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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 18, 2014
'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
Despite U.S. and international crimes outlined in the findings, based on first-hand CIA docs, not a single Sunday show even brought it up...
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
(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...


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!
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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!... ---

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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!... ---

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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!
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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 reprogrammed...to 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!... ---

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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!... ---

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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.

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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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Mayor Calls for 'Paper Ballots'; County Clerk Lies About Federal Law to Support the Continued Use of Her Democracy-Busting DRE Voting System...
By Brad Friedman on 11/2/2007 7:04pm PT  

The latest e-vote mess with Texas...

A Travis County judge ruled Thursday that West Lake Hills' last City Council election will not be overturned, prompting the city's mayor to blast the electronic voting machines used in the election and call for a return to paper ballots.

The judge ruled on a lawsuit filed by Robin Vaughan, who lost by two votes in the city's May 2006 council election.
...
Two voters testified that poll workers confused them with people who have similar names and gave them incorrect electronic ballots that did not include the West Lake Hills races.
...
Minutes later [after the judge's verdict], West Lake Hills Mayor Mark Urdahl, who had supported Vaughan's unsuccessful campaign, said electronic voting machines were responsible for the dispute and should no longer be used. He said a major flaw with electronic voting is that, instead of poll workers handing out a ballot with personal information a voter can confirm, the workers hand out a ticket with a string of seemingly meaningless numbers that is inserted into a machine.

"If we had a paper ballot," Urdahl said after the trial, "we wouldn't be here."

So how many more such cases are we going to see in next week's elections, and more notably, in next year's elections? Hope you're ready for the meltdown to come.

In the above matter, it looks like the Travis County Clerk was more than happy to lie to the reporter so she could continue using her democracy-busting e-voting systems:

County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, who was at the trial, said the problems that led to the trial were caused by human error and are not inherent in voting machines. She told Urdahl that the county could not switch to paper ballots because doing so would violate federal and state laws intended to protect voters with disabilities.

That is, of course, complete and total bullshit.

Only one disabled accessible voting device (and it needn't be a DRE) is required per polling place, as per the federal Help America Vote Act. If Texas has some state law requiring that every voter use such systems, we are unaware of it. In other words, if the reporters quote was accurate, County Clerk DeBeauvoir was lying.

It's a shame the reporter on the piece, like so many at local papers who cover this beat on rare occassions, didn't know enough to call her on it.

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Faces Extremely Pointed Questions from Committee Members, Furious About Recent Comments Reported by The BRAD BLOG...
UPDATED NOW WITH VIDEO OF THE MOST CONTENTIOUS Q&A's...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2007 7:25am PT  

We're up before the West Coast dawn this morning to monitor the hearings in the U.S. House Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties featuring John "Minorities Die First" Tanner. His recent objectionable comments were originally video-taped and reported by The BRAD BLOG several weeks ago.

The most objectionable of those comments including his contention that it was a "shame" that elderly voters might be disenfranchised by a 2005 Georgia Photo ID poll restriction that he approved on behalf of DoJ and against the advice of four out of five of his career staffers, minorities would somehow benefit from it. His twisted reasoning was that "because our society is such that minorities don't become elderly. The way white people do. They die first."

Tanner, incredibly, is still the Chief of the Voting Section in the DoJ's Civil Rights Division.

It's being carried live and webcast on C-Span 3, as well as via the Judiciary Committee's own webcast.

Major points in our story so far...

Beyond that, Progress Report has an excellent round up of Tanner's "Erosion of Voter Rights" during his tenure.

The hearings have now ended, but our notes from our Live-Blogging of today's hearings are below, along with video clips of the key, and most pointed exchanges...

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

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Says Were it Not for Debra Bowen's Victory Last November, We Wouldn't Know About 'Corruptible' Voting Machines Rubber-Stamped by Her Predecessor Bruce McPherson...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2007 11:28am PT  

Once again, in a world of horrible reporting and irresponsible journalists (Media Matters rounds up a bunch of them here) willing to pass on discredited, unevidenced sour grapes from Election Officials and Voting Machine Company spokesliars, it's syndicated columnist Tom Elias who cuts through the crap and tells the truth about those "loser" Officials.

Elias also validates the fine choice we made in the only official candidate endorsement at The BRAD BLOG.

