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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become, as does yet another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Oregon nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel fuel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
Previous GNRs: 8/14/14 - 8/12/14 - Archives...
Yes, Elections Still Matter: Brad on 'David Pakman Show'
With so many corrupt, corporatist politicians, even on the Democratic side, does voting and fighting voter suppression still even matter?...
Tale of Two Protests
The armed Bundy Bunch and the unarmed peaceful protesters of Ferguson -- one group was courageous enough to have possibly brought substantive, positive change to the nation...
97-Year Old Loses Right to Vote in KS for Lack of Photo ID
Kansas Sec. of State and long-time Republican 'voter fraud' fraudster Kris Kobach wins another one, as senior citizens turned away without voting on Primary Election Day...
'Green News Report' 8/14/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic storms, floods from NE to MI to NY, as CA breaks more heat records; China dumping coal, breaking solar records; PLUS: Jimmy Carter slams climate-denying 'nutcases'...
Previous GNRs: 8/12/14 - 8/5/14 - Archives...
News Summer from Hell Continues:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Peace activist and author David Swanson joins Brad to explain why using military force in Iraq, even to stop a genocide, is a terrible idea. PLUS: Much more...
Journalists Now Being Arrested in Ferguson
Reporters pulled out of a McDonald's by militarized police while covering protests of police killing of Michael Brown. Freedom-fighting 'Tea Party' 'patriots' still AWOL...
'Green News Report' 8/12/14
Is weather now more extreme?; ExxonMobil begins drilling with Russia in the Arctic; Methane rising; PLUS: U.S. underestimated Keystone XL emissions...
CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
Prop 49, a CA ballot initiative calling on Congress to amend the Constitution, will not be allowed on this year's ballot after all...
SIEGELMAN JUDGE ARRESTED FOR BATTERY
Controversial Republican federal judge Mark Fuller charged with beating wife; Daughter of AL's former, now-jailed Governor calls news 'shocking', 'karma'...
Keystone XL Emissions Vastly Underestimated by State Dept.: New Report
Independent study finds carbon pollution may increase four times the amount previously predicted by U.S....
1 BILLION Votes, 31 POSSIBLE Cases of Fraud
Law professor and voting rights expert reveals startling new numbers underscoring the massive, years long GOP polling place Photo ID restriction scam...
GOP Rep Decries 'Disgusting, Despicable Smear Campaign' After Primary Election
In his victory speech, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) lashed out at his U.S. Chamber-backed Republican opponents...
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...


Decision coincides with ALEC's announcement that they are abandoning Photo ID restriction advocacy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/18/2012 2:34pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued two one-sentence orders declining to hear both appeals filed by Republican state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in two different polling place Photo ID cases. In both, judges in lower courts had blocked the controversial voting rights restrictions passed by Republicans last year, finding that the law violated the state Constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

Republicans had hoped to overturn the temporary injunction placed on the law by Dane County Circuit David Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker and the permanent injunction issued by Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Neiss a week later in League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc. v. Walker.

The issue of a permanent injunction in the NAACP case is being heard this week in Judge Flanagan's court. The evidence included the videotaped testimony of 84-year old, home-born Ruthelle Frank, an elected member of the Brokaw Village Board who has voted in every election since 1948. Frank now faces disenfranchisement because her lack of a birth certificate prevents her from obtaining one of the "free" photo ID forms needed to cast a vote under the now enjoined law, unless she is willing to spend more than $200 for both a birth certificate and the necessary changes to state birth records to correct typos on her name in the state registry.

Van Hollen, whose office said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the Supreme Court's decision, had sought an immediate stay of the injunctions on the grounds of perceived irreparable harm if the upcoming recall elections were conducted without his party's new, draconian Photo ID restrictions in place.

The WI Supreme Court decision this week coincides with an announcement by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), in response to "a massive corporate exodus," that it is abandoning its effort to see that state legislatures pass its "model" polling place photo ID restrictions...

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

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Municipal election officials see no problems despite unexplained ballot shortages, broken op-scan seals and a 25-point swing that 'defeats' an LGBT anti-discrimination ballot measure...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2012 7:05am PT  

I know I shouldn't be, but I'm still amazed at the absolute cluelessness of far too many election officials. Yes, some of them are great, know exactly what they're talking about, and realize that the electronic voting systems we use in this nation --- every single one of them --- are complete garbage.

