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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, August 24, 2016
NSA Hacking Tools in the Wild, Hackable Elections in the US: 'BradCast' 8/23/16
Guest: Princeton computer scientist, e-vote 'hacker' Andrew Appel; Also: Obama in LA and Trump's latest vote suppression dog-whistle...
'Green News Report' 8/23/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. Media failure on LA flooding; Floods accelerate Zika virus; PLUS: A tale of two warming Arctics -- Native American tribe forced to move, luxury cruises just getting started...
Previous GNRs: 8/18/16 - 8/16/16 - Archives...
'What Do You Have to Lose?': 'BradCast' 8/22/16
Trump 'pivots', reaches out to African-American voters, forgets to tell the rest of his party...
Sunday Toons of the Makeover Moment
PDiddie's round up of his favorite toons from last week focuses on campaign shake-ups, shuffles, makeovers and other political reality avoidance techniques...
Three Daves:
'BradCast' 8/19/16
Guest host Angie Coiro with guests Dave Johnson of Campaign for America's Future, David Atkins of Washington Monthly, and Chain of Title author David Dayen...
6th Circuit Panel Upholds 'Straight-Party' Voting In MI
Republican AG vows appeal despite availability of optional voting method in the state for 125 straight years, and its disproportionate use at the polls by African-American voters...
DoJ to 'End' Private For-Profit Federal Prison System: 'BradCast' 8/18/16
Guest: Carl Takei of ACLU's National Prison Project; Plus: GOP 'Civil War' vs. Reality and The Donald comes up short in NYC...
'Green News Report' 8/18/16
  w/ Brad & Desi
. Explosive new CA fire forces evacs for 80,000; New rules for heavy duty trucks; Report: Ending oil subsidies won't raise gas prices; PLUS: First-ever U.S. offshore wind farm...
Previous GNRs: 8/16/16 - 8/11/16 - Archives...
Send in the Clowns:
'BradCast' 8/17/16
Eric Boehlert on Trump's bizarre staff shake-up; Plus: NC GOP's desperate voter suppression Hail Mary, California burning, and 'Bye-Bye' to John McLaughlin...
NC Files with SCOTUS for Emergency Stay of Unlawful Vote Suppression Law
State Republicans display remarkable chutzpah in their last gasp argument to keep a 'racially discriminatory' statute in place for November...
'Rogue' DEA Punts Pot: 'BradCast' 8/16/16
Guest: Michael Collins of Drug Policy Alliance on 'rotten to core' DEA's marijuana announcement; Plus: 'Third-party' Presidential woes, disturbing climate news, more...
'Green News Report' 8/16/16
. Another historic, deadly rain event in LA; Another massive fire in CA; July 2016 Earth's hottest month ever recorded; PLUS: Green Party nom Jill Stein on climate...
Facts Behind Fraud: 'BradCast' 8/15/16
Debunking Trump on terror, 'voter fraud' in PA and climate change; Plus: Even Rightwing propagandists beginning to realize 'We've created this monster'...
Sunday Toons of Performance Art Moment
Trump fails to win the gold in this week's Presidential olympics. Plus, other pratfalls in PDiddie's latest collection of his favorite toons of the past week...
An Excess of Trump: 'BradCast' 8/12/2016
Isn't he gone yet? Angie Coiro guest hosts, with guests RJ Eskow of 'The Zero Hour' and Gotta Laff of 'The Nicole Sandler Show'...
Emergency Filing to Avoid WI Vote Suppression
Action sought in response to partisan 7th Circuit panel rollback of recent remedy that would have restored voting rights to thousands under GOP Photo ID law...
Big Oil and Big Tobacco: Old Docs, New Revelations: 'BradCast' 8/11/16
Guest: Carroll Muffett of CIEL on oil and tobacco in bed on denial since 1940s; Plus: The Trump coverage dilemma...
'Green News Report' 8/11/16
Trump's 'new' energy plan; Clinton coal country plan; Industrial chemicals in drinking water of 6M Americans; PLUS: Court ruling sets major climate precedent...
'2nd Amndmnt People': 'BradCast' 8/10/16
Donald Trump's 'stochastic terrorism'; (temporary?) bad news for voters in WI; good voting news in TX; Listener calls on all of the above...
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...


Guest: Princeton computer scientist, vote system 'hacker' Andrew Appel...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2016 5:58pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, exceedingly powerful hacking tools from the NSA make their way to the black market as concerns about hackable U.S. election systems continue to raise concerns just weeks before our next Presidential Election. [Audio link to the show posted at end of article below.]

