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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
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...


Fear 'Train Wreck' in Upcoming Presidential Primary Election as Cost of Move to Electronic Voting Translates to 40% Fewer Voting Booths...
By Brad Friedman on 11/29/2007 8:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from the Kansas/Colorado border...

Salt Lake City Weekly covers the state's recent electoral woes in the wake of moving to Diebold touch-screen voting machines. They even use a word we reference often here at The BRAD BLOG in regard to upcoming elections: "train wreck."

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake County, election officials are trying to figure out how to persuade voters not to come to the polls. With the switch from punch cards to touch-screen voting, the county ended up with 40 percent fewer polling booths. A large turnout will overwhelm the setup, says county Clerk Sherrie Swensen.
...
The presidential primary in February might be a good test of what is in store next year. Utah is participating in Super Tuesday with Mitt Romney on the ballot, and Swensen expects at least 40 percent turnout. If the vote goes anything like the recent city election, it could be a train wreck.

Utah, of course, was the home of one of the most notorious touch-screen voting system investigations in the country when Emery County Clerk Bruce Funk allowed renowned computer security expert Harri Hursti and e-voting watchdog group BlackBoxVoting.org to examine the new Diebold touch-screen systems forced on him for use by the state.

Their startling vulnerabilities revealed in the Diebold systems by the study were described at the time as a "major national security risk" and "the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system" by Election Integrity, Voting System and Computer Security experts.

For his diligence on behalf of his voters, Funk, the 23-year elected County Clerk, was subsequently locked out of his office and removed from his job with the support of the very state officials who had gone into business with Diebold to create the mess the state now faces.

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Nice Going Guys!
(Guess You Shouldn't Have Enjoyed so Many Dinners With Those Diebold Salesmen...)
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2007 10:05am PT  

Utah wants to hold a Presidential Primary Election. But they seem to have run into a new snag...

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has pushed for a Western States Presidential Primary to be held on Feb. 5. Arizona and New Mexico will also hold a primary election on that day and other Western states are considering it.

The Legislature has previously set aside $850,000 to cover the costs. With the new electronic voting machines, that bill has ballooned to $3.4 million.

Oh, well. What was that they were saying about these systems saving the taxpayer money?

(Hat-tip to the Utah Election Official who brought this to our attention. Bless you. And good luck.)

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Sticker Shock May Force Jurisdictions to Revert to Hand Counted Paper Ballots Next Year...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2006 10:05am PT  

If you needed any more evidence to counter the argument that it would be "too expensive" to dump all the shitty, unreliable, inaccurate, hackable, disenfranchising touch-screen (DRE) voting systems in favor of paper ballots, just take a look at Utah. They're the state which pushed out heroic 23-year Emery County Election Clerk Bruce Funk because he had the temerity to allow independent computer security experts to test the Diebold touch-screen systems the state was forcing him to use. (The experts found massive security flaws described as "the most severe" ever discovered.)

Well, now Utah has finally discovered that their switch from punch-cards to shitty, unreliable, inaccurate, hackable, disenfranchising Diebold touch-screen systems has doubled the cost of their elections. And then some. Get a load of this from the Salt-Lake Tribune...

"I'm not sure any of us realized how much it is going to cost to own and operate this system," said Michael Cragun, elections director for the Lieutenant Governor's Office.

Those costs are so prohibitive that many Utahns in next year's local elections will revert to a voting style used for generations: checking a box on a paper ballot.
...
City leaders are worried, having heard rumors they may have to triple their election budget if they go with the touch-screen machines.
...
in August 2005, [Lt. Gov. Gary] Herbert signed a contract with Texas-based Diebold Election Systems for $24.5 million. He paid the tab with a federal grant issued through HAVA.

In return, Utah received about 3,000 voting machines and the technical support to run statewide elections this year and in 2008.

But it is now becoming clear that was just the start of the costs.

