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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, July 25, 2016
Trump's RNC Acceptance Speech and the GOP's Dark Future: 'BradCast' 7/22/16
Salon's Heather Digby Parton on the rise of a 'demagogue' and the fall of 'conservatism' after the GOP's 'dystopian hellscape convention'...
Ailes Out, Cruz Booed, and a World on Edge With 'President Trump': 'BradCast' 7/21/16
Guest: Longtime GOP campaign adviser, 2012 Presidential candidate, 2016 Cruz booer, Fred Karger from Cleveland...
5th Circuit Court Finds TX Photo ID Law Violates Federal Law: 'BradCast' 7/20/16
Also: 'Liars, Lucifer & Jail!' - RNC Day 2 coverage w/ Jimmy Dore in Cleveland, and why he believes Trump is no worse than Clinton...
Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth: 'BradCast' 7/19/16
ALSO: New insider election fraud warnings, worry, woes in several states as another national poll finds Trump and Clinton tied...
Happy Birthday to Me?
It's a pretty big birthday over here. Not that we'll much be able to enjoy it all that much this year, unfortunately. But you can help!...
'Green News Report' 7/19/16
Trump's Veep pick is also a science denier; UK's new PM abolishes climate dept.; AK heat wave breaks records; PLUS: India breaks amazing record for tree planting...
CIA Vet on Turkey Coup, Declassified 9/11 Pages: 'BradCast' 7/18/16
Guest: 27-year analyst, briefer of Presidents Ray McGovern; Also: RNC kicks off; Ailes 'out' at Fox?!...
Sunday Toons of the Moment
Trump hearts Pence; Ginsburg and Christie are sorry; and 'bomb delivery robots'?! Yes, all of those toons and more in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best...
After Nice; Pence Tapped by Trump; Dem Poll 'Freak Out': 'BradCast' 7/15/16
Not hijacked by fear or terror. A science denier will be the GOP Veep nom. Trump leads Clinton in new poll...
'Feeding at the Pig Trough': What to Expect at the Cleveland RNC: 'BradCast' 7/14/16
GOP Presidential historian, adviser Doug Wead; Also: More bad poll news for Clinton...
'Green News Report' 7/14/16
Porn: dirty, Coal: clean!, says GOP; Senate Dems call out 'web' of professional deniers; June 2016 was hottest on record in U.S.; PLUS: Another fracking explosion...
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...


Experts from CA's 'Top-to-Bottom Review' of E-Voting Systems Demonstrate How to Insert Virus, Access Machines Without Disturbing 'Security Seals' in Hack Which Would Not Be Discovered Even in 100% Audit of 'Paper Trails'
Single Malicious Individual Shown Flipping Entire 'Touch-Screen w/ Paper-Trail' Election in Seconds...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2008 9:01pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman

The Computer Security Group at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) has released a short, chilling video demonstrating how a single person can hack an election on a touch-screen voting system --- even one with a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Trail" (VVPAT) added to it --- in such a way that it is highly unlikely that the manipulation would ever be detected by either the public or election officials.

The video which shows "just examples of the different ways in which the system can be compromised" is the latest in a similar string of such demonstrations that have been released over the last two years, all showing how easily electronic voting systems can be tampered with, often undetectably.

In the UCSB video posted below, the hack of Sequoia voting system being prepared for use in an entire county, is done in approximately 3 seconds, by a single person with simple insider access and a $10 USB thumb drive. Every machine used in the county, in such a case, would be effected. Moreover, the viral hack would not be discovered by pre-election "Logic and Accuracy" testing --- in cases were election officials actually bother to perform such tests prior to elections --- nor would it likely be discovered even in the event of a complete, 100% post-election audit of the touch-screen "paper-trail" records.

The hack demonstration, prepared by the UCSB scientists as part of California's 2007 Top-to-Bottom Review" of all of the state's e-voting systems, also reveals how so-called "security seals" placed on such machines after they've been programmed for an election, can be easily defeated without detection...