A shadowy hacking organization, thought to be a foreign entity, has made a set of hacking tools --- thought to have been purloined in some fashion from another shadowy hacking organization, thought to be the NSA --- available to the highest bidder. The vulnerabilities exposed by the malware tools suggests that the NSA is aware of serious, heretofore unknown vulnerabilities in worldwide computer networks, about which they have failed to notify the commercial vendors who produce the hardware and software found to be at risk.

The issue has raised disturbing questions and no small amount of outrage about the NSA's practice of keeping such vulnerabilities a secret, for their own cyber-offensive purposes, despite the risk it poses to our critical, commercial cyber-infrastructure.

In a somewhat related issue --- as we've been yelling and screaming about for more than a decade --- vulnerabilities to U.S. voting and tabulation computers have long been a threat to the nation, but are only now being taken (somewhat) seriously by corporate media, the U.S. government, and, as I report on today's program, at least one of the major political parties.

A man who knows all about the above --- if only because he was, as we reported back in 2007, one of the first to hack an electronic voting system in the U.S. after he purchased five Sequoia AVC Advantage voting systems for about $82 on the Internet (the same "closely guarded" systems, still used in states like NJ, PA, VA and LA, were originally sold for about $10,000 a piece) --- is Andrew Appel, Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. (That's him in the photo above with one of his voting machines.)

Appel, who Politico recently noticed in Ben Wofford's excellent recent article, "How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes", has been writing about both of these issues of late.

On the NSA matter, Appel tells me today: "They should not hoard the vulnerabilities in the hope the NSA can use them to spy on everybody else. The assumption the NSA is implicitly making is that nobody else will be able to find these bugs and vulnerabilities and use them to spy on us, and do banking transactions in our name, and read our emails." That, he explains, is a huge mistake and a grave disservice.

On the continuing concerns about U.S. voting systems and the Dept. of Homeland Security's very recent attempt at helping local election officials before November 8, he cautions: "Security is not something you can just patch on by some sort of 'critical infrastructure security squad' that descends and surrounds your house with the National Guard. It's got to be built in to all the software we buy." He adds ominously, in describing the type of voting systems used across the country: "Whoever got to install the software most recently is the one who gets to decide what kind of results are reported."

Appel, tends to concur with my general assessment that it's largely too close to the election to make real changes to protect our voting systems. He also shares the warning I've tried to give so many years about the real vulnerabilities to our electronic voting and tabulation systems."In this country, most election fraud has been conducted by insiders, who have access to how the votes get added up." But, he also goes on to offer a few proactive measures --- including "witnesses in each polling place just at the close of polls" to independently track numbers as originally reported by the voting systems --- that, he says, can still be taken to try and safeguard results.

Also today: Obama visits flood disaster sites in Louisiana; Trump continues his (potentially illegal) voter suppression dog whistles; and Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, among other things, a heart-wrenching tale of an Alaskan native American tribe forced to move their entire village as the Arctic continues to melt away...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Politico feature on Princeton computer scientists who cracked U.S. e-voting and tabulation systems offers what could be very good news
Also: TX agrees to restore reasonable ID requirements; Wingnut climate dead-enders...
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, amidst a fresh flurry of mainstream media coverage of how simple it is to manipulate election results via electronic voting and tabulation systems, Politico Magazine offers a blockbuster cover story describing it as "child's play" and, as it turns out, also serving as a virtual "Best Of" from the past 15 years of The BRAD BLOG's coverage of e-voting failure and concerns. [Audio link to full show posted below.]

Ben Wofford's 8,500+ word feature today on how a group of computer scientists and cybersecurity experts coming out of Princeton University have, in recent years, been able to hack virtually every such system still in use across all 50 states in the U.S., details one story after another that we've either broken or covered in detail, and highlights the brilliant work of a bunch of the scientists and experts who I've interviewed on the blog or radio show or who have otherwise served as sources for much of my reporting over the years both at The BRAD BLOG and other publications.

(Just a very few of those greatest hit hacks from over the years: the Diebold Touch-Screen Virus Hack, the Sequoia Pac-Man Hack, the $26 Radio Shack Hack, the D.C. Internet Voting Hack.)

More importantly (as I detailed earlier today), Wofford's lengthy and well-researched report offers hints that even the computer scientists are finally beginning to concede that the most secure voting and counting system of all may be plain old, hand-marked paper ballots, publicly counted by hand at each precinct on election night before ballots are moved anywhere. (What I've long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard".)

