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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, January 29, 2015
D'Stupid: 'Intellectual Wing of the Conservative Movement' On Global Warming
Dinesh D'Souza offers another quick reminder of how even the 'smart' Rightwingers are proud to be clueless about science...
BMW Super Bowl Ad: 'What's An Internet?'
Electric car spot throws back to Katie Couric and Bryan Gumble in 1994. ALSO: Please give us an electric car. Thanks!...
'Green News Report' 1/27/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
The not-so-historic Blizzard 2015!; Interior Dept. to expand offshore drilling; Another pipeline explodes in WV; PLUS: Obama calls on GOP to permanently protect ANWR...
Previous GNRs: 1/22/15 - 1/20/15 - Archives...
Phony GOP 'Voter Fraud' Activist to Testify at Real Senate Nomination Hearing
'True the Vote' founder Catherine Engelbrecht slated by Senate Repubs as 'expert witness' at AG-nominee Lorreta Lynch confirmation...
Sorry, Fox, But No 'News' Is Good News
White House (accurately) fails to include 'News' on the place cards of Fox 'News' anchors at special luncheon, so they have a sad...
'Rights'? What 'Rights'?
Yes, elections have consequences. Republicans take control of U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee and immediately dump 'Civil Rights and Human Rights' from its name...
Hannity Must Be Furious About Keystone XL Pipeline!
Foreign owner TransCanada has now filed an eminent domain action to sieze property of private landowners in Nebraska...
'Green News Report' 1/22/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama's SOTU focuses on climate; Repubs give Keystone XL pipeline a new name; MT pipeline spill spews oil, benzene; PLUS: GOP votes climate change not a hoax -- but...
Previous GNRs: 1/20/15 - 1/15/15 - Archives...
St. Louis County Election Director Ousted
Official who ignored pre-election warnings, obtained by BRAD BLOG, about likely paper ballot shortages in November, tossed by Election Board...
The Progressive State of the Union:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Deconstructing Obama's SOTU and GOP response. An in-studio roundtable with Heather 'Digby' Parton, David Dayen of Salon, John Amato of Crooks & Liars...
Only 41% Support Keystone XL, But...
That's the good news. The not-as-good news is more surprising, though perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at all by it by now. (Or by the latest pipeline spill in Montana)...
Did John Roberts 'Stack the Deck' for SCOTUS Marriage Equality Cases?
The Court's agreement to hear challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage includes some 'unusual' questions...
'Green News Report' 1/20/15
Confirmed. Again. NASA and NOAA find 2014 hottest year on record; More studies warn human impacts threaten our life support systems; PLUS: 'A glimmer of hopefulness'...
Cluster of Studies Warn of Planetary Peril
New group of scientific reports find humanity rushing to brink of survivable limits, advise swift action needed to change course...
NASA, NOAA Confirm 2014 Hottest Year on Record for Planet Earth
Yet another climate change denial myth is scuttled, but here's how the fossil-fueled scammers have been getting away with their "no warming over the past decade!" hoax...
Saudi Arabia Beheads 10th 'Criminal' of 2015
Some barbarians better than others, apparently...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2013 10:20pm PT  

While The BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio usually airs live on Wednesday's, we did a special Monday version this week, as I was filling in for my friend Harrison who was on the road today and unavailable to do his normal show.

That gave me the opportunity to cover some of today's breaking news on the Obama DoJ's subpoena of AP phone records, to take a call or two on the pretend Benghazi "scandal" (including from one caller who doesn't exactly know why its a scandal, but really really wants it to be one), to offer a words on the recent Internet Voting hack on NBC's The Voice, the madness of the Democratic Party push for Vote-by-Mail (as witnessed last week in the Colorado legislature, and this week in L.A. where absentee ballot fraud charges are flying between two different candidates) and even some thoughts on the coolest song ever recorded in outer-space.

