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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, December 21, 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...


Asks for 'Precinct-by-Precinct Reconciliation' of Poll Rosters to Begin Accurately Accounting for Tens of Thousands of Non-Partisan Voters Who Cast Machine-Unreadable Ballots
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2008 6:18pm PT  

California Sec. of State Debra Bowen wants Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, to check the poll rosters of thousands of precincts in order to help accurately count tens of thousands of currently uncounted ballots cast in the Super Tuesday Democratic Primary.

As The BRAD BLOG pointed out last week, tens of thousands of currently uncounted ballots cast by Non-Partisan voters who chose to cross over and vote in the Democratic Primary, but who failed to ink in a second bubble meant to instruct voting machines to count the ballots as Democratic votes, can be counted accurately, as per the voters' intent, if Logan bothers to check those poll rosters.

Bowen, who sent a 3-page letter [PDF] to Logan after our article pointed out that he was simply wrong, in his own report [PDF] to the County Supervisors, when he claimed that it was "impossible" to determine the intent of the voters on those ballots.

It's not, and Bowen clearly seems to understand that, as evidenced by both her letter to Logan and comments she made last Friday on Northern California National Public Radio affiliate KQED, where she said she was "shocked" to hear that the debacle had happened in several elections previously...

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

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'No One Could Have Predicted This,' Conny McCormack Tells LA Times in Her Best Condoleese, About Her Ballot Design That Disenfranchsed 40% of Voters in At Least Two Previous Elections...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2008 1:35pm PT  

L.A. County's former Registrar Recorder, Conny McCormack, who quit just prior to February's Super Tuesday Primary Election, turned into Condi Rice today. She's quoted in an Los Angeles Times' front page story confirming, as we pointed out over the weekend, that Election Officials did nothing about the "Double Bubble" ballot problem --- which may well disenfranchise a conservatively estimated 50,000 county voters --- despite massive disenfranchisement with the same design over last six years, since McCormack first implemented it.

In her best Condoleese, McCormack is quoted by the paper today saying, "This is an unfortunate, unanticipated result...No one could have predicted this."

Sound familiar?

She is shortly contradicted, in the same article, by a spokesperson from her own former office, before she continues on to blame voters and poll workers for the problem that she created --- as now confirmed by both the LA Times and California's Secretary of State Debra Bowen --- before then proceeding to do absolutely nothing about it...

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

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44% of Non-Partisan Cross-Over Ballots Went Uncounted in March '04, 42% Uncounted in June '06, Before Same Ballot Design Used Again for the February 2008 Super Tuesday Primary
As LA Times Gets Religion on Election Integrity Issues, But Doesn't Bother Apologizing For Their Failures to do so up to Now...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2008 5:00pm PT  

Given the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters, and maybe even hundreds of thousands of voters, from Super Tuesday's Los Angeles County Democratic Primary election, which the county's current acting Registrar incorrectly claims to be "impossible" to count accurately, we believe it's time to place some blame squarely where it belongs for the entire mess.

A Los Angeles Times editorial this week, where, it seems, the paper may have finally found religion on the issue of Election Integrity, serves up a great starting point...

And to think we made fun of Florida.

As of today, we take back the jeers about hanging chads and the unkind comments about inept voters befuddled by butterfly ballots. Somehow it doesn't seem as funny when it happens at home --- voting irregularities in Los Angeles County will disqualify the ballots of thousands of people who went to the polls on Super Tuesday.

In 2000, Florida voters flubbed their choices for president because they were confronted with a ballot whose design was new to them. But that's not the case here. L.A. County officials have long used a ballot whose design was known to consistently disenfranchise unaffiliated voters. They simply did nothing about it.
...
Election officials are calling this a glitch, but the outcome was entirely foreseeable. In fact, it has happened before. In the March 2004 election, 44% of crossover ballots were unusable, and in June 2006, it was 42%. With numbers this high, the county registrar should have investigated this matter long before now.

So it happened before. 44% of Non-Partisan cross-over ballots went uncounted in March '04 and 42% in June '06. And yet, the county went into '08's primary with no plans to change a thing.

