see them jump into this most important game of all.

    And finally --- since we've been looking for a good excuse to post this video --- we'll take this opportunity to give you an exclusive peek inside the "brain" of the man whose perplexing decision to re-certify voting machines and software known to be flawed and hackable may well effect similar decisions by Elections Officials around the entire country.

    The following short Q&A with CA's SoS was video-taped by Dave Berman of GuvWurld about two weeks prior to the recent about face by McPherson. It's somewhat revealing --- particularly in the last couple of minutes where Dave gets to ask the questions --- as to the mindset and intellectual capabilities of the man currently appointed by Arnold to oversee free and fair elections in the country's largest "voting market" (as Diebold refers to it).

    At one point in the questioning, when asked about the re-examination of Diebold software by the ITA, McPherson says, "If they're going to be certified, they're going to have to meet those levels of satisfactions to me...We, uh, we've, uh, just said that, uh, you have to meet these strict requirements and if they do, we'll consider it."

    Apparently, McPherson was just kidding there as well....Since he recertified them without, apparently, waiting to hear back from the ITA.

    Without further ado then, we give you the man, the myth, the elusive and rarely seen genius that is California Sec. of State Bruce McPherson --- as videotaped exclusively about two weeks ago in Humboldt County, just prior to his re-certification of Diebold voting machines in this state.


    -- Video in Streaming Flash format...
    -- Video in Windows Media format...

    UPDATE: CA State Senator Debra Bowen (chair of the Senate Elections Committee) issues her own call to action to force McPherson to review his outrageous decision. Her reasons are summarized thusly:

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

    ReddIt this story!



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