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




Just 18 Votes Separate Candidates in Circuit Judge Race Where Votes Are Said Lost in Re-tally on Sequoia Optical-Scan Voting Systems
'Severe Repercussions, Dire Consequences for November Election and All Elections,' Says Broward County Election Supervisor Candidate...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2008 1:52pm PT  

-- Brad Friedman, from Denver, CO...

16,632 votes are unaccounted for in a Palm Beach County election recount following last Tuesday's state primary, according to Ellen H. Brodsky, non-partisan candidate for Supervisor of Elections in Broward County and a long-time Election Integrity advocate.

The machine recount was completed early Saturday morning in the Circuit Court race between Judge Richard Wennet and challenger William Abramson, Brodsky reports via email. The machine recount was completed at 4:30am, in the race in which Wennet and Abramson were separated by just 18 votes in the initial machine tally. Palm Beach County recently changed voting systems again, moving from faulty touch-screen voting systems to --- apparently --- faulty optical-scan paper-ballot systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc. [PDF].

The still-unexplained "disappearance" of votes in the machine recount "has severe repercussions," Brodsky wrote in an email alert this afternoon describing the re-scan of some 90,000 ballots.

"With 16,632 less votes on summary report," she writes, it "portends dire consequences for the November election and all elections."

The question remains as to how many votes were lost in other races on the same ballot which were not included in last night's re-tally. Florida state law disallows hand-counting of paper ballots which have already been counted by machine, other than in special circumstances. We'll see if this ends up being one of those circumstances. Theoretically, a hand-count would determine the correct totals for the race, where the machine-count has misreported totals. [UPDATE: Palm Beach Post reports the machine recount was close enough to allow for a hand-count of over votes and undervotes. See more in the update at end of this article.]

Sequoia's voting machines have seen notorious failures of late, including lost votes and other problems, around the country...

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




A VotersUnite report on the current situation and how to reclaim elections --- in 2008 and beyond.
By Ellen Theisen on 8/20/2008 8:50am PT  

Guest Blogged by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org

[Ed Note: Ellen appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight this evening to discuss this report. The video is now posted here.]

As we approach the 2008 general election, the structure of elections in the United States — once reliant on local representatives accountable to the public — has become almost wholly dependent on large corporations, which are not accountable to the public. Most local officials charged with running elections are now unable to administer elections without the equipment, services, and trade-secret software of a small number of corporations (primarily Election Systems and Software (ES&S), Hart InterCivic, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Premier Election Systems (formerly Diebold), though a few other corporations have a very small share of the market).

If the vendors withdrew their support for elections now, our election structure would collapse.

However, some states and localities are recognizing the threat that vendor dependency poses to elections. They are using ingenuity and determination to begin reversing the direction.

This week, VotersUnite.Org released a report [PDF] that examines the situation, how we got here, and steps we can take to limit corporate control of our elections in 2008 and reduce it even further in the future.

Case studies presented in our report give examples of the pervasive control voting system vendors now have over election administration in almost every state, and the consequences some jurisdictions are already experiencing. We discovered that such dependency has allowed vendors to...

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




Huge Failure Rate Found Upon Delivery of New Ballot Marking Devices from Sequoia Voting Systems
Nassau County Refuses to Accept More Failing Systems...
By Bo Lipari on 7/6/2008 11:30am PT  

Guest Blogged by Bo Lipari of New Yorkers For Verified Voting...

You would have thought that since there have been so many documented problems in other states over the years that voting machine vendors would have gone out of their way to make sure new systems being deployed in the Empire State were thoroughly tested, met all state requirements, and worked flawlessly.

At a minimum, you would expect that any business fulfilling an enormous, multi-million-dollar contract to a new client would make sure the systems were, well, at least operational. But, incredibly, you would be wrong. The machines which ES&S and Sequoia are providing to New York State are failing initial testing at a rate which would astound anyone – unless you’ve been following the voting machine industry for the last 10 years.

