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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, October 27, 2016
Utility Shill Admits to Shady Anti-Solar Measure in FL: 'BradCast' 10/26/16
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Fraud Squad!
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'Too Big to Rig?':
'BradCast' 10/21/16
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Everything is 'Peachy Dory': 'BradCast' 10/19/16
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NH GOPer Decries Trump 'Rigging', But Denies Party Claimed 'Voter Fraud'(?!?): 'BradCast' 10/17/16
Guest: Former state GOP Chair Fergus Cullen. Also: Good news for FL voters, bad for OH...
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The Meltdown Began Long Before Trump:
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Through the darkness and towards the light...
FL Preps for Election 'Storm'; Michelle: 'Enough is Enough': 'BradCast' 10/13/16
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'Green News Report' 10/13/16
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Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

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...

With Deadlines Past and Looming, Intense, Often Acrimonious, Background Negotiations Underway Between All Involved Firms
While Both Clients and Employees Are Kept in the Dark...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2008 5:49pm PT  

On Sunday, April 13th, following our Thursday April 10th exclusive investigative report revealing that the nation's 4th largest voting machine vendor, Hart InterCivic, was on the verge of a successful hostile takeover of the nation's 3rd largest voting machine company, Sequoia Voting Systems, in order to become the nation's 2nd largest powerhouse in the "election industry," Sequoia quietly issued a press release on their website, publicly confirming our report.

The release is not linked from their main page, but we were able to trip across it this morning nonetheless. We post it in full at the end of this article since Sequoia's website has been frequently hacked at times of late, and the company also has a history of revising, scrubbing and doctoring officially published material on their website without noting those changes.

While officials at both Hart and Sequoia have now confirmed our report, Sequoia has yet to fully inform its voting system clients around the country --- or even its own employees --- as to what's actually going on, even while a "high-priority" company-wide email was distributed immediately after our report went public, attempting to instruct employees to field no "calls from the media"...

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

Beacon News' Dan Campana Commits 4 Acts of Journalism in 2 Days...
By Brad Friedman on 4/14/2008 1:08pm PT  

Wow...We're blown away by this article in today's Beacon News. [Article now hidden behind paid archives, here's a local repost.] It begins this way:

The little blog that did
For four years, has reported on voting machine problems

April 14, 2008
By Dan Campana

If the mass media ever did its job, Brad Friedman could go back to his former life, the one before 2004 when election scandals became his full-time vocation...

We're greatly appreciative of Campana's coverage. Not only because he's very kind to us, but because --- as a total of four of his stories filed over the last two days reveal --- he has actually done what so few corporate journalists seem able to do today: Actual journalism.

Before we saw the piece mentioned above today, we had kind words about his coverage yesterday of the wholly under-reported Hart InterCivic federal fraud suit. But beyond that detailed piece, his follow-up story today and "related coverage" offered on both days has been top-notch. Here are links to each of his stories today and yesterday...

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what journalism is supposed to look like. And yes, if we had a few more hundred (we'd settle for a few more dozen) like Campana, we'd be more than thrilled to go back to what we were doing prior to falling into this remarkable American Nightmare. We look forward to the day we can take down our shingle entirely and leave all of the heavy lifting to folks like him who actually get paid to do this stuff.

(But until then, whatever support you can afford to help keep us going is appreciated...You are all we've actually got. So, please see below, and please keep spreading the word.)

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Local Media Outlet Finally Reports on the Stunning Allegations in William Singer's Whistleblower Suit, Local Election Officials Respond With the Same Old, Disingenous, Long-Ago Debunked Nonsense...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2008 7:22pm PT  

In Aurora, Illinois, today, Beacon News' Dan Campana files a very good report on the federal fraud suit filed against Austin, Texas, based voting machine company Hart InterCivic. The suit, alleging dozens of false claims and fraudulent activities by Hart in order to receive federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money, was filed originally by former employee turned whistleblower William Singer back in 2006, but did not become unsealed until March 27th, when The BRAD BLOG covered it, along with posting the full stunning complaint [PDF].

Beacon News is based in Kane County, IL, which uses the faulty Hart voting systems in question.