The woman who dreamt up the ridiculous scheme, former Los Angeles County Registrar and Diebold cover girl Conny McCormack, quit just over a month before the election, and knew about the problem from years past, but did nothing about it. Or, she didn't know about, and was thus criminally negligent in her job as chief voting official for the nation's most populous county...

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

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As the Clock Ticks Towards Final Certification, and the County's Registrar Makes Excuses, Hundreds of Thousands of Voters Stand to be Disenfranchised for No Reason at All...
Every Vote Counted REDUCES the Current Error Rate! The Registrar Must Act NOW!
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2008 2:08pm PT  

You can read The BRAD BLOG's previous detailed explanations of the current Los Angeles County "Double Bubble" ballot debacle here and here.

If you've yet to sign the Courage Campaign's petition demanding that these ballots be counted immediately, please do so right now!

As the clock ticks towards the date required for final certification of as many as hundreds of thousands of currently uncounted ballots in Los Angeles County --- due to an idiotic, ill-conceived, and possibly illegal scheme by the county's Registrar of Voters --- it is imperative that those ballots be counted immediately.

While the acting Registrar has claimed, incorrectly, that it is "impossible" to accurately determine the intent of the voters on those ballots, he is wrong.

Almost every single uncounted ballot can be counted today with absolutely certainty that the intent of the voter is being accurately recorded.

With current the miscount/error rate of those uncounted ballots --- on which the voter's intent has currently been inaccurately recorded by the optical-scan voting machines as "no vote" --- now standing at 100%, almost every single ballot counted will only lower that rate at best. At worst, in a tiny (almost infinitesimal) percentage of ballots, the current error rate will be not be lowered, though it will not be increased.

Thus, the error rate can be reduced to almost 0% if the Registrar's office will simply begin counting the ballots --- immediately.

Here's what everybody, (including apparently the Registrar!), needs to know about the currently miscounted ballots...

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

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The L.A. County Registrar is Lying...And Blaming Voters and Pollworkers to boot...
UPDATED With Link to Petition Demanding ALL Votes Be Counted! Please Sign It!
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2008 9:16pm PT  

"A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this State shall have that vote counted."
- Article II, California Constitution
Added overwhelmingly by California voters in Prop 43, on March 5, 2002

Election Code requirements "shall be liberally construed so that the real will of the electors will not be defeated by any informality or failure to comply with all of the provisions of the law."
- California Elections Code, Sec. 19001

Los Angeles County's acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, says in a report delivered to the County Board of Supervisors yesterday on the "Double Bubble" debacle from last Super Tuesday's Presidential Primary Election, that he believes it will be "impossible to determine with absolute certainty" the intentions of some 100,000 non-partisan voters who chose to vote in either the Democratic or American Independent Party's open primary, despite selections having been made for one of the Presidential candidates on their ballots.

The intent on almost every one of those uncounted ballots CAN be determined with absolute certainty. So, allow me to put this as nicely as I can: Dean Logan is full of shit...

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

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Confusion Reigns, Legal Challenges Loom as Hundreds of Thousands Votes May Not be Counted Due to Maddeningly Confusing Ballot Design, Procedures
UPDATED: Registar's Office Say They Plan to Examine Non-Partisan Ballots, Will 'Seek Legal Authority to Count Those Votes'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/7/2008 12:29pm PT  

We believe we can now pull this issue up out of the weeds a bit, after more than 24 hours of trying to make sense of what the Los Angeles County Registrar's office has been describing to the media as "real clear."

What's clear is that the only thing that's clear is the fact that the county's new acting Registrar of Voters, Dean Logan, has seriously blown his first outing since coming South from his disastrous 2004 Washington state gubernatorial election debacle.

Unless swift action is taken by Logan and CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen, it's likely that hundreds of thousands of voters may have been disenfranchised in last Tuesday's Democratic Primary Election...

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

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ALSO: Video Indicates Los Angeles Registration Problems for Republicans as well...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2008 2:26pm PT  

The Los Angeles Times, which has been among the worst major newspapers in the country --- for years --- in reporting (or, actually not reporting) on issues of Election Integrity tells us today, in regards to yesterday's voting in California, that there were "Few election glitches, except for independents."