But, before all (or most) of that, we were joined for an all-Brad BradCast by Brad Johnson of ForecastTheFacts.org to discuss the disturbing landmark of passing 400 parts per million of C02 in the atmosphere (for the first time in millions of years), why that matters, and the wingnut "weapons-grade denial" pushing back against the facts...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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Not that Republicans or, especially, Democrats seem to care...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2013 7:35am PT  

The BRAD BLOG has long detailed the dangers of Vote-by-Mail and absentee balloting, describing the practice as "terrible for democracy," for a number of reasons. Among those reasons are the ease by which absentee ballots can be undetectably gamed, bought or sold, used for intimidation ("Show me that you voted this particular way or you will be fired/beaten, etc.") or otherwise lost in the mail, never added to the optically-scanned computer tally, etc., just to name a few.

Usually when we point these matters out, we'll get some amount of push back, most notably from someone from Oregon, where many voters love their all Vote-by-Mail elections (despite all the dangers, as demonstrated once again by the recent stories out of the state where, in one, a man was convicted of fraud after offering $20 for blank, unvoted ballots prior to the 2012 election, and another where an election official was charged with fraud after it was discovered she was filling in unvoted races in favor of Republicans while processing incoming mailed ballots.)

We'll also get push back, in such cases, from partisans (usually Democrats in heavily "blue" jurisdictions, but also, occasionally from Republicans in heavily "red" jurisdictions) who argue that Vote-by-Mail increases turnout, therefore it is good for democracy, despite all of those dangers which they marginalize as being greatly exaggerated.

We most recently saw this dynamic play out in Colorado, where, as we reported in some detail last week, a sweeping election reform bill is moving through the Democratically-controlled legislature and is likely to land on the Democratic Governor's desk very soon. The ambitious bill does a number of very good things, such as allow voter registration up until the day of the election, and offers other reasonable improvements to elections in the state and voters' accessibility to them. On the other hand, the legislation also would send an absentee/Vote-by-Mail ballot to every single registered voter in the state, whether they actually wanted one or not.

In opposing the bill, Colorado Republicans foolishly focused on the possibility of "voter fraud" via the enhanced voter registration provisions in the bill, which --- though it was crafted in part by the state election clerks' association (which has a majority Republican representation) --- was passed in the legislature along party lines.

What the Republicans failed to highlight --- but certainly should have --- in their attempts to try and defeat the bill, is the massive fraud capacity presented by the insane idea of sending a blank, unvoted absentee ballot to every single voter in the state.

The following news out of Los Angeles this week underscores, yet again, how that sort of thing is an absolute recipe for election fraud disaster...

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

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GOP right to be concerned, just not for the reasons they claim
Wrong and Wronger: Bill pits former, currrent GOP Sec of State's against each other...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2013 4:41pm PT  

An ambitious election reform bill supported by state Democrats and the Colorado County Clerks Association, which is largely made up of Republicans, will soon land on the desk of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, despite the objections of Republican lawmakers and the state's extraordinarily partisan Republican Sec. of State.

The bill has now been approved by both chambers of the Colorado legislature --- along party lines in each --- but must be approved again in the House due to "technical" amendments from the Senate. But while it may be too late, partisans and lawmakers would have been wise to look carefully before leaping in support of this bill which offers both excellent reforms and reasons to be very concerned about one of its central provisions.

John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent offered a detailed report earlier this week on the major concerns and somewhat confusing partisan divides on both sides of this particular piece of legislation.

There's a lot of good, long-overdue provisions in the sweeping, 126-page bill [PDF] (mercifully summarized on pages 2 through 4). The key provisions --- and main points of contention --- are summarized this way by Tomasic:

House Bill 1303 seeks to expand voter participation mainly by establishing a system that includes same-day registration up to Election Day and that mails ballots to all eligible voters in the state. Under the proposed law, voters would choose whether to mail their ballots back to the clerks, drop them off at early voting centers or fill them out at the polls on Election Day.