"We are not sure everyone understood what happened when they flicked that first domino over," Cragun said.
...
Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen says she had to double the pay for poll workers because of the necessary training. She now spends $12,000 per month storing the bulky machines. And all of the memory cards, batteries and other essential machine accessories cost her office an extra $138,000 this year.

These costs will continue to accrue as Swensen and other county clerks say they need more machines for the 2008 presidential election.

Unbelievable. I love how they're running around and saying "we had no idea!"... Idiots.

Have I mentioned lately how important it is that you --- and everybody you know --- sign this petition to demand Congress require a paper BALLOT for every vote cast (and get rid, once and for all, of all the shitty, unreliable, inaccurate, hackable, disenfranchising Direct Recording Electronic touch-screen voting systems in the bargain)?! As they say...Don't wait! ACT NOW!

(Hat-tip John Gideon)

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Smartcard Encoders Reportedly Not Working...Paper Ballots Not Available Everywhere...
By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2006 12:17pm PT  

From Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, the state which ran the 23-year elected Emery County, UT Election Administrator, Bruce Funk out of a job when he dared allowed independent investigators to test the new Diebold touch-screen systems forced on him by the state...

Utah County voters planning to cast their ballots on the way to work were stymied by technical problems with the state's new voting machines, while some in Salt Lake City also saw delays at the polls.

Robert Nelson was among those in Provo and other locations in Utah County who were unable to cast their votes using the new voting machines when the polls opened. After arriving at his polling location at 7 a.m., Nelson said he spent an hour and a half hoping the machines would be fixed.

"The workers were earnestly trying to get the machines to work, but not a one in our precint worked," Nelson said. "I work in Salt Lake City, so I couldn't wait for the machines to work."

Similar reports came in from other areas in Utah County, including Lindon. The clerk's office said the problem had been solved and the machines were up and running as of 8:55 a.m.

In Salt Lake City, some locations only had one machine up and running when the polls opened at 7 a.m.

No voting machines were initially operational at Highland High School, although some 25 people were already waiting in line to vote when the location opened.

The local ABC affiliate is reporting the Lt. Governor (a big supporter of Diebold, as we recall) says the problem is in the voting card encoders...

Utah's Lt. Governor Gary Herbert says voting machine encoders, used to program individual user cards have been incorrectly programmed, causing delays for many voters, primarily in Utah County.

Herbert says the problem is associated with voter card encoding machines, which have failed to function properly.
...
Many voters have experienced delays, and have been told to come back later.

Some voters have opted to use paper ballots, which are also available at most, if not all polling locations.

Herbert says the primary encoding machine problem has not been fixed, but provisional systems have been put in place and no one should be turned away.

Too late, Lt. Governor. Nice going.

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Emery County's Bruce Funk is Stunned by San Diego County Procedures Allowing Diebold Voting Machines to be Sent Home with Poll Workers Prior to last Tuesday's Special Run-off Election for the U.S. House
23-Year County Clerk Who Allowed a Security Analysis Uncovering the Most Alarming Diebold Vulnerability to Date Sends a Letter to The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2006 1:32pm PT  

Bruce Funk, the 23-year Emery County, Utah county clerk who allowed computer security experts Harris Hursti and Security Innovation to examine the Diebold AccuVote TSx voting systems forced on him by the state last March --- which led to the discovery of a massive security vulnerability in all Diebold touch-screen systems, as originally broken by The BRAD BLOG, and subsequently followed up by New York Times, NEWSWEEK, NPR and many other MSM outlets --- writes in with his concerns about the results of last week's special election in San Diego between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray to replace Randy "Duke" Cunningham in CA's 50th U.S. House congressional district.

(All of our reports on that race, so far, in which San Diego county blatantly defied the CA Sec. of State's own security mitigation requirements, not to mention common sense, by sending the voting machines home with poll workers days and weeks prior to the election can be read here.)

As reported recently by the Salt Lake Tribune, since allowing the security examination in Utah, Funk has been pushed out of his job by state officials, in apparent collusion with Diebold officials. (My radio interview with Funk about all of this, from my recent Guest Host stint on the Peter B. Collins Show, is here.)