Um, does the braintrust at the LA Times realize that out of 15.3 million registered voters in the state, some 20% of them, more than 3 million, are "independents"? (3,043,164 to be exact, with more than 700,000 in LA alone, if the latest numbers from the CA SoS are to be trusted). Plus more than 300,000 voters registered as "American Independent" who may or may not have wished to be included as members of that party? Or shall we just deliver the "Understatement of the Year Award" right now to the folks at the LA Times?

That's more than just a "few glitches," no?

And if the following disturbing video from a Los Angeles Ron Paul supporter who switched from Democratic to Republican specifically to vote for Paul is any indication, it's not just "independents" who experienced "few election glitches" yesterday...

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

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Hundreds of Thousands of Non-Partisan Voter Ballots May Not be Counted in California's Open Democratic Primary Election
City Attorney Calls for Review by CA SoS, County Registrar of Voters...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2008 12:07am PT  

Alright, we've got a bona fide mess here in Los Angeles County. We covered this a bit earlier tonight, but have been speaking with various precinct captains and trying to figure out exactly what's going on. As mentioned it's a confusing mess, and could indeed be shaping up as "California's Butterfly Ballot" as far as we can tell.

There are two main problems:

  1. Many voters who thought they were registering as non-partisan independents have been surprised to learn they registered instead as members of the "American Independent" party, and thus, were not allowed to vote in the open Democratic primary.
  2. More insidiously, those independent non-partisan voters who did successfully manage to get registered as "Decline to State" (or DTS, or Non-Partisan), were allowed to vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary if they requested to do so when voting. However, without filling in a certain bubble on the ballot, specifying they wanted it to be counted in the Dem Primary, their vote for President, according to LA County's Registrar of Voters, will not be counted.

After being up since dawn, we hope to get some rest tonight shortly, and will then get a clearer picture on all of this, and the myriad other problems reported elsewhere in California and around the nation tomorrow (and beyond).

For now then, our friend Jake Soboroff at Why Tuesday has a video interview, posted below, with LA City attorney, Rocky Delgadillo who is also expressing concerns about what is becoming known as the "Double Bubble Trouble" issue. As well, Delgadillo gives a full statement to CBS2 News, calling for review of the issue, which could well disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, by CA SoS Debra Bowen and LA County's acting Registrar of Voters Dean Logan.

Logan arrives here fresh from from his reign over the disastrous 2004 gubernatorial election mess in Washington state. He replaces the recently-resigned LA County Registrar and Diebold cover girl, Conny "Cut and Run" McCormack, who seemingly left this ridiculous scheme in place as a parting gift to LA County voters.

We'll post Soboroff's video of the interview, as well as Delgadillo's statement below. First, Soboroff describes the confusing situation very well...

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

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Independent Voters Have Trouble Voting, and Having Their Vote Counted, in the Open Democratic Primary
A Legal Battle Could Be on the Horizon Over 'California's Butterfly Ballot' if Results are Close...
By Brad Friedman on 2/5/2008 7:58pm PT  

Have been talking to various folks at various mainstream media outlets all day, hoping to help improve their coverage beyond the usual "glitches, hiccups, snags and snafus" reporting, so they might better understand that those are not "glitches", but failures.

My report on Los Angeles County issues for now, promised earlier, will therefore be somewhat truncated for the moment. I'll try to offer more details late night and/or tomorrow when, as the Century Foundation's Election Integrity expert Tova Andrea Wang smartly points out in her article titled "Super Tuesday. And Wednesday, and Thursday": "[M]any of the biggest problems will not be revealed until well after the polls close tonight."

For now, allow me to point out that, or caution, that serious legal issues could come in to play if results of the Democratic primary in the state are close in any way...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2008 2:50pm PT  

After virtually ignoring the issue for some six straight years, our hometown newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, has run a two-part, 2,800-word "series" on concerns about voting machines, right on schedule, just in time to do absolutely no good at all before next week's upcoming Tsunami Tuesday election in the state. Waytago, LATimes!