As Shane Harris reports at The Daily Beast this week in his piece "How Hackers Could Destroy Election Day", there are many ways that electronic voting and tabulation threatens American democracy, including by someone merely claiming that the vote has been hacked, whether it really has been or not. "If you have a system that's been shown to have vulnerabilities, even if someone doesn't attack them, but creates the impression that they might have, in a closely contested elections you've got a problem," explains Johns Hopkins' computer scientist Avi Rubin, one of the first to detail the enormous vulnerabilities in computer tabulator source code (in systems made by Diebold, in that case.)

Also today: After the nation's most conservative federal appeals court recently found Texas Republicans violated the Voting Rights Act with their racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law, the state agrees to a court-ordered remedy that broadly expands ID types that may be used for voting, re-enfranchising at least 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately Dem-leaning Texas voters in the bargain.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with some accountability in Michigan, and to bat down several persistent wingnut climate changes myths (from Donald Trump and WI's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson among others) that just won't die, no matter how much independently verifiable science gets thrown at them...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Or, how Politico summarizes much of BRAD BLOG's 15 years of e-voting coverage in 8,500 smart words....
By Brad Friedman on 8/5/2016 1:15pm PT  

Please read the cover story of Politico Magazine today headlined "How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes". Ben Wofford's excellent, comprehensive feature summarizes a great deal of almost 15 years of our work here at The BRAD BLOG. He focuses his piece on the core of computer science and cybersecurity experts initially working out of Princeton University back in 2005 or so, who have, since that time, gone on to publicly hack virtually every electronic voting system and tabulator still in use around the country (and even, looking forward, hacking at least one planned Internet Voting scheme.)

We've covered and/or broke the news about many of those landmark exploits, both here and on the radio, going back through 2005 or so. I don't have time to collect all the links here at the moment, but it's very nice to see so many of them rounded up so thoroughly in Wofford's piece.

The 8,500+ word article is far too detailed to adequately summarize, or even quote from in detail here. So please go pour a tall drink or cup of coffee (you may need several, there's a lot there) and go read about the "parabola of havoc and mismanagement that has been the fifteen-year nightmare of state and local officials", as he accurately describes it, following the horrifically misguided and ill-advised move to computerized voting and tabulation systems following the 2000 election. I suspect we've filed almost as many articles on this topic as Wofford has words in today's piece!

But there's one element of his piece I want to ring in on specifically, as I think it represents something a bit more encouraging from the computer scientists who are discussed in the report than I have seen over the years...

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




Guest: Indiana University cybersecurity law expert Scott Shackelford | Also: Why your right to vote matters, 52 years after 'Freedom Summer'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/4/2016 6:11pm PT  

On today's BradCast, after great news on voting rights from a bunch of state and federal courts over the past week, and sudden concerns from the the Right, the Left and the corporate media about the possibility of stolen elections, the Dept. of Homeland Security is finally looking into taking action. [Audio link to today's program posted below.]

"We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process is critical infrastructure, like the financial sector, like the power grid," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said this week. "There’s a vital national interest in our electoral process."

Years ago, I began reporting on the serious vulnerability of our election system to manipulation (and error) from both foreign and domestic sources. In 2006, for example, after helping supply computer security analysts at Princeton University with a Diebold touch-screen voting system for the first independent tests of such a machine, I reported both at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon that the analysts were able to hack into it, in about 60 seconds time, with a virus that would flip election results and pass itself from machine to machine with virtually no possibility of detection. That followed on an Exclusive series of 2005 reports from a Diebold insider who I called "DIEB-THROAT" at the time, describing how the company's lead programmers admitted that the security on their systems was terrible and that a branch of DHS had already warned, in 2004, about an "undocumented back door" in the systems.

In 2009, by way of just one more example, we reported here on remarks delivered to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) by CIA cybersecurity analyst Steven Stigall, describing how "wherever the vote becomes an electron and touches a computer, that's an opportunity for a malicious actor potentially to make bad things happen," before going on to note that the CIA became interested in electronic voting systems years earlier "after concluding that foreigners might try to hack U.S. election systems."

So, it is with some skepticism that I regard Johnson's remarks this week about finally taking action to identify our existing, vulnerable electoral system as "critical infrastructure". Is it too little, too late on the eve of another Presidential election? And is it even possible to protect the type of electronic vote casting and counting systems we currently use in our elections? And what does the designation as "critical infrastructure" actually mean any way?