In the letter on the Busby/Bilbray matter, Funk writes...

Brad,

After reading your articles on the Busby/Bilbray Election, I am in shock! The security vulnerabilities I know to be associated with the Diebold touch screen voting machine would makes this unimaginable. Utah (and Diebold themselves) accused me that by my allowing Black Box Voting security expert Harri Hursti having access to two machines in Emery County that I had jeopardized the elections for the entire state of Utah. The analysis was all, of course, supervised and video taped to document anything done by Mr. Hursti.

You just don't let these machines go outside established security procedures. Inappropriate access [to the Diebold touch-screen systems] for example; loading on a macro program can happen within minutes and will go undetected on the machine. You can access the machines as I recall even if the front doors are sealed. These security seals, that they talk about as the answer, will probably be taken off by these same poll workers and so who will even notice?

I would worry at every stage of the deployment of the machines even by those who might transport or set them up at polling locations.

I believe that people need to keep the security issues of these machines on the front burner and talk it up with everyone. My worry is that when we as people give up and get tired of the fight, then they have won. Corporate America needs to come clean about the vulnerabilities, clean them up, and let an independent group verify it. If these machines are so great why didn't they use them in the Iraq Elections?

I just can't believe San Diego would permit such a thing in such an important election. Or any election for that matter!

Bruce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Voting Systems in Question Were Used Last Week in Ohio Primary, Soon in Pennsylvania, So 'Serious' Few Details Are Being Released
All Diebold Touch-Screen Machines, In All States, Said to be Affected by 'Horrifying' Vulnerability, Systems 'Sequestered' in PA
By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2006 1:24pm PT  

We've now been able to gather a great deal of additional information concerning details about the story we first posted yesterday on the official Pennsylvania state warning issued about the new "security vulnerability" discovered in all Diebold touch-screen electronic voting machines.

That warning, which has now brought a lock-down on all Diebold systems in PA, where early absentee (non-machine) voting is about to begin prior to their upcoming May 16th primary election, was reported by the Morning Call yesterday. The warning says the serious security vulnerability could allow ''unauthorized software to be loaded on to the system."

Public details about the warning are still sketchy as those in the know have acknowledged that the problem is so serious, they are hoping to keep the info under wraps until mitigation steps can be taken to safeguard systems.

The BRAD BLOG has been told on the record, however, by one person involved in the matter, that the vulnerability is a "major national security risk."

We've been speaking to many sources today, and we've been able to get several first hand comments on the problem from top officials and analysts directly involved in both state and federal certification of the Diebold systems, as well as from those involved in the initial discovery of the problem.

What's clear is that Morning Call's reporting that it was Diebold who found the "glitch" are flat wrong. The discovery of the "glitch" (which is anything but) emanated from the examination of Diebold AccuVote TSx (touch-screen) machines recently in Emery County, UT.

A source has told The BRAD BLOG that Diebold was "cornered" into admitting to the problem, a far cry from them having "found" it, as the Morning Call characterized it.

What's also clear is that neither Diebold themselves, nor federal officials at the Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) have been notifying states about the serious problem which apparently affects all Diebold AccuVote touch-screen systems, including both their newer TSx models, and the older TS and TS6 models.

The Diebold TSx models, with the security vulnerability still intact, were apparently used in the primary election last Tuesday in Ohio.

A document at Diebold's website describes [PDF] the TSx models as featuring "Industry Leading Security."

In Utah's Emery County, state officials are attempting to force Bruce Funk, the 23-year elected County Clerk out of his job in the wake of his having allowed a security evaluation of the county's new Diebold touch-screen systems by both computer security firm Security Innovation and Finnish computer security expert Harri Hursti. According to several sources, that analysis revealed many new vulnerabilities and problems in the Diebold touch-screen systems, including the one that seems to be at the heart of the problem now being warned about by Pennsylvania officials.

