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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
If only the climate was a person that could be defeated with guns -- the world might finally take the threat that climate change now poses with the seriousness it deserves....
'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
'Conservative' RW 'Legal' Blogger Defends Freeloading Nevada Rancher
PowerLine's hyper-partisan John Hinderaker admits Cliven Bundy 'doesn't have a [legal] leg to stand on', but digs deep to find a reason - any reason - to defend the scofflaw anyway...
Sunday News Shows Fail to Mention U.S. Senate CIA Torture & Detention Report
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NSA Knew About, Exploited Internet Open Source Bug for Years
What part of "national security' does the National Security Agency not understand?!...
Destroying America: 'Obamacare' Kills Another Business
Free medical clinic in rural Arkansas to close doors after health insurance reform law leads to lack of customers...
'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
Study: CNN, Fox 'News' FAIL on climate; CNN looks for plane, finds ocean of garbage; PLUS: Energy co. receives record fine for 85 years of toxic waste (& couldn't be happier about it)...
Christie's E-Cig 'Sin Tax' Due to 'Public Health' Concerns?
After slashing anti-smoking programs, 'conservative' Christie admin offers absurd reason for massive new tax, but NJ Star-Ledger ain't buyin' it. And neither are we...
Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
'A New Kind of Liberty' for the Kochs and Anyone Else Who Can Afford to Buy It
Have the rightwing judicial activists on the Supreme Court made you feel freer yet?...
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
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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 10/26/2012 11:31am PT  

A new conspiracy theory being floated by apparatchik bloggers funded by Democratic Party bosses claims that a private equity firm that has invested in ship building companies, and is tied to a Mitt Romney adviser, is the sole reason why the GOP candidate has been pushing for a larger Navy in recent weeks. The theory, circulated by Think Progress, suggests that Romney is calling for a larger Navy expressly in hopes of padding the pockets of adviser John Lehman, a former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan who is now an investment banker with stakes in several ship building companies. Based on that connection, the theorists at Think Progress are alleging Romney will fulfill a direct quid pro quo promised to Lehman in exchange for his serving as one of Romney's top military advisers in the campaign.

Of course, much of what I've just written in the paragraph above is complete bullshit...

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

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PLUS: A quick appearance on Ed Schultz' radio show discussing concerns about Romney/Bain control of Hart Intercivic voting machine company in OH, elsewhere...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2012 1:25pm PT  

I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show last night to discuss the arrest of the RNC operative in VA last week after he was caught destroying voter registration forms, and revealing that he was working for notorious GOP operative (and paid Romney consultant) Nathan Sproul's Strategic Allied Consulting, which the RNC had claimed to have fired several week ago, after apparently fraudulent forms were turned in by the company in a dozen Florida counties.

The discussion then turned to talk about Chuck Todd of NBC's weekend charge that reporting on concerns about the Romney/Bain folks' recent acquisition of Hart Intercivic, the nation's third largest voting machine company, is "conspiracy" talk along the lines of "Trump birther garbage", and also about Think Progress' still-uncorrected, direct smear of The BRAD BLOG yesterday, inaccurately describing our reporting on the matter as "conspiracy theory"...

As we noted in yesterday's response to Think Progress, which includes our posting of the incredible emails from TP's Senior Editor Judd Legum, I guess we'll now have to count OH's former Democratic Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner as one of those "conspiracy theorists" as well! Last night, she told MSNBC (after my appearance on Hartmann's TV show): "You’d be right to call out Romney and his son for having a financial interest in this company. It doesn’t look good."

* * *

I also made a short appearance on brand new "conspiracy theorist" and MSNBC host Ed Schultz' radio show this morning to speak to several concerns about the Romney/Hart Intercivic issue, after he spent much of the show discussing those concerns with Ohio officials and others. Here's that appearance [appx 5 mins]...

* * *
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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Dem-advocacy blog refuses to correct inaccurate attack on us, Truthout, Forbes magazine, and even former Dem Sec. of State...
By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2012 6:05am PT  

"I think you’d be right to call out Romney and his son for having a financial interest in this company. It doesn’t look good."
- Former Democratic OH Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner to MSNBC, 10/22/12

To be frank, while it's no secret that the Center for American Progress has always been an outside extension of the Democratic Party, their important blog site, Think Progress, has served as a crucial, and journalistically sound fact-checker on the excesses, inaccuracies and blatant fabrications of the Right over the past several years.

