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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 23, 2014
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Business Sections Confirms our 'Inside Source' at Diebold
Compares Troubled Company Again to Enron...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2005 12:22pm PT  

In a story about Diebold, Inc. continuing trouble the Cleveland Plain Dealer's business section reports that the Ohio-based company "lost almost a fifth of its share value last week." (Trading of DBD continues flat again today with shares off some .50% on the day.)

As well as comparing the company's restructuring to the failed strategies at Enron, reporter Alison Grant picked up on BRAD BLOG's Exclusive story of the Insider we refer to as DIEB-THROAT:

The news about troubles at Diebold also hit online opinion sites where voting-rights groups long have criticized what they say are security problems in Diebold's voting equipment.

U.S. Newswire carried a release saying that a whistle-blower, "Dieb-Throat," was spilling the beans on practices at the company.

The insider, when contacted by a reporter, described a company groping to get its voting-equipment business stabilized after a series of equipment malfunctions and sales setbacks.

"We have no response to that kind of nonsense," [Diebold spokesman Mike] Jacobsen said.

Diebold shares closed Friday at $36.15, down 18.5 percent from Tuesday's close.

Apparently, Diebold has no response to all sorts of "nonsense." Like a branch of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security sending out a Cyber Alert Bulletin prior to last year's November Election warning that Diebold's central vote tabulator was open to any malicious user who might wish to change the results of an election. Diebold failed, apparently, to offer a security upgrade even after that Alert was issued, and to this day acknowledges it as no more than an "unproven allegation."

Failure to respond to such "nonsense" seems to be costing the company dearly. And more trouble, our so-far very reliable inside sources tell The BRAD BLOG, is soon on its way...

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2005 4:23pm PT  

Debra LoGuercio, editor of the Winters Express in California, takes a look at our DIEB-THROAT stories in her latest column for McNaughton Newspapers. She closes with this graf:

If someone can refute the Dieb-Throat story and www.bradblog.com posts, please do. Because if they're true, our votes and elections are meaningless. Which means the very foundation of American democracy is meaningless. Which means our country as we know it is dead.

We're glad LoGuercio has noticed, and that more and more such folks are beginning to take notice of what we've been yelling and screaming about since at least November 3, 2004 here at The BRAD BLOG

We also join her call for refutation of the points made by DIEB-THROAT in our stories covering just some of the information that the still-anonymous source has shared with us. Those stories, if you haven't caught them yet, are respectively here, here and here. You can reach LoGuercio at this email address, and you can reach us at this one should you have any information or evidence that in any way questions the validity of our reporting or the information we've presented so far from DIEB-THROAT.

So far, that hasn't been done. As well, we are told that more coverage of our reporting from other media outlets (larger ones) is likely on the way.

Today, Diebold Inc's stock price stayed largely flat (gaining about .61%), closing at $36.15.

Last February, when we launched our "Divestiture for Democracy" campaign at VelvetRevolution.us shares of Diebold, Inc. (DBD) stock were more than $53/share. The value of the company's stock has fallen more than 30% since we began our campaign, plunging some 20% in the last week alone since our first DIEB-THROAT story.

The DV4D Campaign put America's Voting Machine Companies on notice. We let them know we expected them to do the right thing for this country and introduce transparency, security and accountability into the electronic election systems which they were foisting on a misinformed electorate.

We hope that the other major American Voting Machine companies are taking note of what is happening right now at Diebold, and before they get too excited about trouble at their competition, we hope they all understand our promise (The BRAD BLOG is a co-founder of VR) to do anything and everything legally and within our power to hold the anti-American owners and management of all of those companies accountable for putting our democracy at grave risk through their careless and unpatriotic business practices.

Democracy is not for sale. At least it shouldn't be. And we intend to continue to do something about it. Wherever and whenever possible.

We didn't set out to write a fundraising article for VelvetRevolution, but now that we've written it, we realize, this is as good a time as any to ask for your support of VR, so that we can keep up such work to help take our great country back from the cretins and bad guys that have --- and continue to --- hijack it from the good citizens of this country.

You can make a donation to VR right here... Thank you in advance! We need it!