I'm joined on today's program for some answers by Scott Shackelford, cybersecurity law and business expert from Indiana University and the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfter Center, to explain some of this, and to describe some of the ways in which the U.S. might expand existing international agreements to keep domestic elections from being tampered with by foreign powers. Shackelford, writes about the issue this week at the Christian Science Monitor in an op-ed titled "How to make democracy harder to hack."

"It definitely is too late at this point to wake up and get all 9,000 jurisdictions on board for November," he tells me today. "Maybe instead of focusing quite so much on driver's licenses [to prevent fraud] and making sure we have different IDs in some of these states, it would've been great to have put that focus a little bit more on cybersecurity. But that didn't happen."

For what it's worth, my answer, after more than a decade on this beat: No, it's not possible to protect the type of electronic systems we currently use without moving to what I describe as "Democracy's Gold Standard". But Shackelford offers several ways we can, at least, try to improve the situation and mitigate the current dangers, as well as some thoughts on why action has been so long in coming. "Elections do quite a bit to focus minds. It is unfortunate that we lose some of that focus in the aftermath of these elections," he says.

Also today, why the right to vote is so important, whether you like it or use it or not, and why, for me, at least, it's still about rights, not politics, some 52 years to the day after the bodies of civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner were found after being murdered in Mississippi for trying to help register African-Americans to vote in 1964.

And, finally, speaking of vulnerable, as deadly, climate-fueled extreme weather continues across the planet, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, up for re-election this year against former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, offers up some of the dumbest, most embarrassing, scientifically disproven and just out-and-out inaccurate arguments against taking action on climate change that he could possibly muster. All of that and more on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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MSM, Repubs and Dems finally decide e-voting and tabulation a concern...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2016 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we examine charges made by Donald Trump of a rigged November election, the case made by Bernie Sanders supporters that Hillary Clinton may have won the primary due to election fraud, and the mainstream corporate media finally deciding that, yes, hacked voting and tabulation systems really are a threat to American elections. [Link to audio of today's program follows below.]

It's fun (not really) to see corporate media outlets --- once again on the eve a major election --- suddenly very worried about so much of what we have been reporting (see, literally, thousands of stories at The BRAD BLOG and on The BradCast) about the vulnerability of the U.S. electoral system. We've been warning of exactly that for more than a decade.

The recent concerns follow the hack of DNC emails, said by Dems to have been carried out by Russian intelligence agencies, months of charges of "election fraud!" from Sanders supporters, and now new charges from Trump and friends that the Presidential Election will be stolen by Dems this November by electronic voting machines or voter fraud (or whatever the hell he and his supporters are now sputtering.)

It might all have been more fun had all of the above noticed these concerns years ago, rather than right after what some believe is a stolen election and right before one that some believe could be stolen. Ya know, back when there would have been time to move to transparent voting and counting systems instead.

Nonetheless, with those real concerns --- from all sides --- of hacked, stolen, manipulated or just plain erroneously reported election results, I note that "concerns" are not proof of fraud. So, today, we examine the various arguments, including some detailed thoughts --- both critical and complimentary --- on a new 100-page draft report [PDF] by Election Justice USA, titled "Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries".

Their report (and others making similar charges in recent months) details what EJUSA believes to be proof and/or evidence of fraud that benefited Hillary Clinton during the primary. In stark summary (much more detail offered on today's show itself!), the group's evidence of voter registration fraud in some locations is disturbing, if not completely unlike what we've seen in previous elections. But, I am somewhat less moved by their evidence of electronic voting and tabulation manipulation, as based largely on analysis of disparities between Exit Polling and reported election results. I try and explain why I am not particularly persuaded by studies of Exit Polls in regard to U.S. elections, and why, frankly, my response to their report would be similar whether they found proof of fraud or proof of zero fraud in the election. In both cases I would say what I have been saying for years: We need publicly hand-counted, hand-marked, paper-ballots in this country in order to have real confidence in results. (That is what I've long described as Democracy's Gold Standard.)

Short of that, with computerized voting and counting systems that are difficult, if not impossible for the public to oversee, confidence in U.S. elections will continue to erode whether fraud or error actually exists in the results or not. That, in and of itself, as I have shouted for years, continues to present a grave threat to America's system of representative democracy.

All of that and the latest Green News Report, on today's BradCast...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Accurate coverage of results in MS, ID, HI, MI and even KY!
PLUS: Listener calls and more!...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2016 5:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we are live from Pacifica Radio's KPFK studios in Los Angeles, for coverage of last night's amazing nominating contests in MS, ID, HI and, mostly, MI, where Bernie Sanders reportedly overcame a 20pt deficit, according to the pre-election polls, to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Of course, Donald Trump wiped out his GOP competition again almost everywhere (including in Michigan, where there was no polling disparity on the GOP side), leaving Ted Cruz as his only real challenger as John Kasich and, especially, Marco Rubio, fade into near-certain oblivion.