The series reports absolutely nothing that has not already been reported over the last several years here at The BRAD BLOG, which is why the LATimes folks makes the big bucks and we don't.

They do, however, include an important point at the very end of the second article, in quoting from one of the country's most notable long-time voting machine apologists, Kimball Brace...

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

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Company's Flawed 'Inkavote Plus' System May be Used in Nation's Largest County During February 2008 Primary When Republican Measure to Divide State's Electoral Vote Could be on the Ballot
SoS to Hold Public Hearing on Future of Voting System Monday in Sacramento...
By Brad Friedman on 11/25/2007 2:04pm PT  

by Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...

Now that ES&S has finally submitted their previously withheld source code and documentation to California Sec. of State Debra Bowen, new members of her "Top-to-Bottom Review" team have been able to look at the ES&S Inkavote Plus system used across the entirety of Los Angeles County. And whaddaya know, the system is easily susceptible to fraud, hacking and manipulation.

The full report from the new testers --- not the original members of the TTBR team at University of California, but testers sub-contracted by the ubiquitous private e-vote consulting firm of Freeman, Craft, McGregor Group (FCMG) [Ed Note: See additional thoughts/concerns from John Gideon on FCMG in comments here] --- is now posted at the SoS TTBR page [PDF]. The LA Daily News summarizes the findings this way in today's paper...

SACRAMENTO - Consultants for Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Friday they found several flaws in Los Angeles County's voting system that could leave it vulnerable to fraud or electronic hacking.

The report found that seals on boxes used to carry the system hardware could be opened and resealed without detection, making the machinery susceptible to tampering.

Plus, some password-protected systems could be hacked with certain programs, and some encrypted files containing sensitive data could be decrypted.

The study was performed as part of Bowen's "top-to-bottom" review of statewide voting systems. Los Angeles County's InkaVote Plus system is the last to be studied, because vendor Election Systems & Software failed to provide information to Bowen's consulting team on time earlier this year.

In August, Bowen decertified the InkaVote system for use in the February presidential primary because of the missing information.

A public hearing will be held on Monday in Sacramento so that the SoS may receive public input on how she should proceed, and whether the ES&S Inkavote Plus system should be recertified in advance of February's Presidential Primary.

Of particular note is the possibility that the hackable system may be used to vote on a Republican-sponsored ballot initiative to divide California's 2008 electoral vote by Congressional District which could be on the Primary Election ballot next February. Such an unprecedented measure, if passed in the Golden State, could well hand the November General Election nationally, to the Republican party given the large number of electors that would be thrown to the GOP if the current winner-take-all system of choosing electors in California --- the same one used by almost all other states --- is changed for proportional representation.

Reports of potentially fraudulent signature gathering, in order to see the measure added to February's ballot, have already surfaced.

Los Angeles County itself, a reliably Democratic-leaning county over all, carries an enormous number of votes for the state. It's the largest such county in the nation, larger even than two-thirds of the states in the country. Tampering with the vote tabulation in that one county alone, could easily change enough votes to see the Electoral College initiative passed successfully across the state.

Last week, Bowen announced a $15 million lawsuit against ES&S for the illegal deployment of uncertified AutoMARK voting systems across the state. The next day, San Francisco announced its own separate suit against the company, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, charging fraud, false claims and breach of contract.

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Report Released Today Says More Testing Needed of ES&S Voting Machines to Determine Cause of Massive, Still Unexplained Undervote
One Year Later and Republican in Disputed Election Still Sitting, Voting in Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2007 7:36pm PT  

As we near the one year mark since some 18,000 votes inexplicably disappeared in Sarasota County, Florida, on the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) touch-screen voting machines used in the U.S. House Election for the state's 13th Congressional District, more study is still needed to determine whether or not the voting machines were at fault, according to the report released today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Even with the additional testing, the GAO admits, it will be impossible to determine for certain whether the touch-screen machines caused the extraordinarily high undervote race in the election.