P.S. Today, VR placed a new ad in Washington DC's City Paper to coincide with this weekend's massive rallies there. More on the latest ad in our campaign here, but here's a preview for you...

P.P.S. Katrina Wilcox, our Information Manager extraordinaire from VR, will be Guest Blogging here all weekend from D.C. where she's covering the rally for us! Please come back soon for thoughts, pictures and even video if we're lucky from on the ground in D.C. all weekend!

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Disputes Voting Machine Company's Explanations for Lowered Forecasts, Compares Company to Enron...
Points to Mismanagement, Failed Voting Equipment, Homeland Security Warnings and CEO O'Dell's $3m Salary as More Likely Causes
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2005 12:31pm PT  

Our still-anonymous Diebold Insider --- who we call DIEB-THROAT --- has some thoughts on Wednesday's sudden and stunning 15.5% one-day plunge in Diebold, Inc. share prices as reported earlier today by The BRAD BLOG.

"What a difference a few months makes," DIEB-THROAT wrote after the market close on Wednesday. "Back in July, Diebold told investors during its conference call the election revenues were sound and expected to grow." Yes, DIEB-THROAT was on that conference call. "Now all of a sudden Diebold's [CEO Walden] O'Dell tells investors of $10 million in lower revenues from election systems alone. Perhaps what Diebold isn't talking about is the $500,000 a month in legal fees they were spending in California, or the current rash of problems with touch screen systems that freeze up when votes are cast. Using Hurricane Katrina is a poor excuse for bad products - the last time this kind of deception occurred it was called Enron."

The blistering comments about Hurricane Katrina were in regard to Diebold's press release early Wednesday morning attributing much of their lowered forecasts for 3rd quarter and full-year earnings to the hurricane. The "freeze up" on Diebold's touch-screen voting machines has long plagued the North Canton, Ohio-based company, and a recent massive test of the equipment by California's Republican Sec. of State Bruce McPhereson confirmed that a full 20% of Diebold's machines either froze up or had printer jams.

When The BRAD BLOG spoke last week with Diebold spokesperson, David Bear about the California tests, Bear repeated several times times that "there were a total of 10 printer-jams after 11,000 votes were cast." When asked several times about similar statistics concerning the number of screen freeze-ups, Bear was unable to give us any information or numbers whatsoever.

The Tri-Valley Herald, however, had some numbers in their report on the massive California tests:

[W]hen Diebold representatives trucked in 96 brand-new TSx machines, and local elections officials voted on them July 20 in a San Joaquin County warehouse, nearly twice as many machines froze or crashed as had paper jams.
...
In all, 19 machines had 21 screen freezes or system crashes, producing a blue screen and messages about an illegal operation or a fatal exception error. A Diebold technician had to restart the machine for voting to resume. Ten machines had a total of 11 printer jams. Almost a third of all machines in the mock election had one problem or another.

Those tests, the largest of their kind, led to Sec. McPhereson's banning of the Diebold TSx touch-screen voting machines in the State of California, the largest voting "market" in the country.

Amongst other problems the company blamed on the hurricane in this morning's release, they claimed, "the impact of Hurricane Katrina is negatively affecting scheduled election systems deliveries in the Gulf region, resulting in approximately $10 million in lower elections systems revenue during the quarter."

As well, O'Dell himself is quoted in the release as suggesting "operational inefficiencies" as one of the factors contributing to lowered earnings expectations:

"I am extremely disappointed with our lack of progress in correcting our operational inefficiencies, and I am personally committed to taking immediate action to improve our effectiveness in these areas," said Walden W. O'Dell, Diebold chairman and chief executive officer.

However, O'Dell --- who took over today as President and Chief Operational Officer for Eric C. Evans who announced his resignation this morning --- didn't mention if correcting "operational inefficiencies" would include any changes to the $3,058,650 paycheck that O'Dell himself took from the company in 2004.

As well, DIEB-THROAT believes there's more bad news ahead for Diebold stockholders, pointing to the failure of stock prices to bounce back quickly today after the early morning plummet. "Typically the stock would bounce back after such a dip. This is a sure sign of a troubled company," says the source who continues to request anonymity based on a continuing sensitive relationship with the company.