Last month, we reported on a recent Palm Beach County, FL, election in which the paper-ballot optical-scan system declared several losing candidates as the "winners." Thanks to the diligence the Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher --- who told me when we spoke, "I don't want you to have to trust your election officials. I think your election officials have to prove it." --- the software failure on the Sequoia Voting Systems tabulator was discovered and the correct winners of the election were ultimately discovered via a 100% hand-count instead, weeks after the election.

Also last month, we highlighted two great election officials in Columbia County, NY where both the Democratic and Republican Election Commissioners are smart enough to refuse to rely on the electronic optical-scanners made by Dominion Voting that were forced on them by the state. They choose, instead, to count 100% of their paper ballots by hand.

"Since I, as election commissioner, have to certify to the accuracy of any election run under my watch, that steers me in the direction of a more elemental process --- a hand count under the watchful gaze of individuals who are invested in its accuracy," Democratic Commissioner Virginia Martin wrote in her must-read 2010 op-ed, explaining her refusal to rely on computer tabulated elections. The Republican Commissioner, Jason Nastke, agrees with his counterpart. "The most accurate and reliable method is a 100% visual audit," he told The Columbia Paper, "The machines are not completely reliable."

Late last year The BRAD BLOG reported in detail on the Interim Board of Elections (two Republicans, one Democrat) in Venango County, PA, who bucked their own County Commissioners and legal threats from ES&S, the nation's largest e-voting company, to have their 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems independently investigated after failures in several recent elections. The forensic study found the central tabulator had been "remotely accessed" by someone on "multiple occasions," including for 80 minutes on the night before the 2010 general election. As thanks, the commissioners were pushed out of their jobs before the investigation was completed. Asked why the County Commissioners and ES&S were so opposed to an independent forensic analysis by two Carnegie-Mellon computer scientists, the Republican Director of the Board, Craig Adams told me: "They know there's something wrong."

Those are just a few of the many great election officials I've had the pleasure of reporting on over the years, and the voters of their respective counties are very lucky to be served by them.

And then there are the election officials of Anchorage, Alaska, where, on April 3rd, there was another disastrous election, held on Diebold op-scan systems, in a state becoming known for its disastrous elections.

"Those are amazing machines - utterly amazing," Anchorage Election Commissioner Gwen Mathew told members of the Anchorage Assembly last Friday night during a working session as they tried to unravel the latest disaster.

"It is impossible for them to go haywire," she misinformed the law makers. "They are highly accurate. I think that I could almost say that they're totally accurate. I've never found a discrepancy."

"You can get as 'conspiracy theory' as you want," Anchorage's Deputy Municipal Clerk Jacqueline Duke said when I asked her about some of the many reported concerns about the validity of the election in Alaska on Monday. She seemed to have even more faith in the infallibility of the machines than Mathew...

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

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UPDATE: Call to end 'corporate personhood' passes Vermont Assembly...
By Ernest A. Canning on 4/14/2012 1:39pm PT  

Guest Editorial by Ernest A. Canning

On Wednesday, by a bi-partisan vote of 26-3, the Vermont state Senate passed a resolution "calling for an amendment to the [U.S.] Constitution that corporations are not people and money is not speech and can be regulated in political campaigns" according to advocacy group, Move to Amend.

A majority of Senate Republicans joined with all of the Democrats in voting to approve the measure. The three nay votes came from Republicans after similar resolutions were passed in March by 64 different communities in Vermont.

Move to Amend observed that the Green Mountain State's Senate resolution goes much further than similar resolutions passed in Hawaii and New Mexico, which sought only to overturn the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission [PDF]. (The CA State Assembly also passed a resolution last month to overturn Citizens United).

In 2010, President Barack Obama blasted Citizens United as "devastating to the public interest." During his 2010 State of the Union Address, the President said the Court's decision would "open the floodgates for special interests --- including foreign corporations --- to spend without limit in our elections."

However, the President has, as yet, not offered a rejoinder to the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt "Gordon Gekko" Romney, by squarely stating that "corporations are not people!"