So, how did Sanders' remarkable "win" in MI come about? What does it bode for next Tuesday's big primaries in neighboring (similarly industrial and neighboring) states? Should his supporters worry about reports of "irregularities" already in Chicago? How is it that Sanders ended up losing the delegate count (the real one, not the fake "SuperDelegate" count) anyway yesterday to Clinton? And will the mainstream corporate media continue to ill-inform voters by blatantly misreporting the race?

Also today: Democrats also won three special elections in KY yesterday to maintain control of that state's legislature, and we open the phone line to listener callers to ring in on all of the above and much more today, before Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on another very busy and very lively BradCast!

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUESTS: Connor Coyne of Flint, Marcy Wheeler of Grand Rapids...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2016 3:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast [full audio linked below], Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz defied 'conventional wisdom' to win more delegates than front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their respective parties over "Super Saturday" weekend; Louisiana's Primary reveals another serious and troubling long-term failure of the U.S. Electoral System; and two Michiganders join us for analysis of Sunday's unprecedented Democratic Debate in Flint, MI, amidst that city's ongoing toxic water crisis caused by the state's Republican Governor.

First up: Did you know that both Sanders and Cruz won more delegates than their opponents in the four different nominating contests held over the weekend? If you watch or read little more than the corporate mainstream media, that might now have been apparent. Did you also know that one of those contests, Louisiana's Primary, forced Election Day voters across the state to vote on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems that The BRAD BLOG revealed a full ten years ago, each have a little yellow button on the back that allow voters to vote as many times as they wish until physically restrained from doing so?

Though we broke that story exclusively here back in 2006, and they were decertified for use out here in California shortly thereafter, the same flawed and hackable voting machines (Oh, hello, Pac-Man!) are still, shamefully, in use elsewhere around the country. They are being used on Election Day across states like Louisiana and swingstate Nevada, and will be used once again next week in the City of Chicago for the big and crucial Illinois primary on March 15 --- and, of course, in the general election this November.

Then, we're joined by Michiganders Connor Coyne, novelist and father from Flint, and Marcy Wheeler, journalist from Grand Rapids, to discuss the extraordinary debate on Sunday between Sanders and Clinton held by CNN from Flint, MI, as that city continues to battle the lead water crisis caused by Gov. Rick Snyder's implementation of the state's tyrannical 'Emergency Manager' law.

As Coyne, who joined us earlier this year to discuss the national media's failure to adequately focus on the scourge of that law, explains in his reaction to Sunday's Flint debate: "The problems that this city is facing, including the water crisis --- and the water crisis is the most urgent example --- but certainly not limited to it, are beyond the capacity of local leadership to address. We need federal aid in order to stabilize the city."

Says Wheeler: "Even within the state there are increasing numbers of Republicans who admit that, ultimately, this is [Snyder's] screwup. He promised competence, and delivered poison."

Did the debate adequately address the concerns of Flint voters specifically and Michiganders, more broadly, in advance of Tuesday's big Presidential Primary there? Who better addressed the Flint crisis from the perspective of our two Michigan guests? Did Bernie Sanders really "oppose the auto-industry bailout" as Hillary Clinton charged during the debate? And, should voters be concerned about the federal investigation into Clinton's private email servers as both Trump and Sanders' supporters have been charging?

All of those questions and many others are addressed on today's enlightening edition of The BradCast! Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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GUEST: Election integrity watchdog Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org...
By Brad Friedman on 1/7/2016 5:49pm PT  

Last year ended with a number of voter database breaches --- from the Sanders/Clinton/DNC database kerfuffle to the discovery of the still-mysterious posting of some 191 million voter records online shortly thereafter.

But those concerns may pale in comparison to the fact that the nation is about to begin voting in Presidential primaries and caucuses using electronic voting systems and tabulators that have failed time and again, that remain vulnerable to both malfunction and malfeasance, and that are often impossible for the public to oversee in any meaningful way.

On today's BradCast: Welcome to Presidential Election 2016! Good luck! (We're gonna need it.)

Joining us to discuss the voter database breaches as well as concerns about election integrity and oversight in early caucus and primary states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and beyond is Bev Harris of BlackBoxVoting.org.

Harris, the election integrity watchdog featured in HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy, has been investigating and writing about those voter database breaches lately, including a new one that has just been discovered concerning tens of millions of additional voter records.