More trouble in the days and weeks ahead was also predicted by DIEB-THROAT, who feels the trouble isn't as much the weather, as it is a poorly run company.

"If Hurricane Katrina was at fault this stock should go through the floor when Hurricane Rita hits. The fact of the matter is Diebold is mismanaged and unethical. The revolving door in top management we've seen in the last few months is perhaps the sprint for cover. After all who wants to be around when the feds pull back the curtain on the Homeland Security issue," said DIEB-THROAT in regard to the Cyber Alert issued last year, prior to November's election, by the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) --- an arm of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security --- as reported in a BRAD BLOG Exclusive late last week.

That "Cyber Security Bulletin", little-noticed by the media, and apparently wholly ignored by Diebold when it was originally posted in late August of 2004 is still available on the US-CERT website. It warns of an "undocumented backdoor" in Diebold's GEM Central Tabulator software used with its electronic voting machine systems. The security vulnerability could allow a local or remote user to modify vote tallies stored in the system according to the warning and corroborated by several different sources.

"This backdoor means that one malicious person can change the outcome of any Diebold election," DIEB-THROAT said in our previous article. "Diebold's election system," the source added, "is one of the greatest threats our democracy has ever known."

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Recovering a bit this afternoon, but still down...
UPDATE: Share Price Falls More Than 4% On The Day, Off 20% In Last Two Days Alone!
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2005 11:18am PT  

Share prices of Diebold, Inc. (DBD) continued to fall sharply in early trading today, dipping 7% right off the bat as reported by AP. Minor recovery has begun to occur over the last few hours in continued heavy trading. Hit REFRESH for the latest prices in the chart below which shows today's trading only...

See yesterday's report on Diebold's 15.5% plunge here, and DIEB-THROAT (the Diebold insider) comments on the company's woes after the plummet, comparing them to Enron, here.

ReddIt this story!



President/COO Quits! CEO Walden O'Dell Takes Over!
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2005 10:16am PT  

Shares of Diebold, Inc. (DBD) continued to fall in heavy trading today after hitting a 52-week low at Tuesday's close as reported here last night.

As of today's, shares had dropped 15.5% in very heavy trading, along with news that their President and Chief Operating Officer, Eric C. Evans has resigned effective today. Diebold, Inc. CEO Walden O'Dell has announced he will take over for the moment...O'Dell is well known for his Republican fundraising letter of 2003 announcing that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the President."...Diebold Elections Systems, Inc. and competitor ES&S count more than 80% of America's votes each election and have come underfire for inadequate security on their voting machines, as well as a lack of transparency for their proprietary source code, and a lack of accountability and verifiability in their election results.

Real-Time Chart, Slight Delay, Hit Refresh for Updates...

  • BRADBLOG: "DIEBOLD INSIDER: 'Diebold System One of Greatest Threats Democracy Has Ever Known'"
  • REUTERS: "Diebold cuts forecast, COO leaves, shares plunge"
  • AP: "Diebold Shares Dip on Lowered Forecast"
  • BRIEFING.COM: "Diebold downgraded by Robert W. Baird"
  • UPDATE: Diebold insider, "DIEB-THROAT" weighs in on today's stock plunge! Compares company to Enron! Points to CEO O'Dell's $3m Salary and more! Read it here...

    ReddIt this story!



    Odds 'n' Ends and the Net Reaction...
    PLUS: Brad Appearances on Pacifica and Huffington Post
    By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2005 2:49pm PT  

    There's been quite a hullaballoo both here and elsewhere since I posted my exclusive interview with DIEB-THROAT last Thursday pointing to the Cyber Alert from the arm of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security which warned about Diebold's hackable machines prior to last November's election. That's good. Without noise and vigilance from the citizenry, the story of what has happened and continues to happen to our Electoral System in this country will be drowned out by those who have an interest in the system remaining as is...and real democracy in America will drown along with it.

    It is up to you to make sure that something is done now about what DIEB-THROAT described as "one of the greatest threats democracy has ever known." Here's a link you can use right away to alert your Congressional Representatives (both Dem and Rep!) about the problem, and ask them to support at least one piece of legislation --- Rep. Rush Holt's HR 550 --- that attempts to deal with at least some of the problems in the current disastrous system. Holt's bill has over 100 co-sponsors now, including some Republicans as we understand, and thus it has the best chance of seeing the light of day in Congress at this time. It's worth supporting.