I have been more than happy to cite their excellent work on a number of fronts over the years and take no pleasure in calling them, their new Senior Editor Judd Legum, and one of their writers, Aviva Shen, out here on The BRAD BLOG for an egregious and, frankly, outrageous journalistic failure.

It is one thing to make an error. We all do it. It is quite another thing indeed --- and what, in my opinion, separates real journalists from hacks --- when, once called out with independently fact-based and verifiable evidence of those errors, one sticks to the original error come what may.

That's exactly what Legum and Think Progress have decided to do, as the email discussion between Legum and me illustrates below. I'm sorry I have to even run it, but, for journalists, credibility is our only currency --- (especially those of us not funded by major foundations, as Think Progress is...so feel free to hit the tip jar here!) --- and being smeared, without correction, from a respected institution like Think Progress is extraordinarily damaging to all that we do here.

So here's what happened...

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

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A few questions for the popular pundit that may help better educate both him and the nation's electorate...
By Brad Friedman on 10/21/2012 12:56pm PT  

This morning, NBC News' top election expert, Chuck Todd, tweeted the following...

Todd was responding, no doubt, to the many folks who have been justifiably concerned of late, since it was discovered that a bunch of Bain Capital investors, led by Mitt Romney's son Tagg, via a company called H.I.G. Capital (believed to stand for Hart Intercivic Group) took over control of Hart Intercivic, the nation's third largest voting machine company, in 2011.

The Austin-based Hart company, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, supplies electronic voting machines and paper ballot tabulators that will be used to tally votes in the Presidential Election this year in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

I offered my point of view about those concerns earlier this month, explaining that it was not just the private ownership of Hart's machines by Romney backers which voters should be concerned about, but the private ownership of the similar systems in all fifty states that will once again be used to tabulate the results of this year's Presidential Election with little --- and very often zero --- possibility of oversight by the public or even by election officials.

Todd does an extraordinary disservice to the electorate with Tweets like the one above, and I'd be happy to come on his daily MSNBC show any time to explain why, as I have told him via Twitter in response to the above.

As Todd has not responded in kind, and to expand upon my response to Todd there, I'd like to ask him these few respectful questions...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2012 2:15pm PT  

Late last month, Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis at FreePress.org broke the story of the Mitt Romney/Bain Capital investment team involved in H.I.G. Capital which, in July of 2011, completed a "strategic investment" to take over a fair share of the Austin-based e-voting machine company Hart Intercivic.

"Several tanker trucks full of political ink have been spilled on Mitt Romney's tenure as a vulture capitalist at Bain Capital," Bello and Fitrakis wrote. "A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O'Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election."

Lee Fang at The Nation recently confirmed the FreePress reporting in a story of his own on the "crony capitalism" of Tagg Romney, whose father's money and high-profile connections present a number of troubling corporate conflicts of interest should Mitt Romney become President. The Daily Dolt also followed up with a very well-documented article on the H.I.G. group, their connections to Bain, and their takeover of Hart Intercivic.

Hart's announcement of the deal describes H.I.G.'s role as as "co-investors", though the financial services firm which brokered the deal described it in their own announcement as a full-fledged acquisition: "Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital late last week. The deal caps off a 2+ year relationship with Hart! Congrats to both Hart and the HIG team….its going to be a great partnership!"

Also this week, in a video that has gone a bit viral, The David Pakman Show expressed understandable concerns about Romney's close business partners having this type of corporate control over a large e-voting company whose, extremely vulnerable and insecure [PDF] --- and often 100% unverifiable --- voting and tabulation systems are now used, according to VerifiedVoting.org's database, in all or parts of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. [Pakman's video is embedded below.]

When the story initially broke, I spoke about it on the radio with Fitrakis, but didn't comment on it at The BRAD BLOG for a number of reasons. One being the time we've been spending, during the same period, consumed by the continuing breaking story of the RNC/Romney consultant Nathan Sproul and his companies at the center of the national GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal which we've been covering in detail since it first broke several weeks ago. Secondly, and not to downplay this story, because it's a very good and important one, the fact is that, though the names of the corporate titans and companies are different, it is essentially the same story that we have been telling here, over and over again --- and warning about with hair afire --- at The BRAD BLOG for nearly a decade.