Tomasic goes on to explain that the bill, dubbed "The Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act", is sponsored by Democrats in both the CO House and Senate, but it's "based on a plan approved by a large bipartisan majority of clerks who run the state’s elections county to county. The Colorado County Clerks Association reports that 75 percent of the 64 clerks in the state support the bill. The Association is anything but a left-wing cabal: At least 44 of the clerks, some 70 percent, are Republican officeholders."

The politics on this one may be understandably confusing to some --- particularly with a former Republican Sec. of State favoring the bill, and the current Republican Sec. of State ardently opposing it --- but the professed concerns of the latter (that the expanded registration provisions will lead to "voter fraud") are largely nonsense. While the advocacy of the former (pushing broad expansion of vote-by-mail ballots to every voter in the state) ignores very real fraud concerns...

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

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Pay Attention: Nation's largest voting jurisdiction plans to design system for L.A., sell it to other counties in state, country...
[UPDATED w/ additional response from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission]
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2013 7:05am PT  

The good news: When the largest voting jurisdiction in the nation gets its new voting system, perhaps as early as 2015, it will not including Internet Voting, according to Dean Logan, Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk of Los Angeles. The bad news: It will very likely include touch-screen computers and, with them, 100% unverifiable voting.

I interviewed Logan last week on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show [full audio interview is at the bottom of this article], and we had a very informative discussion about what voters in Los Angeles may have to look forward to in the coming years, as well as many of you in the rest of the country, since the new system is being designed with an eye towards selling it to other counties in California as well as in the rest of the country.

So this is not just a local L.A. story. It's likely to affect the way that votes are cast and tallied in much of the nation. It's well worth paying attention to, even if, unlike me, you don't live here.

Los Angeles County alone "has more voters than 42 of the 50 states," according to Logan's office. It features nearly 5,000 precincts. Well over 3 million votes were cast in this one county alone during the November 6, 2012 Presidential Election. When Logan took over the job of Registrar after our previous one resigned, suddenly, just months before the 2008 President Election, he had a monster of a job to take over. It's still a monster. And it may soon get even more gargantuan as he attempts to re-work, re-design and, indeed, re-think how voters vote here, and as we move from our current publicly-owned voting system to our next publicly-owned voting system. (L.A. is one of the very few jurisdictions in the nation which owns, maintains and designs its own system. Most similar systems in the rest of the state and nation are proprietary, owned by the private companies which make them, and don't allow even the election officials in those jurisdictions access to their "trade-secret" software and source code.)

While, happily, Logan offered me some assurance that we won't be casting votes over the Internet with his new system --- an assurance that should bring some measure of relief to both Election Integrity advocates as well as the consensus of computer science and security experts who are also experts in voting systems --- there is still much cause for concern, as this still-unknown voting system begins to take shape...

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

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PLUS: A new clue emerges...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2013 5:14pm PT  

One month ago, The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei unleashed an excellent investigative report on an attempted series of online cyberhacks of absentee ballot requests prior to last August's primary election in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Mazzei's article describes the mysterious attempt by someone to request more than 2,500 absentee ballots for elections in three different Miami-Dade districts using anonymous proxy Internet Protocol (IP) addresses from foreign countries to hide the real identity of the requester. A grand jury looked into the matter [PDF] of the "phantom" requests, but was hamstrung by the fact that they were not told --- the article says it was due to administrative confusion --- that the initial IP addresses used to make the absentee ballot requests were actually not from overseas, but local to Miami-Dade. Had prosecutors had that information, they might have been able to zero in on the culprits, rather than close the investigation late last year without identifying a suspect.

The case has now reportedly been reopened, but the length of time since the initial event may have allowed the trail run cold. Hopefully we will find out soon.

Last week, the story suddenly received a lot of fresh attention after it was picked up by NBC News' Gil Aegerter who describes what happened as the "first known case" of such a cyberattack on a U.S. election.