    Several Mainstream Media organizations have contacted me since publishing Thursday's story to get more info and/or interviews with DIEB-THROAT. I've done everything I can to accommodate them, and hopefully we'll be seeing more on this story soon. Then again, I was also contacted by many MSM'ers after I broke the amazing Clint Curtis story, and we're still waiting for those exposes to appear in the MSM. So we'll see what happens. Don't wait for them! Make noise yourself right now!

    Amongst the notable noise out there on the net was this coverage by Mako Yamakura at the Detroit News and Free Press weblog site. Yamakura does a fine job of explaining --- in laymen's terms --- the significance of the US-CERT Cyber Alert discussed in my original article.

    Over at BlackBoxVoting.org where the backdoor vulnerability to Diebold's central tabulation software was originally discovered more than a year ago, there is a thread discussing our article, its ramifications and a great deal of additional information along with both kudos and critiques for yours truly. To be frank, I was a bit surprised there wasn't more appreciation for the story originally over there, since it provided independent corroboration to so much of what they've been trying to get folks to pay attention to for so long. Nonethess, I'm glad that folks are talking about it.

    A few of the notable links found via BBV's thread would include:

  • Internal email purported to be from a Diebold support tech in 2001 asking about the security flaw in the GEMS tabulation software. And the lead technician who then acknowledges the problem in detail in return.
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich's webpage quoting from the Diebold Employee manual, encouraging them to lie about ballot integrity issues in Diebold's election system. (Along with more links, to more internal emails).
  • Oh, and for the technically minded, you can download Diebold's GEMS Central Tabulator software right here and use the step-by-step instructions to hack it yourself!
  • I'm also reminded that you can watch Howard Dean hack the Diebold GEMS Central Tabulator in 90 seconds in a video clip from CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown where Dean guest-hosted with BBV's Bev Harris as his guest.

    That demonstration is also used in the short Special Edition of the Votergate documentary film still in production by our friend Russ Michaels. If you haven't seen this version of his film, released to the net prior to last November's Election, you're in for an eye-opener! Go watch it!

    Also, McCamy Taylor was moved enough by our article to do up a quickie cartoon strip on DIEB-THROAT over at the Grand Theft Election Ohio website.

    Lastly, for those folks who are just now waking up to unaccountable, unverifiable, untransparent privatization of America's elections by Diebold (the Halliburton of the Voting World) and others, I would recommend you:

  • a) Watch this video reminder of last November's Illegitimate Election as compiled in part by BRAD BLOG's own David Edwards.
  • And b) read the remarkable story of Clint Curtis about which I've been reporting since last December. Curtis, a Republican, claims to have been asked by Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL) to create a Vote-Rigging Software Prototype in 2000. He has signed a sworn affidavit, given sworn Congressional testimony, and passed a polygraph test about all of that since then. Tom Feeney, notably, has not.
  • Wanna Do Something About All of This?

    Other than linking to our DIEB-THROAT article, emailing it around, and writing letters to the editor at your local newspaper about both that story and other reasons to be greatly concerned about what has happened to America's Electoral System, you can help light a fire under some Congressional feet! Both Dems and Reps! They must get to work and pass some legislation that begins to deal with this incredible threat to our Democracy! VelvetRevolution.us has made it easy to SEND A LETTER TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES demanding that they support Congressman Rush Holt's "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" (H.R. 550). Click here now to do it! It'll just take a minute of your time! And thanks for giving a damn!

    P.S. I'll be on Pacifica's Sunday Monitor program out of KPFT 90.1 FM in Houston to discuss all of this today (Sunday, natch) at 4:15p PT if you want to listen in...

    P.P.S. Arianna has asked me for a piece on this as well for Huffington Post which I hope will be posted soon over there is now posted here!

    ReddIt this story!