I discussed these problems on my July 2, 2008 Voice of the Voters [MP3] radio show with my guest, Bill Biamonte, Election Commissioner of Nassau County, the second largest Board of Elections in the state which serves over 870,000 voters. In a June 26 letter to Judge Gary Sharpe, who ordered New York State to complete its Help America Vote Act implementation by 2009, Nassau County reports the unbelievably high failure rates they’re finding in the systems they’ve received:

“…of the 156 BMDs [Ballot Marking Devices] received by Nassau through June 26, 2008-after the SBOE acceptance tested them in Albany-have substantial operational flaws that render them unusable or that require major repairs. 29 were rejected immediately when they were unloaded from the truck because of obvious physical defects or damages, such as a broken side of the printer. 62 failed diagnostic testing because of problems with the USB cord and the printer. And 42 failed Nassau’s acceptance testing for a variety of reasons, such as nonresponsive key pads and battery failure. Out of a total of 156 BMDs, only 23 can be used by voters in the condition they were received in.”

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




After Failures Discovered During Testing of New E-Voting Systems Made by Sequoia, Election Officials Actually Listen, Respond to Citizen Concerns...
By Ellen Theisen on 5/27/2008 2:50pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, VotersUnite.org

The actions and attitudes of election officials all too often seem like Alice's experiences down the rabbit hole. So, it's nice occasionally to report on positive developments by public officials who actually listen to the concerns of citizens, rather than simply ignoring serious defects discovered in our voting systems. I'm happy to report such a story today. For a change.

On May 6, Patty Murphy, Voting Systems Support, Secretary of State’s Office, notified my VotersUnite.org colleague and fellow Washington state resident John Gideon and me that two new voting systems were to be tested for state certification here on May 13 through May 16, and that the Review Board would hold a hearing on May 23. The Board’s job is to thoroughly review certification applications and make recommendations to the Secretary of State. The two systems were:

  • An ES&S AutoMark/optical scanner system, tested against federal standards and qualified by NASED.
  • A new, untested touch-screen/optical scanner system made by Sequoia Voting Systems

John and I were concerned about the Sequoia system. Pierce County, WA, voters recently voted to use Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), a system where voters may specify their preferences in particular races on the ballot as "first choice," "second choice," or "third choice." However, no state-certified system had the software needed to tabulate RCV ballots. So Sequoia developed their software specifically for Pierce County. They had applied for “emergency” provisional certification from the state, which would allow them to bypass state requirements for independent testing to the federal standards.

Tabulating RCV ballots is much more complicated than tabulating traditional ballots. With RCV, after voters mark their first, second, and third choices for certain offices, the tabulation is done in a series of “rounds.” The candidate with the fewest “first choice” votes after each round is eliminated; then in the next round the second choice on those ballots is counted as if it were the first choice. Rounds continue until one candidate has the majority of the votes. For a fuller explanation, see the Pierce County website.

John and I had planned to go to the testing on May 14, but at the last minute the testing for that day was called off so officials could investigate a problem that had shown up the previous day.

As we found out later, officials had found the Sequoia system had tallied votes wrong.

Later in the day, the SoS office's Murphy emailed us to let us know what happened...

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




HBO's Retelling of the 2000 Florida Election Debacle on Sunday Raises Interesting Questions about 2008 Certain to be Ignored as Quickly as Possible by the American Corporate Mainstream Media...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2008 6:35am PT  

"The recount never really happened," notes Kevin Spacey, correctly, about the 2000 Florida election debacle in his interview Wednesday night on Countdown, in advance of Recount, HBO's theatrical retelling of the nightmare. The film premieres this Sunday.