Moreover, I've been on the road all this week for a conference, with much less time online than usual. But since so many folks have picked up on the Romney/Bain/H.I.G./Hart Intercivic stories and have sent email and Twitter queries to me about it, allow me to very quickly share a few thoughts, on this, some of which I sent to a reporter who also raised this issue with me late this week...

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

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'The Art of the Steal'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2012 12:18pm PT  

I was first interviewed by Anastasia Churkina of RT America, the English language Russian-sponsored cable and satellite news outlet in the U.S., about the failed e-voting systems in this country (and the failed U.S. corporate media as well) back before the 2008 election.

Here we are, four years later, and Churkina has put together another report or RT, for which I was interviewed again, on the same e-voting and e-tabulation concerns. Four years later and things are arguably no better in the U.S. than they were then, except that now we all know even more about the dangers of the oft-failed, easily-manipulated systems which tally votes in all 50 states --- while still having done almost nothing about it. Her new report ran Friday on RT, and afterwards I was interviewed live, via Skype, about it on their Evening News program.

As I noted earlier this week, when running CBS4 Miami's excellent first-in-a-series investigative report on the issue, focus on the serious concerns about computer tabulation failure and malfeasance have been largely lost this year, once again, amidst the continuing (and necessary) focus on rampant GOP voter suppression efforts. So it's nice to see at least a few outlets keeping their eye on this particular ball, even if it always comes way too late --- just weeks before the election --- to do much about it, other than to raise a bit of needed awareness.

Here's Churkina's very good pre-taped RT special report...

And here's my subsequent live interview following it, on the RT Evening News with anchor Kristine Frazao. Appropriately, a few computer issues, at a key moment, made the interview a bit more difficult, if instructive...

* * *

P.S. For those who may have noticed, yes, I was also interviewed by (gasp!) Fox "News" this week on the latest in the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal. The interview, by their "voter fraud" reporter Eric Shawn, was pre-taped and then parts of it were used first on Special Report with Bret Baier Thursday night, and then a longer portion on one of their afternoon shows on Friday in a separate package. I hope to share both of those videos with you, and, knowing me, a few thoughts on them as well --- as soon as I can get to 'em...

* * *
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 10/3/2012 11:20am PT  

I had a lot to pack in to about 4 minutes on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show last night, but I did my best, including a tasty new morsel on Florida's criminal investigation into the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that I was able to obtain just before air, and which I haven't yet broken elsewhere...

As referenced in the video above:

  • More on the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal here...
  • More on the polling place Photo ID restriction ruling in PA yesterday here...
  • More on the story Thom mentioned about Romney investors tied to voting machine company Hart Intercivic, here...
  • And more, if you've yet to read it, on the coordinated, systematic, nationwide GOP Voter Registration Scam to lie to potential registrants in hopes of keeping Obama supporters from even being able to register to vote this year, here...

By the way, while I try to include the following tag below when posting our Election Integrity stories, I usually get few takers. Your support this time of year is crucial, as I simply don't have much time for fund raising at all, or even for selling stories elsewhere (which sometimes helps to cover some of the expenses we have here). I'd rather be reporting, than fund raising, especially now. So anything you can do to hit the tip jar below is greatly appreciated! I do hate asking, but I have to. So my great thanks in advance!

* * *
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).

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By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2011 3:01pm PT  

The OC Weekly's Matt Coker picked up on my Monday report describing my experience over the weekend at the Orange County Registrar's booth at the Orange County Fair wherein my attempt to try out their 100% unverifiable Hart Intercivic electronic voting system, um, didn't work out too well.

Coker's amusing take on the apparent system failure that occurred while I was testing it out with assistance from employees of the OC Registrar's office is described as "akin to making an illegal U-turn in front of a motorcycle cop. ... or letting it slip to 'Woodstein' that Tricky Dick audio taped everything in the Oval Office."

His coverage is much briefer than mine. So if you've yet to read my account of what happened and want a more-to-the-point version, please see Coker's piece.

For the record, for those who've asked, no, I've yet to hear back from either OC Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley or from anyone at CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's office about what happened on Sunday. I've contacted all them via email, with a link to my original article, seeking comment. If I hear back from any of them substantively, of course, I'll let you know.