    DIEB-THROAT : 'Diebold System One of Greatest Threats Democracy Has Ever Known'
    Identifies U.S. Homeland Security 'Cyber Alert' Prior to '04 Election Warning Votes Can be 'Modified Remotely' via 'Undocumented Backdoor' in Central Tabulator Software!
    By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2005 11:05am PT  

    In exclusive stunning admissions to The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a "Diebold Insider" is now finally speaking out for the first time about the alarming security flaws within Diebold, Inc's electronic voting systems, software and machinery. The source is acknowledging that the company's "upper management" --- as well as "top government officials" --- were keenly aware of the "undocumented backdoor" in Diebold's main "GEM Central Tabulator" software well prior to the 2004 election. A branch of the Federal Government even posted a security warning on the Internet.

    Pointing to a little-noticed "Cyber Security Alert" issued by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside Diebold --- who "for the time being" is requesting anonymity due to a continuing sensitive relationship with the company --- is charging that Diebold's technicians, including at least one of its lead programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company instructed them to keep quiet about it.

    "Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal," the insider, who we'll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. "In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold's technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated."

    In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a "culture of fear" had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.

    The "Cyber Security Alert" from US-CERT was issued in late August of 2004 and is still available online via the US-CERT website. The alert warns that "A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could [sic: allow] a local or remote authenticated malicious user [sic: to] modify votes."

    The alert, assessed to be of "MEDIUM" risk on the US-CERT security bulletin, goes on to add that there is "No workaround or patch available at time of publishing."

    "Diebold's upper management was aware of access to the voter file defect before the 2004 election - but did nothing to correct it," the source explained.

    A "MEDIUM" risk vulnerability cyber alert is described on the US-CERT site as: "one that will allow an intruder immediate access to a system with less than privileged access. Such vulnerability will allow the intruder the opportunity to continue the attempt to gain privileged access. An example of medium-risk vulnerability is a server configuration error that allows an intruder to capture the password file."

    DIEB-THROAT claims that, though the Federal Government knew about this documented flaw, originally discovered and reported by BlackBoxVoting.org in August of 2004, they did nothing about it.

    "I believe that top Government officials had an understanding with top Diebold officials to look the other way," the source explained, "because Diebold was their ace in the hole."...

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

    ReddIt this story!



    10% of Screens Freeze, Printers Jam in 'Massive Mock Election Test'
    Ohio Unconcerned, Sticking with Diebold
    By Brad Friedman on 7/29/2005 1:00pm PT  

    Great news from today's Oakland Tribune! California, the country's largest voting "market" rejects Diebold. Again...And hopefully for the last time...

    After possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system, California has rejected Diebold's flagship electronic voting machine because of printer jams and screen freezes, sending local elections officials scrambling for other means of voting.

    "There was a failure rate of about 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the voters of California and not good enough for me," Secretary of State Bruce McPherson said.
    ...
    "We certainly can't take any kind of risk like that with this kind of device on California voters," McPherson said.

    Rejection of the TSx by California, the nation's largest voting-system market, could influence local elections officials from Utah, Mississippi and Ohio, home of Diebold corporate headquarters, where dozens of counties are poised to purchase the latest Diebold touch screens.

    State elections officials in Ohio say they still have confidence in the machines.

    "Absolutely," said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State's Office.
    ...
    McPherson denied approval of the TSx after a series of failed tests, culminating in a massive, mock election conducted on 96 of the machines in a San Joaquin County warehouse. San Joaquin is one of three California counties that purchased a total of 13,000 TSx machines in 2003 for more than $40 million and have paid to warehouse them ever since.
    ...
    Elections officials and voting activists said they had never heard of more extensive testing for a single voting system, outside of an actual election.
    ...
    Ordinarily, states and the National Association of State Elections Directors approve voting systems after labs hired by the manufacturers perform tests on a handful of machines. The Diebold TSx managed to get through those tests ? twice. But none of the testing standards addresses printers on electronic voting machines, even though more than 20 states either require a so-called paper trail or are debating such a requirement.

    For years, voters have reported frozen screens and other glitches in the polling place.

    "It's always been the voters' word against election officials' and the vendors'," Alexander said. "Now we have real proof right before the eyes of state elections officials."

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    Last Weekend's Archives Now Up at www.BradShow.com
    By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2005 12:00pm PT  

    The MP3 archives of last Saturday night's BRAD SHOW are now up and well worth listening to (sez me) in case you happened to have missed any of our four jam-packed hours o' delicious radio goodness!