Setting aside, for now, the point as to whether this is the first such attack --- I've reported quite a bit of evidence of several others over the years (the NBC report links to a number of stories I've broken on these matters, including one of my stories at ComputerWorld in 2007 describing a malicious virus that struck Sarasota's contested 2006 Special Election for the U.S. House where some 18,000 votes ultimately disappeared from the touch-screen voting machines) --- there are a few key points and lessons from this story which I'd like to underscore, despite the fact that the mainstream corporate coverage has been pretty decent here for a change.

Additionally, one of several key remaining mysteries in the story --- a story that I've been trying to make sense over the past several weeks, since learning of it --- may now have an answer, or at least a new and troubling clue...

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

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Another reminder of the dangers of Vote-by-Mail...
By Brad Friedman on 2/18/2013 2:35pm PT  

We've long argued that Vote-by-Mail elections are a terrible idea for democracy. You can see our quick list of our reasons right here. Nonetheless, in states like Oregon, which use Vote-by-Mail elections across the entire state, the citizens who don't appreciate the dangers of them, love them.

But once again last week, we were reminded of just one of the reasons they shouldn't love them, when a Bend, OR man was convicted of fraud after taking out a Craigslist ad claiming to offer $20 for blank ballots last November. With all registered voters in the state sent such a ballot, there is a lot of money to potentially be made from these types of crimes.

"All you need to do is bring your UNFILLED clean voting ballot and let us fill it out then you sign, then we hand it to the volunteer in the voting booth," the typo-filled ad promised. "Its that simple! Then you get $20. We'll be there all weekend through tuesday."

The perp, Aaron Hirschman, was convicted of a misdemeanor after offering a "full confession", according to the OR Attorney General's spokesperson, Jeff Manning who said that Hirschman "stated in his interview and at trial that he is an Internet 'troll' and that he posted the ad to 'agitate' and cause a stir."

The incident follows on another exploit of VBM ballots last November, when Deanna Swenson, an election official in Clackamas County, was indicted on 6 felony and 2 misdemeanor counts after being found to have allegedly filled in unvoted races in favor of Republican candidates while processing incoming mailed ballots.

Both Hirschman and Swenson got caught. That's good. The bigger question is how many don't get caught in such cases where the incentive for that kind of fraud --- the ability to change a lot of ballots to affect the results of an election, either by insider fraud or vote buying and selling --- is so high.

But, again, those cases highlight just two of the many reasons why VBM remains a terrible idea for democracy in any state.

Republicans like to pretend that there is a massive epidemic of "voter fraud" being carried out at polling places, despite the complete absence of evidence to demonstrate any such epidemic. They do so in order to push for polling place Photo ID restrictions in hopes of disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters. Period.

On the other hand, election fraud does exist and "voter fraud" does occur. But, in almost all cases where it's found, it's via some form of mail-in voting, or at the hands of election insiders. Neither of those crimes are deterred by the polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans continue to push for in state after state in hopes of disenfranchising legal voters for electoral gain.

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter David Werth.]

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2012 3:26pm PT  

Luckily, it's "only" Florida.

More than 12,500 voters received robocalls this morning from the Pinellas County, FL Supervisor of Elections office, letting them know that the deadline for turning in their absentee ballot was "tomorrow", the day after the election. Unfortunately, the real deadline for turning in absentee ballots is 7pm today, Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th.

Pinellas County is home to Tampa and St. Petersburg. So here's why this monumental screw-up, presuming that's what it was, seems to have happened...

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

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A rare case of actual voter fraud, though another one which would not have been deterred by GOP polling place Photo ID restrictions...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2012 2:46pm PT  

Hey, look! We may have an actual case of voter fraud at the polling place! An attempted case anyway...

Investigators today arrested a Southern Nevada woman suspected of trying to vote twice this week at two different polling locations.

Roxanne Rubin was taken into custody as she arrived for work at the Riviera hotel-casino, investigators said. Rubin, 56, is a registered Republican who lives in Henderson, according to the Clark County Registrar.

Rubin allegedly cast a vote Monday at the Anthem Community Center in Henderson. Later that day, she tried to vote a second time at an early voting location on Eastern Avenue, investigators said.