Some weeks ago, we ran an item which included the theatrical trailer for the film and noted that we've neither seen it, nor been contacted by anybody from the production (they didn't purchase an ad here either, boo hoo) but that they did manage to use our "Stuck in the Middle With You" theme song for the film, curiously enough, as you'll see in the trailer. We'll take it as a compliment, as if we have a choice.

We also noted, with evidence, that Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush in the state of Florida in 2000, and that seven whistleblowers from the company, Sequoia Voting Systems, who produced the paper ballots for Florida, have come forward to reveal that they were forced by someone to use bad paper on those ballots (only in Florida) against their objections, and to misalign the chads on them (only in Palm Beach County). To this day, other than Dan Rather at HDNet, who originally ran the report, nobody in the corporate media has found that story worthy of following up, or even merely reporting.


But for the third in our countdown of productions with the word "count" in its title, we turn to our friend Mary Mancini, who smartly blogs at the website of the documentary film Uncounted (We're in it, so see FULL DISCLOSURE at end of this article). Mancini notes that Olbermann, during his interview with Spacey (at left, including clip from film), joined so many other journalists who have taken the opportunity of the premiere of HBO's film to miss more than a few good journalistic opportunities...

With all the publicity surrounding this movie, now would be the perfect time for journalists to take the national conversation to the next level and ask the most logical follow up questions:

1) Why wasn’t our electoral process equipped, as Kevin Spacey says in the interview, “to handle margins of victory so small and margins of error so big” in 2000?
2) Are we equipped to do so now?
...
Another great opportunity was lost last night when during the interview Spacey explains the punch-card recount process:

That when you have a margin of victory so small, you have to go to what is called an automatic machine recount and yet, 18 counties, over 1,500,00 votes, didn’t bother to put their ballots back through the machine. They just re-tabulated the memory card, and you always get a different count when you do a machine recount. So, when you kind of realize that, well, that’s ’cause people just couldn’t bother to do it, um, it’s pretty stunning that…that…so..when Baker and Bush kept coming out and saying, “The votes have been counted, and they’ve been counted again, and Gore wants to count them a third time,” they were actually never counted.

No, they weren't. And the Supreme Court demanded that they remain uncounted, so Bush could be named "President."

Only the media and academic consortium who actually did bother to count all of those ballots [PDF] afterwards in Florida would know that Gore received more votes than Bush. Period. Even if they've done a superb job of keeping that little fact to themselves ever since. Whether HBO's Recount tells that truth, we'll have to wait until Sunday to find out.

Following below, for your convenience, are both the HBO trailer for Recount and, once again, the breathtaking Dan Rather report on the gaming of the paper ballots in Florida's 2000 election...

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




Sequoia Voting Systems' CEO, Jack Blaine, Sent Deceptive Letter to Windy City Officials Following 'Evasive' and 'Troublesome' Testimony on his Company's Control by Smartmatic, a Chavez-tied E-Voting Firm
Documents Reveal Officials Sought to Ensure Venezuelan Company's Divestiture of Sequoia Was 'Not a Sham Transaction Designed to Fool Regulators'; Recent Reporting by The BRAD BLOG Reveals That it Was...
By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2008 11:02am PT  

-- by Brad Friedman

The CEO and President of one of America's largest voting machine companies, Sequoia Voting Systems, gave both deceptive, and carefully selective, answers in his reply to a letter sent earlier this year from two high-ranking officials in Chicago, according to documents recently obtained during an ongoing investigation by The BRAD BLOG.

Sequoia's chief executive, Jack Blaine, repeated knowingly false answers, at least three different times, in his January 18 response to Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke and the Chair of Chicago's Board of Election Commissioners Langdon D. Neal. The pair had written to the company on January 11, expressing concerns about the truth behind Sequoia's claims that they had completely divested from their purportedly "former" parent company, Smartmatic, the Venezuelan-run firm with direct ties to Hugo Chavez and his government.