    Last week's show featured, amongst other things...

  • Iraq War vet Paul Rieckhoff of OpTruth.org explaining how the Bush Administration is failing to support the troops.
  • A segment with David Dixon of the Handicapped Adults of Volusia County which details the $1 million that Diebold seems to have used to pay off the National Federation of the Blind and the $26,000 they seem to have given to the NFB's Jim Dickson to support their paperless touchscreen voting machines all across the country.
  • Larisa Alexandrovna of RAW STORY on the alleged photos and videos of torture and rape of women and children at Abu Ghraib and/or Gitmo that the Administration is doing everything they can to keep you from seeing.
  • Former CIA officer --- and Republican! --- Jim Marcinkowski on the White House's unprecedented National Security breach in outting a covert CIA NOC (and he takes a much deserved shot at Ann Coulter in the bargain!)
  • Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was so on fire after her DSM Town Hall in Los Angles that we even ended up exchanging love vows :-)
  • And the great Tony Trupiano of his eponymous radio show who spoke that day at Conyers' Detroit DSM event, in a segment which starts off this way (tiny MP3 just to whet your appetite.)

    It's all in the BRAD SHOW Archives, in the 7/23/05 section. Enjoy!

    (Feel free to help me pay for next week's show. And feel free to buy a T-Shirt, Coffee Mug, Book, Bumper Sticker or Bobblehead in The BRAD STORE while you're at it!)

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    30 Days Pay 'Wrist Slap' for Matt Damschroder who Retains $97k/year Job
    Not 'Illegal' in Ohio (Apparently) for Elections Officials to Take Pay-Offs from Voting Machine Companies
    By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2005 8:03pm PT  

    Just back in town after a day off, and man do I have a lot to catch up with...While I'm doing that, if you haven't noticed already, the Franklin County, Ohio Elections Director, Matt Damschroder, who last week acknowledged accepting a $10,000 check from a lobbyist for Diebold, was given a slap on the wrist yesterday and docked 30 days pay from his yearly $97,240 salary.

    He has also claimed that the Diebold lobbyist, Pasquale "Pat" Gallina, told him that he'd made $50,000 in donations to groups that support Ohio's Secretary of State (and, coincidentally, the Co-Chair of the Bush/Cheney Re-Elect Committee) J. Kenneth Blackwell.

    All of this has come about amidst a lawsuit filed by voting machine company, ES&S in Ohio against Blackwell for giving the entire state to Diebold. This should be very interesting to watch. Depositions are upcoming.

    In the meantime, while Franklin County's head of election, who seems to have accepted a $10,000 bribe gets off virtually scot-free, Sherole Eaton --- the courageous whistleblower from Hocking County, OH, who gave testimony in an affidavit of employees from voting machine company, Triad gaming the Ohio recount --- has been accused of absolutely nothing. Nonetheless, she is still fired from the Hocking County Board of Elections.

    Ohio. Retaining its slim edge over Florida for now...as the filthiest fucking state in the union.

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    We're shocked...shocked!
    Board of Elections' Matt Damschroder Continues his impressive 'bi-partisan' record in Ohio.
    By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2005 10:50am PT  

    From Cleveland Plain Dealer this morning...

    A member of the Franklin County election board said Friday that prosecutors are investigating whether a GOP political consultant tried to bribe the board's director to buy voting equipment made by his client, Diebold Inc.

    The director, Matthew Damschroder, has told prosecutors that the consultant, Pat Gallina, came to his office in early 2004, offering him $10,000.

    "Pat Gallina came into my office at the Board of Elections and said, 'I'm here to give you $10,000. Who should I direct it to?' " Damschroder recalled. "I said, 'Certainly not to me. But I'm sure the Franklin County Republican Party would appreciate a voluntary donation. That was my first mistake."

    The law prohibits Damschroder from accepting political contributions on county property. He said he took the check home and mailed it to the party, where he had just completed a stint as executive director.
    ...
    Damschroder told prosecutor O'Brien of Gallina's visit after his testimony was sought in a civil suit filed by one of Diebold's competitors, Election Systems and Software.