When Rubin arrived at the second location, a poll worker conducted a routine database check and found Rubin had already voted. When confronted by the poll worker, Rubin denied having voted and claimed the database used by the poll worker was wrong.
...
Rubin was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on one felony count of voting twice in the same election.
...
While allegations of voter fraud or faulty voting machines are common during a busy election, Clark County Registrar Larry Lomax said this is the first time in his 15 years on the job that a voter has been arrested for trying to cast two ballots.

While NV election officials are crowing about safeguards in their system which they say worked to stop Rubin from being able to vote twice, in fairness, we'll note that she deserves a trial before anyone decides for certain that she, indeed, carried out the crime she is accused of. It could very well turn out to be true that she didn't try to vote twice, that somehow, someone else voted under her name in the first instance. But we'll see.

In either case, this points up once again just how rare it is that folks commit actual voter fraud at the polls. (Doing so via absentee ballot is far more common, and another reason why systems like Oregon's all Vote-by-Mail system --- where state officials are now investigating ballot tampering by a GOP election official after she allegedly filled in unvoted ballots with Republican candidates --- remains a terrible idea for democracy.)

Neither voting twice, as alleged in Nevada above, nor crimes via absentee ballot fraud, are deterred in any way by the disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions enacted by Republicans in a dozen states recently, despite their wholly unsupported claims that such laws are needed to stop "voter fraud". The only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by those kinds of laws --- which study after study has found to disproportionately disenfranchise elderly, minority, student and poor (read: Democratic-leaning) voters --- is the incredibly rare crime of in person impersonation fraud.

A recent exhaustive study of all election fraud crimes in all 50 states since 2000, carried out by the investigative news consortium News21, found just ten (10) cases of in-person impersonation fraud out of hundreds of millions of votes cast across the nation during the same period.

Concerns about insider election fraud, however --- such as the gaming of voter registration rolls, or the ability of a single election insider to flip the results of an entire election with a few keystrokes in a matter of seconds, with little possibility of detection --- remain a very serious concern, as hundreds of computer scientists and security experts (as well as The BRAD BLOG) have been warning about now for years to little notice.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2012 5:01pm PT  

The Oregon Department of Justice is confirming today that it is investigating a case of ballot tampering by an elections official in Clackamas County, OR after it was discovered that she was allegedly filling in unvoted ballots for Republican candidates.

According to Willamette Week today...

A Clackamas County elections worker is under criminal investigation for tampering with ballots, WW has learned.

The underlying allegation is that the woman, whose name has not been released, filled in blanks on ballots turned into the county for the Nov. 6 general election.

Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters.

Elections law makes marking another person's ballot a class C felony.

The Oregonian reports, that the state Department of Justice spokesperson Jeff Manning says: "We can confirm we are currently investigating criminal felony violations of Oregon's elections laws, which allegedly took place in Clackamas County and allegedly involved a temporary county elections employee tampering with cast ballots."

Manning says it is currently unknown how many ballots may have been affected. "One of the primary goals of the investigation is to determine that," he said.

Oregon uses a state-wide Vote-by-Mail system which, as we hear every time we write about it, its voters seem to love a great deal. We don't, and, back in 2008, described just some of our reasons for that here: "Why 'Vote-by-Mail' Elections are a Terrible Idea for Democracy".

This case points to one of the reasons why we've long argued that voting by mail, either via Absentee ballot, or a full Vote-by-Mail system like Oregon's, is a bad idea. There are simply too many people in the chain of custody between your casting of the ballot (usually by dropping it into the ultimate "black box": a mail box) and the time that it is hopefully tabulated, usually on oft-failed, easily-manipulated, unoverseeable optical-scan computer systems which either count it accurately or inaccurately, there is no way to know.