Campana's report today --- which quotes yours truly in a number of places --- is the only corporate media coverage of the lawsuit in the nearly three weeks since the case was finally unsealed. Until now, there's been the fairly extensive coverage found on this blog, an item on the same day the case was unsealed filed by Kim Zetter at WIRED's "Threat Level" blog (which we replied to here), and a very short squib from AP on the same day, which, according to a quick Google News search, was carried by only a single news outlet, CBS 4 in Denver.

(For the record, our extensively detailed and sourced report on Hart's attempted takeover of Sequoia late last week has been picked up by nobody, other than ComputerWorld where we, ourselves, filed a short summary report. That, despite officials from both Hart and Sequoia having confirmed the accuracy of our report, and the fact that Hart, which controls some 8% of the voting market in this country, is about to swallow up Sequoia Voting Systems, which controls 20% of it, to become the nation's second largest e-voting machine vendor. We'll know by Tuesday at the latest, most likely, if Sequoia was able to save itself from Hart's hostile takeover.)

So with a dearth of coverage anywhere but here, we can heartily recommend Campana's report on Singer's suit. His article includes comments from us (as mentioned), one of Singer's attorneys, Hart spokesperson Peter Lichtenheld (who shamelessly plays the tired old "conspiracy theory" card), some Election Integrity advocates from the non-partisan Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, and some state and local Kane County election officials who have deluded themselves into believing their Hart machines are safe for use in American democracy.

When Campana interviewed us for his story, we suggested he ask any of the election officials he planned to interview for a single piece of evidence to prove that any single vote, ever cast during an election on a Hart DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) voting machine in the county, has ever been recorded accurately, as intended by a voter.

Though Campana references our challenge in his report ("Friedman contends no government officials can prove the votes cast on electronic machines can be accurately linked to tallies",) he doesn't quote any of the officials as being able to offer such evidence. Little surprise, because they can't produce such evidence. It's strictly impossible. Yet they continue to use these machines anyway.

But he does manage to get a few amusing and wholly unsupportable statements from some of those deluded officials. We're delighted to spend our Sunday dismantling them --- both the statements, and the officials...

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

Systems Made by Diebold, Sequoia and Hart InterCivic Are 'Still Going to Have Same Viral Vulnerabilities Found' During California's 2007 Study...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2008 3:29pm PT  

A bunch of world-class computer scientists testified publicly this week that "U.S. Presidential Election Can Be Hacked".

As stunning as that sounds, there's nothing new here necessarily to readers of The BRAD BLOG, other than the fact that outlets like the IDG News Service and PCWorld are reporting it --- out loud --- and that the computer scientist community, specifically those who have been studying these systems, are now out and out saying it --- in public...and out loud.

"The three systems we looked at are three of the most widely used around the nation," warned professor David Wagner of the University of California, "They're going to be using them in the 2008 elections; they're still going to have the same vulnerabilities we found."

Wagner was speaking about e-voting system made by Diebold, Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic which he examined during CA Sec. of State Debra Bowen's independent "Top to Bottom" review last year. He "and his team found that they could introduce a computer virus to any of the three systems, which would then spread throughout the county and ultimately skew the vote count," the IDG News Service reports.

While our readers may be familiar with the above, our friend "DHinMI" and his fellow misinformed DailyKos front pagers may want to give this short article a quick look sometime soon. Particularly the part about paper ballots, and that simply having them is not enough...if nobody bothers to actually count them.

Here's the key grafs from the article...Along with a special clip for the dangerously misinformed/misleading dKos boys and girls...

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

Desperate to Stop the Deal, Sequoia's Owners Frantically Seek Funding, Legal Options, All of Which Have so Far Failed Enough to Lead the Judge Working on the Case to Regard One Such Legal Argument as a 'Conspiracy Theory'
Merger of Two Companies Would Likely Create New E-Voting Powerhouse, Face Federal Scrutiny, Come as Surprise to Sequoia's Current Clients...
By Brad Friedman on 4/10/2008 12:55pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

As if Sequoia Voting Systems doesn't have enough trouble already, the company now needs some $2 million dollars in cash...quickly. Without it, it is likely to be subsumed by one of its nearest competitors, Hart InterCivic of Austin, TX, as soon as next Tuesday, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

In what could well be a major shift on the American election industry landscape --- and certainly on elections themselves in dozens of states across the country --- voting machine company Hart InterCivic informed the current owners of the beleaguered Sequoia of their intention to acquire ownership of the company in a move which could take effect as early as next week.