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Write-in 'disappears,' county workers unaware of vulnerabilities...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2011 3:28pm PT  

So I forced myself to take a few hours off yesterday. As too often happens, it turned into a busman's holiday.

We took a trip out to closing day at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA, had a great time in the bargain, and even shared a bunch of fun/snarky photo tweets throughout the day (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here if you're interested, or are not otherwise already a Twitter follower of @TheBradBlog.)

It was all fun and games and sassy social observation until we had the good fortune to chance upon a booth being run by the Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley, where two delightful representatives of the office where on hand to help folks register to vote and to offer a demonstration of the country's 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting system.

As I would come to learn, the two delightful representatives of the office had no idea that their own e-voting system was actually 100% unverifiable until I explained to them how that was the case. Equally as troubling, as I was testing out one of the Hart Intercivic eSlate demo systems set up for voters to try and learn how to use them, it failed on me while I was running through the demo ballot created for fair goers...one of my selections disappeared entirely...or at least appeared to...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2011 5:39pm PT  

It is now officially impossible to know whether thousands of paper ballots being counted in the state of Wisconsin's Supreme Court election "recount" are the same ones actually cast on Election Day. It didn't have to be that way, unlike in Kentucky, where the voters never had a chance, and where high-ranking election officials have now been sentenced to more than 150 years in federal jail following "decades" of manipulated elections.

Thanks to serious chain of custody violations in Wisconsin --- such as ballot bags discovered to have been left "wide open" and unsealed in Waukesha County, and ballots left completely unsecured for weeks in the office of the Verona City Clerk in Dane County --- that now make it quite likely the real winner of the April 5th election for a 10-year term on the bench of that state's highest court will never be known for certain. That, even though thousands of votes have now been verified as having been miscounted during the state's partial hand-count, and even as the hotly-contested seat in question will determine the ideological balance of the court during one of the most contentious moments in Badger State history.

The majority of voters in Wisconsin cast their votes on hand-marked paper ballots. However, due to a failure to count those ballots publicly on Election Night, at the precinct, in front of the public (as per "Democracy's Gold Standard"), citizens are left guessing and forced to place misguided trust in partisan election officials like GOP activist and Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus and her unsecure chain of custody and election reporting procedures.

With results that will never be known for certain, the razor-thin contest has now become a fully "faith-based election," in contradiction to the checks and balances necessary for true self-governance.

But where Wisconsin could have had an overseeable and fully verifiable election in which voters might have had confidence, voters in Kentucky, for years, never even had a chance as they were forced to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines.

The good-ish news? That is changing, as much of the Bluegrass State is finally turning to the use of hand-marked paper ballots, though they plan on tallying them similarly to Wisconsin, via oft-failed, easily-manipulated optical-scan systems manufactured by private vendors, rather than counting them transparently in front of the public.

Given Kentucky's recent history, that's a particularly troubling prospect, as underscored by several developments in two different counties in the state of late.

In 2009, a spate of high-ranking election officials in Clay County, KY --- including the County Clerk, a Circuit Court Judge, the School Superintendent, a former Magistrate, and several polling place officials --- were arrested in a massive vote buying/selling and electronic vote-machine rigging conspiracy which netted the criminals millions of dollars over the past decade. The federal charges included the County Clerk and other members of the Board of Elections having intentionally falsified election reports to include inaccurate voting results when submitted to the state.

One Republican election official pleaded guilty after the arrest two years ago, and the other eight were found guilty and convicted last year in federal court. They were sentenced this past March to a total of more than 1,871 months in federal prison.

And last week, in a separate, newly developing case, state officials impounded electronic voting machines in Perry County, KY, after Republican candidates in last November's election complained of "vote rigging" on the county's 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/8/2010 7:35am PT  

Dan Wallach of Rice University was one of the computer scientists who worked on California's landmark 2007 "Top to Bottom Review" of the state's electronic voting systems. He's also a voter in Harris County (Houston), TX where a fire destroyed all 10,000 of the county's 100% unverifiable voting systems just a few weeks before the start of early voting.

His report on his personal experience at the polls on Election Day, where the county was forced to have paper ballots on hand this year as they scrambled to find enough borrowed e-voting systems (for some stupid reason) to replace their destroyed ones, is well-worth reading. It begins this way...