When a hand-marked paper ballot is cast at the precinct --- at least where there are precinct-based optical-scanners or, better yet, public hand-counting --- the odds of someone being able to tamper with your ballot before it's actually tabulated, as has allegedly occurred in Clackamas County, OR, are greatly decreased.

* * *

UPDATE 11/29/12: The election official in question, Deanna Swenson, has now been indicted by a grand jury with six felony and two misdemeanor counts related to her alleged tampering with Vote-by-Mail ballots in Clackamas County. According to the Portland Tribune, "The first four charges are Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years imprisonment (as determined by applicable state felony sentencing guidelines,) and a $125,000 fine. The official misconduct charges are Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine."

Oregon Public Broadcasting adds that "Investigators believe the ballots were marked in favor of Republican candidates."

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Post office 'glitch' rejecting absentee ballots in Philadelphia
Inaccurate radio ads saying Photo ID needed to vote still running...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2012 12:41pm PT  

This item is less reassuring than it appears at first, once one pays attention to the details. Philadelphia Inquirer reporting...

Hurricane Sandy hit Pennsylvania just as the state's voters faced deadlines for acquiring and submitting absentee ballots, a situation that could affect thousands of votes in the close presidential election.

Gov. Corbett [R] announced Monday night that he was extending the deadline for voters to request absentee ballots - originally 5 p.m. Tuesday - by up to two days, depending on how many days county offices were forced to close because of the storm.

That will give registered voters in Philadelphia, where offices were to be closed Monday and Tuesday, until Thursday at 5 p.m. to show up in person at county election offices, fill out an absentee ballot request, mark the ballot, and vote on the spot. The new deadline would be Wednesday for government offices closed only one day.
...
It will be too late to use that extended deadline to send an absentee ballot through the mail, because Corbett said he was not extending the Friday deadline for completed absentee ballots to arrive at county election offices.

Any use of the mail could be problematic because the storm has curtailed mail service in Philadelphia and the suburbs. Further cutbacks are likely throughout the state, depending on the course of the storm the remainder of the week.

The article was called to our attention on Twitter by MN's Sec. of State Mark Ritchie who asks: "Maybe other states will follow" in extending their absentee deadlines? But, again, please note that extended deadline only works for those showing up in person to cast their absentee ballot.

And then the Inquirer article also adds this troubling tidbit...

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

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Exhaustive analysis finds fraud that might be deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions 'virtually non-existent'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2012 10:04pm PT  

Of course, we've been spending the better part of the last ten years making the exact same case, so none of this should come as a surprise to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG. But now a major new nationwide analysis by News21 of all known cases of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000 underscores our years of accurate and detailed reporting once again...

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting project "News21" sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

10 cases. 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation that might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions out of hundreds of millions of votes cast in all 50 states since 2000 --- restrictions which, according to study after study, could keep as many as 21 million perfectly legal eligible voters from being able to cast their legal vote.

But, again, the Republicans who have been enacting these laws are doing it for exactly that reason: to keep those who are most likely to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID required to vote under these new restrictions --- the elderly, minorities, the poor and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters) --- from being able to cast their legal vote.

For those in the corporate mainstream media still unaware of what this is called (this includes you, NPR), it's called Voter Suppression.

And this exhaustive new study, once again, makes that case crystal clear...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/16/2012 6:35am PT  

Last Thursday, in Cudahy, CA, a small city near Los Angeles, top city officials, including former Mayor David Silva and former City Manager and Code Enforcement Director Angel Perales, agree to plead guilty to federal charges of bribery and extortion.

But as Kevin Roderick of "LA Observed" notes, the filing also includes details on "tampering with city elections" which he describes as "really chilling".

How did the Cudahy officials tamper with the elections? Via absentee ballots, according to the explanation of the plea agreement offered by federal officials:

The Perales plea agreement also discusses election fraud during the 2007 municipal election when absentee ballot were diverted before reaching the City Clerk. Perales “and other city officials routinely and systematically opened the absentee ballots cast in the 2007 City Council election by mail,” according to the statement of facts in Perales’ plea agreement. “Ballots cast in favor of the incumbent candidates were resealed and returned to the mail to be counted. Ballots for non-incumbent candidates were discarded.” Perales and other city officials did the same thing during the 2009 Cudahy City Council election, according to the court document.