The attempted hostile takeover --- which, we've learned, has been quietly in the works behind the scenes since mid-February --- has set off a building panic among the senior management and owners at Sequoia, whose money woes had already led them to schedule a shut-down of their Oakland headquarters. That shop is to close within a matter of months, as the operations for the company are to be consolidated at its Denver offices.

The takeover by Hart is made possible in the wake of a deal made by Sequoia's current owners, SVS Holdings, Inc., with its former owners, the off-shore consortium Smartmatic. Smartmatic was forced to give up control of the company after the media and Congress noticed in 2006 that the company had ties to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. The officers and owners of SVS are comprised largely of previous Sequoia officials who took over the company after Smartmatic's failed attempt to find an outside buyer in 2006. The deal resulted in an agreement between SVS and Smartmatic for the latter to hold a $2 million note from the purchase. Smartmatic now appears ready to sell that note to Hart as part of a $16 million dollar deal which SVS has a contractual right to match within a 60-day period, ending on April 15th.

Sequoia is believed by election experts to be this country's third largest voting machine company, followed by Hart. The combined operation, should the takeover be completed, could well create a new powerhouse in the industry, displacing #2 Diebold/Premier, and coming up just behind the country's currently largest election vendor, ES&S.

Court documents obtained by The BRAD BLOG reveal that Hart notified SVS of its intention to purchase the $2 million note held by Smartmatic on February 15th, giving the group of owners and share holders of SVS --- including CEO and President Jack Blaine, and VPs Michelle Shafer and Edwin Smith (whose names BRAD BLOG readers may recognize) --- just 60 days to match the offer Hart had given to Smartmatic. As the deadline nears, Due Dilligence processes have begun, and are near the final phases of completion at Sequoia...whether company management likes it or not.

Hart's move has sent Sequoia/SVS executives into a legal and financial tizzy and --- perhaps taking a page from Hillary Clinton's campaign book --- the company seems to be throwing the legal kitchen sink at both Hart and Smartmatic in an attempt to nullify Hart's offer. Court documents reveal arguments that Hart's is not a "bona fide" offer that SVS is legally required to match. So far, however, those legal maneuvers, reflected by a dizzying array of motions and cross-motions, suits and counter-suits --- completely unreported by anyone in the media until now --- have all been summarily and soundly rejected by the Delaware magistrate adjudicating the matter.

Every legal effort by Sequoia and SVS to dispatch with the hostile takeover attempt has failed miserably so far, leading Vice Chancellor Stephen P. Lamb of the Court of Chancery in Delaware to even describe one such legal theory of SVS' as...(big irony alert!)...a "conspiracy theory"!

But while Sequoia faces a plethora of legal liabilities concerning their oft-failed voting systems, Hart InterCivic faces its own share of challenges with a pending --- and damning --- federal fraud/qui tam suit against the company, as unsealed late last month. Moreover, Hart's acquisition plan could face scrutiny from members of Congress and Treasury Department officials, as well as states across the country who thought they had turned over control of their elections to Sequoia, only to soon learn there will be a new owner, not of their choosing, of the secret software and devices which determine the results of their public elections.

While litigation over claims of fraud and failure in both company's voting systems await, so does at least one major prize to the victor of this grudge match: New York state's soon-to-be-completed $100 million deal with Sequoia...or maybe now with Hart...or...whoever...

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

Along With Some Very Kind Words About The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2008 10:43am PT  

Sitting in this week for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, David Bender joins Ring of Fire co-host/attorney Mike Papantonio to discuss, in the first five minutes of the show, the finally-unsealed qui tam fraud suit brought by Pap and RFK Jr's law firms against voting machine company Hart InterCivic, on behalf of former employee/computer technician turned whistleblower William Singer.