Here are a few money shots, from one of the very few articles we've been able to find that gets it right, since the release of CA Secretary of State Bowen's landmark, independent review of the utter failures of every single electronic voting system that has been rubber-stamp certified by her horribly irresponsible predecessor, Bruce McPherson, and the near-entirety of CA Elections Officials who have been misleading and whining about the findings ever since...

The most important results of last fall's election are just now in, and dozens of county voting registrars who invested hundreds of millions of dollars in high-tech voting machines are the losers, exposed as careless at best, irresponsible at worst.

Only a few California voters realized it during that election season, but the trustworthiness of this state's entire voting process was at stake. The candidate who favored questioning all electronic voting machines won.

And soon after Democrat Debra Bowen took over as secretary of state last winter, she ordered a "top-to-bottom review" of electronic voting and vote-counting systems. The results expose the failures of the registrars: Every voting system they've bought since 2000, except those whose maker didn't readily submit them to testing, proved corruptible.

No one would know this today if former Republican Secretary of State Bruce McPherson had won last year. Despite serious questions about machines made by Diebold Election Systems, Hart InterCivic, Sequoia Voting Systems and Election Systems & Software (ES&S), McPherson never seriously examined the possibility that votes cast on them could be altered.
...
[I]f McPherson were still around, registrars wouldn't be whining now about "chaos" or the expense of carrying out Bowen's corrective edicts. Nor would they be worrying about facing questions for months to come about how they could spend so much on machines that can be corrupted.
...
The objection that voters do not get as much access as Bowen's hacking team also doesn't stand up. Her testers unscrewed panels to get around tamper-proof seals. They got inside virtually all machines. Any precinct worker who stores machines in closets or garages has as much opportunity as they did. So might county staffers wishing to sneak-attack machines in storage between elections.

Most suspicious election outcomes have suggested such insider interference, not tampering by voters at actual polling stations.

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LETTER: AG Stumbo Demands Same Protections from Diebold and Hart InterCivic for His State as Demanded by Debra Bowen In California
While KY's 'Do-Nothing' Secretary of State Wants To Do Nothing...
By John Gideon on 8/9/2007 9:25am PT  

Guest Blogged by John Gideon, VotersUnite.Org

The impact of California SoS Debra Bowen's "Top-to-Bottom Review" is beginning to be felt, tangibly, in other states across the country.

One such state is Kentucky, where this morning a press release was issued by the state's Attorney General Gregory D. Stumbo demanding that electronic voting machine manufacturers immediately correct security flaws identified in the independent reviews by experts in California.

In terse letters sent to voting machine companies Diebold and Hart Intercivic (letters posted in full below), Stumbo demanded that the companies "immediately implement in Kentucky all modifications and security upgrades necessary to correct the vulnerabilities identified by California."

Stumbo had this to say during in his news release this morning:

"Security upgrades are needed immediately to ensure voter confidence in the upcoming election," said Attorney General Stumbo. "Waiting and hoping for the best is not an option when the problems are obvious. Kentucky deserves the same prompt corrective action as California."

Meanwhile Kentucky's "do-nothing" Secretary of State, Trey Grayson publicly criticized Attorney General Stumbo's statements to which Stumbo retorted:

"I cannot share Mr. Grayson’s do-nothing attitude. Kentucky is a first class state that deserves the same voter security and protection as the California Secretary of State demanded and received."

The two one-page letters [PDF] from KY AG Stumbo to Hart InterCivic and Diebold demanding the same immediate corrective action as required by the state of California are posted in full below...

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

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Debra Bowen Announces DRE (Touch-Screen) Machines to be Used Only One Per Polling Place for Disabled Voters with 100% Manual Count of Paper Trails
Dramatic Late Night Press Conference Held at 11:45pm in Sacramento...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2007 12:13am PT  

By Brad Friedman from Plano, TX, with help from Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us and Tom Courbat of SAVE R VOTE...

In a dramatic late-night press conference, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen decertified, and then recertified with conditions, all but one voting system used in the state. Her decisions, following her unprecedented, independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all certified electronic voting systems, came just under the wire to meet state requirements for changes in voting system certification.

Bowen announced that she will be disallowing the use of Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by the Diebold and Sequoia companies on Election Day, but for one DRE machine per polling place which may be used for disabled voters. The paper trails from votes cast on DREs manufactured by those two companies must be 100% manually counted after Election Day. DREs made by Hart-Intercivic are used in only one California county and will be allowed for use pending security upgrades.