We've said it before, we'll say it again: Voting by mail is a terrible idea. Political parties love it, for a whole bunch of reasons (this story underscores just one of those reasons), but we're not concerned with political parties. We're concerned with democracy and whether your vote will be counted and counted accurately, no matter which party you may happen to associate with (or not.)

(Note to Oregon voters who love their all Vote-by-Mail system: Yes, we're familiar with what happens in your state, and we still stand by our long-held assessment of the perils of Absentee/Vote-by-Mail. Please read this article and, as importantly, the link in the paragraph just above, before sending us your hate mail. Thanks!)

Unless you have no other reasonable option --- eg. you're going to be out of town on Election Day and can't vote on a paper ballot during Early Voting, or you live in one of the few places in the nation where you are otherwise forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems on Election Day --- voting on hand-marked paper ballots, at the polling place on Election Day, increases exponentially the chance of your ballot actually being counted, and counted accurately.

We've also discussed, many times, the rarity of voter fraud --- that is, fraud by individual voters, versus the concerns of systematic election fraud perpetrated, most frequently, by election insiders who have easy access to flip results of entire elections with little possibility of detection, via manipulation of results on electronic tabulators or by gaming the voting rolls themselves.

While voter fraud is exceedingly rare --- and virtually non-existent at the polling place, particularly by those impersonating other voters (the only type of fraud which can even possibly be deterred by the polling place Photo ID restrictions Republicans are cynically attempting to put in place across the country, solely in hopes of suppressing the Democratic-leaning vote) --- where actual voter fraud does occur, it's almost always via absentee balloting.

In this latest case in Cudahy, however, though the stolen elections involved absentee ballots, it was still accomplished by election fraud, not voter fraud, since the voters themselves appear to have done nothing wrong. Rather, as is almost always the case when it comes to fraudulent elections in this country, it was a matter of insider officials gaming the system.

* * *
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Not first time Jon Husted has spoken out against his own party's radical, voter-suppression agenda...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2012 1:17pm PT  

Ohio's Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted has called on fellow Republicans in the legislature to repeal their controversial Election Reform bill, rather than see it face a voter referendum currently slated for this November's ballot.

The law, if it is not rejected by voters, will severely shorten the time for Early Voting and will ban it all together on the Sunday before Election Day in the Buckeye State, in a way that is geared towards suppressing Democratic votes. The bill also includes other major barriers to voting such as a prohibition on county Boards of Election mailing absentee ballot request forms to voters and a ban on poll workers instructing voters where their correct precinct is located. Opponents of the law have noted that some 200,000 voters in Columbus alone --- or 4 in 10 votes cast there in 2008 --- would have had to cast their vote in a different manner in 2012 has the law been allowed to take effect this year as planned.

Husted, the state's chief election official, elected in 2010, had worked with GOP legislators in crafting the bill which was passed and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich last year, before being met with a wildly successful petition campaign in support of a "voter veto" of the bill. That campaign, led by progressive groups such as Fair Elections Ohio, garnered more than 300,000 signatures, or more than 75,000 above the total required to put the bill on hold and place it on the ballot for a popular vote. The result is that, last December, the bill was officially suspended for 2012, when Republicans had hoped it might help suppress Democratic-leaning voters in the swing-state's Presidential election. Instead, the law is now set to be on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval or rejection.

The Sec. of State called on fellow Republicans to overturn the bill in the legislature, scrap it, and revisit the issue after the 2012 election, rather than allowing it to remain on the ballot in November. Those remarks have raised the hackles of some powerful GOP lawmakers in Ohio.