In the following clip, which will air this weekend on Air America's Ring of Fire program, both Bender and Pap offer exceedingly kind words for The BRAD BLOG and yours truly. (Thank you kindly, gents.)

We had originally broken Singer's remarkable story back in 2006. Our conversations shortly thereafter with Kennedy, and then with Papantonio's lawfirm, led to the filing of the suit, alleging a host of improprieties and criminally fraudulent behavior by the voting machine company as they dummied up voting machines during sales presentations, and concealed known failures, such as the possibilities of lost and miscounted votes, in their systems.

Pap also notes, during discussion of the case, that the nearly-two years it had to stay sealed by law --- while the DoJ ate up time in deciding whether or not to join the case --- is unusual in and of itself. Normally, in such qui tam cases, the DoJ is given just 60 days to decide whether or not to join with the whistleblower on behalf of the United States. Pap also goes on to note what may, or may not, be a coincidence: the US Attorney in CO, where the suit was filed, was removed shortly after this case was brought in his district, but before the decision was ultimately made by the DoJ not to join the suit...For now...

UPDATE: Here is an audio version of the first five minutes of the show, for those who had problems using the video player above...

Company Employee Performance Review, Included in Complaint Itself, Dispels Assertion Made by Company Spokesperson
Other Replies from Defendant Similarly Debunked by Documents Obtained by The BRAD BLOG...
By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2008 4:28pm PT  

-- By Brad Friedman

In a statement given to the media last week, in response to a federal fraud/false claims act qui tam suit finally unsealed last week, a representative from the defendant, voting machine company, Hart InterCivic, alleged the suit's whistleblower, William Singer, was a "disgruntled employee."

Employee "Performance Evaluation" records written by company management, included in the complaint itself, however, would seem to strongly contradict the claims of company spokesperson Pete Lichtenheld, as given to a reporter last week.

Additional claims by Lichtenheld, as reported by Kim Zetter at Wired's Threat Level blog on Thursday, are also dispelled by a document from the U.S. Dept. of Justice, obtained by The BRAD BLOG. The DoJ, after requesting and receiving extensions for two years, has finally decided against joining the federal qui tam suit, for the time being, allowing it to become unsealed last week, so that it may now move forward in federal district court.

The lawsuit, posted in full by The BRAD BLOG after it became unsealed last Thursday, details an extraordinary list of fraudulent behavior by Hart InterCivic, as related by one-time employee Singer, who alleges the company deceived Election Officials in Texas, Ohio, Colorado, and elsewhere in hopes of receiving federal monies as distributed via the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Allegations made in the suit include stunning revelations that Hart failed to test its products properly, and frequently at all, withheld information from prospective clients about the potential loss of votes in its voting systems, dummied-up machines, reports, and test results presented to clients in sales presentations, and much more in an attempt to win state and county contracts.

Much of the response to the suit by company spokesperson Lichtenheld, however, is easily dismissed upon examination of the evidence so far available in the case...

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

And BRAD BLOG Requests your Help...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2008 10:15am PT  

Meanwhile, over at tech 'zine InfoWorld, Robert X. Cringely takes notice of BRAD BLOG's exposé from earlier this week, on the man Sequoia Voting Systems is paying to "independently" review their failed AVC Advantage touch-screen machines (the ones that failed in NJ recently, but which are still set for use in the upcoming, crucial PA primary). He was as amused/horrified at whom they'd hired, instead of the actually qualified computer science professors at Princeton University whom Sequoia had threatened with legal action, should they dare a real examination of the company's faulty machines.

Cringely sums up our report succinctly this way...