Last year, as media reports revealed the true extent of Smartmatic's shadowy foreign ownership --- and with it, the direct control of some 20% of U.S. elections --- the firm came under close scrutiny by federal investigators from Treasury Department, the FBI and the IRS. In November of last year, Sequoia announced that it had "completely" divested from Smartmatic in a management team-led buyout, thus ending an official review by Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

But in January, the officials from the Windy City --- where Sequoia holds one of the company's most lucrative contracts --- had continuing concerns about whether the sale was legitimate, or simply a dodge to avoid scrutiny by federal investigators. They were right to be concerned.

In their letter, Burke and Neale requested written responses from Sequoia after what was described as "evasive" and "troublesome" sworn testimony from Blaine the previous year, following "malfunctions of Sequoia voting machines during primary elections held on March 21, 2006."

In his testimony before a Chicago City Council joint committee in April of 2006, Blaine had claimed he didn't know the specific details of the financial arrangement that existed between Sequoia Voting Systems, Inc., and the Smartmatic Corporation, despite being president of both companies at the time. He did, however, manage to admit to the joint committee that at least 15 Venezuelan nationals were flown in to assist in the tabulation of votes in the troubled March '06 election and that the Venezuelans had access to Sequoia's source code. Blaine also conceded that it was "possible" that Chavez' government could hold an interest in the company, but that he wasn't certain because the ownership of Smartmatic was concealed in an off-shore trust.

In their series of follow-up questions to Blaine in January 2008, Alderman Burke noted that "the entire Smartmatic episode has served as a reminder of how important it is to know and trust who is counting the votes in our elections."

"It is therefore important," he continued, "to confirm that the sale of Sequoia by Smartmatic is not a sham transaction designed to fool regulators and to further confirm that Smartmatic and the government of Venezuela have no ability to influence or control the new owners of Sequoia."

Blaine's written responses to the officials, sent to Neale the following week, were dishonest, misleading, and even cleverly evasive on at least one crucially important point. His answers also contradict details recently exposed in a series of investigative exclusives by The BRAD BLOG, revealing several startling facts about the true ownership and control of Sequoia.

Moreover, after we broke the news in April, concerning the attempted hostile takeover of Sequoia by competitor Hart InterCivic, Blaine appeared to joke with employees during a confidential company-wide "town hall" teleconference about "the line" he used with yet another Chicago official, Cook County Clerk David Orr. "He accepted it completely," Blaine told employees, as he underscored the importance of keeping details of the attempted takeover confidential, and how he was being less than forthcoming about it with the company's customers...

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/5/2008 9:15pm PT  

From Friday's Austin Chronicle...

County ClerkDana DeBeauvoir said she is committed to a point-by-point review of the county's eSlate machines, in the wake of a federal whistle-blower's lawsuit alleging that Hart InterCivic overpromised and underdelivered on the machines. The organization Vote Rescue was on hand at Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting to provide copies of Hart technician William Singer's lawsuit, which alleges that Hart stretched reports of the performance of the eSlate in Ohio in order to secure its share of the $4 billion set aside in the Help America Vote Act. DeBeauvoir said she's not yet willing to pull the plug on the machines but would if she found significant problems in light of the lawsuit's allegations. Vote Rescue would prefer the county return its machines and choose to count ballots by hand.

Singer's futile July 2004 efforts, attempting to notify the Secretaries of State in both Texas and Ohio, were originally reported in exclusive detail by The BRAD BLOG in March of 2006.

Following discussions we had with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. after our report, he and his radio co-host, Florida attorney Mike Papantonio, filed a federal qui tam whistleblower suit [PDF] on behalf of Singer.

The complaint charges fraud and other violations of the False Claims Act by Hart, including allegations the company failed to test its products properly, and frequently at all; withheld information from prospective clients about the potential loss of votes in its voting systems; dummied-up machines, reports, and test results presented to clients in sales presentations; and much more in an attempt to win state and county contracts and the federal money that came with them...