Husted is developing a record for standing against some of the most radical elements of his own party's agenda in some cases, as seen, for example, in his outspoken condemnation of an attempt to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions on voters in the same bill last year, as well as a bi-partisan effort in 2007, with the previous Democratic Sec. of State, to do away with 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems in the Buckeye State...

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

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State AG vows to litigate 'up to U.S. Supreme Court'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2011 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an Aug. 29, 2011 letter, T. Christian Herren, Jr., Chief of the Obama DOJ's Civil Rights Division, not only demanded that South Carolina, within 60 days, provide additional information about its recently enacted polling place photo ID restriction law, but stated that if SC failed to provide a timely "response...the [U.S.] Attorney General may object to the proposed changes consistent with the burden of proof placed upon the submitting authority."

Herren noted that SC has the "burden of demonstrating" that the new polling place photo ID law was neither enacted "for a discriminatory purpose nor will have a retrogressive effect."

SC's Republican Attorney General, Alan Wilson, in an apparent recognition that pre-clearance is likely to be denied, told those in attendance at a GOP fundraiser that he had "no faith" that the DOJ "will do the right thing." He vowed to litigate the matter "up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary."

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, on Aug. 5 the ACLU submitted a 15-page letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking a denial of pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of South Carolina’s polling place photo ID restriction law. The letter argues that proponents’ unsubstantiated claims of "voter fraud" were but a pretext for unlawful discrimination and that statistics suggest that the new law would operate as an illegal poll tax, especially for the disproportionate number of African Americans who live below the federal poverty level in the state.

Last Friday, SC's Senate Democrats weighed in as well, asking the DOJ to deny pre-clearance for what they contend is the nation's harshest polling place ID restrictions, which could potentially disenfranchise, for example, someone whose driver's license has been suspended.

While denial of pre-clearance due to the retrogressive effect of photo ID restrictions in SC would be a positive step, it will not serve to protect democracy and the sanctity of the vote in other jurisdictions not subject to pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As described by John Nichols in The Nation (see video below), and again by Ari Berman in Rolling Stone --- as we detailed yesterday --- state-after-state across the nation has come under a well-coordinated assault by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and GOP legislators bent on rigging electoral outcome as part of their war on the middle class...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2010 2:04pm PT  

Will Ann Coulter finally be held accountable for having committed voter fraud? We may find out on October 14th when the matter will come up at a public hearing by Connecticut's State Elections Commission after an extraordinarily long two-year delay since the complaints about her allegedly illegal absentee votes in 2002 and 2004 were filed.

As The BRAD BLOG spent years documenting beyond a shadow of a doubt concerning her voter registration fraud and voter fraud in a different state, Florida, Ann Coulter committed third degree felony voter registration fraud, along with a first degree voter fraud misdemeanor, when she lied about her residency and then knowingly voted at the wrong polling place in Palm Beach County, FL, in 2005.

Years of lying to the media, as well as election and law enforcement officials, and a last-minute, inappropriate intervention by a former boyfriend in the FBI, helped run out the clock on those charges. Her offenses in the Sunshine State were eventually found to be beyond the statute of limitations by the Florida State Election Commission (FSEC). The stalling by other friendly Florida agencies took so long that the FSEC didn't receive the case until years after it had been originally reported to law enforcement by the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections. So she got off the hook and was never held accountable for easily documented crimes in Florida. [After years of reporting that part of the story in pieces as it developed, we told the entire sordid tale in one fell swoop in Hustler magazine. That April 2008 exposé can be read in full here.]

However, in Connecticut, where official complaints were filed in 2009 --- by a conservative activist --- that she also committed absentee voter fraud in the years prior to moving to Florida, when she allegedly voted illegally from her residence in New York, there is no such statute of limitations for voter fraud. [See UPDATE at bottom of story for someone who disagrees with that point.]

After a 20-month delay, Coulter's case is finally coming up for a vote at a public hearing before CT's State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC) on October 14th at 9:00am, 20 Trinity St. in Hartford CT, according to an email from the commission's MaryAnn Stratton and confirmation from the commission's director of communication...

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

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