While I was digging through the Net looking for the skinny on Sequoia Voting Systems and its mystery contractor Kwaidan Consulting (aka Mike Gibbons), the Bradblog's Brad Friedman was doing the same. He managed to unearth a cached version of Gibbons' MySpace page that's just a wee bit different than the current model. Instead of a photo of Gibbons shaking hands with Bush I, this one shows a good-old-boy leaning against the hood of a pickup. The list of people Gibbons wants to meet has changed too. Instead of Jesus, Einstein, and Newton, Gibbons was looking for “a well endowed blonde nymphomaniac ... that likes to be under the influence of Jim Beam whiskey in a dimly lit room at least 3 times a week.” (Hmm, Jesus or a busty nymphomaniac – that's a tough call.) It's nice to know the gatekeepers of our electoral system go shopping for their code experts in New Orleans bordellos.

One small thought in response to the good Cringely here. Sequoia are not the "gate-keepers," they just think they are, and therein lie the problems. He, we, and you are the gate-keepers. And until now, we've failed horribly to keep the crooks and liars --- like the folks at Sequoia and Diebold and ES&S and Hart InterCivic (take a look at that report please Robert, and the stunning complaint downloadable with it!) --- outside of those gates.

By the way, with the crush of other news elsewhere, and even at The BRAD BLOG this week, our rather jaw-dropping report on Gibbons (even if we say so ourselves) was largely overlooked out there by the CMSM and even the blogosphere. These stories --- the embarrassing Gibbons/Kwaidan report, the remarkable federal fraud case against Hart, and all the others here --- don't spread themselves around. Please do not misunderestimate the importance of your DIGGING, REDDIT-ing, and otherwise emailing and linking up to these stories far and wide. Notifying your local media about them (include the URL when you email them), can make all the difference.

We're doing our part, and appreciate whatever hand you can lend in return. It matters.

As we often say, this democracy ain't gonna save itself. And the gates ain't gonna keep themselves, either.

Please support The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive and our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available for new contributors!

After Two Years, the Qui Tam Suit Against Hart InterCivic, Brought by Whistleblower William Singer with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mike Papantonio, May Proceed After DoJ Declines to Join Case
Download the Full Complaint here...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2008 2:50pm PT  

"The most serious thing any software company can do is not fully test its products," William Singer told The BRAD BLOG this afternoon about the federal fraud case he filed nearly two years ago, which has finally been unsealed by a judge as of today.

"To release a product for important purposes that has not been tested at all is quite shocking, I would say. Especially since it indicates that nobody can predict what, when, or how it might fail," Singer explained about the e-voting systems made by Hart InterCivic, for which he worked as a technician several years ago. "It would make a mockery of any certification."

Despite having some direct involvement in the case from the beginning, The BRAD BLOG has been unable to report any details on it for going on two years --- we haven't even been able to offer the names of the plaintiff or defendant in the case --- since originally reporting that it had been filed in federal court, due to the fact that it was under seal, waiting for the U.S. Attorney General to decide whether the DoJ would join the suit or not.

Singer's suit is the fraud case which originally made waves when it was first filed two years ago, with the aid of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Florida attorney Mike Papantonio, until it then went "underground" due to the legally mandated seal disallowing the plaintiff and his attorneys from offering any specific details to the public.

As AP reported today, the seal on that federal qui tam (fraud, false claims) complaint, brought on behalf of the United States by Singer against Hart, one of the big four American voting machines companies, has now been lifted, and the case may finally proceed as originally filed.

The BRAD BLOG has obtained the complete complaint and the judge's order lifting the seal...

• The full complaint may be downloaded here [PDF, 45 pages].
• The judge's order unsealing the case as of last night is here [PDF, 2 pages]

The second page of the complaint, which we are still plowing through, sets the initial grounding for the case...

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

Fort Bend County (Tom Delay County) Election Administrator Forced to Resign On Eve of State Primary After Advocating for Paper Ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2008 3:55pm PT  

Another Election Director with the temerity to speak out with concerns about E-voting has been done away with. This time in Texas.

As Early Voting starts today in the crucial Texas Primaries, it looks like we've got yet another new martyr --- from the rare ranks of Election Officials --- who has reportedly been taken out by "the powers that be" during a fight for the ideas of Election Integrity, which he even went so far as to mention on a Houston television news report, if you can imagine such a thing.

The following details come from today's FortBendNow...