The GAO's report [PDF] was presented to a Congressional task force investigating the challenge brought by Democratic candidate Christine Jennings, under the Federal Contested Elections Act, after the certified tally between her and her Republican opponent, Vern Buchanan, was reported by the state to be a slim 369 vote margin.

No reasonable explanation for the massive undervote --- found only in that particular contest, only in the Sarasota portion of the race, and only on the touch-screen ballots there (as opposed to the paper-based absentee ballots) --- has yet been proven by anyone.

The GAO has asked the task force to allow them to conduct further testing of the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machines, in three specific areas, though they admit while "the proposed tests could help provide increased assurance, they would not provide absolute assurance that the iVotronic DREs did not cause the large undervote in Sarasota County."

Determining for certain whether the machines caused the problem would be "impossible," according to the GAO analysis, because they are "unable to recreate the conditions of the election in which the undervote occurred." Ah, the trouble with touch-screens.

As well, the report determined that "some of the prior tests and reviews conducted by the State of Florida and Sarasota County provide assurance that certain components of the voting systems in Sarasota County functioned correctly, but they are not enough to provide reasonable assurance that the iVotronic DREs did not contribute to the undervote."

While the Congressional task force has given permission for the GAO to proceed with their additional testing of the DREs, Jennings has already announced her intentions to run again in 2008 and Buchanan has voted for almost a full year with the Republican House caucus. And Democrats in the House prepare to vote on legislation which would allow the same faulty technology to be used in further elections.

QUESTIONS ABOUT ES&S CONTINUE

Among the unanswered questions in any of the FL-13 reports so far, is whether or not the source code reviewed in previous studies was the same as the code actually in use in the machines on Election Day. Recent news out of California demonstrates that ES&S has a prior history of playing fast and loose with different versions of hardware and software used on their machines in elections.

As well, reading past the summary section of the GAO report reveals another troubling disclosure by the nation's largest voting machine vendor...

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

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Where Will Conny McCormack Finally Get Her Payoff From?
By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2007 3:42pm PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Boulder, CO...

"I don't want to preside over the dismantling of voter services that have been successful and accurate," LA County Registrar of Voters Conny McCormack tells the LA Times this morning. "I suppose I do take that personally."

McCormack's systems were "dismantled" after ES&S, one of her vendors, refused to supply its source code in time for testing of her paper-based InkaVote Plus system, and after her other vendor Diebold's touch-screen machines were disallowed for use because they were found vulnerable to hacking. Only one such machine will now be allowed per polling place in order to marginally meet federal disability voter accessibility standards, and the paper trails from those machines, as per Bowen's orders, will have to be 100% hand-counted.

Though that didn't keep McCormack from signaling, in a Bush-style signing statement, that she didn't think she had to actually count them prior to the final certification of the election. In a a statement [PDF] posted on the LA County Registrar's website in reply to Bowen's order, McCormack wrote, "However, it is important to clarify that the SOS Order does not require the 100% manual count audit to occur prior to completion of the official results certification."

The link to that document from the front page of the site has now been replaced by McCormack's resignation statement.

The LA Times Hector Becerra goes on to report that McCormack "angrily accused Bowen of unfairly attacking the voting machines to gain political points."

While we're not sure what "political points" Bowen gains (she was elected last November on the promise of doing exactly what she's done, won't have to run again for another three years, and has come under considerable criticism in the media for her courageous, principled stand), it's little surprise that McCormack, who has been fighting for the voting machine companies instead of the voters for years --- even appearing on a Diebold sales brochure to sing the company's praises --- would bug out of the nation's largest county just a month before the first Presidential Primary Election in 2008, leaving the voters to whatever may happen.

McCormack's official statement of retirement [PDF] didn't mention her anger at Bowen for taking away her toys and those of the companies she's concerned about. Rather she claimed...

My decision to leave at this time is based on several factors:

I have been approached by several foundations and, at this stage of life, am interested in shifting my energies and experience to election administration research and consulting both within the U.S. and worldwide.

So the question we pose to you is...

Who will be LA County Registrar of Voters Conny McCormack's next employer?
View Results

Let us know your opinion. The BRAD BLOG will, of course, let you know when we find out. It shouldn't be long. Something tells us, McCormack already knows where she's going from here...