If the President followed Vermont's lead, would it portend to a Democratic landslide in November? Would the SCOTUS, faced with the prospect of a Constitutional Amendment that would put an end to corporate personhood altogether, feel pressured to either overrule or, at a minimum, curtail the reach of Citizens United?...

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

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Another battlefront report from the GOP War on Democracy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2012 1:55pm PT  

Recently, the New York Times reported on an analysis by the paper suggesting that new, draconian restrictions (and criminal penalties) on voter registration programs in Florida may be responsible for a sizable drop-off in registrations this year, compared to the same period in 2008.

"In the months since its new law took effect in May [of 2011], 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote than during the same period before the 2008 presidential election," according to their analysis.

Though the Times cautiously notes that, "It is difficult to say just how much of the decrease is due to the restrictions in the law, and how much to demographic changes, a lack of enthusiasm about politics or other circumstances, including the fact that there was no competitive Democratic presidential primary this year."

Nonetheless, they detail that, "new registrations dropped sharply in some areas where the voting-age population has been growing, the analysis found, including Miami-Dade County, where they fell by 39 percent, and Orange County, where they fell by a little more than a fifth."

Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall --- a Republican --- charges that it is the new law, imposing strict time limitations and harsh criminal penalties, such as fines and jail time, on third party voter registration groups, which has led to the shortfall in new voter registrations this year.

"The drop-off is our League of Women Voters, our five universities in Volusia County, none of which are making a concentrated effort this year," McFall says.

Indeed, the new laws --- passed by a Republican legislature and signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott last year --- have been met with a great deal of criticism from both election officials (even Republican ones, like McFall), as well as non-partisan voter organizations in the Sunshine State. As has been widely reported, the non-partisan League of Women Voters in Florida has been forced to call off their voter registration drive this cycle, for the first time in 72 years, thanks to fears that their workers will be faced with strict criminal sanctions and harsh fines if they are unable to meet new, often impossible, time restrictions on turning in registration forms to officials.

Last November we told you about about one of the FL high-school teachers who was arrested and charged for signing up her students to vote, after being turned in to state prosecutors by McFall who said she felt "sick to [her] stomach" for having to do it.

But, setting aside, for a moment, whether the drop-off in registrations is directly attributable to the new Republican laws --- which also include shortening the numbers of days for Early Voting --- it was this startling piece of information from the Times article which caught our eye...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2012 5:51pm PT  

Waukesha County's oft-failed election administrator, Kathy Nickolaus will not participate in the upcoming recall elections for Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators.

The BRAD BLOG first learned the news from a Wisconsin Election Integrity advocate late this afternoon, and it has now been confirmed with a statement issued by the office of Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas.

Her decision to recuse herself from the May 8th recall primaries and June 5th recall general elections comes on the heels of yet another embarrassing election administration failure this past Tuesday by the controversial County Clerk in one of the Badger State's most Republican counties.

According to Vrakas' statement, the elected Nickolaus --- who will face her own re-election contest later this year --- was given two choices by the County Executive, either resign or step aside for the upcoming recall elections.

"In a meeting this afternoon I presented two options to Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus," Vrakas' statement reads, "resignation, or designating the deputy clerk to run the upcoming recall election."

"Kathy agreed to hand off her election duties to the deputy county clerk in order to avoid my public call for her resignation," says Vrakas. "In stepping aside, Kathy also agreed to allow outside consultants and county staff to work side-by-side with the deputy clerk to help restore confidence in our election process. The county will move swiftly to examine the election night procedures in the County Clerk’s Office and make changes as necessary to restore public’s confidence in our elections."

Calls for her resignation occurred once again following her failure to post local election results online in a timely fashion on the night of the April 3rd primary elections this week.

The BRAD BLOG has been reporting on the many election administration failures of Nickolaus going back as far as 2010 when she refused to change a number of procedures at the request of County Executives after an audit found serious deficiencies in her security processes, such as failing to post election results online, and tracking them only on a personal computer in her own office. But it was the April 5, 2011 election for state Supreme Court (exactly one year ago today) that brought national infamy to Nickolaus...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2012 8:15pm PT  

Today on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's The BradCast I spoke to Pamela Smith, President of Verified Voting Foundation and Dan McCrea, President of the Florida Voters Foundation about the recent mess in Palm Beach County, FL where the electronic Dominion/Sequoia optical-scanners declared several losing candidates as the "winners" in a March 13th election. It took approval of a court to carry out a hand-count last weekend to determine the real winners of the elections.