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

By Brad Friedman on 2/19/2008 11:43am PT  

In advance of an upcoming screening of the new documentary film, UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections (Feb. 21 at Sojourner’s Church in Charlottesville, VA), David Swanson covers the problems with the electronic Hart Intercivic DRE voting systems in his own home town for the Charlottesville Weekly, and unearths the following gem...

[H]ere is where the City of Charlottesville’s website asks us to place our faith:

Q: How do I know that my vote has been cast and counted?

A: Whenever a voter presses the CAST BALLOT button and the waving American flag appears, the vote is cast and counted.

Ah, well. Glad that's settled. God bless American faith-based democracy. Long may she wave. You folks in Charlottesville can now rest easy.

Please support The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive and our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available for new contributors!

All Voting Systems by ES&S Completely Decertified; DRE Touch-Screens from Sequoia Banned; Optical-Scan Paper Systems by Hart InterCivic Banned; All Systems by Diebold/Premier Conditionally ALLOWED for Use!
SoS Admits Federal Certification Process, Now Overseen by Former CO SoS on Behalf of EAC, 'Has Been Very Weak to Date'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/17/2007 3:37pm PT  

Colorado's Republican Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, has announced that a number of Colorado's e-voting machines have failed state certification testings, and will not be allowed for use in the 2008 election cycle. The announcements came at a news conference in Denver which completely just minutes ago.

Describing the state's testing of four major voting machine companies previously certified in the state, Coffman explained to reporters at the presser that there were "over 3000 tests on each vendor['s systems], and over 40,000 pages documenting the tests."

"This has been an extensive process," he said, after detailing several remarkable findings from each of the systems testing. For example, test results showed that paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart InterCivic "could not accurately count ballots." While Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) systems made by ES&S, the world's largest supplier of voting systems, could be disabled by "denial of service" attacks at the polling place with a device as simple as a magnet.

"If you were to put a magnet in close proximity or inside the port," Coffman said at the press conference today, "that would, in fact, disable that particular voting machines and it would have to be literally bring in back into circulation for that election."

While virtually all of the systems tested were found to have major vulnerabilities, a number of them were "conditionally certified" for use as long as new security mitigation requirements are met. Notably, both op-scan systems and DREs made by Diebold (now known as Premier) were given conditional certification for use, despite Diebold systems having been banned in several states previously, including California, Ohio and Florida, due to a long list of critical vulnerabilities.

A summary of the decertified and conditionally certified systems follow (links to more information on each, at the end of this article):

  • All voting systems made by Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S), both paper-based optical-scan and DREs, were completely decertified. Their op-scan systems tested, according to Coffman, "both failed because of an inability to determine if the devices work correctly and an inability to complete the testing threshold of 10,000 ballots due to vendor programming errors." Their ubiqutous, and fatally flawed iVotronic DRE system "failed because it is easily disabled by voters activating the device interface, and the system lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems were conditionally certified, while their DRE systems were completely decertified for use, as they "failed due to a variety of security risk factors, including that the system is not password protected, has exposed controls potentially giving voters unauthorized access, and lacks an audit trail to detect security violations."
  • Paper-based optical-scan systems made by Hart Intercivic were decertified "because test results showed that they could not accurately count ballots"(!), while their DRE voting system was conditionally certified.
  • And finally, both optical-scan and DRE voting systems made by Diebold/Premier were conditionally certified for use in Colorado.

Coffman's announcement comes today, months after the state had hoped to have the results available, due to sluggish participation by the voting machine companies, many of whom delayed supplying required information, such as voting system source code, as requested by the Secretary of State's office.

All of Colorado's electronic voting systems were decertified just prior to the November 2006 election when a state judge ruled, in a lawsuit brought by state voters, that testing and certification procedures for e-voting systems in the Centennial State were inadequate, largely non-existent, and in violation of state law. As the judge's decertification order came just prior to that years' elections, the systems were allowed for use, but decertified immediately thereafter. The state was forced to begin the certification process from scratch thereafter...