Funk --- who has since been "vilified," as one source told us, by both Diebold and Utah state officials as high as the Lt. Governor --- was forced to implement the new Diebold touch-screen systems for the first time this year against his own objections. His prudent subsequent security evaluation of the systems was arranged by electronic voting watchdog organization, BlackBoxVoting.org. (We recently interviewed Funk on the radio concerning that evaluation, and his subsequent removal from office in its wake. Listen to that interview here [MP3].)

Here's some of what we've so far been able to learn from a number of officials, both on the record and off, in Pennsylvania, elsewhere around the country and at the federal level, as well as those involved in the initial Emery County discoveries...

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

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Several Counties 'Locking Down' Machines as Company Promises Last Minute Software Fix Just Before Upcoming Primary Election
Election Integrity Advocates Suggest Warning May Stem from Recent Independent Voting Machine Analysis Revealing Major Security Flaws in Diebold Hardware and Software
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2006 12:27pm PT  

Just weeks before their May 16th Primary Election, the Pennsylvania Sec. of State, Pedro Cortez issued a Security Alert late Tuesday concerning a "potential security vulnerability" in Diebold electronic voting machines which could " allow ''unauthorized software to be loaded on to the system." The warning was revealed yesterday at a meeting in Schuylkill County.

Details about the warning are still sketchy this morning, and we're trying to learn more, but The Morning Call is reporting today that the "glitch" was "found" by Diebold and counties are now being instructed to lock down systems and seal the memory cards into them.

A "fix" is said to be on its way from Diebold, though that begs the question of whether the last-minute software patch will be certified by federal and/or state authorities before it's installed on machines that have already proven to be vulnerable to hackers and other failures.

(As regular BRAD BLOG readers know, even if the software is inspected by federal authorities before being installed in machines, there is no guarantee that those authorities will find the bugs and illegal code that Diebold is quickly becoming famous for. The federal so-called "Independent Testing Authority" (ITA) is paid for by the voting machine company's themselves and has overlooked gaping flaws in software submitted by the vendors for years).

Says the Morning Call today about the security warning...

--- 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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While 150,000 Votes Already Miscounted or Lost!
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2004 11:50am PT  

Yesterday Bev Harris' BlackBoxVoting.org site began issuing "Bandwidth Exceeded" messages to users attempting to access the site. Such a message generally occurs when more users are attempting to access the site than the server can comfortably handle or when the bandwidth allocated by the domain's Internet Provider is exceeded.

Today, attempts to access the site now simply return a "Cannot Find Server" page, leading me to believe that hack attempts and/or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have been successful for the time being. [UPDATE: BlackBoxVoting.org is now finally back online. At least for now.]

We have had such attacks here at the BRAD BLOG for the last three days which have taken us similarly down and/or greatly slowed page retrieval at various times. Given the much higher profile BBV has had, it's little surprise that folks who'd rather see patriotic efforts like theirs discontinued would work feverishly to disrupt it.

Ms. Harris and BBV has been spearheading a huge "Freedom of Information Act" filing to collect and review audit logs and other materials from the election in some 3,000 US counties, and thus, her group has attracted quite a bit of attention in the past week. BBV has been attempting to warn Americans for at least the past year about the ticking time-bombs of unregulated, unauditable, and privately owned Electronic Voting machines and their corporate owners (the vast majority of them very closely tied to the Republican party).

Attempts to silence and/or disrupt sites like hers and ours, I believe, speak volumes in support of the underlying charges that we've been making. If there was nothing to fear in examining the inner-workings of these companies, and the way that our votes our counted --- specifically in last week's election --- there would be no reason to attempt to silence and disrupt those who are attempting to do so.

In other words, if the election was clean and fair, what's the fear of giving it a close inspection?

Now perhaps the problem at BBV really is simply related to an overage of bandwidth demand, however, given past attacks the site has received, similar attacks here, and the message changing from "Bandwidth Exceeded" to "Cannot Find Server", I'm inclined to believe that the problem is hostile attacks.

To those who claim that the roughly 150,000 (so far) documented votes that have been reported and confirmed by Election Officials as being mis-allocated would not have changed any election results, I'd point out:

1) Those are just the numbers reported by a mainstream media which by and large went "on vacation" after Kerry's "concession" last Wednesday.