UPDATE: I'm told the print edition version of Becerra's LA Times story on Conny was longer than the one posted on the web as linked above. In the carbon based version, there is a quote from yours truly, as Becerra interviewed by phone for reaction to McCormack's announcement late yesterday:

But not everyone will miss her. Brad Friedman whose Brad Blog has taken a leading role in questioning the electronic voting machine companies, said McCormack seemed more concerned about the voting machine companies than whether their machines were vulnerable to fraud, particularly by people involved in the voting process. "I suspect Conny understands there’s a new sheriff in town," Friedman said referring to Bowen. "I hope her replacement takes the concerns of election integrity seriously.”
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By John Gideon on 8/28/2007 4:05pm PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.org

Joining Karl Rove and Alberto "Fredo" Gonzales in announcing their retirements is Conny McCormack, the much embattled and always friendly to voting machine vendors Registrar of Voters for Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the nation.

In a statement on the LA County Registrar's website McCormack begins by saying:

After 30 years of public service, I have decided to retire at the end of this year. It has been an honor to serve the residents of Los Angeles County for the past 12 years as Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk and to lead a Department of exceptionally talented and dedicated employees committed to providing top quality service in all three diverse functional areas --- from election administration to recording property deeds to maintaining the public’s official records regarding voting, property ownership, birth, death, marriage, and more.

Here's a picture from a Diebold brochure that features McCormack. Could our question that accompanies the picture, which we used in a recent article on McCormack's expressed concerns for Diebold's profits, be an omen of what is to happen in the future?

UPDATE FROM BRAD: Despite McCormack's exit statement to the contrary, as linked above, she has left Los Angeles County a mess. At this time, we have no idea what voting system will be used in next February's Presidential Primary Election, as she's sided with the vendors, rather than the voters, when it came to meeting the requirements for CA SoS Debra Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" of voting systems.

Furthermore, while she joined the throng of California Registrars all too happy to rush to the media, to bitch about having just six months to implement Bowen's new security requirements with just six months before the next big primary, it's telling that she's willing to leave nation's largest county altogether just a month before that primary. What does that tell you about her (and the other Registrars') feigned concern about having enough time to make sure the voters are well served in the next election?

The question is not will she go to work for a voting company, the only question seems to be which one, and how soon.

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Company's AutoMARK Ballot Marking Devices Unapproved at State and Federal Levels, Could Bring $10,000 Fine Per Machine, Full Refund of Purchase Price, Prohibition from Doing Business in State
STATEMENT: SoS Bowen Says 1000 Uncertified Voting Machines Sold to Counties, She Intends to 'Go After Company For Full Allowable Penalty,' Millions 'Taken from Counties' Pockets'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2007 9:34am PT  

By Brad Friedman from St. Louis, MO...

ED NOTE: Story now updated with additional information and statement from Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

"ES&S sold nearly 1,000 voting machines in California without telling the counties that bought them that they had never been certified for use in this state," CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced in a statement released moments ago. (Complete statement now posted at end of article).

"Given that each machine costs about $5,000, it appears ES&S has taken $5 million out of the pockets of several California counties, that were simply trying to follow the law and equip their polling places with certified voting machines."

"Not only did ES&S sell machines to California counties that weren’t state certified, it’s clear the machines weren’t even federally certified when the company delivered them to California,” Bowen continued in the no-holds-barred statement. "While ES&S may not like California law, I expect the company to follow the law and not trample over it by selling uncertified voting equipment in this state."

She went on to add that she intends "to go after the company for the full $9.72 million in penalties allowable by law, along with the original $5 million the company took from counties’ pockets."

She ain't kidding! ES&S, the country's largest distributor of voting machines, looks to be in a lot of trouble in California.

Earlier we reported that a public notice from the CA Secretary of State's office was posted this morning by Thad Hall of CalTech announcing that the company "has violated" CA Elections Code by modifying "hundreds of units of a version of the AutoMARK ballot marking device" without certification or permission of the Secretary of State...

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

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