    ES&S charges in that suit that Secretary of State Ken Blackwell improperly favored Diebold in selecting electronic voting machines for use statewide.
    ...
    Gallina told him that he and Cummings agreed on the cut-rate price Diebold would charge the state for its machines, and that Gallina promised in return to give $50,000 to "Blackwell interests."

    Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for Blackwell, called the claim "absolutely ridiculous," and that Cummings has not negotiated any part of the state's voting machine contracts.
    ...
    Diebold executives had ceased contributing directly to political campaigns in October 2003, after the company president sparked an uproar by saying he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes" to secure President Bush's re-election.

    Spokesman Mike Jacobsen said the firm pays Gallina - through Celebrezze & Associates - to work as a liaison on state and county government contracts.

    "It's a separate company," he said. "Just because we contract with a lobbyist and they make a contribution doesn't mean, in any way, that we use them as some sort of political back door to curry political favor."

    (Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter, KestrelBrighteyes for the catch via RAW STORY)

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    'Election Center' Becomes Latest Election Reform Group to Have Sold Their Souls to Diebold
    Credibility Matters
    By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2005 4:02pm PT  

    Something stinks to high heaven about these people and their new report. And not simply because they're based in Houston, TX, (though it certainly doesn't help their case) but the fact that they are directly funded by Voting Machine companies such as Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia immediately destroys any credibility they might have otherwise had when it comes to making decisions about our Electoral System in desperate need of reform.

    ElectionCenter.org claims to be a non-profit, non-partisan, professional organization of Elections Workers. Today, they have released a new report [large PDF] with recommendations on how to improve America's Electoral System.

    The AP covered the new report in a story yesterday which shines a fairly positive light on it yet manages to include a couple of paragraphs which jump out as huge red flags. Here's a couple of them from the AP story [emphasis added]...

    In a new, sweeping report, state and local officials focus much of their attention on voters and poll workers rather than voting machines --- the subject of so much debate ever since the 2000 presidential stalemate in Florida.
    ...
    The report also urges state legislators to consider an "independently verifiable" record of each voter's ballot from ATM-style touchscreen voting machines that could be electronic, video or some other form --- pointedly downplaying a widespread push for paper receipts from touchscreens.
    ...
    The Election Center has come in for criticism after reports that the nonprofit, nonpartisan group accepts contributions from voting machine manufacturers. Two members of the task force are former local election administrators who've formed their own election-related businesses.

    So here we have yet another "nonprofit, nonpartisan" organization dedicated to Election issues, who have a clear conflict of interest due to their financial alliance with the Voting Machine Companies instead of the American Citizens whose interests they claim to represent.

    Unlike the now-discredited "American Center for Voting Rights", a phony front group founded by GOP operatives as a smokescreen for real Election Reform issues, Election Center has been around for a number of years. But their claims that their mission is to "improve service to voters, the public, the taxpayers and to government" is completely belied by the companies they keep...or that keep them...

    Here's a screenshot of the agenda from their upcoming August "National Conference" in Beverly Hills/Hollywood. It will likely tell you all you need to know about this group:

    A few Googles of the various election officials associated with this organization and their new report should answer any other questions you may have. These people (folks like Palm Beach's Theresa LePore and Los Angeles' Conny McCormack to name just a few) are certainly not in the business of fighting for the voters' best interests.

    Suffice to say, if Election Center expects any recognition for their recommendations for Electoral Reform from the Election Reform community, perhaps they should have thought of that before selling that option off to Diebold and friends.

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    By Brad Friedman on 9/10/2004 1:02pm PT  

    From Electoral-Vote.com:

    The state of California has decided to sue Diebold, the nation's largest manufacturer of electronic (touch screen) voting machines because the company lied about the machines' security. The machines have a special feature that creates fake vote totals when a secret 2-digit code is typed in. The LA Times article about the lawsuit does not specify whether there are separate codes to fake a Bush victory and fake a Kerry victory or whether one candidate's victory has been programmed in advance or whether election officials can enter any result they want. However, Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, has said he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president." The suit comes 6 months after the machines failed in the March primary. The machines are used in 19 California counties and many states nationwide.
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