The InkaVote Plus system, distributed by ES&S and used only in Los Angeles County, has been decertified and not recertified for use after the company failed to submit the system source code in a timely manner to Bowen's office. LA County is larger than many states, and questions remain at this time as to what voting system they will use in the next election.

As The BRAD BLOG has been reporting in great detail for the past week since the reports were released, the "Top-to-Bottom Review" had found that all Electronic Voting Systems certified in California were easily accessible to hacking. A single machine, the testers discovered, could be easily tampered with by an Election Insider, Voting Machine Company Employee, or other individual in such a way that an entire election could be affected without detection.

In Bowen's conditional recertification she re-iterated that "expert reviewers demonstrated that the physical and technological security mechanisms" for the electronic voting systems "were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the elections results and of the systems that provide those results."

The Certification/Recertification documents for each of California's voting systems, including security mitigation procedures and other requirements for use, are now posted on the CA SoS website. The documents, in and of themselves, offer devastating indictments against the security and usability of each of the systems as revealed during Bowen's independent University of California "Top-to-Bottom Review."

Bowen, a Democrat, was elected last November largely on her promise to re-examine the state's voting systems. In an upset victory, she defeated Republican Bruce McPherson who had been appointed as Secretary of State by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger. McPherson had been very friendly to the voting machine vendors, allowing for the continued use of virtually every e-voting system submitted for state certification. Several of those systems had been previously revealed to have had grave vulnerabilities and included source code which was in violations of federal voting systems standards and in violation of state law.

The late-night press conference, following Bowen's decisions, was held at the SoS's office in Sacramento at 11:45pm PT, just in time to meet the state law requiring a six-month notification, prior to an election, for changes to certification of voting systems. California's Presidential Election Primary was recently moved up several months by the state legislature to February of '08.

The BRAD BLOG was able to listen in to the presser via a poor cell phone connection out of Bowen's office. As best as we were able to transcribe, these are our notes from Bowen's announcement and the questions from the media which followed...

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE/touch-screen) voting systems decertified and recertified for use by disabled only.
100% manual count for Diebold and Sequoia DREs.
One machine per polling place.

Diebold – Optical scan system: – decertified and recertified only if meets certain requirements.

Diebold TSx DREs – decertified and recertified subject to certain conditions. Only one machine in a polling place for use by disabled voters. Reduces risk of viral attacks that could infect central equipment.

Sequoia – Optec optical scan: – decertified and recertified – subject to conditions

Sequoia AVC Edge I and II (DREs) – decertified and recertified with a number of security requirements including only one machine in each voting location to allow independent access by disabled voters – concern regarding corruption of software and source code

Hart Intercivic – eSlate DRE: Used only by one county – decertifying and recertifying subject to security requirements. Has the least risk of the three systems.

ES&S InkaVote Plus - optical scan: (LA County only) – ES&S ignored my March demand to submit source code. ES&S eventually submitted source code too late for t2b review. Therefore, "I am decertifying the InkaVote Plus without recertification."

Voters are victims of federal certification process that has not done a job of assuring machines are accurate, accessible, secure.

I reject the notion that I should not require changes in systems solely because we already own them. She compares it to a recall of cars....When NASA finds a problem, they don't continue just because they've already spent the money. They scrub the mission and spend the money to get it right. We must do same with elections.

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

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Detailed Coverage from Historic Hearing in Sacramento, California...
By Emily Levy on 7/30/2007 11:19pm PT  

Guest Blogged from Sacramento by Emily Levy of VelvetRevolution.us (with assistance from Michelle Gabriel, photos by Bill Lackemacher of Sacramento for Democracy) from the public hearing on 7/30/07, called by California Secretary of State to receive comments on her landmark "Top-to-Bottom review" of the state’s electronic voting systems. No internet access was available in the hearing room, so I wasn’t able to live blog as I’d hoped. I did, however, take copious notes, which are posted in full below this brief summary.

ED NOTE: The video of the hearing, which was not easily available as it streamed live today, is now posted here and here. But I recommend Emily's detailed description below for a great deal of value-added content and perspective! And it's faster! - BF

Note: Story very slightly updated with some corrections in the spelling of names, plus one substantive correction regarding Jim Soper's testimony (the very last one in the entire article).

SACRAMENTO - California Secretary of State Debra Bowen made opening remarks, followed by an overview of the Top-To-Bottom Review by the chief investigator, Matthew Bishop, University of California Davis (UCD) Professor of Computer Science.