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2008 3:58pm PT  

Curiouser and curiouser in New Jersey...

The mysteries keep piling up around the Sequoia voting machines used in New Jersey. This time Princeton University computer scientist Ed Felten has uncovered a phantom vote for Obama in summary tapes from three voting machines used in the state's February 5th primary in Pennsauken District 6.

See Kim Zetter's WIRED report for the details, where, incidentally, she notes, "no problem shows up for the Republican primary numbers."

Lots of related stories here at The BRAD BLOG for additional context. Here's the most recent.




Smartmatic Co-Founder, Employee, and Shareholder Dead After Both Engines on Small Plane Reportedly Failed Just After Takeoff
News Follows Reports by The BRAD BLOG Concerning the Venezuelan Firm's Continuing Control Over Beleaguered American E-Voting Outfit, Sequoia Voting Systems...
By Brad Friedman on 5/2/2008 2:24pm PT  

A small plane, carrying the co-founder of Venezuelan voting machine company Smartmatic, crashed earlier this week shortly after take-off from the Caracas airport, killing two employees of the company, and several others on board and on the ground. The initial reports from a foreign paper indicated that the cause of the crash may have been the unusual failure of both engines on the small plane.

Smartmatic has been named as a subject in several recent, exclusive, investigative reports here at The BRAD BLOG, surrounding questions of the Venezuelan firm's apparent continuing control over the American e-voting company, Sequoia Voting Systems.

Reports of Monday's crash also indicate that several highly-placed Venezuelan officials were, interestingly, among the first to respond after the plane crashed.

Here's the lede from yesterday's English-language coverage in the Miami Herald:

Voting system creator dies in plane crash

A founding partner of the Smartmatic voting system, headquartered in Boca Raton, was killed this week in Venezuela when a private plane he was traveling in plummeted into a home near the Caracas airport.

Alfredy Jose Anzola Jaumotte, 34, one of the creators of the voting system program, died at an area hospital Tuesday.

Also killed in the accident were the pilot, Mario Jose Donadi, a convicted drug-trafficker in both the United States and Venezuela; Smartmatic employee Eduardo Ramirez and two residents of the home that was struck by the falling aircraft at about 10 a.m. Monday

.

Smartmatic is the once-owner and --- as a very recent series of investigative reports from The BRAD BLOG has revealed (see, most notably: here, here and here) --- the still-controlling parent company to Oakland/Denver-based Sequoia Voting Systems, which is currently amidst a hostile takeover imbroglio with competitor Hart InterCivic of Austin, TX.

Despite claiming to have sold Sequoia to a management-led buyout team last November, and thus divested of all control of the company under pressure from an investigation by the U.S. Treasury Departments Commission of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), our recent exclusive investigative reports here have revealed that Smartmatic still holds direct and/or indirect control over several key aspects of Sequoia's operation, including ownership of the intellectual property (IP) rights for Sequoia's voting machines and tabulator software, and the right to negotiate where Sequoia may or may not compete in foreign markets...

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




By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2008 1:39pm PT  

Faced with extraordinarily bad press concerning her company's failed voting machines, which a NJ judge has now ordered to be independently examined (decidedly not by the "blonde nymph"-seeking dude Sequoia originally employed for their own "independent examination"), an impending hostile takeover by competitor Hart InterCivic, and her own boss's recent admission that the company doesn't even control the intellectual property rights to its own voting machines, Sequoia Voting Systems VP of Communications & External Affairs (and part owner), Michelle Shafer, has been left fairly desperate to find some "good news" lately with which to try and fool the company's clients.

But Never-Say-Die Shafer doesn't give up the ghost easily. So in a quick, if somewhat sad, bottom-of-the-barrel scraping article posted to her "Ballot Blog" at the Sequoia website this week, she attempted to trumpet the "Keystone State Success" for Sequoia, following last week's PA primary.