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

Result of State's First Ever Testing of E-Voting Systems Find All Systems 'Vulnerable' to Manipulation and Theft by 'Simple Techniques'
SoS Brunner Recommends Paper Ballots Optically-Scanned at County Headquarters for Buckeye State...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2007 2:35pm PT  

The results of new, unprecedented testing of e-voting machines in the state of Ohio are in, and the findings mirror the landmark results of a similar test carried out earlier this year in California.

"Ohio's electronic voting systems have 'critical security failures' which could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State," says Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner in a statement which accompanied the release of the report today on the SoS' website. Brunner, a Democrat, was joined in her press conference (video now here), called today to discuss the results of the testing, by Ohio's Republican House Speaker, Jon Husted.

Brunner is calling for a ban on all Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems in the state, along with a ban on precinct-based optical-scan paper based systems, charging that the central counting of ballots at the county would eliminate "points of entry creating unnecessary voting system risk."

The State's bi-partisan "Evaluation & Validation of Election-Related Equipment, Standards & Testing" (EVEREST) report finds, as did California's study, as did virtually every other independent test of such systems, that violating the security and manipulating the "federal approved" electronic voting systems, is a breeze.

"To put it in every-day terms," Brunner said, "the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant."

"The results underscore the need for a fundamental change in the structure of Ohio’s election system to ensure ballot and voting system security while still making voting convenient and accessible to all Ohio voters," said Brunner, who has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for failing to act quickly enough concerning the voting systems to be used in next year's crucial election, as well as for failing to seek accountability for the exceedingly well-documented and now-infamous charges of election fraud and voter suppression in the 2004 Presidential election under her predecessor J. Kenneth Blackwell.

While the effort is long overdue in Ohio, actions being taken by Brunner, in light of the test results, are less stringent than those taken by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen after tests in her state. Brunner's recommendations, some of them quite puzzling, are likely to come under some fire in the bargain, from Election Integrity advocates in Ohio and elsewhere...

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

One Caused no Problems; the Other Impacted a High-Profile Local Election...
By Ellen Theisen on 11/16/2007 2:32pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.Org


Individuals installing Trane air conditioning units observed smoking and smelled a burning odor in three units during installation testing procedures. No injuries were reported.

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Trane voluntarily initiated a product safety recall of the offending 265 volt model and included the 208 and 230 volt models even though no incidents were observed with those models.


During the November 2006 general election in Tennessee, a defect in the voltage system caused a Hart InterCivic eSlate voting machine to start smoking. Approximately 2,625 citizens were injured when the voting machine refused to report their votes.

Hart InterCivic failed to retrieve the votes and took no action to protect consumers or voters. According to one report, a Knoxville computer company retrieved the votes from the chips inside the machine.

The votes were essential to deciding an extremely controversial, deadlocked pension question involving Knox County sheriff's officers.

The question eventually passed by 497 votes out of over 103,000 cast — less than ½% margin. The plan will cost tax payers $15 million initially and a projected $100 million over the next 20 years.

For the first time ever in Tennessee a county will borrow money (by selling bonds) to pay for a pension fund.


It's time to call for accountability in the machinery of our electoral system. Please sign the petition in support of VoterAction's call for Congressional investigations into blatant and destructive commercial fraud in the electronic voting machine industry.

One Witness, a Computer Expert, Expresses Shock at How Easy It Is to Change Vote Totals
By Jon Ponder on 11/16/2007 8:30am PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

As anyone who has given electronic voting more than a cursory look knows, the "flexibility" of these computer systems is also their weakest and most dangerous link. This weakness was underscored in Houston earlier this week when Johnnie German, the Harris County administrator of elections --- with proper witnesses looking on, including representatives of the two major parties --- accessed the county's eSlate system and altered the tally of votes on a tax referendum from the Nov. 6 ballot, according to the Houston Chronicle:

German's late-night deed, said by officials to be a first-time event in the six years Harris County has used the eSlate voting system, has rekindled the debate about whether the newest electronic methods for counting votes should be trusted.

What German graphically demonstrated was that with the proper physical and informational access, one person can alter the results of an election in a county of 1.8 million registered voters.

One witness, John R. Berman, a computer expert representing the Democrats, was unpleasantly surprised at how easily the votes could be changed:

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

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