Following that, each of the three vendors whose machines went through the Top-To-Bottom Review were given 30 minutes to respond to the report. Diebold went first and only took about five of the 30 minutes, followed by Hart Intercivic and Sequoia.

I’m absolutely thrilled to report that Sequoia knows just how to solve the problems found in the Top-To-Bottom Review: California should just by newer systems from them!

After lunch was the public comment period, the longest part of the hearing. I’ve paraphrased and sometimes quoted the comments of just about every person who testified (including my own testimony). There were maybe 25 or 30 county election officials present, many of whom spoke. Freddie Oakley of Yolo County, an election integrity hero, spoke in favor of the Top-To-Bottom Review and said we bought these systems to accommodate voters with special needs and disabilities and “we have let them down in the most appalling way” by certifying systems with such obvious defects and continuing to use them despite those defects.

I believe every other elections official spoke critically of the Top-To-Bottom Review, most criticizing Bowen for not including county elections officials in the review, not reviewing policies and procedures as part of the Top-To-Bottom Review, and conducting the review in a laboratory setting rather than a real election setting. (I, in contrast, think our elections in recent years have been nothing but one giant beta test!)

It will take some scrolling to find my notes on the remarks of the many election integrity advocates who spoke. Most spoke late in the day, probably because they signed up later, after the pre-hearing press conference they held outside the Secretary of State’s office building. But it’s worth the scrolling, because many important things were said. Many of the EI advocates encouraged Secretary Bowen to decertify not just the three election systems tested, but all electronic voting systems. Many advocated for hand-counted paper ballots. Testimony was frequently backed up with credentials, experience, statistics and technical information. The depth and breadth of expertise in the election integrity movement continues to amaze me. (Note: I’ve posted my own comments in full because I had them available. If others who spoke would like their testimony posted in full, I invite them to paste them into the “comments” section of this blog item.)

Several people with disabilities and advocates for people with disabilities spoke. Some, notably Jennifer Kidder, spoke about the importance of election integrity. Kidder said, “The purpose of any equal opportunity legislation is to get marginalized voices heard,” and went on to note that this purpose is defeated if, after voting privately and independently, the vote of a disabled voter is changed by an electronic voting system.

Most of the people with disabilities and their advocates, however, cautioned against going “back” to paper ballots, saying that would be a move in the wrong direction in terms of the accessibility of voting systems. In general, they were supportive of the types of mitigations recommended by the accessibility team of the Top-To-Bottom Review, despite the findings that none of the systems tested actually met the federal accessibility standards as required by law.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s office is accepting public comments by email until Wednesday, August 1 at VotingSystems@sos.ca.gov On Friday, August 3, Bowen will announce what actions she will take in light of the Top-To-Bottom Review. We can only hope that she remembers why she was elected, and will take bold action to protect California's elections.

Detailed notes on the hearing appear below. Where I have paraphrased a speaker, I have done so in the first person, sometimes making my own [occasionally snarky] comments inside square brackets. I hope this isn’t confusing...

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

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[NOW UPDATED WITH MORE DETAIL & AUDIO...]
By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2007 3:35pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from Houston...

Going on air in 4 minutes...But still on line on media conference call w/ CA SoS Debra Bowen concerning her landmark independent "Top-to-Bottom Review" of all voting systems in the state.

I'll have more on the air tonight (see link above), but she has just said "The independent teams of analysts were able to bypass both physical and software security measures in every system tested."

The reports are not yet posted, but should be any moment right here.

As mentioned, more throughout tonight's Peter B. Collins Show which I'm currently Guest Hosting...

UPDATE BY JOHN GIDEON: None of the voting systems tested were found to meet federal mandates for disabled voter accessibility. This may present a problem for the state as they will not be able to allow those systems to be used for accessibility unless the vendors can find solutions for their shortcomings.

EVEN LATER UPDATE (BY BRAD): John and I discuss (and rant about) all of the above, along with more details on the reports findings in this audio clip from today's Peter B. Collins show [appx. 10 mins]...

UPDATE 7/28/07: We'll have much more on this in the days ahead, and we strongly recommend folks read comments below for more details, thoughts from citizens. But in the meantime, here's NY Times' coverage: "Scientists’ Tests Hack Into Electronic Voting Machines in California and Elsewhere" and San Francisco Chronicle coverage: "STATE VOTE MACHINES LOSE TEST TO HACKERS."

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