While voter registration databases actually contain public information, she explains, there are restrictions on their use, and they are not supposed to simply be posted publicly for download. "This stuff is not secure. It'll probably never be secure," she warns. "One of the things I did was really research how many of the breaches have occurred over time, and it's a shocking number. You can't secure this stuff." As we discuss on today's program, that point is something to keep in mind when you hear advocates of Internet Voting systems (the next nightmare that some hope to force upon American democracy) claim otherwise.

We then step through the differing voting processes used in each of the early voting states, with Harris explaining that completely unverified and/or unverifiable e-voting and tabulation systems --- most of them hacked many times in the past --- will once again be in use in every state in the union. Yes, even where hand-marked paper ballots are used, almost all of those ballots are tabulated by unverified computer systems.

"I'm not at war with a machine," she explains. "I'm at war with no transparency. We have to be able to have some way to see and authenticate that count, before the ballots travel anywhere."

Harris tells me: "The key here is not that there will never be a mistake, or never be fraud. The key is that the public has a right to accountability. If you can catch it, and do something about it --- if you're vigilant enough and doing a patriotic duty of vigilance --- then that's the whole point. When you start saying, 'No, you can never see, you can never account for it,' then you have a problem."

We discuss how it was, in fact, public oversight of hand-counted paper ballots at GOP caucus sites in Iowa in 2012 which resulted in the correct results actually becoming known weeks later, long after the Republican Party misreported them on the night of the caucuses.

Transparency, however, is not quite as easy in other early voting states like New Hampshire (remember the unbelievably unverified mess there in 2008, when Hillary Clinton's victory defied even Exit Polls taken on the day of the Primary?) and, especially, South Carolina (remember the unknown Alvin Greene's 100% unverifiable and inexplicable victory in their 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate primary?)

"There's not just one magic wand you can wave, but there are things to at least force some accountability into it," Harris tells me, describing some of the ways election integrity advocates can try to force the issue a bit. Among her suggestions: "You can go [to the polling place at closing time] and snap a picture of what those [computer tabulated] results are with your cell phone and compare it with, at least, what they report" later on.

We cover a lot of ground in the conversation and I suspect we'll be discussing this issue with her, and others, a lot more as the election year moves forward. But today's show is a good place to begin.

Finally, speaking of warnings we keep trying to give you, Desi Doyen joins us for the very first Green News Report of the new year as El Niño --- turbo-charged by climate change --- ravaged the globe over the holidays and beyond...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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City official dismisses reports as 'least effective conspiracy in history'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2015 7:08pm PT  

At In These Times, author and journalist Rick Perlstein covers reports from some Chicago voters claiming that they received paper ballots today that were pre-marked for Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) in his runoff election against the more progressive Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (D):

Around 10:30 this morning, Sam Dreessen, a 26-year-old unemployed DePaul University graduate (and former In These Times intern) who's been voting in Chicago since 2006, walked into his polling place at Kozminski Community Academy on 54th and Drexel, a mostly black neighborhood in the city's 5th Ward. He approached the election judge at the table and, like thousands of Chicagoans on this mayoral election day, received a paper ballot and a felt-tip pen. But, he says, one of the two blanks-the one you fill in to vote for Mayor Rahm Emanuel-was already filled in. Dreessen, a volunteer for Emanuel's opponent, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, smelled a rat.

"I just said to one of them, the one who gave me the ballot, 'This has already been filled out. I want one that's blank.' And he acted surprised. He said, 'I don't know how that happened.' And he even said there had been other ballots with similar problems.' He gave me one that was blank, and I told him more than once that they should look at all the ballots, the ones that hadn't been handed out yet, to see if this happened."

Dreessen says he was too shocked to even take a picture. "And I thought, 'I don't know, this must be happening to other people.' It just seemed to be so crude."

Perlstein details a few other similar reported incidents of pre-marked ballots from around the city in the election which the local CBS affiliate is now calling for Emanuel. The Chicago Board of Elections website currently shows Emanuel leading Garcia 56% to 44% with over 79% of precincts reporting at this moment.

The website DNAInfo, however, dismisses the reports as "Facebook rumors", bluntly describing them as "false", based largely on a response from a Board of Elections official...

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




By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2014 12:31pm PT  

It occurred to me on the way over to the studio on Monday, when I was worried I might be running late, that if I didn't make it, Thom could just re-run the almost identical conversations we've had about virtually the same damn thing from back in 2012 or back in 2010 or back in 2008 or back in 2006, etc...