Back in late August, Harris County (Houston)'s warehouse with all 10,000 of our voting machines, burned to the ground. As I blogged at the time, our county decided to spend roughly $14 million of its $40 million insurance settlement on purchasing replacement electronic voting machines of the same type destroyed in the fire, and of the same type that I and my colleagues found to be unacceptably insecure in the 2007 California Top-to-Bottom Report. This emergency purchase was enough to cover our early voting locations and a smattering of extras for Election Day. We borrowed the rest from other counties, completely ignoring the viral security risks that come with this mixing and matching of equipment. (It's all documented in the California report above. See Section 7.4 on page 77. Three years later, and the vendor has fixed none of these issues.)

Wallach goes on to describe how difficult it was for him to actually get a paper ballot, despite their availability at his polling place this year, and how, even after various difficulties towards that end, he was still able to complete his vote before his wife, who chose to vote on the unverifiable, virus-prone e-voting system...

I asked the poll workers at the sign-in table if they were planning to offer paper ballots to anybody in line and they looked at me as if I was insane. I also mentioned that I finished voting faster than my wife and one poll worker went as far as to say "don't tell anybody!" as if that might (gasp!) cause people to want to vote on paper.

His report, particularly given his intimate, expert knowledge of the voting systems that most Houston voters were strongly encouraged to vote on, is, as noted, well-worth reading in full...

Oh, and by the way, where is all the evidence of that "massive Democratic voter fraud!!!" we were breathlessly told by the Houston Republican gr ... er ... I mean independent "Tea Party" group in Houston was scheduled to occur this year (in minority areas, naturally)?

* * *
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 9/22/2010 12:50pm PT  

Thousands of borrowed e-voting machines made by Austin-based Hart Intercivic have begun arriving in Harris County (Houston), TX, this week in the wake of last month's massive warehouse fire which destroyed all 10,000 of the county's 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems in advance of early voting for the mid-term elections.

Some 3,000 machines are being loaned to Harris County from 15 different counties around Texas and one in Colorado. Paper ballots are also being printed up, thankfully, to help in an emergency pinch, though it's clear that Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, a long-time fan of unverifiable electronic voting systems, hopes voters will use them, rather than paper. Most precincts, she says, will have just one less machine than they normally would for an election of the size expected this November.

Arson has not yet been ruled out as the cause of the overnight blaze which remains a mystery nearly three weeks after it destroyed some $40 million worth of voting equipment. While an official finding may still be months away, according to Houston's KPRC TV no accelerants have yet been found, and arson investigators seem to be focusing on "evidence that the fire started accidentally in the building's electrical system."

But before the ashes had finished smoldering, literally, partisans from both the Right and Left had already begun to speculate on what the fire might mean for the mid-term elections and who, if anybody, might have had a motive to touch off such a blaze.

As long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG may have guessed, some of the allegations had more basis in reality than others, as Republican activists, like clockwork, have begun their loud, if still-unsubstantiated, cries of "massive Democratic voter fraud" soon to "steal an election" near you.

The effort in Houston which, coincidentally or not, kicked off at almost the exact same moment as the voting machine fire, is particularly egregious and irresponsible in its effort to scare voters with unsubstantiated and hyperbolic charges of "voter fraud"...

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

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Update: Accident or Arson? Paper or Plastic?...
By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2010 10:09am PT  

First, we didn't do it.

Second, via KHOU in Houston:

HOUSTON – A three-alarm fire swept through a northeast Houston warehouse early Friday wiping out more than 10,000 pieces of voting equipment. City officials said they are unsure what will be done when voting begins in the next few months.

The Harris County Election Technology Center, located on Canino at Downey, caught fire around 4:20 a.m., and the blaze quickly grew to three alarms.

The warehouse stored more than 10,000 pieces of equipment, including voting booths and eSlates, the computer-based machines used for collecting votes.

The fire comes just months before the general elections on November 2, which include the governor’s race. Early voting is scheduled to begin in October.

Former KPFT (Houston Pacifica) radio host and election integrity advocate Pokey Anderson tells us there are some 1.8 million registered voters in Harris County, the third largest in the nation. "Harris County is huge," she writes via email this morning, "est. pop for 2006 is 3.6 million people, which is larger than the population of 23 states. That is about the size of Iowa and Vermont combined."