So do either Smith or McCrea have confidence that the same problem hasn't already occurred or won't occur again in the 14 states (including many swing states and even Wisconsin) which use identical computer systems to tabulate votes? Do they think enough is enough and it's time to simply hand-count paper ballots, as per "Democracy's Gold Standard"? You'll have to listen to find out.

We were also joined by Margo Paez, just back from Santa Monica College, with her report on the outrageous pepper spraying of students (and one toddler) there last night; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and a remembrance of MLK who was assassinated in Memphis 44 years ago today as we find ourselves still in much the same fight for civil and human rights all of these decades later (hat-tip Tony Sorrentino and Desi Doyen for the really cool, and touching, montage!)...

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

P.S. Reminder: We don't post all of The BradCasts here, but you can subscribe to the RSS feed to get all of our weekly shows as soon as they're archived, or you can visit the KPFK archives page for the show anytime.

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By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2012 1:08pm PT  

During yesterday's Wisconsin primary election, a number of paper ballots were sent out in several counties that were reportedly too wide to be tabulated by the computerized optical-scan systems used to tally ballots in the state. The same exact thing happened just two weeks ago during the Illinois primary sending election officials into a panic and causing delays for some voters.

Then, as now, the problem has been chalked up to a paper-cutting error by the printers. Perhaps that's true, perhaps it's not. We'll take them at their word, barring evidence to the contrary. Innocent errors can and do happen.

But whether that's an accurate explanation or not, one way in which the failure was dealt with in both Illinois and Wisconsin continues to be extremely troubling and, frankly, offense: the practice of election workers manually "remaking" the ballots of voters after the election, in ostensible secret, and before they are tabulated...

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

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After admitting a failure in its software caused the problem, Dominion Voting changes its story...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2012 4:55pm PT  

A public hand-count of paper ballots in Palm Beach County, FL over the weekend has decisively determined the winners and losers of several disputed elections after paper ballot optical-scan computer tallying systems made by Sequoia Voting Systems (now owned by Dominion Voting) declared the incorrect "winners" of several races in a March 13th election.

But a dispute over who is to blame for the initial failure flared up again over the weekend as Dominion issued a statement that seems to contradict their previous admission that their software was to blame.

"The hand-count was 100%. We weren't missing a ballot," the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher told The BRAD BLOG this afternoon about what happened over the weekend. "Frankly, without paper ballots and without audits, we would have let the wrong winners serve."

What will happen next, however --- for Palm Beach County, one of Florida's largest, as well as the other 285 jurisdictions across the country where the very same voting system is currently in use --- is anything but clear...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2012 3:00pm PT  

The computers got it wrong. The losing candidates were declared and certified as the "winners." But they didn't actually receive more votes than their opponents. This time, we happened to find out.

As long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG know, there's a reason we routinely slam election officials and media for announcing wholly-unverified computer-reported results of elections before any of the ballots are actually examined by human beings.

So called, post-election "random audits" of a tiny number of paper ballots --- where paper ballots exist, where officials even bother to do that much --- are almost always useless, easily gamed, and, at any rate, almost always poorly carried out. Post-election spot-checks are no substitute for actually, ya know, counting actual ballots.

Nonetheless, election officials and media simply presume that optically-scanned ballots have been correctly tallied on Election Night because, after all, "computers are more reliable than human beings," as they like to say, and any result, apparently, is far more important than an accurate result reflecting the actual will of the voters.

The situation is made still worse in states like Florida where horrible election laws actually prohibit human beings from examining paper ballots to assure they've been tallied accurately after they've already been processed by a computer system. And it's all made even worse than that in Florida as the state has turned election results verification on its head by requiring results be certified just six days after the election, long before results can actually be canvassed by officials for any type of accuracy.

With all of that in mind, and all of the warnings The BRAD BLOG has long offered about optical-scan tallying systems, guess what's just happened in Palm Beach County, Florida --- one of the absolute most disastrous counties for elections in the entire country?...