For much more on the above, please see these stories from Friday:

"E-Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois: More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)"
"Touch-Screen Votes Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on Abortion Amendment to State Constitution in TN"

...and whatever other similar stories we may have to run between now and Election Day next Tuesday.

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By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2014 6:05am PT  

And so begins our traditional, biennial (if not more frequent) coverage of partisans understandably freaking out when their 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes are seen flipping on screen from a candidate or candidates of their preferred party to a candidate or candidates from a different party.

Historically, over the past decade since we've been covering it (and related issues), this issue has occurred far more often for Democratic voters seeing their votes flip to Republicans. Nonetheless, the opposite phenomenon (as well the scenario involving third party or independent candidates) is not entirely uncommon. And, in all cases, voters should be concerned, election officials should be embarrassed and elected officials who continue to allow the use of these unverifiable secret vote-counting systems --- antithetical to American democracy and public elections as they are --- should beg forgiveness from their constituents, rather than begging for more money and more unverifiable votes.

As Early Voting is now under way in much of the country, we are, predictably, beginning to receive our first reports from voters seeing their votes flipped before their eyes on touch-screen voting systems. One such case involves a tip we received about straight-party Democratic votes reportedly flipping to Republican straight-party votes in Collin County, TX. Another case, reported widely on Thursday in the rightwing media, concerns a similar incident in Cook County, IL, where a GOP candidate says that his attempted Republican votes flipped before his very eyes to Democratic ones on that county's unverifiable touch-screen voting systems.

There is good and bad news here. And there are a number of myths and truths about these systems and these sorts of incidents which we've documented almost non-stop over the past ten years at The BRAD BLOG. So let's review a few key points about what actually occurred and didn't, what you should be concerned about in both the TX and IL cases and what you should do if it happens to you, as these occurrences are almost certainly going to continue between now and Election Day on November 4th...

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




System failure follows warnings from e-voting experts that Estonian Internet Voting system vulnerable to attack, manipulated results...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2014 8:09pm PT  

In case you're wondering, the U.S. isn't the only nation who still uses woefully unverifiable e-voting systems that are easily hacked and prone to malfunction and malfeasance. E-voting systems in Belgium failed spectacularly over the weekend, during the European Union "Super Sunday" elections there, according to PCWorld...

A bug in an e-voting application halted the release of European, federal and regional election results in Belgium, the country's interior ministry said Monday.
...
A bug in the voting software used at canton headquarters where the votes are counted caused "incoherent" election results when it tried to add up preferential votes from those machines, ministry spokesman Peter Grouwels said. The application counted the results in different ways that should always get the same outcome but that wasn't the case, he said, adding that the release of the results was immediately stopped when this was discovered.

The fault appeared in the system despite the fact that the application was especially developed for these elections, was "tested thousands of times" and was certified by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, he said.

"Tested thousands of times." Gosh, that sounds familiar.

Also, familiar? The response to the disaster from the group that has been fighting against unverifiable e-voting systems for years there [emphasis added]...

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2014 9:57pm PT  

While today was Primary Election Day in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio, we're just now learning about electronic vote tabulators which failed in last month's special election for the U.S. House in Florida, according to Fox4, WFTX-TV in Fort Myers/Naples, Florida...

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Four In Your Corner has learned voters ran into problems in both Lee and Collier counties during the special Republican primary for the congressional district 19 seat last month.

The special primary was part of a process to replace Republican Trey Radel in Congress. He resigned in January after he was busted for cocaine in October.

On the day of the special primary, some voting machines malfunctioned and weren't accepting ballots.

"I had to vote because that's my good [sic] given right to vote," said Cape Coral resident Paul Barnes.

That's why he said he showed up to precinct 57 at Rotary Park in Cape Coral early election morning.

"[I] signed in on an electronic pad, which is something new. [I] got my ballot, filled it out. [I] go to the machine and scan it, and step three was broken," he explained.

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/6/2014 6:05am PT  

On Monday night's All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, New Jersey State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg joined Hayes to discuss "smart gun" legislation she helped pass in her state. But it was the curious assertion by a supporter of the technology, claiming that electronic voting machines are now "fool-proof", which kinda just blew my mind.

Mark Glaze, spokesman for Everytown for Gun Safety, a group which, according to its website "brings together survivors of gun violence to share their stories and advocate for laws that will prevent future tragedies," said twice during the conversation, that e-voting systems are now "fool-proof."

While there were once concerns about e-voting systems, he said (see his full remarks below), those worries have now been assuaged thanks to "public and private partnerships at both the federal and state level that guaranteed that these machines were fool-proof".