KTRH NewsRadio reports County Clerk Beverly Kaufman is hoping to "depend on other counties around the state, even across the country, to donate similar machines." Until God tried to intervene this morning, Harris County used 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems made by Austin-based Hart Intercivic.

A source familiar with Hart Intercivic tells The BRAD BLOG that the nation's fourth-largest e-voting company has fallen on hard times of late and does not have machines to ship to replace those lost in the fire.

If they can't get "similar machines" from somewhere, how, oh, how will the citizens of Houston be able to have elections this year?! Especially since pieces of paper, pens, eyeballs, citizen oversight and common frickin' sense were all long ago outlawed in Harris County, Texas, apparently.

Also related: This year's Harris County Pac-Man Tournament has been canceled.

* * *

UPDATE 8/28/10: The early work into determining the cause of the 3-alarm blaze, whether or not it was an accident or arson, is underway...along with determining the plan for how the county will proceed with the upcoming elections in the wake of the loss of $30 million dollars worth of unverifiable electronic voting machines...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/25/2010 12:38pm PT  

We were on the road all day long yesterday, after getting the morning's Green News Report. We finally got off the road and back on the grid as the sun was setting here in the Midwest, and as "results" began coming in from some of the five different states (Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont) holding primary elections last night.

It seemed a good moment to ask a question on Twitter about what we'd missed so far. In the bargain, we received some interesting Twitter replies from NBC's Chief White House Correspondent and election results guy Chuck Todd, in regard to counting ballots and the fact that he (and others) were busy reporting "results" to the world, even as not one single ballot had yet to be counted by any human being in all of the United States by that point.

Here's how some of that conversation on Twitter went...

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

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'Intellectual Property' of voting systems still owned by firm linked to Venezuelan President, despite press statement to the contrary
PLUS: The election official/e-voting company revolving 'oversight' door continues to turn...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2010 11:47am PT  

Canadian-based Dominion Voting Systems has quietly announced its second acquisition of a major U.S. voting machine company in as many months and, right out of the gate, they've lied about it. Not an auspicious beginning for the company which may now, virtually overnight, have become the dominant private e-voting machine company in this country.

In our recent breaking coverage detailing the SEC's fraud lawsuits filed against Diebold and a number of their top executives --- including their former Chief Financial Officer who, as we reported exclusively back in 2007, was the top earner from an apparent insider sell-off at the company just days before its stock would plummet from its all-time high on the announcement of spinning off their troubled election division to a "new" company renamed Premier --- we noted that Diebold/Premier's assets had recently been purchased by a small Canadian firm by the name of Dominion Voting. But Dominion hasn't stopped there.

Their purchase of Diebold/Premier's assets was actually made from ES&S, the world's largest voting machine company, who was forced to divest of the assets they'd purchased from Diebold (previously, the second largest voting machine company in the country) for $5 million last year, as part of an anti-trust suit settlement with the DoJ.

In our coverage, we noted the comment of Dominion CEO John Poulos who, in the company's press release [PDF] announcing the Diebold/Premier asset acquisition, stated ominously: "We are extremely pleased to conclude this transaction, which...will allow Dominion to expand its capabilities and operational footprint to every corner of the United States."

Indeed, the DoJ-scuttled ES&S merger with Diebold/Premier had been legally challenged since, among other reasons, the merger of the largest e-voting company with the country's second largest would have given a single company control of at least 70% of all votes cast in the nation.

What we had replaced for length, however, with the ellipses in Poulos' quote above, was this [emphasis added]: "We are extremely pleased to conclude this transaction, which will restore much-needed competition to the American voting systems market and will allow Dominion to expand its capabilities and operational footprint to every corner of the United States."

How much is Poulos actually interested in "restor[ing] much-needed competition" for "the American voting systems market"? Apparently not so much, as according to a company press release [PDF] quietly issued late in the afternoon on Friday, June 4th, Dominion has now also acquired what had previously been the third largest voting machine company in the U.S., Sequoia Voting Systems.

Not surprisingly, that late Friday announcement didn't say anything at all about "competition".

Worse, as The BRAD BLOG has confirmed, the new press release from Dominion simply lied about what the company has and hasn't purchased from Sequoia, a company which had lied themselves, for years, about the real ownership of its proprietary voting systems...

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

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