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

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PLUS: New calls to 'Tax the Super-PACs'...at 99%...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2012 1:03pm PT  

In today's New York Times, Jim Arkedis and Lindsay Mark Lewis of the Progressive Policy Institute (Lewis also previously worked for the DNC), warn that Super-PACS aren't just perverting the electoral system through millions in deceptive ads for or against the candidates they are secretly funded to support, but they may also pose an even more direct, more insidious threat to our democracy.

After acknowledging that even President Obama is now embracing the same shadowy-funded PACs he once claimed to eschew, as he refuses to "unilaterally disarm", there is a different between inclinations of left and right, in that one side generally works to increase voter turnout, while the other hopes to suppress it. The lack of accountability and the supposed "firewall" of separation between Super PACs and candidates creates a situation rife for the worst kind of dirty tricks and voter suppression in an atmosphere which is even more difficult to regulate than in the past (when such dirty tricks were already pretty easy to pull off without paying a price --- or, at least, without a price that could be paid before it was far too late).

Their warning is both compelling and ominous, particularly as we don't need to look very far into the recent past --- even here at The BRAD BLOG --- in order to find evidence in support of it...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2012 11:28am PT  

Our own crack legal analyst Ernie Canning pulls together many of the strands we've been reporting here, for many months, on the Wisconsin GOP's attempt to dismantle voting rights in their state in advance of both the 2012 Presidential Election and, perhaps more importantly, before the upcoming recall elections of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators.

It's all a part of the continuing "War for Wisconsin" which we've been covering in great detail here at The BRAD BLOG for quite a while.

If you've had any trouble keeping up, or missed any of the thrilling chapters in the state Republicans' if-ya-can't-beat-'em-disenfranchise-'em, take-no-prisoners assault on the voting rights of legal voters, Ernie puts it all together and brings you right up to date in an interview today by OpEdNews' Joan Brunwasser...

* * *

Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2012 12:45pm PT  

This is really great. But the subsequent information I've received from the Columbia County, NY commissioners in reply to my query is even better!

For a start, here's the key parts of the story from Debora Gilbert at The Columbia Paper near Albany, New York.

Note, in particular, how both the Republican and Democratic commissioners concur on what should not be a partisan issue. They are doing a great service to their voters. Read the story and then I'll share the even better news with you below that...

HUDSON-Columbia County's election commissioners have counted 100% of the paper ballots in every election for the past two years, ever since the county switched to using new voting machines as part of a federal mandate. Their approach can delay the final vote tally and it may seem an odd when technology has taken over so many manual tasks.

But they question the accuracy of the results for the new machines and see no reason to stop checking them by hand.

“The most accurate and reliable method is a 100% visual audit,” Elections Commissioner Jason Nastke (R) said Tuesday. He referred to multiple scanner miscounts in Greenport in a past election. “The machines are not completely reliable,” he said.

“Hand counting allows for voter intent to be taken into consideration,” said Election Commissioner Virginia Martin (D). “If someone has circled rather than filled in the ovals, it counts when the ballots are hand counted, but with machine counting, the only allowed discrepancies involve machine error, not human error.”

Optical scanners were viewed as a welcome alternative when compared to the more expensive and less secure touch screen machines that were the only other option during the push to have counties purchase and install new voting machines in 2009.

In a commentary published in the Times Union newspaper in Albany last week, Buffalo attorney Peter Reese wrote that the new voting system has led to “tens of thousands of invalid overvotes,” citing specific cases, including one near Buffalo that he was involved with. He blames New York's HAVA compliance law.

Many voting activists favored the optical scanning system because it uses paper ballots that should allow an easy method of verification. Many hoped all the ballots would be posted online to allow easy oversight by citizens. But the law only calls for a small, random sampling of 3% of the machines to monitor accuracy. In Columbia County that would mean hand counting the results of one machine, said Ms. Martin. Both commissioners agree that a sample of this size is inadequate.
...
“The beauty of our situation is that the two election commissioners have agreed in advance to hand count ballots,” said Ms. Martin. After a primary, when one party might have the lead, it would be tougher to agree on something like this, she said.

“Although we're looking into a different kind of audit, it seems easier just to hand count and you have great voter confidence…. We have a very strict chain of custody procedure, with redundancy built into our system. Those who see our accounting procedures know we leave nothing to chance,” Ms. Martin said.