Huh, what?! When did that "partnership" take place? And how did they "guarantee" such "fool-proof" results? Was that before or after, for example, the 2012 election in Palm Beach County, FL, when a paper-ballot optical-scan computer tabulation system (made by Sequoia Voting Systems) was discovered, through pretty much a stroke of luck, to have inaccurately declared the "winners" of three different elections, such that the contests were overturned and a hand-count by human beings found that the computers had declared the wrong "winners" in two of them? After that incident came to light, the Vice-President of Dominion Voting, the e-voting vendor which now owns Sequoia, admitted that the bug which caused the wrong "winners" to be named by the computer tabulator exists in all versions of it's Sequoia systems --- both paper-ballot op-scan systems as well as touch-screen systems --- in use across the country.

"And guess what?," Glaze continued telling Hayes on Monday night's show, "Today, there are very few questions about electronic voting machines." Really? Someone must have forgotten to tell that to the voters in St. Lucie County, FL, where hundreds of votes were mistabulated thanks to faulty memory cards in the county's computerized paper-ballot tabulation system (made by Diebold) in the contested U.S. House race between Rep. Allen West (R) and Patrick Murphy (D), also in 2012?

I could go on --- and on, and on --- with similar recent examples along those lines, but I'll spare you. For now. You're welcome. Hopefully you get the picture.

Glaze then went on to assert that, whatever the initial concerns may have been about electronic voting and tabulation systems, "we figured out how to get around it and today electronic voting makes things more fool-proof and easier and reduces the risk of fraud."

Yes. That's actually what he said. And on television, where everyone could hear it!

We've sought comment from Glaze, asking for details in support of his remarks --- and on his great, if unconfirmed news about electronic voting systems! --- and will update this item when and if we receive a response.

* * *

Here's the segment from the 5/5/2014 segment of All In. Mark Glaze's gob-smacking comments on e-voting begin just after the 4:20 mark, and I've transcribed them in full below...

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




County Registrar tells BRAD BLOG how e-vote and human error led to big gain for GOP candidate during canvass of tight race...
By Brad Friedman on 11/20/2013 6:05am PT  

Sometimes it's a good idea to get a full explanation before these things become fodder in a contentious partisan legal election contest. So that's what we've tried to do. Happily, the General Registrar of Bedford County, VA was more than willing to help.

Last week, and the week before, The BRAD BLOG devoted quite a bit of coverage to the incredibly close Attorney General's race in Virginia. As of last week, the Democratic candidate Mark Herring was certified by the state's local voting jurisdictions (counties and cities), as the "winner" over Republican Mark Obenshain by just 164 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast.

The contest is, for now, in the hands of the State Board of Elections which will issue its own official official certification of results on November 25th, after which the candidate declared the "loser" is almost certain to ask for a "recount" and potentially file an election contest thereafter, depending on the outcome. (See the last section of this article for an explanation as to why we put quotes around the word "recount", especially in Virginia.)

During the week-long roller coaster canvass by jurisdictions across Virginia following the November 5th election, there were a number of minor adjustments to local tallies as county and city election officials checked and double-checked results printed by touch-screen and paper ballot optical-scan tabulation computers from Election Night and then adjudicated provisional ballots for tally and inclusion in the final results. While most of the adjustments made during the week following the election were relatively small, each was of great significance in a race this tight.

But there were three rather large changes to the results during the post-election canvass process --- two were in the Democratic strongholds of Fairfax County and the city of Richmond, and one was in heavily Republican Bedford County. All of the large tabulation adjustments were said to have been caused by various combinations of computer tabulator and human error.

Two of them, the ones which resulted in about 1,300 votes beginning picked up by the Democrat over his Republican rival in both Fairfax and Richmond, were covered and explained in the media in some detail. (See our coverage here of the discovery of the thousands of "missing" Fairfax votes and the eventual explanation the next day. The Richmond additions are described here.) The adjustments made during the canvass by heavily-Republican Bedford County, however, which resulted in a net pick-up of about 500 votes for Obenshain, received considerably less public explanation.

Given that all of these matters may be revisited once again in a "recount" --- and the inevitable legal challenges to go with it --- we thought it might be good to get the explanation for Obenshain's big vote pickup in Bedford County on the written record. Bedford's General Registrar Barbara Gunter was kind enough to reply to our queries last week on that point, offering her explanation for the known details of the computer and/or human errors that led to more than 700 votes in the AG's race being initially misreported on Election Night in Bedford County...

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




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