2) Many of those mistabulated and/or lost votes discovered were due to software errors that likely exist on many other identical computers in many other counties in America where they may not yet have been noticed and/or reported.

3) The results of at least one ballot initiative last Tuesday has already been reversed when 70,000 previously mis-counted votes due to "software error" were "discovered" in Broward County, FL!

4) There has been a long record of elections in this country being mis-tabulated and/or reversed due to Electronic Voting Machine error in recent history.

Chapter 2 of Bev Harris' book, Black Box Voting outlines tons of those recently overturned elections. Here's the PDF version of Chapter 2, but since it's currently offline as of this posting, here's a summary of just a few such recent incidents summarized courtesy of Hunter over at DailyKos:

In the 2002 general election, a computer miscount overturned the House District 11 result in Wayne County, North Carolina. Incorrect programming caused machines to skip several thousand partyline votes, both Republican and Democratic. Fixing the error turned up 5,500 more votes and reversed the election for state representative.
...
Voting machines failed to tally "yes" votes on the 2002 school bond issue in Gretna, Nebraska. This error gave the false impression that the measure had failed miserably, but it actually passed by a 2 to 1 margin. Responsibility for the errors was attributed to ES&S, the Omaha company that had provided the ballots and the machines.
...
An Orange County, California, election computer made a 100 percent error during the April 1998 school bond referendum. The Registrar of Voters Office initially announced that the bond issue had lost by a wide margin; in fact, it was supported by a majority of the ballots cast. The error was attributed to a programmer's reversing the "yes" and "no" answers in the software used to count the votes.
...
Software programming errors, sorry. Oh, and reverse that election, we announced the wrong winner. In the 2002 Clay County, Kansas, commissioner primary, voting machines said Jerry Mayo ran a close race but lost, garnering 48 percent of the vote, but a hand recount revealed Mayo had won by a landslide, receiving 76 percent of the vote.
...
In the November 2002 general election in Scurry County, Texas, poll workers got suspicious about a landslide victory for two Republican commissioner candidates. Told that a "bad chip" was to blame, they had a new computer chip flown in and also counted the votes by hand --- and found out that Democrats actually had won by wide margins, overturning the election.
...
In 1986 the wrong candidate was declared the winner in Georgia. Incumbent Democrat Donn Peevy was running for state senator in District 48. The machines said he lost the election. After an investigation revealed that a Republican elections official had kept uncounted ballots in the trunk of his car, officials also admitted that a computerized voting program had miscounted. Peevy insisted on a recount. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "When the count finished around 1 a.m., they [the elections board] walked into a room and shut the door," recalls Peevy. "When they came out, they said, `Mr. Peevy, you won.' That was it. They never apologized. They never explained."
...
A software programming error gave the election to the wrong candidate in November 1999 in Onondaga County, New York. Bob Faulkner, a political newcomer, went to bed on election night confident he had helped complete a Republican sweep of three open council seats. But after Onondaga County Board of Elections staffers rechecked the totals, Faulkner had lost to Democratic incumbent Elaine Lytel. Just a few hours later, election officials discovered that a software programming error had given too many absentee ballot votes to Lytel. Faulkner took the lead.
...
In a 1998 Salt Lake City election, 1,413 votes never showed up in the total. A programming error caused a batch of ballots not to count, though they had been run through the machine like all the others. When the 1,413 missing votes were counted, they reversed the election.

If an official investigation doesn't take place immediately, there is little hope of determing the correct winner of any number of races from last week's election. Not the least of which is the race for President of the United States. And I would think, especially after four years of questions about George W. Bush's legitimacy as "President" that even the Right Wingnuts would like to be able to demonstrate once and for all to the American People that he was, in fact, legitimately elected this time.

For more on the suddenly silent Right Wingers, see my recent BuzzFlash Editorial. And be sure to sign this Online Petition calling for an immediate investigation!

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