"Pennsylvania elections went very well last week," she writes. "We’ve had a chance to check in with our customers in York, Montgomery and Northampton counties, and it looks like it was a successful primary for all of them," blogged Shafer, before going on to quote the "success" of the company's voting systems, as reported by two different PA newspapers.

One selective quote, from one of the papers, sings the praises of Sequoia's AVC Advantage e-voting machines (the same ones which were found to have failed to tabulate votes correctly in NJ's recent Super Tuesday primary), because "Even the older people liked them."

But the same papers Shafer selectively quoted from also offered not-so-wonderful stories about the "success" of the company's machines in Pennsylvania.

Here's what Shafer --- who may as well tattoo a permanent "Kick Me!" sign on her back at this point --- seems to have forgotten to quote, from the very same articles she pointed to, in her blog item about them...

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




PLUS: Time to Watch Dan Rather's Report With the Sequoia Paper Ballot Whistleblowers Again...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2008 8:30am PT  

We've never been contacted by the makers of HBO's upcoming Recount film, which promises to be a theatrical re-telling of the 2000 Presidential Election Debacle in Florida. Yet, we'll chalk it up to one helluva/swelluva coincidence, that the preview for the film, as seen below, happens to use The BRAD BLOG's own personal "theme song," Stuck in the Middle With You. Go figure...


HBO's film begins airing May 25, and while we hate to give away the ending, Al Gore won [PDF].

Of course, that's only if one bothers to count all of the ballots actually successfully cast (if not counted) in the state of Florida, as a media and academic consortium did, as seen at the link above, revealing that by every possible chad-counting standard (hanging, pregnant, swinging, etc.) Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush. Period.

That might help to explain why Bush had to go to his friends on the Supreme Court to get them not to allow the ballots to be counted, in one of the most remarkably liberal acts of judicial activism, undercutting states' rights, in the history of this nation.

But we're guessing the film has that other, less accurate ending, implying that Bush actual "won" Florida (which he didn't).

In either case, since the myths of the FL 2000 election are likely to be re-debated afresh with the release of HBO's film, we wanted to a) Offer the link above (showing that Gore received more votes in FL than Bush) and b) Remind you, and the entirety of the corporate mainstream media, which ignored it when the following report first aired, that the chads on those ballots in Florida hung for a reason. As 7 former employees of Sequoia Voting Systems, the company which produced FL's paper ballots in 2000, attest on-camera, they were forced by company superiors to use inferior paper for those ballots, only the ones going to Florida, and were further ordered to misalign the chads on those paper ballots, but only for those going to Dem stronghold Palm Beach County.

That, after decades of producing ballots which never featured a hanging chad.

If you've yet to see it, here's the mind-blowing section of Dan Rather's remarkable HDNet report which aired last summer, but was picked up by absolutely nobody in the CMSM thereafter. If you can't watch the following, the transcript is posted here. But if you've not seen this one yet, please prepare to be amazed, and appalled...

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




UPDATED WITH EXCLUSIVE NEW DETAILS: Sequoia CEO Jack Blaine Admits Company Does Not Control the Intellectual Property Rights for Sequoia's Voting Machines!
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2008 1:30pm PT  

[UPDATED: Please be sure to see the update, containing exclusive, previously unreported news, added at the bottom of this article.]

The BRAD BLOG learned this morning that a New Jersey judge has today given plaintiffs and Princeton University computer scientists the right to examine the state's Sequoia AVC Advantage touch-screen voting machines which failed to record voter totals accurately, in at least six different counties, during the Garden State's recent Super Tuesday primary.

Sequoia had previously both threatened legal action against the professors, despite a unanimous request from a state association of county election clerks, and attempted to quash the court-ordered subpoenas to have the machines impounded and examined independently.

The Courier-Post confirms this afternoon, and publishes the following account of the Judge's decision today...

A New Jersey judge says voting rights activists should have a chance to examine the programming of touch-screen voting machines.