I couldn't be more delighted than to read the above. Well, actually, I could be.

From the story, as written, it was unclear whether or not Columbia was hand-counting in a central location, after ballots were moved from the polling place, or whether they were actually hand-counting at each precinct after the close of polls, with all parties, video-cameras and members of the public overseeing the counting and results posted decentrally at the polling place before ballots are moved anywhere.

So I dropped a note to both Commissioners Nastke and Martin to see if they were counting centrally (after ballots had been moved, and thus, questions about the secure chain of custody could arise) and, if so, whether they had any plans to try hand-counting publicly at the polling place in future elections, as per what we consider around here to be "Democracy's Gold Standard".

I received a very speedy --- and quite encouraging --- reply from Virginia Martin. Here it is in full...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2012 12:01am PT  

From The Gazette in Montreal...

OTTAWA — A large-scale cyber-attack involving more than 10,000 computers was responsible for the online polling problems during Saturday's NDP leadership vote, according to Scytl Canada, the company contracted by the party to conduct the vote.

While the attack in no way compromised the sanctity of the vote — in other words, no ballots cast by bona fide NDP members were added, subtracted or changed — Scytl indicated in a statement Tuesday that the attack was an attempt to crash or slow down websites by "saturating servers with bogus external communications requests that deny legitimate users access" — otherwise known as a distributed denial of service attack.

And we know the attack by 10,000 computers "in no way compromised the sanctity of the vote" how, exactly? Well, because they say so, silly!

We know Scytl's elections are secure because, as we noted in January when the Spanish-based company purchased S.O.E., the largest "election management company" in the U.S. (they do online results reporting, etc.), they told us so in their own press release announcing the acquisition. And they told us twice! They couldn't tell us they were secure unless they really were! Am I right, Sequoia Voting Systems?

Other than that --- oh, and other than this --- voting by Internet is a great idea! Am I right, Americans Elect and Michael Eisner?

The Gazette also goes on to note at the end of their coverage:

While voter turnout was low — only about half the NDP's 131,000 members voted in advance, online or from the convention floor — officials have insisted it wasn't related to the slowdown.

Oh, well, if officials insisted, then certainly they must be right about that.

"Democracy by Internet: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" TM

* * *
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ReddIt this story!



How can we trust their reporting as unbiased and neutral given their opposition to recall of the Republican Governor?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2012 7:03pm PT  

Out of scores of journalists who work for the Gannett Wisconsin Media-owned Green Bay Press-Gazette, just seven were willing to offer their personal, non-business related support for a recall of Wisconsin's controversial Gov. Scott Walker. They are now being disciplined.

The rest, the vast majority of Press-Gazette employees, all cast a vote for their support of the Republican Walker's fitness to complete his term as governor by refusing to sign the petition for his recall.

How can we now trust them to report without bias on the Walker story they are tasked with covering in a neutral fashion?!

Despite the clear and unethical conflict of interest demonstrated by their support for Walker --- for which the Governor is almost certainly grateful --- those journalist are somehow still expected to cover the Democratic Party and union-supported political challenges against him and his administration in an impartial manner.

Clearly, that is impossible. At least according to an editorial published last night by Kevin Corrado, the president and publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Ernest A. Canning on 3/25/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In Wisconsin, two Dane County Circuit Court judges, David Flanagan and Richard Niess both issued injunctions against the state GOP's polling place photo ID restriction ("Act 23") --- Flanagan's temporary, Niess' permanent --- after finding that the law was in direct violation of the WI state constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

Immediately after the first of those two injunctions, issued by Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker, the WI GOP filed an ethics complaint with the WI Judicial Commission, alleging that the judge had violated the WI Code of Judicial Conduct because he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and failed to disclose that fact before issuing his ruling.

However, when Flanagan's temporary injunction was promptly followed not only by Neiss' permanent injunction one week later, but by a subsequent refusal by an intermediate WI appellate court to stay the temporary injunction, the hard-right, operating under another right-wing billionaire front group, the Landmark Legal Foundation, filed ethics complaints against 29 WI judges who also signed recall petitions.

If you can't beat 'em, hit 'em with ethics violations complaints...

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

ReddIt this story!



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