The order was issued today by Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg in Trenton. She dropped a May trial date on the reliability of the machines but says the trial should start by September.

She has been asked to decide if the state's 10,000 electronic voting machines should be scrapped, as the voting rights advocates contend.

The state of New Jersey says the machines should continue to be used in elections.

The manufacturer of the machines, Sequoia Voting Systems, has resisted efforts to have the machines tested independently.

The BRAD BLOG has covered this (sometimes very amusing) saga in great detail, since it first came to light following the election (and even on Election Day, when machine failure kept the NJ Governor from being able to cast his own vote for 45 minutes).

For those who haven't been able to keep up with it all, a post which quickly recaps the bulk of Sequoia's disgraceful NJ behavior can be read here.

We've also continued to cover (with complete exclusivity, unless someone else in the media cares to join us! Hello?) the saga of beleaguered Sequoia's fight for their very life, as they attempt to fend off a hostile take-over by competitor Hart InterCivic.

IMPORTANT/EXCLUSIVE UPDATE!: AP jumps in with a few more details raising a point which The BRAD BLOG can reveal here for the first time, concerning Sequoia's "intellectual property" rights. Namely, they neither own, nor control them, as admitted recently by the company's own CEO...

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




Last of the DRE (Touch-Screen) Voting Machine Vendors Withdraws Attempt for Certification in the Empire State
Though There Remains Plenty About Which to Remain Vigilant...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2008 3:08pm PT  

Congrats to Bo Lipari and the NY Verified Voting crew, on a milestone in their long, and continuing fight for election integrity in the state of New York. Writes Lipari this morning:

It's now official. Liberty Election Systems has withdrawn their DRE from the New York State and has informed the State Board of Elections that they will not pursue further certification testing or fill their one current order. LibertyVote/Nedap was the only remaining vendor offering a DRE in New York. The move represents the end of an era in New York State, and could be a harbinger for what lies ahead in the rest of the nation...
...
So for the first time since HAVA passed in 2002, New York State has no DREs of any type being purchased by any county, or undergoing NYS certification testing for 2009 purchases. For the vendors who for 6 years told us “New York is a DRE state”, we tell you now as we told you then, “Wrong. New York is a paper ballot state.”

Now, of course, the fight will continue to make sure the state actually bothers to count those paper ballots when they get them, as it will be error-prone, hackable, optical-scan devices that are purchased across the state.

The good folks of NY will also want to keep a close eye on the attempted hostile takeover of Sequoia Voting Systems by competitor Hart InterCivic (as reported to date only by The BRAD BLOG, unfortunately) and in light of the $100 million worth of pending contracts NY now has with Sequoia for all new voting machines.

That $100 million hangs in the balance, as the contract with Sequoia may soon result in NY finding themselves in business with an entirely different company than they bargained for, one with a federal fraud suit hanging over the head, and one that could give a completely new meaning to the phrase: "I Hart NY"!




Tuesday's Election Will be 'Unrecountable, Unverifiable, and Unauditable'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2008 8:05am PT  

On Tuesday night, you will be told who the winner of the Pennsylvania Primary is. You will accept it. You will have no choice. No matter who the winner really is. Or isn't.

This Tuesday's crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As VerifiedVoting.org summarizes the crucial contest, it "will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

Most of the votes, more than 85%, will be cast on such DRE systems which do not provide so-called "Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs), as their use has been found unconstitutional in the state, since its been determined, accurately, that ballot secrecy cannot be guaranteed when using such paper trail systems. Not that it matters.

With or without a so-called "paper trail" printer, all touch-screen/push-button/DRE voting machines are equally unverifiable and antithetical to American democracy. Period.

So, as with South Carolina's primary, so so long ago, and other states since, whatever the officials tell you at the end of the election is what you, and we, will have to accept. Whether votes are counted accurately is completely out of anyone's hands at this point. It's strictly Democracy of the Gods...

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




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